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Multiple coats of Gunwale Guard are applied to wood gunwales during the canoe building process. Particular attention is paid to oiling the surface of the gunwale that will be against the hull once the canoe is assembled as it’s obviously tough to get to that surface once the canoe is built.
We recommend that you apply a fresh coat of oil before you use your canoe. There’s no telling how long the canoe may have been on the shelf at your retailer or to what temperatures and humidity it may have been exposed to since it was built. These are factors that can wear down an oil finish.
Natural finish Gunwale Guard can be applied over dark stained finishes. The only time you might need dark stained Gunwale Guard is when you want to darken or re-stain the gunwales. Natural Gunwale Guard is the preferred final finish.
It’s inevitable that you will need to freshen the oil on your gunwales. What will determine when needed will be a combination of use and exposure; how much the canoe is used and how and where it is stored. The trick is how to tell…….
Left untreated, ash naturally weathers to a grey finish. Left too long and the surface grain will become increasingly rough and raised as more moisture is absorbed and then evaporated. That’s one good indication that some attention is needed. Another is to try a variation of the old “splash-some-water-on-the-car-and-if-it-beads-up-the-wax-is-good” test: drip some water on your gunwales. If the water is absorbed it’s time to oil. If the water runs off the gunwale your protection is probably good.
Please note that canoes stored indoors for a lengthy time, particularly in a place with low humidity are likely to have dry rails. Such rails will readily absorb moisture if exposed and will not have the elasticity of oiled rails. It’s just as good an idea to oil rails in this condition as those overexposed to the elements.
If you’ve been diligent in keeping your rails oiled, it’s likely the quick wipe procedure described earlier will do the trick. If you’ve let your gunwales go for awhile and let Mother Nature have her way a bit too long, you’re facing a bit more complicated process to restore your gunwales to original glory.
Let’s assume your canoe has been neglected for longer than you want to admit; the rails are grey and the grain has raised some due to absorption of water. The following process is well tested and proven to bring the gunwales back to showroom condition and beyond.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS REQUIRED