View Full Version : What to use (oil/stain?) on Honduran Mahogany thwarts?

05-23-2017, 01:49 PM
I have two Honduran Mahogany thwarts that I believe need a new coating of something. They both get "spotty" with water staining when wet, so I would like to treat them with something, but unsure of what may have been used originally (I am not the original owner of the boat) or what I should use now. They may have not been refinished/stained/oiled since they were in stalled in 1986. Any advise is appreciated!

Edit.. Once dry, there are no lingering stains on the thwarts. They just both have spots/areas where water seems to penetrate the wood and they look spotty. Would a simple polyurethane suffice?

05-23-2017, 02:04 PM
Got a photo? I'm curious if they're mahogany or possibly something else that has a lot of natural oil in it. That might start to determine what sort of product you'd want to put on it. The way you're describing it makes me think your thwart has no finish on it at all.

No matter what happens, I'd want something with UV in it.

05-23-2017, 02:13 PM
I don't have a photo right now, but I know they are mahogany (the thwarts were an option when the boat was built, and the builder lists them as "honduran mahogany"). You might be right though about there being no original finish.

05-23-2017, 02:22 PM
This would be an excellent moment for you to start that book collection on wooden boat care and stewardship that you've been dreaming about. Can't hurt to start here ...

Painting & Varnishing (https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0937822337/ref=tmm_pap_used_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=used&qid=&sr=)

Brightwork: The art of finishing wood (https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0071579818/ref=tmm_hrd_used_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=used&qid=&sr=)

Bob Cleek
05-23-2017, 02:46 PM
There is no such thing as a "simple polyurethane." The worst of it is trying to remove the stuff for refinishing when it deteriorates. A natural bare, or oiled finish is often preferable on thwarts. Glossy finishes often leave your butt slipping and sliding all over the place.

Your thwarts are probably oiled and due for a re-oiling. That's just a wild guess. Without a picture, it's pretty hard to be sure. Trying to respond to "How do I do this?" posts in this forum is a lot like being a veterinarian. You know the thing is sick, but it can't really tell you very well where it hurts.

If they are easily removable, I'd suggest taking one of the thwarts to your local professional paint store and seeing if they can diagnose what's needed. (A paint store where real painters go, not some chain hardware store where the counter clerk knows little more about paint than the price.)

05-23-2017, 03:52 PM
Thanks for all the responses and suggestions (and book suggestions!). Good point(s) about the poly. Next time I am at the boat, I will take a couple of pics of the thwarts.

05-23-2017, 05:05 PM
Was always under the impression that Mahogany does not take oil well. Is that wrong?

David G
05-23-2017, 06:03 PM
Was always under the impression that Mahogany does not take oil well. Is that wrong?

That's incorrect in my experience

I agree with Mr. Cleek on the finish. Look forward to seeing the fotos, but I'd be thinking about using something like Daly's Seafin Teak Oil in moderate amounts to seal without making things slippery. Assuming it's not a film finish that's already on there - the condition of which would allow for touchup.

Todd Bradshaw
05-23-2017, 07:08 PM
In any case......the wood should not be getting wet. It will weather to the point where it looks bad and you can't fix it. The thwarts should have enough finish of some sort (oil, varnish, etc.) on them to keep water from soaking and discoloring the wood.

wizbang 13
05-23-2017, 09:27 PM
NOW they need a coat of something?
Go find the codger that built her , find what he used.... share it with us!

05-26-2017, 08:09 AM
Here's a couple pictures of the thwarts. One dry, and another of what it looks like once it has gotten wet. The dark spots/streaks all go away once they dry out. I have only owned the boat since last summer, so I don't know if the thwarts have been oiled/sealed/finished before..

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4276/34081056813_08753b7c8b_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/TVCjPP)image1 (https://flic.kr/p/TVCjPP) by Jeff Sarcione (https://www.flickr.com/photos/151048941@N02/), on Flickr

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4276/34504882640_c885ee6bd6_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Uz5xtE)image2 (https://flic.kr/p/Uz5xtE) by Jeff Sarcione (https://www.flickr.com/photos/151048941@N02/), on Flickr

05-26-2017, 08:58 AM
Looks like they could use a good sanding. Take them down to board wood, refinish.

05-26-2017, 01:55 PM
I tried thwarts with just many coats of oil, but that didn't work well in our hot climate and with heavy use. Now they are oiled and varnished (oil-based varnish), and when beat up enough I sand 'em back down and do it again.