View Full Version : oiling the interior of a wooden boat

07-27-2008, 12:16 PM
what would the best oil be to treat an interior. If not a single brand, what would the best home-brew be to oil a boat's interior?

Thanks is advance

Shaun McMillan

Captain Blight
07-27-2008, 12:35 PM
Cabin or cockpit? Exposed to sunlight or not? Exposed to wind and weather or not?

07-27-2008, 12:52 PM
If we assume "interior" means limited exposure to sunlight and weather/water....

You might consider a polymerized tung oil. Its very easy to apply and keep up--yet it dries "hard." You just need to make sure to get REAL tung oil and that its NOT a Danish oil non-drying tung oil. I've used polymerized tung oil on furniture and house interior woodwork for 25 years. Because this type of tung oil is a bit pricey you might consider sealing the wood first with a sanding sealer (example Zinzer's sanding sealer shellac) before applying the tung oil.

Its impossible to mess up the application of the tung oil which is one reason I like it. I figure it doesn't have any UV protection but inside that's not so critical. It doesn't darken the wood very quickly. I did a mahogany piece that was very light and it took about 10 years for it to darken enough for it to be notable. Doesn't turn things black the way linseed oil does either.

There are many other products out there that I'd think some forum members will be telling you about :)

Good luck!

07-27-2008, 01:54 PM
defo agree with redbopeep, tung is the best by a country mile. Just take caution on a sealing bare wood if you want to keep it bright and light.

07-27-2008, 04:17 PM
I third the motion. Behr makes a pretty good "Tung oil finish" which is available at Agent Orange (HD) for cheapie cheap.

07-27-2008, 05:06 PM
Thank you for the information-that is precisely want I wanted. For some reason, beyond reason, I continue to be attracted to wood vessels rather than fiberglass. My second boat-you'd think that I would know better. I'll be buying when my wife is through grad school and I have almost, if that can be ever said, have enough knowledge to maintain a wood boat in a sailing/work boat fashion-quick slick and fast-no varnish for me! Anyway thanks again.

C. Ross
07-27-2008, 06:05 PM
For some reason, beyond reason, I continue to be attracted to wood vessels rather than fiberglass. My second boat-you'd think that I would know better.

Hi Shaun, we're all woodboat-aholics, too.

Two cents worth: redbopeep's technique is fine. Specifically for teak, I've found that thinning pure tung with pure turpentine and wet sanding it in is a great sealer, and I think it's a tad easier than a separate sanding sealer. The trick is wet sanding.

Here's a teak chair with one thinned coat, and two more coats of pure tung wet sanded in.


Nice satin finish, wet sanding fills the pores and makes the surface fine.

I'm sure the Behr tung oil finish is fine, too, but a varnish is resin, oil, and thinner. "Tung oil finish" usually means a varnish with less resin and more oil so it's a little less fussy, a little less hard to touch up, and it may have UV protection from the resin. But when it does break down, you may have to sand and recoat, whereas with pure tung oil you just need to clean it and rub in some more oil with bronze wool or wet-dry sandpaper. Everybody has their own taste about these things.

08-14-2008, 11:17 AM
C. Ross,

That tung-oil finish looks great, can you give us a little more detail about how you did that? When you say wet sand, do you mean after the oil has fully cured?

I've used Tung oil for brightening up old furniture and my wooden cutting boards, but I've always just rubbed it in over the course of a few days till the wood won't take anymore.