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Varnish woodwork in new fit out

Just fitting out a narrowboat with tongue and groove oak and oak faced ply. Should I seal the back of the oak before I put it up? What varnish would you recommend? Many thanks, Peter Thompson

Asked by: mrpthompson  | 5.45pm, Saturday 19 June

WW says:

I suspect that, on most narrowboats, the backs of linings are not sealed but I can think of two reasons for doing it.
First it would balance the boarding so that it would be less likely to twist or bow.
Second, any condensation that forms behind the boarding should not be absorbed and eventually appear as a stain.
Any clear gloss varnish should be suitable. One thinned coat will help but, if you can bear to add a second full coat, so much the better.

Graham Booth  | 10.41PM, Saturday 19 June

One very notable boat builder in the past, used to always paint the back of all ply and T&G boarding with aluminium primer, to avoid staining, etc- although how well this would stand the test of time is debateable.
Another builder, once all the wood had been delivered to their workshop and had aclimatised to the temperature and humidiy, was given three coats of varnish on all sides and ends, BEFORE cutting out- so that any minor damage during working, occured to the varnish, and not the wood surface. Probably a good idea, but very time consuming!

Mark Langley  | 4.08PM, Wednesday 23 June

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