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Best finishing for fly boxes

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Forum topic by BiologistAngler posted 02-20-2019 06:45 AM 289 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BiologistAngler

5 posts in 48 days


02-20-2019 06:45 AM

I’ve made several hardwood fly boxes, some carved out of solid pieces with a router, some put together with miter and but joints. I’ve already tried Watco products, both Danish Oil and Teak Oil. It’s hard to tell a difference between the two, although the teak oil is said to be better for water resistance. They are fly boxes, of course, so I wanted to give them a finish that will repel water although they don’t really need to be fully water-proof. My question is should I bother using an oil, or should I just apply some kind of poly only? I want the grain to be hilighted, and the teak oil was good at that for my cherry/oak boxes. Does poly work over teak/danish oil? Should I only bother to add poly on the outside of the boxes? I’m worried coats of poly might mess with the seams on the closure faces. Thanks for any advice.


6 replies so far

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John Smith

1680 posts in 460 days


#1 posted 02-20-2019 01:53 PM

I have a friend that makes fly boxes and he uses a quality hand-rubbed tung oil.
(100% Tung Oil – not Homer Formby’s Finish).
is this something you make a lot of ??
Edit: take a board that you will be using the most and make samples of the finishes
that you are the most interested in – or have the most favorable suggestions for comparison.

.

.

-- Failure is proof that you at least tried ~ now, go do it again, and again, until you get it right --

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Lazyman

3091 posts in 1685 days


#2 posted 02-20-2019 02:13 PM

I say that it depends upon the look and feel you want them to have. A poly finish tends to look and feel like it was dipped in plastic to me. Personally, for something that you hold in your hands, I like using something like Tried And True Varnish oil. It is basically a BLO with a natural resin to give just a little bit of protection but it still has a natural feel to it. You can always add some paste wax for a little extra water repellency. If you do want the poly protection, try using an oil based wipe-on poly. No need to use a danish oil first. The WoP will pop the grain in a similar way.

BTW, teak oils are usually just a combination of BLO, Tung oil and some sort of resin and/or UV blockers.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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BiologistAngler

5 posts in 48 days


#3 posted 02-20-2019 03:34 PM



I say that it depends upon the look and feel you want them to have. A poly finish tends to look and feel like it was dipped in plastic to me. Personally, for something that you hold in your hands, I like using something like Tried And True Varnish oil. It is basically a BLO with a natural resin to give just a little bit of protection but it still has a natural feel to it. You can always add some paste wax for a little extra water repellency. If you do want the poly protection, try using an oil based wipe-on poly. No need to use a danish oil first. The WoP will pop the grain in a similar way.

BTW, teak oils are usually just a combination of BLO, Tung oil and some sort of resin and/or UV blockers.

- Lazyman

Is there a difference between Tried and True Danish Oil Finish and Watco’s Danish Oil? I just read this article but it mostly just confused me more. It sounds like using pure oils is a longer, more drawn out process and is more suited for larger furniture pieces, not such small pieces like fly boxes. You make a good point on poly finishes affecting the feel. I don’t want them to feel plastic. Are you saying that teak oil is not a good choice? I wasn’t sure what the difference was between the danish oil vs. teak oil. I might stick with those two and add a paste wax for water resistance.

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MNgary

313 posts in 2715 days


#4 posted 02-20-2019 06:51 PM

I would contact a marina and ask what they use on woods on the big yachts. I am pretty sure they will say a varnish with high uv protection. When I had the sailboat it was McClosky Marine spar varnish.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

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Lazyman

3091 posts in 1685 days


#5 posted 02-20-2019 08:10 PM

The Watco Danish Oil finishes may be similar to the Tried and True Varnish Oil but have different kinds of resins for the Varnish component. I remember reading that the Watco finishes actually have a resin of some kind but not sure what kind. I think that the T&T Danish oil is just BLO while their varnish oil is BLO with a natural resin added. T&T oil finishes are true BLO that use a heat treatment process to improve curing time while many of the other BLO based finishes use heavy metal driers and solvents to speed up the drying and curing process. I have never tried Watco’s natural colored danish oils but I don’t like the smell of their stained versions, probably because of the solvents, while I actually find the smell of the T&T finishes pleasant, which is one reason I like it for anything I am going to handle. Danish oil or even true Tung oil finishes do require a little more patience for the finishes to dry and cure but IMO they are worth the trouble. Wiping Poly is a good alternative that gives you a more natural look and feel than you usually get with a polyurethane finish and probably a little more protection from moisture than Danish or Varnish oils. I have only been using the T&T finishes for a few years so I cannot attest to their longevity but one nice thing about the T&T finishes is that you can always just apply another coat anytime down the road to refresh the finish. Also, a little paste wax can be applied from time to time to nearly any finish to improve the moisture protection a little.

As for the teak oil, while I have never used anything labeled as teak oil, my research shows that they are sort of mythical materials (some have even said scam) that are usually combinations of other materials and has no real advantage over other cheaper finishes not label as teak oil. Usually people who use teak oil are looking for an oil finish that will stand up to constant weather (water, snow and sun) exposure, which is probably not what you need for these fly boxes.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1680 posts in 460 days


#6 posted 02-20-2019 08:54 PM

BiologistAngler ~ what size boxes are you making ??
pocket size or tackle box size.

anyone with a true interest in varnish, oils and other finishes should
pick up (or order) a copy of Bob Flexner’s “Understanding Wood Finishing”
[Revised Edition] and “Wood Finishing 101”.
both are available from online sources such as E-Bay, Amazon, and Etsy and can
greatly enhance your knowledge and understanding of different finishes.
paints and clear finishes are probably the most debated items in any woodworking,
boating, furniture restoration or painting forum. (to name a few).

.

-- Failure is proof that you at least tried ~ now, go do it again, and again, until you get it right --

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