-- Last Updated: Oct-28-12 1:43 PM EST --
came with cloudy and soft varnish. Imossible to tell how many "coats", but it took a long time to cure hard... like weeks.
That may have been because they didn't have any seats like the one I wanted in stock and they whipped one off for me. I think it came in four days after I ordered it, but it could also mean that their varnish had just gotten a bit old and/or contaminated. It's held up okay for four years, though.
I must say, though, that all of my experience with Ed's, including a visit to pick up a set of gunwales, have been nothing but positive. It's a small, tidy , family operation that has always gone to the effort of accomodating my needs. Really, they couldn't have been nicer.
I've never worried too much about varnish on canoe seats or thwarts. Sure, it's nice to have them all shiny and sealed, but it's really the exposed endgrain that's important to keep well sealed. Varnish on the long grain is mostly cosmetic unless it's failed to the point that the wood's gone grey or starting to splinter.
Edited to change "whipped one out" to "whipped one off". It just sounds better.