Yes, I think most of us have been duped about the so-called penetration and polymerization of oil mixtures.
But I don't think this is the primary reason why OM's are widely used on gunwales and thwarts. I think the overwhelming primary reason is ease and speed of application -- and reapplication. I just use cotton rags; no brush.
I think canoe builders use OM's for the very same reason. Why would they want to spend a week applying, drying, sanding, and reapplying six coats of a quality spar varnish, when they can spend 15 minutes wiping on three coats of an OM? Much less do they want to do all this varnishing of the wood, including the ends, before they attach it to the hull. Time is money. Then they rationalize their decision to us.
We continue using the OM for the same lazybones reasons: ease and speed of application.
Switching gears: I have noticed Watco staying very sticky for long periods of time when I apply it too thickly and don't wipe the excess off. This may be because Watco uses raw linseed oil, which I just noticed in reading the MSDS. I wonder if Deks Olje uses boiled linseed, which dries in a matter of hours rather than days.
Deck Rigging Gear
Paddler's Truck Rack
Sport Cases (Electronics)
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