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My tiller arms are made of oak.  Initially they were coated in a two pack Epifanes varnish which lasted 10 years on the Douglas Fir tiller bar and gaff but not very long on the oak, probably because I did not prepare it correctly first.  Since then I have stripped them down and used no frills yacht varnish with a top up and retouch every year.  Anyway it is all becoming extremely time consuming because the salt water get in, turns the wood black, lifts the surrounding varnish, so I have to start again.

In another thread Budget Boater has already suggested that I paint them but they look fantastic - and I can see when the water gets in.  I have considered Danish Oil or similar penetrating oil but not yet convinced.

I have just read a US article on Clear Penetrating Epoxy overcoated with a good marine varnish. SP Eposeal 300 (in UK) looks like a similar product.  

Anyone have any tips or experience with this issue?


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If your decision is based more on appearance, then you can use 3-4 coats of epoxy made for oak. It is thinner and penetrates better. Sand between each coat. Then put the Epifanes varnish over the sanded epoxy.

Chuck and Budget Boater,  Many thanks.   That was the stuff in the article.  I will give it a try.

Chuck Valley said:

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