It's the time of year when the days are blissfully temperate, the nights are just cool enough to make you thankful for your sweatshirt, and a man's thoughts turn to canoe gunwales. My canoe fleet has a lot of wood gunwales, so I spend a decent amount of time maintaining them. It's something that as a canoelover, you would think I enjoy.
Actually, I do enjoy it. I have a secret (I guess not so secret now) formula that I cook up quite
literally. It's a simple combination of beeswax and boiled linseed oil, but when applied properly it provides an almost bullet-proof finish, provided the bullets are very small.
The scary part is heating up linseed oil until it's hot enough to melt the beeswax. Not scary, you just need to be careful not to get the linseed oil too hot. You then brush it on, and the heated elixir penetrates the wood and soon skins over with a layer of waxy film. This I leave on for overnight, or a good long warm afternoon in the sun. I just like to let it work itself in.
When it's cold, I take my wife's blow dryer (clearly I am in no need of one) and drive some of the elixir into the wood and rub it in with either a cloth if there's a lot of excess, or my palm if there's not. It makes my hands soft and smell like beeswax. I like the fact that there are no petrochemicals in this concotion, yet it works as good as a petro-varnish or better. Totally non-toxic, dude. And the finish, you can see for yourself. A nice matte finish, smooth to the touch and very pleasant to smell.