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Composite Paddle & Oar Refinishing Instructions

Composite paddles, oars and blades need a little TLC and maintenance for best performance and longevity. The Sawyer Composite Spar Varnish Kit has all the necessities for refinishing your beauties including: (1) pint or quart Sawyer Spar Varnish, (1) 2"" varnish brush, (1) 80 grit sanding disc, (1) 120 grit sanding disc, (1) 320 grit sanding disc, (1) buffing pad, (2) Large Foam Plugs, (2) Small Foam Plugs and (1) pair of replacement Foam Grips.


  1. Using a TiteSet key, remove the blade from the shaft.
  2. Cover the rope wrap area with plastic wrap and tape off the ends to ensure no varnish seeps onto the rope. (Do NOT varnish the rope wrap!)
  3. Install foam plugs into the blade end and the TiteSet hole of the shaft. Ensure a snug fit to avoid any varnish from entering the shaft.
  4. For the wood handle, remove the old rubber grip with a box cutter and use the 320-grit sanding disc to rough up the wooden surface of the handle.
  5. Lightly sand out larger knicks and dings on the shaft with the 320-grit sanding disc.
  6. Use the buffing pad to lightly scuff up the surface of the entire shaft.
  7. Using a tack cloth or clean rag with rubbing alcohol, wipe down all surfaces to remove any dust/debris.


  1. Make sure the paddle, oar or blade are completely dry before attempting to varnish. All varnishing should be done in a well-ventilated area.
  2. Apply varnish to wood handles - be careful to avoid connection points of the shaft. (Applying too much varnish to the handle/shaft connection point can make it difficult to remove the handle later.)
  3. Continue by varnishing the entire shaft.
  4. Let cure for 12 hours at 65°F or warmer.
  5. Once cured, buff the entire surface with a buffing pad.
  6. Apply a second coat of spar varnish (can be repeated until desired coverage is achieved).
  7. Let cure at least 12 hours at 65°F or warmer before use.

For questions on refinishing, please call 541-535-3606.

Please refer to Sawyer's DIY Repair Videos ( for more information on paddle and oar maintenance and repair.