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Re-sealing cork decoys?

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Re-sealing cork decoys?
I recently took a road trip to northern Michigan to pick up some cork decoys I made about 15-20 years ago. When I made them I sealed them.

Two questions: do I need to re-seal them now? And if so, what do I use? It's been so long since I did this I can't remember.

Your guidance appreciated.

I will soon be posting pics and story about my trip.

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Re: Re-sealing cork decoys? In reply to
Varnish thinned with mineral spirits makes a good sealer, as does tung oil thinned with turpentine. I take it you plan to repaint too? Both mentioned if applied over paint will create a sheen. Oil based paint will go over them no problem.

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Re: Re-sealing cork decoys? In reply to
Maybe the first question is what condition are the decoys in? Great condition...possibly no resealing is needed....poor condition....probably resealing is needed. If resealing is needed I can't help on that one.
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Re: Re-sealing cork decoys? In reply to

Black cork or tan cork?

I rehab lots of black cork (e.g., LL Bean Coastals) decoys. Black cork dries out and can get crumbly over time and so needs some nourishment to keep campaigning afloat. Tan cork may or may not need re-sealing in my experience.

I seal with Spar Varnish - not polyurethane "varnish". My local hardware stores have various brands for about $18 per quart An expensive marine varnish (which I do use for brightwork on fancy vessels) is not needed for this utilitarian task.

Once cured, the Spar Varnish can be scuff-sanded and then painted with either oil or latex (acrylic) paints.

What species are your birds?

BTW: I use Spar Varnish commonly on wooden boat parts - before applying oil-based primers.

All the best,


Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY

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Re: Re-sealing cork decoys? In reply to
Larry, how long ago were they made? What type of cork did you use when you made them? What kind of paint was applied?
A few shots of what they look like now, along with answers to the questions will help a ton.

If you used Golden Acrylics, drop me a note with species and I will forward you my paint schematics for painting with Golden