Dave Wood Arts
WB Golf

Classical Wood Restoration Process

Clear Coatings

The transparent surface coating, which brings the finish to life and provides its Jewel like appearance, functions primarily as the woods protective shield. Bare wood is always in various stages of expansion and contraction. Its either absorbing moisture, or drying out. The surface coating seals and protects the wood from the elements.

Unlike wood furniture coatings, where aesthetics are as critical as function, with durability not being a vital concern... A wood golf club is an instrument whose primary function is to control the flight and shot characteristics of a golf ball. Its coatings must be very durable and flexible, protecting the surfaces that make high speed contact with the abrasiveness of the ground and ball impact. The coating must also sustain through a variety of environmental changes, from garage storage and automobile trunk, to wet grass etc.

Sam Snead, one of the greatest natural athletes to ever swing a golf club... Is said to have wept when his trusty old persimmon driver split in half. He grieved the loss of his gallant companion, of whom he depended on through many tension filled battles against The Hawk and Lord Byron.

Slammin Sammy's loss could have been prevented, if he'd paid closer attention and maintained his trusty mates- finish coatings.

Sequential Destruction... Deterioration of Snead's finish coating was caused by the friction and abrasion of continuous high-speed contact with the turf, sand, tee and ball, over a very prolonged period of time.

The decay of the clubs varnish coating, exposed its bare wood to the elements. This caused for expanding and contracting of the wood. The dynamic changes in the wood's structure, caused for adhesives to separate, forcing critical head components, such as internal weights, soleplate, insert and screws to loosen.

The detached parts within the wood produced vibrations and extreme stresses. Loose parts combined with high speed ball impact, resulted in the inevitable stress fractures and splitting of the wood head... Adios mi amigo


In the 1970's, with the exploding popularity of hard surlyn covered balls, golf club manufacturers began switching from lacquer and varnish compositions, to the more durable, mar resistant polyurethane and urethane solutions.
Technology always moves forward and today there are a wide variety of beautiful and durable clear coatings available, many compositions that are presently used in the golf industry... From two-component epoxies, urethanes, enamels and acrylics to oil, solvents and water base formulations.

For the purpose of this guide, lets look at formulations, which don't require mixing, or special spray equipment... Polyurethane coatings are readily available in aerosol cans at the consumer level, provide an outstanding finish surface for your wood.

Oil vs. Water Based

Oil-based poly generally dries to a tougher and glossier finish than a water-based, and with fewer coats. However, there are some drawbacks. Oil-based polyurethane is more susceptible to ambering over time than its water-based counterpart. It will have more fumes and VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which may be a consideration if you have limited ventilation. With benign weather, spraying outdoors may be an option.

Water-based polyurethanes offer crystal clear transparency, great for white inserts and stampings. Though they are not quite as durable and may require more work to apply (sandpaper abraiding) to get an equivalent glossy finish to oil-based versions. There are some oil-modified, water-based products on the market that will work over oil stains and fillers.

Oil based poly can be applied over water based, as long as the water based has fully cured. This can be an attractive combination for woods with white inserts and markings. Water based coatings will not work over oil based.

Dry Times

For some finishers, a potential advantage for using a water-based polyurethane is its very quick dry time. Another coat of water-based can be applied within a few hours, making it possible to add multiple coats within a single day. Oil-based polyurethane, depending on manufacturers formulation, may take one, or more days to apply additional coats. Re-coating too quickly may cause for wrinkling of the surface.


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Dave Wood Arts

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