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Canvasing a Shell Lake rowboat

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Treewater, Mar 14, 2021.

  1. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    I've looked for information on canvasing a rowboat. None found so I'll just ask....has anyone put new canvas on a rowboat? I have a Shell Lake 13ft rowboat. Tag says it will accommodate up to a 5 hp motor. Construction is identical to a canoe except for the stern. It has a transom one and a quarter inch thick. The boat has no rot and I just took off the original canvas. The original canvas appears thicker than canoe canvas and was only lapped one inch onto the transom. On top of that was a piece of thin sheet aluminum cut to shape. This U shaped piece is 2.5 inch wide and nailed to the transom every 3/4inch top and bottom edges. Under the aluminum sheet was bedding compound covering the joint where the canvas stops.. You can visualize a very wide U and then the plain painted green wood transom inside the U.
    I'd like to hear from anyone who has done one of these. I've done a dozen canoe but this is the only rowboat I have and ever will have. I have to get it right the first time.
    I've never had a Shell Lake canoe but this rowboat is very well made. Wonderful planking and canvas job. Gunwales suffered over the years and the oarlocks needed reinforcement. It's a simple and very nicely made boat that over the years had a few small outboards. It's well worth my time. Even thought of having one of the pros canvas it. Anyone got advice?
     
  2. OP
    OP
    Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    IMG_20210314_200647946.jpg IMG_20210314_200651350.jpg IMG_20210314_173429556.jpg
     

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    Last edited: Mar 14, 2021
  3. OP
    OP
    Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Hope I deleted the duplicate picture
     
  4. samb

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    This may or may not help, but I canvassed a two part 26 foot chestnut. Essentially it was your boat twice. I tackled it just the same as a normal canoe. I did it upside down and tacked along the gunnel then the stem as normal. I came to the transom end put sealant around the edge of the transom and pulled it tight with canvas pliers and tacked it as neat as I could keeping to the outside inch. In my case this was then covered with a piece of ply which was also sealed.

    Sam

    DSC01828.JPG
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Thanks..what weight of canvas? Didn't stretch the canvas between posts? Just laid it on?
     
  6. samb

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Don't remember exact weight but heavier than any other I've used. I have the boat upside down on trestles, then pulled tight as you would with right way up canvassing, only pulling along and down rather than along and up. Hopefully picture makes sense (different boat) I use ratchet straps on each end and pull until I fear something will give way!

    IMG_20200427_105029.jpg
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Thanks, How did you grip the square end?
     
  8. samb

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    looked ungainly but just the same as the other but without the 'clothes peg'

    Sam
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

  10. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    I did one. Thompson 12'/ number 8 canvas. I stapled temp at the stem and pulled by hand really really hard at the transom in lieu of come a long. Then fastened as normal. The shortness and bluntness made it more of a chore but it all worked out. Wood pieces were in place of your tin U shaped trim.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Thanks Dave. I thought about that. Trailcraft, who sold canoe kits, had people doing their canvasing without stretcher. I don't know what I'll do yet. I just took it outside and washed it down today. Springtime in TN. I just ordered #10 duck.
     
  12. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    I put “cheater” tacks around the transom, then pull it tight with a come along on the bow end and attach clamps with straps to the transom to hold the stern end to stretch lengthwise.
    Then stretch and staple at the ribs and bow like you normally would on a canoe.
    After releasing the come along and stern clamps, remove a few “cheater” tacks at a time and grab and stretch over the transom.
    Scrap the idea of sheet metal over the canvas on the transom. Make nice wood trim to cover the canvas on the transom. Butter it up good with bedding compound.
    I think the pictures are of the same model as yours. The first photo shows the wood trim.
    I use ash, oak, or mahogany.
     

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    Dave Wermuth likes this.
  13. OP
    OP
    Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Thanks Dave. Yes, I think you have the same model as mine. The planking on mine is so beautiful. Each board even width, 31/8 inch, vertical grain cedar, 10 boards on a side, full length except the second board from gunnel each side and the gores. My serial number is 103 390. Unfortunately, my gunnels broke at the spot for oarlocks, both sides. I'm listening to everyone's method of stretching canvas. Thanks for the input. The rowboat is definitely different than canoes but they have their place.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

  15. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The Washburn County Historical Museum may be able to provide a build record for that serial number if you are interested. I have copies showing some of their canoe information but nothing for their boats. See https://www.washburncounty.org/services/washburn-co-history-museum-sl for their contact information.

    Benson



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    Dave Wermuth likes this.
  16. OP
    OP
    Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Thank you Benson. I sent them an email. Volunteer organization...they'll answer eventually.
    My boat used a full gallon of wood preservative. I've never seen a canoe so dry. I bought this thing eleven years ago in Benton Harbor MI. It's been under cover all these years. this is really different, much fun.
     

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