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Coat of Varnish before Season Ends?

Discussion in 'Strippers, Stitch-n-Glue, and Other Wood Composite' started by jadefox, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. jadefox

    jadefox Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hi All,

    We recently came into possession of a cedar strip canoe that we planned to refinish this winter. We have, however, had more fun than expected using her, and we're hoping to get several more trips out of her before the season ends. My question is about the value of a light sanding and application of a UV-filtered marine varnish now to keep her better protected over the next several trips, knowing that we're going to strip her down and re-finish her properly over the winter. Any thoughts?

    Here are two (not very useful) pictures. I'll get better ones later today.

    Thanks in advance.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    If you plan to refinish it soon you might as well spare the added effort and keep using it...it won't become significantly more weathered in a few more weeks of use...enjoy.
    It's actually kind of nice to have a boat that you can beat on without worrying too much about dinging it up... once you restore it then you feel obligated to treat it differently.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    jadefox

    jadefox Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I hear you there. Here are some additional pics showing the spots we're most worried about.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Hmm..some de-lamination... how much work are you planning to do on it?
    I thought you were just planning and sanding and varnishing. Are you actually planning to remove the cloth and re-layer it?
    I'd probably shy away from that although there are folks that have tackled refurbishing a stripper.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    jadefox

    jadefox Curious about Wooden Canoes

    We're planning to spot repair those delaminated places this winter and sand down the whole boat and re-varnish. The gunwales will need some work too. We have no desire for this to be a museum piece, but we do want to keep it functional as long as possible.
     
  6. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Honestly, the boat is in terrible condition and a lovely mixture of bad construction, delamination and old water damage. Much of what is wrong with it is not fixable, or at best not worth the tremendous amount of time, money and energy it would take to fix when compared to just building new. Building strippers is not difficult if you can simply follow directions in a book. In more than 40 years of dealing with them, I have yet to see a rebuilt old beater emerge looking anywhere near as decent as most beginner's first boats. And for what it's worth, unless it's birchbark, you should never be using any canoe with raw exposed wood on it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  7. OP
    OP
    jadefox

    jadefox Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Well there's an upper. :) Thanks for your candid assessment. We do intend to enjoy her for as long as she'll have us, so we're going to put some basic maintenance into her. Our other boats are glass sea kayaks, and we both are enjoying time on the water in a canoe. Eventually we'll upgrade or build our own, but that's not going to happen before winter sets in.
     
  8. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    It may not be an upper, but I wouldn't be doing you any favors by lying to you about the current condition of the boat or its true potential for "restoration". Unlike wood/canvas boats which can be restored piece by piece if needed, beginning builders waste an awful lot of effort and money each year trying to bring strippers back to life which have been neglected far too long, weathered beyond restorability and very often poorly built to start with. Use and enjoy your boat while it lasts, but don't blow a bunch of time and money trying to fix what is not fixable. Such is reality.
     
  9. Jim Dodd

    Jim Dodd LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I have to agree with Todd.

    You can ride it until it sinks. A fitting end to such a veteran of many waves ! I'd keep some good duct tape handy, in case you don't make it back.
    There may be more miles in it than we think !

    Good luck !

    Jim
     
  10. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Guys,
    I'm not lined up with the total doom and gloom conclusion..... first and be very clear, I am not a fan of stripper style boats, not even new ones.
    But in the context of providing someone a usable craft, something to get out and play with in the water, I'm all for it...even if the condition is not pristine.

    The effort to repair this boat properly is as you conclude, a waste of time...however, the effort required to patch it up a bit and slap some fresh varnish on it is minimal.. the cost to do it is also minimal.
    I'm thinking that they will buy a can of resin and hardener, some glass cloth and a can of varnish and have less than $50 in materials invested. If you whip out your palm sander the hull and the damaged areas can be sanded down sufficiently in a matter of a few hours. You might end up pulling up a few sections of cloth..another hour or two?
    Patching it back together is about a 15 minute job per patch....cut cloth to fit, mix resin, tack it down, press out bubbles and lay on resin......

    Once the worst of it is out of the way varnishing with a few coats is another day give or take.

    I see no harm in putting a couple days and $50 into it assuming that there are no expectations that its' going to be anything other than patched up and usable...

    At least it's not aluminum..

    Mike
     
  11. OP
    OP
    jadefox

    jadefox Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Just to be clear: We have no intent to restore this boat. We want to use it, and we can justify investing reasonable time and money in basic maintenance to keep her going as long as possible. If we had not fallen into this boat this spring, we would likely not have canoed as many hours as we've canoed this summer and as many hours as we plan to canoe this fall. We love our glass sea kayaks, but we've found that spending time in a canoe on Maine rivers and lakes is a whole different experience we really are enjoying. I suspect time served in this boat will inspire a purchase or building project in the future, and for that, we are immensely appreciative of what this little stripper has done for us already. So sinking a little time and money into her, fully acknowledging all her faults, makes sense to us AND feels like the right thing to do. Rest assured we have no intention of "blow[ing] a bunch of time and money trying to fix what is not fixable." :)
     
  12. OP
    OP
    jadefox

    jadefox Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks, Jim. Again, just to be clear, we have no intention of attempting any sort of restoration. The miles this boat has already given us this year have been worthwhile, and I'm not sure why we would not do some basic maintenance to keep her usable a little longer. Oh! And our repair kit is very well stocked. ;-)
     
  13. OP
    OP
    jadefox

    jadefox Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I think that about sums it up, MGC. :)

    ...and, in reality, there are worse winter days than ones spent mucking about with boats in the barn.
     
  14. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    If you are entertaining thoughts about eventually building something and if you live in Maine, you are in luck. There are several builders in Maine who offer a boat building course...at the end of it you drive away with a fine new canoe that you built...You also acquire construction and finishing skills that will help you to repair and maintain it...

    Several Maine builders make models that are evolved Maine canoes...these are perfect for exploring Maine's lakes and rivers. I am partial to one particular builders boats (my avatar shows the cherry deck of my sons with the sunset on Chamberlain in the background) but I don't think you can go wrong with any of them...visit their shops to get a feel for how the operate and to find out what they offer...

    Mike
     
  15. OP
    OP
    jadefox

    jadefox Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks so much, Mike. It's been a while since we built a boat, and we're getting the itch!
     
  16. Trailguide Pictures

    Trailguide Pictures Curious about Wooden Canoes

    To answer your initial question. I wouldn't bother varnishing her now. Wait until your paddling season is finished.

    As for the repair work, just be sure to have the proper safety protocol in place. Cedar-strip canoe building or repairing involves working around some pretty tough materials that you don't want to breathe in. The dust will get everywhere and cover everything so be sure to work in a very well-ventilated area. Don't fool around with this stuff (if you're planning on sanding a hull down).

    Also, I've been building strippers for a while now. Just a heads up, your cost is going to be much higher than $50 as suggested.
     

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