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canvassing: how do I clean up the stem?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Cajun, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. Cajun

    Cajun Hobbyist Craftsman

    I just completed my first canvassing! Yeah! But I was wondering what I am supposed to do with the stems? See attached photos. They just look messy. How do I clean that up? Does the filler just go over it? So I use my mastic compound to stick it down?


    Attached Files:

  2. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    More staples would help....
    I actually apply an adhesive/sealer (Sika Flex) to the underside of each piece before stapling, but it's a little late for that.
    Canvas Filler will help. Sanding after the filler helps too but you need to be careful not to sand through the canvas.
    Sometimes I use a little fairing compound...QuikFair.. To fill in some of the low spots.
  3. OP

    Cajun Hobbyist Craftsman

    Thanks for the reply. Yeah I kind of got a feeling while I folded the second layer that I should apply another layer of mastic compound... But I dint obviously. I'll put more staples and hopefully the filler smooths it out.
  4. davelanthier

    davelanthier Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    I hope you haven't re-stapled the ends yet. Although you did a great re-canvasing job I can see two issues to consider next time. First, leave at least 1" of excess canvas along the inwales to prevent filler and paint from getting on to the inwales and decks. Second, use a waterproof adhesive when canvasing the stems. I have found that Titebond 3 water proof glue works the best. Easy water cleanup and sets quickly. Run a good bead of this glue along the stem face then pull and staple the canvas over it. Here's the trick: use a hammer to tap the canvas edge into the glue surface then slide the hammer face along the canvas edge. Do this to both sides. There is a bit of a knack to this but the final result should give you an nearly invisible canvas edge. Finally,once the glue has set run another bead of Titebond 3 to the finished stem/canvas surface. Smooth the glue out with your fingers. You now have a water tight paintable stem surface. For your stem ends I would run a bead of this glue between the two surfaces as best you can then use the above procedure. You may have to add a few more staples as as required but only after the glue is applied. As an added note- one can make a good canvas filler in a pinch by adding a little silica to Titebond 3. Apply it to the canvas and smooth it out with a plastic applicator. Two to three coats may be required. It is durable, flexible and waterproof.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
  5. OP

    Cajun Hobbyist Craftsman

    Thanks! I'll put painters tape on the gunwales and I did use mastic compound against the stem just not between the canvas.
  6. Larry Meyer

    Larry Meyer Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    That’s pretty good for a first effort. Some folks prefer to use tacks on the stems (rather than staples) for a little more control of the pucker factor. As I recall from Jerry and Rollin book, they smooth over the rough appearance of that seam with extra dollops of filler. Trimming with a good sharp razor blade could also help there.

    I like the T 3 idea, though. I love Titebond!
  7. griffing

    griffing Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hey guys,
    I did my first recanvas last year and hand great results using SST upholsters staples. No puckering splitting and left no lumps anywhere. They were 5/16 by 1/4 and worked well
  8. OP

    Cajun Hobbyist Craftsman

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions and comments!
  9. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    You need more staples. I have never used sealants or glues myself. If you use traditional filler, just apply extra coats on the stem and work it in with your gloved hand. When the filler cures, you can clean the seam up carefully with a wood rasp. The stem then needs plenty of paint. The stem band will need bedding compound and I seal the edge of the band with paint.
  10. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    I use staples on the ribs and tacks on the stems. The width/back of the staple takes up too much room.


  11. Craig Johnson

    Craig Johnson LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Something I did on a couple boats worked pretty well. When the can of filler arrived it was settled out so much that I thought I would never get it mixed up. I poured all the liquid off and then pried the settled mass out of the can with a small crowbar. I put all this into another container to mix it but kept out a small amount of the really thick stuff to use on the stems. you can get the buildup you need to cover the stem imperfections much quicker with thick filler.
  12. OP

    Cajun Hobbyist Craftsman

    Cool I will check that out when i open the can of filler! Thanks!
  13. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    one thing I do as I am building up the stem area with filler is to lightly tap the seam with my hammer. It seems to act to flatten and smooth the area, tightens things up a bit. I just work my way along the stem, tap, tap, tapping as I go.
  14. sam.p

    sam.p Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    What kind of traditional filler.

    Working on my first restore. Canvassing a couple months away from where I am now.

  15. rpg51

    rpg51 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Headwaters 28.jpg
    Here is my Headwaters Canoe with one side tacked.
  16. H.E. Pennypacker

    H.E. Pennypacker LOVES Wooden Canoes

    The total surface are of a staple with its two contact points is no more than that of two tacks, but having the staples running lengthwise down the stem seems to increase likelihood of the second set of staples hitting the first. Plus, staples are much more difficult to drive into some woods than are sharp-pointed tacks. On stem ends tipped-up with fresh hardwood, for example, it can be pretty difficult to get a staple seated. Worst of all, in my opinion, stainless and Monel staples are a bear when you hit 'em with a drill bit while drilling for stemband screws.

    Like Dan L, I use staples for ribs and tacks for stems. Like Fitz, I never glue canvas to the stems, but I do use bedding compound, at least between the two layers of canvas at the stems.

    - Hugo
  17. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Traditional Filler

    Hi Sam: I was referring to canoe canvas filler. Once you get your canvas on, you need to fill the weave of the canvas with a filler. There are many recipes and conconctions. Most contain silica, paint, etc. and cure to a slate-like hardness. There are filler recipes on this site, or you can buy filler from the vendors on this site.
  18. sam.p

    sam.p Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Fitz. I was having a duh moment it didn't register with me to use the canvas filler to "stick"the ends in place with filler.

  19. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Hi Sam: you need to tack or staple the stem ends. I just make sure to use plenty of extra filler on the ends when filling the canvas.
  20. sam.p

    sam.p Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Cool. Thanks 20141110_171553.jpg
    canvasing is a couple months away.

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