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Langford painted vinyl problem

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by geologicool, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. geologicool

    geologicool New Member

    Hello, Great board you have here. I have a problem I am hoping to get some help with. I came across a 1970’s Langford canoe at a yard sale that I believe is cedar and vinyl coated canvas. The vinyl was originally red but was painted with green paint that peeled badly. Nobody wanted the canoe because the paint looked so bad so I purchased it at a great price and began scraping the green paint using heat and a razor blade. I removed a lot of the green paint but could not get it all off without cutting into the vinyl. Where the paint peeled, the red vinyl has faded and there are patches of green paint and white primer that would not come off so the canoe does not look so good.

    Does anyone have any experience painting a vinyl-coated canoe? Is there an easier way to remove the existing paint?

    I was going to try sanding the vinyl/painted surface lightly and painting with a good marine grade paint. I would love to hear any ideas. Thank you.
  2. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    You can try sanding and repainting. I have no experience with vinyl canvas (Verolite??). If it was a superior covering, we'd all be using it. Why not go to traditional cotton duck canvas??
  3. john hupfield

    john hupfield fire starter/wood burner

    light sand it and repaint (120 to 180 grit by hand). Probably the vinyl was deteriorating. Check under the gunwales for rotten canvas. Might be a bigger project.
  4. jwil

    jwil Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    how did the paint project go? I have a tremblay with orange verolite which has faded badly and would like to hear about others efforts
  5. WoodNCanvas

    WoodNCanvas LOVES Wooden Canoes

    In the original post (from 2009), based on the canoe likely being from the 1970s....and likely Verolite covered....and the fact that canoe hasn't likely had a new covering since bought...I would hope that geologicool just saved a lot of trouble....and money....and recanvassed....with canvas not another vinyl covered canvas....once canvas on, then put on filler....then would be a much better covering than any vinyl covered was suggested, putting brand new canvas on gives you a proper watertight covering....also means you get a really good look at the wood may find that you have some planking or ribs to replace....and areas of rot that need to be tended to....

    Verolite was never the best covering to use....when it first came out it had a better type of bond for the vinyl and canvas....later it was not as good....but both tended to scrape off....later types much easier than earlier examples....

    If you really wanted to recover with a new impregnated canvas similar to Verolite....I do know that Noah's in Toronto had some for sale....they had apparently found a manufacturer who made a better type than even original Verolite....supposedly a stronger bond of vinyl material to canvas than what was originally used....not sure of cost....and still think standard recanvas is best bet....

    I can't imagine that trying to repaint old Verolite or whatever the covering is (think there was another version called Duralite at one time) would work very well....just waste of paint....can't see paint doing much other than peeling off in long run....paint unlikely to bond to any vinyl covering well....especially old....besides it is a good idea to remove canvas to get complete idea of any repairs or restoration needed
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011
  6. jwil

    jwil Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I don't think my last response got there, my appologies if this is repetitive. What are your thoughts on keels and restorations? The tremblay has one, it started to leak and I had it rebedded but it still is leaking. If I recanvass it is it best to reinstall the keel or leave it off. My reading seems to agree with not putting holes in the bottom of a newly canvassed canoe but should it track well? thanks Jim
  7. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    The basic issue with keels is that they make the canoe somewhat less maneuverable. If you are going to do a lot of canoeing on fast, narrow, very winding rivers, or on rivers with much white water or lots of rock gardens, a keel can be a hinderance. On the other hand, if you are mostly going to be paddling on quiet rivers, wider rivers, or lakes, where sudden turns are less likely to be needed, a keel can provide a welcome element of directional stability, useful in a quartering wind, and generally making it a bit easier to paddle in a straight line.

    A keel provides some measure of protection for the bottom of the canoe, but in shallow water can cause the canoe ground out or hang up on rocks sooner than if there is no keel.

    In a lightly built canoe, a keel can provide some structural stiffness and strength.

    Properly installed, a keel should not cause leaking.

    For more discussion, see
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  8. WoodNCanvas

    WoodNCanvas LOVES Wooden Canoes

    There is a great online resource called Canoeguy's Blog, from Mike Elliott of Kettle River Canoes, who specializes in restoration of wood canvas canoes.. There was recently an article there that addresses this very question regarding keels on wood canvas canoes:

    Does My Wood-Canvas Canoe Need a Keel?,

    Personally, I wouldn't put a keel back on an recanvassed're just putting holes in a new watertight matter how well you put it on, the keel will likely start to leak....especially with Mike states in the above article:

    ....eventually, the bedding compound dries out and/or the keel is jarred by one too many encounters with rocks in rivers. When the seal is broken, the canoe begins to leak.

    In my opinion, a keel serves no purpose on a doesn't provide better tracking or increased fact by making the hull more 'rigid' it takes away from the flexibility of the hull....

    However as Mike ends off the above article:

    If the question of keels in canoes were strictly one of form and function, there would not be a discussion. You only have to look at any modern Royalex or Kevlar canoe on the market. None of the canoes built today have keels – and rightly so. However, in the world of wood-canvas canoes, there is more to consider. Many people have grown up with their canoe. It is part of their life and part of their family. Their canoe has had a keel for fifty years, so it seems only natural that it stays that way. In this context I say, “Fair enough.” It turns out that wood-canvas canoes are more than form and function. They must be seen in the context of family history and tradition. For this reason, I have no problem re-installing a keel in a wood-canvas canoe.

    So if one is looking at restoring the canoe in context of family history and tradition....if that is how the canoe is best remembered....then re-install the keel....

    Otherwise leave it off....a keel really isn't required on a canoe....
  9. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    All the discussion begs the question: Did Native Americans have keels on their bark canoes, dugouts, or kayaks? I think not...

    It's a matter of personal preference. I don't care for keels, but some folks do. It's your canoe, do as you please. I'm keeping the keels from my WC canoes, in case some potential future owner would like to have them... Though the keel from the HW model looks pretty wavy, not something I'd put on a canoe.
  10. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    To keel or not to keel....that's always the question. I put keels on if they are original. I and most of my customers are flat water paddlers. So to me a keel makes sense, even if it's only value is protecting the hull.
    I like the way Greg Nolan puts it. Simple and to the point.
    I can tell you that on our paddle in from the bush in Ontario last Monday, the keel probably saved the canvas. On two occasions paddling close to shore in hopes of seeing a moose, Nancy for whatever reason, did not see that "all of a sudden rock". Both times she had to get out of the canoe on the rock to dislodge us. Both times I asked here if we were taking on water, fearing the answer. We did not take on water. Preliminarily I did not see any hull damage when we reached our destination. Once home further inspection showed that the keel saved us from a tear at the most, or a deep scuff at the least.
    As far as breaking the seal on a keel, I can believe that of old traditional bedding compound. I have no fear of breaking the seal on my keels, using Sika-Flex LOT291. It's tough stuff.
  11. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Just because Native Americans did not put keels on their canoes does not mean that they tried the idea and dismissed it as unnecessary. Don't forget when Europeans arrived Native Americans were basicly stone age people with no written language, no metalurgy and no domestic animals other than a dog. They had not even invented the wheel yet. Maybe if they had thought of the idea they would have used them. Native Americans are credited with inventing the canoe but it took European Americans to get the idea out of the woods.

    Ok, I'm ready now for the slings and arrows surely to be thrown my way by all the champions of Native Americans and their culture.

    Jim C.
  12. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    I would note that Native Americans did not use canvas, filler, brass bang strips, stainless staples, brass screws, etc. when building birch bark canoes. Their designs were not always very good -- as the sturgeon nose canoe demonstrates. They did not have fasteners/glues/bedding compounds that would allow the practical and effective mounting of a keel (although at the end of the birch bark era, nails were commonly used, and I suppose screws were used from time to time). I am not aware that they built canoes with decks such as courting canoes have, and they rarely, if ever, put seats in their canoes as we almost always do.

    The wood/canvas canoe is a development of the birch bark canoe -- and builders have almost always felt free to try things that might be improvements, and have not felt particularly constrained to do things that Native Americans could not, or did not, do.

    None of which is to denigrate the birch bark canoe or those who built them -- the birch bark canoe was technologically sophisticated, given the inherent limitations of the tools and materials used. The wood/canvas canoe is also uses its materials and technology in a pretty sophisticated way. And the canoe itself has evolved to effectively use other materials in ways that are even more sophisticated -- aluminum, kevlar, fiberglass, dacron, epoxy, and various other materials in boats that can be stronger, lighter, and/or more durable (or heavier, uglier, less graceful) than the wood/canvas canoe.

    Keels were put on some wood/canvas canoes almost from the beginning -- there are too many canoes that were built with them, for too long a time, for them to be dismissed as useless, and the fact that Native Americans didn't use them is not a good argument for not using them. There are good reasons arguments for leaving them off, or removing them, including the simple fact that some people simply don't like them. Putting a keel on a canoe, or leaving it off, is a decision affected by intended use, design philosophy, and perhaps most controlling -- personal preference or taste. And as Cicero said more than two thousand years ago: De gustibus non disputandum est -- there ain't no accounting for taste.
  13. peter osberg

    peter osberg LOVES Wooden Canoes

    My trembley with a verolite covering has outlasted the canvas on my chestnut by a few decades. The verolite suffered from availability issues as it was initially developed for the home-built aircraft market (or so I was told at one point) and didn't catch on. I doubt you will have success with saving the cover as you now have 2 incompatible base paints. Recovering with fabric, canvas or dacron (my preference), or if you are really traditional...birch bark, is your best bet.
  14. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    FWIW, verolite is junk. One of the tremblays i owned had new rib tips and lots of new wood from rot (albeit stored carelessly), and the other ended up on the burn pile, not worth the considerable effort it needed. Its tough to rot cedar but it can be done, yet several of my 100yr old boats acquired as derelicts were in better shape with their tattered and crumbling canvas than a 30 year old tremblay. Canvas would be the way to go.
    Greg, I always enjoy how well you articulate your arguments - and a quote from Cicero, that was great. mirabile visu Not so much that paint job in your avatar, tho..:)
  15. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Andre --

    Aw, come on -- it could have been a checker board canoe --

    checkerboard canoe.jpg
    (picture courtesy of Benson Gray)

    I've learned a lot about painting canoes and triangles with this pattern and a slightly different earlier pattern -- and I had a few nearly-full quarts of paint on hand, custom-mixed for one of my daughter's high school art projects a few years ago -- couldn't let it go to waste. But fear not, when the canoe gets a new canvas in a year -- or two -- or three -- it will also get a new paint job. And for what it's worth, I get lots of favorable comments from people who see it on top of the car -- and I never get comments when car-topping my plain red canoe.

  16. MackyM

    MackyM LOVES Wooden Canoes

    " verolite is junk "
    Way to go Andre. Don't hold back. Say what you think. Really, that is how some of us learn. I will use treated canvas on my project. I also plan to use lead in the canvas filler to prevent rot. I have already aquired the lead. Do you know where I can find the formula for mixing the lead filler?
  17. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

  18. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    My point in asking whether Native Americans used keels was not that they are useless -- merely to highlight the fact that they are not absolutely necessary, and are, as I pointed out, a matter of personal preference. A keel will help keep a canoe on a straight course, but if you can make it go straight without the keel, you don't need it.

    I've often wondered, did the early W/C builders add keels because they thought all boats should have keels, as in the European tradition? Or did they consciously start installing them for the several reasons cited in this discussion (or other reasons)? When the French fur traders were building their own birch barks, did they install keels? Stuff to ponder, and maybe research some rainy day...
  19. WoodNCanvas

    WoodNCanvas LOVES Wooden Canoes

    First I don't think Jim C has painted a very accurate picture of pre-Contact Native Americans....especially for a comment like:

    Don't forget when Europeans arrived Native Americans were basicly stone age people with no written language, no metalurgy and no domestic animals other than a dog. They had not even invented the wheel yet. Maybe if they had thought of the idea they would have used them. Native Americans are credited with inventing the canoe but it took European Americans to get the idea out of the woods.

    ....and would strongly suggest he review Native American history and culture to get a better grasp on such things....I think he will find that Native Americans weren't quite as 'primitive' as he makes them out to be....

    Second, I would have to agree Andre that Verolite (or whatever else it may be known as) is junk....

    JMHO. but I think Verolite was just a 'sales gimmick' for people too lazy to recover their canvas canoes....or to repaint....much as I think keels were largely a 'sales gimmick' to make it appear to some tyro paddlers that it made the canoe more stable....easier to steer/track....and made the canoe hull stronger.....I don't think there is much of an argument for keels on canoes from a design standpoint....then or now....

    And I think it is understandable to think that early W/C builders might have thought all boats should have keels, as in the European tradition....except that many early models did not include keels at all (such as Cruisers and Guide models)....
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  20. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    There was nothing inaccurate in what I said and I never used the word ‘primitive’. Native Americans WERE stone age people – as in ‘no metal’. They had a great culture that was nearly wiped out by the Europeans not unlike what is happening right now in the Amazon. They built good canoes considering the stone tools they had to work with, but the Europeans were light years ahead of them technologically and it was European Americans who developed the canoe into what we know today.

    Period, end of discussion.

    Jim C.

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