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Need Help With Zinnser Filler Problem

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Peter J, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. Peter J

    Peter J Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I've recently finished a canoe using the Zinnser Watertite paint as a filler. The first coat went on straight from the can and was sanded. To help with filling the weave,I applied a second coat tinted with four or five drops of enamel paint and sanded it down. The finish paint is Benjamin Moore Impervo.

    The customer is now complaining of blistering over the surface. The blisters are small, only 2 to 4 millimeters in diameter and are located evenly over the entire canvas surface.

    I need to find some thoughts and suggestions as to what may be causing this blistering and remedies for it.

    Has anyone else who's used the Zinnser product had this problem?


    Peter Johnson
    Kenora, Ontario
  2. Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I just finished mine a couple weeks ago. I put 4 coats on but sanded alot off. Some where i read that you should wait two weeks before you paint it. I think i found it on zinssers web site. I'm going to spray mine with enamelMaybe it needs a sealer hope not!
  3. Steve Lapey

    Steve Lapey LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I recently filled my tripping canoe with the Zinsser product and so far everything appears to be just fine. I followed the manufacturers instructions and had the guy at the hardware store add some black tint to make it a medium gray. They shook it for 15 minutes at the store and it was ready to use when I returned home with it - no stirring!

    The first coat went on with a stiff brush and I waited four hours before applying the second coat. After a full two weeks of dry time I sanded the filler with 100 and then 150 paper. Then two coats of Interlux Pre-Kote primer, wet sanded between coats, and two coats of Brightside Fire Red.

    The Brightside went on with a six inch foam roller and tipped with a bristle brush.

    The end result is not quite a 'showroom' finish but it is more than adequate for a tripping canoe.

    Attached Files:

  4. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?


    I have not had any problems with Zinsser Watertight. I've not had trouble with Bill Clements filler either, btw. I am not familiar with your paint. I have stopped singeing the canvas with a torch folowing an incident. the first coat Zinsser feels like sandpaper. I sand it smooth with 100 or 150 and then another coat Zinsser. then after a week or two start with (Valspar Enamel) primer. I sand between primer coats with 150 or 100 and then apply a second coat Primer. Then sand with 150 or 220. then two coats Valspar enamel, or three, sanding in between. Kirby paint is much better. I don't sand with anything finer than 220 grit. I like the surface to have a little tooth for the next coat.

    If'n it were me I'd sand (100-150) off the Benjamin Moore and then prime the filler with two coats and then use kirby or some other Oil based enamel like Epiphanes or Valspar.

    did you sand after the first coat Zinsser to knock the fuzz out? Maybe the moisture is wicking through? did you burn off the fuzz?

    I would really like to know the result. Keep us posted?

    Good luck, Dave.
  5. OP
    Peter J

    Peter J Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Correcting the Blistering in the Zinsser Product

    To Stephen, Steve, and Dave, thank you for your replies.

    Two things could be causing the blistering. One, I did not wait two weeks after sanding and before painting. Two, I didn't use a primer between the Zinsser and the paint.

    I don't recall any recommendation of primer use when reading about using Zinsser. The customer is saying that the blistering is diminishing. That would support a lack of waiting time before painting.

    Dave, I didn't burn the fuzz off the canvas before filling. I do recall reading about using Zinsser and it said this was not necessary. I did sand after the first coat, it was fine, and to provide a bit more fill, I applied a second coat and had a bi*ch of a time sanding it. The canoe has only been in the water twice, briefly, and the blistering is occuring evenly over the entire canvas surface.

    Hope this helps someone else.


    Peter Johnson
    Kenora, Ontario
  6. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?


    Other discussions on blistering also mentioned that the blisters would shrink.

    do you know what you will do now?

    Did you thin the paint?
    Did you use Penetrol or Japan drier?
    Did you oil the hull outside?
    Did you varnish the inside after filling?

    Hey, The canoe looks great but the sawhorses are awesome.

  7. trapper

    trapper Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hey Man, I wouldn't have replied, except I'm a Painter/Remodeler by trade. I use Benj. Impervo all the time painting trimwork. From my experience, this is a slow drying paint, I think on the can it says 6 weeks for full cure. Even after a couple of days you can still put your fingernail into it. I have also had some problems with it not wanting to cure over un-primed areas. It is an excellent choice for interior use, but it worries me a little that you have chosen it for this application. Its an interior paint. You may want to contact Benj M. for an expert's opinion. I know it's frustrating, but if it were mine, I'd sand it off, re-prime, and use a good marine grade paint. Good luck man ! Trapper.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2008
  8. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Good to know

    Thanks Trapper. I have been using Zinsser when I don't use Bill Clements filler and although had not a problem, had begun to worry.
  9. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Has anybody checked to see if this stuff soaks all the way through the canvas?

    It sure sounds like a good option but...

    And does it get brittle, ie, could it break instead of flex if something hit the canvas?

  10. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?


    All I can tell you is that Brian Baker used it and on my ten year old rebuild there are no problems and it turns out pliable like paint. the portland cement is not the same as concrete and has got to be more flexible than silica which is sand as in the stuff they make glass of, no?

    It soaks in to the weave like paint. Probably soaks in more than lead filler. But it doesn't seem to soak through to the wood. The tried and true stuff is tried and true for a reason. The zinsser maybe isn't tried and true yet. My opinions are not based on scientific expertise. what we need is a chemist/paint scientist/expert to start liking w/c canoes.
  11. Canerodz

    Canerodz Trout Bum


    I have forwarded your request to the Zinsser/Bulls eye technical assistance folks and asked that one of their paint engineers reply here. They probably won't, but at least they've been asked.
  12. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Thanks Dave,

    I may try this stuff on a future project, just to see.

  13. OP
    Peter J

    Peter J Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Responding to Questions Re: Zinsser

    DAVE WERMUTH: No, I didn't thin the paint. I have learned that one roller full of paint will cover almost a quarter of a canoe. Three coats are required, but there are no runs or sags.

    I didn't use Penetrol. Interesting that you should ask as I have a can that I'm looking to experiment with.

    I did linseed the outside of the hull before finishing the interior and before laying the canvas. I masked off around the stem and gunnels to allow the (light) use of contact cement to help hold the canvas in place.

    Don't quite understand what you're asking re: "Did you varnish the inside after filling?" I oiled the outside of cedar, finished the interior right up to varnish, rolled the canoe over and layed the canvas. Hope this helps.

    DAN LINDBERGH: No, the Zinsser does not soak through the canvas. This concerns me as one surface of the canvas is completely unprotected.

    TRAPPER: Thanks for the info. I have used Impervo for twenty years on the outside of sailboat, powerboats, bikes, etc, etc. There are other paints I know, but I've come to know this product and that's a big plus. I've used International enamals before and crimminy are they runny! To prevent sags and runs will require about five coats of paints to get good coverage.

    Thanks all of you for input.

  14. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood


    No one asked you this, so I will. Did the interior of the canoe get wet after you finished it?

    The times I have had trouble with blisters (traditional fillers) always followed a soaking of the canoe interior - tripping in heavy rain, tipping the canoe, washing the interior etc. Let the canoe dry rightside up for a few days and the blisters dissipate.

  15. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?


    I had cracks in traditional filler once. I think from it drying too fast? Anyway I primed and painted over top and no ill effects the cracks were not flaking off, just cracks.

    Perhaps the blisters ARE from moisture.
  16. Canerodz

    Canerodz Trout Bum

    I asked Zinsser

    Hi, I restore wood and canvas canoes. Traditionally the canvas is "filled" with an oil-based silica and white lead filler that is painted on and rubbed into the weave of the canvas to form a smooth surface. Recently I have heard of several restorations being done with your product mentioned above. Here is a link to a discussion at the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association that asks some technical questions about your product. Will you please ask one of your product engineers to look this over and reply to this thread on the WCHA forum? We would really appreciate a professionals input to determine if you may have created a new solution to a 150 year old application! Thanks, Brian Creek

    Here is Zinsser's answer

    Thank you for your recent e-mail

    We would not recommend the use of our product Watertite for this type of application. You may want to check with your local home improvement center or paint store for a suitable product.

    I love helpful corporations!
  17. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Oh dear

    Well, we just canvassed and filled a canoe today and used Zinsser to fill the canvas. Now this. I guess I'll take my beater and sink it in the pond and then pull it out and see what happens. I've never had blisters yet. I would have liked to know why they don't recommend the water tite for canvas filler. They say it will hold back so many psi of water pressure for x number of years. I'm guessin that they do not know what a w/c canoe is. I've canvassed several canoes with the stuff so am nervous if for some reason it fails. Especially after proclaiming its praises.
  18. Canerodz

    Canerodz Trout Bum

    I imagine it's that they did not engineer it for this use, and they ain't takin' no chances.

    I s'pect you are right, they do not know what we are talking about and do not feel it is worth their time to learn.
  19. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy - Life Member

    I'm not familiar with the Zinser Watertite product, but recently, at Pam Wedd's suggestion, I filled a dacron covered canoe using Zinser 123, a water soluble product. It is quite thick. I used it right out of the can with a 4" foam roller. I had previously filled the dacron with Stewart's ecofil. The ecofil did not fill the weave and afforded little abrasion protection. After two coats of Zinser 123, sanding between coats and several coats of Kirby's, the hull looks great. I've gotten the hull soaking wet in rain followed by sitting out all night in cool weather. No blisters appeared. The stuff takes about a week to really harden, but so far I'm really pleased with the results. Time will tell how well it does on encounters with underwater obstacles, but it seems quite tough.
  20. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    good to know

    More info like that is welcome. I had been touting the stuff for awhile because Brian Baker has used it for years, and canoes I have used it on have been fine. But my direct personal data base is only a few boats. I agree Zinsser likely did not care to extoll their product as useful for canoes as they do not know and don't care to research.

    The last thing I want to do is lead someone astray if Zinsser turns out to be not so good.

    So, good reports are encouraging.

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