Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

Need Help With Zinnser Filler Problem

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

  1. Fritz Koenig

    Fritz Koenig get out and put in

    Zinnser Update?

    Hi I am hoping for an update on the use of Zinnser Watertite. Sure like the cure time. Still no problems? Which Zinnser product, is this one WaterTie Mold & Mildew-ProofTM* oil base Waterproofing Paint? Weight is a concern, do you think it weighs more. Two coats fills the weave and soaks in?

    Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
  2. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Hi Fritz

    Well, I re-read this thread and have a little more time to ponder the stuff. Zinsser likely does not recommend this as they don't want the liability of the warantee. Gil's expertise should be weighed very heavily, certainly more than my limited knowledge. My most recent Zinsser filled no. 12 canvas is fine. the prior one fine too. BUT I've had two now that cracked. No blistering, just cracks. I think the cracks are a result of the filler being applied too thick and dried too fast. My one Bill Clements filler canvassed canoe that cracked also was probably filled too thick, not worked in well enough and dried too fast.
    -Filler recipes have historically been highly guarded secrets.
    -Filler problems have been around for years.
    I have a hypothesis on blisters. Fitz noted that blisters, in his experience were from water getting under the paint. I wonder if we are varnishing/sealing our cedar so well that when water gets in the canoe it is not soaked into the cedar and has no where else to go and causes the blisters. when the cedar is NOT varnished/sealed and water gets in, it soaks into the cedar a little and then later it dries out with out causing blisters. The cedar acts like a sponge to protect the back side of the paint. But this is pure uneducated speculation and has no valid scientific evidence to support it. Some times the brain just wanders so far I wonder how it ever finds its way back. So, I still Zinsser but am much less confident about it.
  3. Fritz Koenig

    Fritz Koenig get out and put in

    Thanks Dave. I don't know that I have the nerve to try it. I sure don't want cracks. My guess is that the drying time is faster because there is not as much oil. The reduced oil may contribute to less flexability as Gil suggests and the cracks (although some report cracks in traditional fillers as well). Brain wandering now. So come to think of it, I have a boat in which the filler cracked and I suspect that it was the original filler applied by Old Town. I now recall that it did seem thick when I removed it. So maybe all the cracking has to do with to thick an application. Hmmm I just don't know.
  4. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?


    If it does crack, the fix is to sand and prime a couple coats til it's all better. Worse case scenario is a little lost time and money, at which point the next project is delayed and I just paddle something else.
    regards, Dave
  5. Fritz Koenig

    Fritz Koenig get out and put in


    That's a point Dave. Do you think there is any appreciable weight savings?
  6. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    weight savings

    I don't think there is significant weight savings. It may weigh a little less but I don't notice. I suppose I could go weigh the two cans and find out. I most often use no. 12 canvas figuring that wood canoes get more care nowadays. I have learned that at times they do not.

    I think this thread started out with a concern for blisters in the paint and I suspect that issue was not related to the Zinsser.
  7. Scot T

    Scot T LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I had the exact same problem with the one and only canoe that I filled with Zinzer. The blisters went away with time but since then I’ve had a real bear of a time with the paint cracking, soft spots and other nasty issues especially along the bottom of the canoe. Even stripping the paint off and re-painting did not do much to cure the problem. Zinzer was the only unusual component in my restoration routine thus rightly or wrongly it gets the blame. In other posts I’ve commented on these problems concerning Zinzer so I won’t get too much further into it here.

    However, I will say I don’t think this product is really able to do what we are asking it to do. I know some have had good results with it but I’ll stick my neck out and suggest that “luck” has played a big part in that success. I’m not that lucky so my second gallon is going to refinish my basement wall…where the stuff belongs. IMO.

    I've just looked up the ingredients (at least the main ones) in Zinzer Watertite--- Limestone, Petroleum Distillates (most likely mineral spirits, which seems to be in many non water based paint products these days), Quartz, Titanium Dioxide (white pigment), fungicides and Portland Cement.

    If you compare that with the common basic canoe filler recipe as can be found in the WCHA pages which has the following ingredients--- Boiled Linseed Oil, Mineral Spirits, Enamel Paint, Japan Drier, Spar Varnish and Silica (a major component of Portland Cement).

    One thing that pops out to me (and as Gil suggests) is that the ingredients in the Zinzer are heavy on the "stiff stuff" (for lack of a better word at the moment). There seems to be little to add flexibility to the product and reduce failure (cracking) as the canoe and canvas move. In the tradition filler there is a good combination of hard and soft ingredients as well as a significant portion of oil based products to enable flexing, stretching and so on of the filler so as to reduce any tendency to crack or fail.

    As to the “-Filler recipes have historically been highly guarded secrets.” I agree that there is that air of mystery when it comes to the canvas filler. There seems to be that in many disciplines for one reason or another. In musical instrument varnish (which I am more familiar with than canoe fillers) each luthier from before the time of Stradivarius until today had/has his/her own “secret recipe”. Over the years and after lots of research I’ve come to believe that they are all variations on a theme…a little more of this or a little less of that. In the end they are all basically the same recipe….I suspect canvas filler falls into the same boat, so to speak.

    Oh, by the way…don’t ask me for my secret varnish recipe. I don’t know. I have three monks, scattered throughout the world, unknown to each other and each with their own components of the 130 ingredients in the recipe…oh wait, that’s Chartreuse…
  8. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Hi Scot

    I have used your DaVinci Quote by posting it in my barn/shop. I agree that When it comes to Zinsser luck is a big factor. I have been using the oil based water-tite. A canoe bulder I know with many years of building has used their latex version.
  9. Scot T

    Scot T LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I, in the past, tended to be a serious workaholic. To the point that I would get so tired that I'd make stupid mistakes. As a result I have had to take DaVinci's words to heart and remind myself daily to "go away" every once in a while. Dave, you're welcome to post it where ever one needs to be reminded to slow down.

    I didn't mean to trash Zinzer products. I had passed my little blue canoe on the way in from the shop and stopped to have a look at the cracking. That kind of got me going.

    It's not the most elegant of boats. It's only a 14'6" (15') Huron with about as much character as any canoe could have but I rescued it from the dump and it rewards me with being the nicest paddling canoe I have. I'll have to get it re-canvased this winter for sure. But I'll stick to what has worked well for me up to this point. My main motivation for using Zinzer was to speed up the process but sometimes taking the time and letting things happen in it's own good time is by far the best.

Share This Page