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Oops, or "Haste makes waste"

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Treewater, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    So it was forecast thunderstorms today. Yesterday at four I decided to stretch the skin on my 1937 sponson HW. With an eye on the diminishing sun ( I use two trees outside) I made haste, and made some serious errors, I cut the canvas wrong and, as you can see, I cobbled a fix.
    At 11 PM I applied the mildewcide and shrank the skin last night. This morning it looked good (as good as mistakes look) so I went ahead and started my first ever sponson installation.
    The canvas also had been stretched too tight and it tore about a 4 inch "V" near the gunwale when I cut the excess off. The sponson covered most of the spot. It barely shows.
    However, all I can say for the error in cutting the canvas wrong is that it is above the waterline. Since I'm doing this canoe for my own use I'll live with the error as long as the canvas does not fall off in some remote lake.
    I'll post my experience canvassing the sponson in the knowledge section. The above caveat tells the level of skill in the author.
    Anyone care to guess how that fix will do, or offer advice (re-canvas not considered) as to how to better repair the long tear?
  2. Adirondack1

    Adirondack1 Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Looks to me like you have no worries... Could use a little plastic auto body filler to hide any imperfections once the canvas filler has dried? I haven't done it, but it seems like it would work. Auto body filler is the two part stuff that you mix and apply with a wide plastic blade. It hardens quick, so you can come back and sand it smooth in a few minutes
  3. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    If you plan to fill it, you would be better off using an epoxy compound because it both sticks and seals much better than polyester auto body filler. Even so, you can pretty much expect the filler to crack at the spot after a few hot/cold/wet/dry cycles. There is just too much normal expansion and contraction in a wood/canvas construction for most filler putties to keep up with. Some sort of flexible calk might tolerate more movement, but they're pretty hard to get smooth enough to hide the problem.

    Don't feel too bad though. In 1972 I ordered a custom built keelless Old Town Guide. About a year later, a vertical crack in the canvas about 5" long opened up along one side, starting at the gunwale and running straight down. Under it was a Dacron patch that they had glued to the back side of the canvas to try to hide the tear they had made during canvasing. The glue didn't stick to the Dacron properly, the filler they had put in the crack failed and there I was with a damaged canoe that never should have left the factory. Old Town was no help, so to get even with them, I bought the Old Town dealership and remaining inventory from their local dealer. After that, they had to deal with me direct. :)

    I think you could probably glue a canvas patch behind the split, the same way canoes have been repaired for a long time (Ambroid Cement - which does stick to canvas) and then it's kind of a crap-shoot as to what sort of filler, putty or calk will do the best job of hiding the flaw and last the longest before needing replacement.
  4. OP

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Thanks Todd. Glad to know I'm not the only klutz in the world. I'll experiement a little with this.
  5. Gil Cramer

    Gil Cramer The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.

    Recanvas. The second time will be much easier; otherwise, YOU will always see the repair. Personally, I would fill the canvas before installing the sponsons. Gil
  6. OP

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Recanvas? No not now. The error will not bother me if the boat does not leak. After the first trip it will be so dinged up anyway I'll have other things to worry about.
    But filling first and adding sponsons later came to my mind. I was concerned the sponson fill would not cling to the dried or old fill. Anyone know what the factory did?
  7. Gil Cramer

    Gil Cramer The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.

    Filled first.
  8. Steve Ambrose

    Steve Ambrose Nut in a Canoe

    The only raw unfilled canvas I have uncovered on OT sponson canoes is the back side of the sponsons which supports the method of filling the hull prior to mounting the sponsons. I would be concerned with premature canvas failure or the seam between the sponson and hull opening up if the sponsons get attached prior to filling the hull.

    For your repair try working a strip of canvas in under the tear, use ambroid glue, apply your filler then use fairing compound (basically marine bondo) to smooth it out and lock it in place without sticking it to the hull (reason for the backer strip!). It will probably crack eventually due to the size of the repair but should remain sound for the life of the canvas.
  9. OP

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Thanking everyone for the input. I have much to think qbout before I go any further.
  10. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    From out in left field comes my 2 cents. Do it over. Consider the relatively small cost of canvas, against the cost, and labour, involved in filling, priming, sanding and painting over and over. I (like most who make it a habit!) can canvas a 16' canoe in a few hours total including set up and clean up . Add to that your sponsons, and it still isnt much to be assured of a good job. FWIW i wouldnt spend the time and materials on the boat with a sub-par canvas job. No disrespect meant, but think of it a few years on when the repair rears its ugly head. Oh and dont forget the zinc napthanate. And buy a damn staple gun! Getting down off soap box now.....
  11. MackyM

    MackyM LOVES Wooden Canoes


    Don't hold back. Say what you think.
  12. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    Andre, Don't hold back.

    I don't.
  13. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Another "vote" for recanvas, I try to reuse the damaged canvas on a shorter boat so it won't be wasted.

  14. Mark Adams

    Mark Adams all wood nut

    I also have done this. I was rushing a job, and got a little too happy with the knife, and cut the canvas short on one end. There was no patching it as I couldn't wrap it around the stem. Were I you, I'd just re-do it. You'll be happier in the long run, and your wallet will only squeal for a little while.
  15. OP

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

  16. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Staples along the sheer, two per rib. 9/16" stainless or monel (if you can get 'em for your stapler... T-50s are the easiest to find - I'm hoarding the last of the ones that fit my Bostitch, which is a much more better staple gun than the T-50). Copper tacks for the stems.

    That's what I do, anyways....

    PS, Chris Merigold told me to use regular old steel staples - 'cause by the time they rust out, the canvas needs to be replaced anyway.
  17. Mark Adams

    Mark Adams all wood nut

    I gave up on tacks a few years ago. I am pretty much a traditionalist in every other way, but for canvassing, a staple gun with Monel staples can't be beat. I can do a canoe from start to finished and cut out of the sling in an hour, stems done in another 45. I still tack my stems, but I use Chris Merigold's method.
  18. OP

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Staples you all confess? I pulled steel staples out of a few canoes. They had rusted pretty bad and clearly were not going to outlast the canvas. I've used tacks ever since. But stainless or monel? I'll do a web search. You are all definitely right; as a time saver the staple gun can't be beat.
  19. Gil Cramer

    Gil Cramer The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.

    Ace hardware can order Arrow T-50 stainless staples for approx. $13/M. I've used 3/8" for both ribs and stem for almost as long as I can remember with no apparent problems.
  20. Steve Lapey

    Steve Lapey LOVES Wooden Canoes

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