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Repair Project - Freight Damaged Northwoods Canoe 15' Morris Replica

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by BCam, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. OP

    BCam Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Canvassing Day

    I finished varnishing the interior yesterday except for some final touch-up. Mark Adams came from Reno to help me canvas my canoe today. It wasn't a difficult process but, without his help and guidance, I doubt that I would have been able to to do it as quickly and as well. He has a neat set of posts that you secure by driving a car or truck onto their "feet" (see photos). We weighted the canoe down with four bags of water softener salt, two in each end. We weren't able to finish off the stems since the little bag of copper stem tacks I ordered from Rollin Thurlow seems to have disappeared (my border collie, Maggie, denies having anything to do with it). I guess I'll have to order more. I won't be able to start the filling process until after I get the tacks and finish the stems. Start to finish it took us about 2.5 hours, including set-up, using Monel staples and an electric staple gun. I hope I can be forgiven for this break from tradition.

    I can't thank Mark enough for sharing his time and expertise, especially considering that he had close to a 300mi drive, round-trip. Thanks Mark!

    Here are some photos:

    The set-up:


    Mark showing me how to do it:




    Finished (except for stems):


    Instead of canvas pliers we used an upholstering "webbing stretcher". Holding the tool vertically with the rubber end centered on the top of the gunnel so it will pivot on the inside edge of the gunnel, clamp the canvas against the tool with the base of your thumb/palm and rotate the handle toward the center of the canoe until you can see the edge of the rib top through the canvas. We didn't use the teeth. You can see this in the photo of Mark. I don't know how this compares to using canvas pliers but it takes a strong "weak" hand since you'll be holding the stapler or hammer in your dominant hand. On the plus side, there's nothing hard to mar your finish. It helps if one person stretches and the other staples and if you have about 4" of excess canvas so as to have enough to grab tightly. It's also something you could make with a little wood and rubber. The rubber is covered with v-grooves so it doesn't slip. Here's what the tool looks like:

    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  2. Mark Adams

    Mark Adams all wood nut

    It was a fun trip! The canoe looks fantastic, especially given the damage it had when it was started on. It will indeed be a sweet paddling canoe!
  3. Steve Ambrose

    Steve Ambrose Nut in a Canoe

    looking good! Nothing wrong with monel staples in an electric gun - sure makes it go faster!
  4. Gil Cramer

    Gil Cramer The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.

    KAS shipping is one of the few companies that I trust to haul canoes without damaging them. Yes, I have used trucking companies,but only when the owner/ customer is arranging shipping. The last canoe that I shipped went to Austria without damage, but I, personally WILL NOT be responsible for shipping. All it takes is a cowboy with a forklift to damage a canoe almost beyond repair.
  5. shelldrake

    shelldrake LOVES Wooden Canoes


    Cool idea with the anchor posts held in place by the vehicle tires!

  6. Mark Adams

    Mark Adams all wood nut

    I'll post a pic or two of my anchors tomorrow.
  7. OP

    BCam Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Canvas is filled but I'm not happy!

    I filled the canvas the other day using filler that I purchased from Rollin at Northwoods Canoe. Unfortunately, I don't think the results do justice to the canoe but Mark and my wife tell me that it should be OK. I hope they're right. I was going for a very smooth result but what I got is rougher than I expected along with some wrinkly spots where I put it on a little too thick. In general it looks more like 100 grit sandpaper than the smooth "dolphin skin" I was expecting. Unfortunately I started a little later in the day than I should have and it started getting too dark on my patio for me to really see what was happening.

    My hat is off to all who do this and get the fantastic results that I've seen in the photos on WCHA and to Rollin for the way that the original hull looked. I have to say that the filling process was the most difficult phase of my project so far, both in terms of the physical effort and technical difficulty.

    I'm crossing my fingers that it will look OK after sanding, painting, sanding, painting.....

    If not, I'm hoping that someone has discovered a magic compound that I can use to improve the finish before painting.

    Total time spent on the project to date: 69.5 hours. No way I could make money at this so it's good that I don't have to do so.

    IMG_0010_182.JPG IMG_0009_181.JPG
  8. Steve Ambrose

    Steve Ambrose Nut in a Canoe

    Once the filler cures (several weeks), lightly sand it (more sanding for the thick areas) and apply a couple of coats of high-build oil-based primer, sanding in between. The primer is much easier to sand than finish enamel and will take care of finishing the fill job. I've had no issues using Epifanes Werdol Wood Primer in between Rollin's filler and finish enamel.
  9. OP

    BCam Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.
  10. Denis M. Kallery

    Denis M. Kallery Passed Away July 3, 2012 In Memoriam

    Kathy and I are REALLY sick we are on step 21

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