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Why is canvas tearing?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Treewater, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    IMG_2631.JPG This is a canoe I got off Ebay four years ago. The seller had just put on new canvas. I do not even know if he filled it. The canvas is deteriorated and tearing the full length of both sides. I don't believe I have abused it. Does anyone know what has happened?
  2. Gil Cramer

    Gil Cramer The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.

    It looks like the typical canvas rot along the gunnels.
  3. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    Most likely didnt treat the canvas after it went on, drastically shortening its lifespan.
  4. OP

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    So what should have been done? What type of treatment?
  5. Lazy Jack

    Lazy Jack LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I don't know what type of filler was used, but this is a common fate now befalling many canoes canvassed in the modern lead-free era. The canvas fillers of yesteryear contained enough white lead to prevent microbial activity and preserve the canvas. Today, the "traditional" alkyd/silica/linseed oil based fillers no longer can serve this function and so the canvas is on its own. I covered my canoe with a canvas supposedly 'pre-treated' with an fungicide but I have no idea what that really means or how robust or lasting that treatment actually is.

    But having seen the pictures you posted, I'm now a little uneasy while the rain beats down on my canoe stored inverted on sawhorses. I did bed the outwhales really well with interlux seam compound...
  6. OP

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Until six months ago the canoe had been stored outside but under the eaves of a building. Only in the last six months has it been exposed to the elements, inverted of course. I concur, I'm a bit uneasy where I store canoes now as well, but the basic point remains, how to treat convas so it will not rot.
  7. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    It truly stinks when you see what seems like a perfectly good canvasing job fail. I experienced this a few years ago on a canoe that I had someone else of the go to guys as it were. My White is also suffering from outside storage.
    When I was in Maine a few years ago I asked Rollin a few questions about this and he suggested that the canvas that was used had been untreated. I think he is right.
    Buy treated canvas, do a nice job of filling and painting it and it should last.
    Rollin has a ton of storage at his shop...and lot's of canoes under cover.
    His personal canoes are stored outside. They looked used and show no signs of canvas rot.....I think he is onto something.
  8. OP

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    But treated with what?
  9. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    Most hardware stores carry liquid preservative, often stated to be used for canvas, or wood etc. Typically its zinc napthanate, which works well. Once the canvas is stretched on the boat, soak it. In a day or three it will dry tighter, then you can fill the canvas. Note that whether epoxy or traditional filler, it wont entirely soak through the weave, and against the boat will be unfilled canvas which will be prone to rot if left untreated. Have fun!
  10. KAT

    KAT LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Rot isn't something I'm worried about at the moment, just if the filler is going to stick. The canvas we used wrapping the Chestnut was pre-treated for Mildew, Fire and Water, bought from a Tent and Awning company. At the time I thought nothing of it until doing the filler and it didn't soak in at all, so, it will be interesting to see what happens when I sand it in a week or two. The weave is very tight so sand penetration might be limited anyway.

    Beginners mistake I suppose.

    For the time being, our boats are stored either in a well ventilated garage or the basement.
  11. Lazy Jack

    Lazy Jack LOVES Wooden Canoes

    To keep the rain from beating down on my inverted canoe, I turned it back over and put it in the water


    So I could go see some colors


    Maybe the trick to getting the most out of your canvas is to get the most out of the canoe while the canvas lasts - rain or shine!

    Or maybe jump the tracks a little and try some of this stuff instead of cotton canvas:

    Don't know about what best to fill it with but 'stuff' does stick to it.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
  12. MackyM

    MackyM LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Great photos. Where were these taken?
  13. Lazy Jack

    Lazy Jack LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Central Vermont
  14. OP

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Thank you Andre for answering my question. I'm about to canvas a UFO and wondered about treating it after or before stretching. If after works then so much the better, easier I mean.
  15. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    No problem, i think you'll find that after 2-3 days it will be dry, and filler will soak into it no problem. Have a spot outside for it though, it smells powerful until it dries. Use a regular paint brush and container to brush it on. If you didnt have big puckers around the staples or tacks, after soaking and drying you will have tighter canvas with dimples MGC would approve of;)
  16. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

  17. 1905Gerrish

    1905Gerrish LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Buy some packets of mildewcide at a hardware store or even lowes. Small packets that mix right in with the filler you are going to use. I still put about a pound of lead in my filler for a little protection also.
  18. OP

    Treewater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Wow! I don't know how the Lowes bought mildew preventer will work but brushing on two quarts, soaking the canvas and letting it dry overnight, really made a difference. What was a passible canvas job (small imperfections, ripples, if one looked close) is now a fantastic and evenly tight canvas job. My thanks to all for the advice.
  19. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    What product did you use? Is it water soluble or oil based?
  20. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

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