Advice on Removing Canvas/Fiberglass


"Got Water"
It's time to remove the outer shell of my canoe. My rails look to be broken in one place on each side as you will see in the pics. It also seems like there may have been fiberglass on the outside. I'm not sure if it was glassed over the original canvas or what. How should I proceed with this? My goal for the weekend is to have it stripped. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. I'm also trying to figure the make/model/year of this boat. I'm going to include the rest of the pics I have in the next post.





If the glass is over the canvas then it may come off very easily as epoxy will not penetrate though the filler on the canvas. So remove the outer wales, the bang strip and the keel. You may need to dig paint and epoxy out of the screw slots so an awl may be handy. Start with the bang strips then the keel. Some folks after removing those parts like to cut old canvas free with a utility knife. You may find that if it was glassed over the canvas then the canvas under the outer wale(rail, gunnel, gunwale,) is free of glass and epoxy. If that is the case you may be able to gently pry off the canvas and the glass will come off with it.

If it was glassed directly to the wood planking then you may need to find a pool or pond and submerge your canoe for a soak. Water does not dissolve epoxy but it will swell the fibers causing the epoxy to loosen allowing removal of the glass and resin.
I can remember as a young boy my grandfather patching it with fiberglass, what was done before that I don't know. I hope it comes right off. I can use heat to remove the glass correct? My rails are in decent shape except I think they're cracked right through on the bow as you can see there was an attempt to patch them. What are your thoughts on the condition of my decks? My plan was to have new rails & decks milled.

Any idea on the make?
Most folks here try to keep as much of the original material of the canoe as is practical when refinishing/restoring an old canoe, even if it is not in perfect shape. On an old canoe, the odd stain or dent in wood is no defect in the eyes of many.

It's hard to tell from the photos if the decks have any rot. If not, you likely would be able to re-use them by stripping the paint and sanding. If stains remain, first try washing with TSP, and if that doesn't do the trick, by bleaching the wood with oxalic acid. There are some other more powerful bleaches around, including 2-part wood bleaches and ordinary household bleach. These can be very rough on wood, and will often remove all color, necessitating staining the wood. The web site has a lot of good information on bleaching.

As for getting the 'glass off, heat is generally the way to go. Check out this video -- -- which shows the process pretty well. Soaking the canoe for a few days is supposed to help, but many folks have no reasonable way to do that, and succeed nonetheless in getting the 'glass off.
Canvas off, help determining make/model

Can anyone tell what make/model this may be by my pics? I searched and couldn't find any serial #'s, they may be filled with varnish but I can't find them? Help please. Any advice on my restoration progress is appreciated.