Any suggestions sought.

Dave Wermuth

Who hid my paddle?
Well, there are two issues. A canoe came back with broken stem bands on both ends. the breaks are not near any screw holes. Anyone have stem bands just break after only three years?

And the canoe's paint is cracked badly in some sections and not at all in other sections. I used Valspar Premium Heavy duty enamel. The canoe has been exposed to the elements. I wish I had a better memory or took better notes. The filler is either William Clements or Zinsser watertite. I think it is William Clements filler. I think i also used primer. Just can't reacll exactly. So, I am sanding and repainting two coats. The varnish is Epiphanes and is just fine.

From now on I am keeping detailed records as to what paint/primer/filler is used, and dates of application. I'm learning. It could be the filler cracked on me and the paint went along for the ride. the photo is the first light coat and clearly shows the problem with the cracks next to a no crack zone.


  • 201_2018.JPG
    70 KB · Views: 406
Dave, no suggestions except if it were me I'd take that snazzy looking Ford for a ride! is it a 9N?
I actually see it as three problems.....

1. Stem Bands broken! I would think that if the stresses were that great that it would have pulled or sheared the screws. The only other thing that crossed my mind is a metallurgical flaw, but it seems highly unlikely to have a delayed failure with brass stem bands.

2. Not sure why your paint and or filler failed. Sand it out and repaint, maybe? Or start over...?

3. The bad memory!..... Here is the solution, just in case you you forget to write all the stuff down going forward. Check it out!!

Dave O.
PS: Nice tractor!
Close, very close Gary.

it is a 1959 801 Powermaster. I use it for everything. Mowing, brush hogging, snow plowing, disking. lumbering, stone pulling. There is also a 1950 John Deer B in the barn. The B is a recent addition. It came from a family member. I have been working on it because the gas tank had lots of, and I mean lots of rust in it. Could be the remains of the Tin Man, Dorothy. Anyway, I got two tractors in a one horse town. How lucky is that?

I suspect the stem bands may have failed as a result of being shoved into the bed of a pickup truck until it strikes the front of the truck bed but I can't say for sure. Oddly, there were no issues with the screws holding the stem bands on. Both stem bands broke in the same area. And the paint. I've had Bill Clements filler show cracks, likely as a result of not rubbing vigorously enough perhaps. Sanding and painting resolved it easily. This is unusual in that vast areas are crack free and then all cracked up next to it. I am sanding and Painting, sanding and painting. I suspect the issue is also related to filler. No wonder filler formulas were highly guarded secrets.
That looks very much like a problem I've had with my 14' Huron. I've tried sanding the paint off, smoothing the filler down to the canvas (almost), repainting and it still is the same. I think I'll just recanvas it after the summer as it doesn't leak but sure is unsightly. Looks like an ol' beater canoe...Ok, it is an ol' beater canoe, but...

It was my only experiment with the Zinsser Watertight (I'm not convinced on that stuff). I think what happened, in my case, was that the filler dried too fast. I applied the filler and then put the canoe in my storage shack to cure. It was during a very warm, sunny stretch last summer and the inside of the shack got super hot. I usually leave the doors and windows open for ventilation but for some reason didn't this time (old age setting in??) and when I did check on it a few days later it was like an oven in there. I didn't notice any cracks until four or five months later and then it all went nuts. Haven't been able to figure out how to fix it short of re-canvasing.

As to the stem bands, I'd say you are probably correct in that it is the result of being banged. The only one I've had like that was on a stripper when a buddie dropped his end and it hit the tailgate of his truck. Busted the stemband about two inches down from the top of the stem but zero damage to anything else. I guess that's what they are for after all...saving damage to the boat.
sounds reasonable

I am beginning to suspect the Zinsser Watertite too. Some spots are just fine. And my 1926 Old Town is perfect after eleven years with Zinsser. I have other caones that are fine with Zinsser. But I think if it is not worked in well or if it is too thick, it may crack. I think this goes for any filler but I have become leery of Zinsser; they did not intend it for this purpose. The co. says it is for water proofing basements.
I had this paint checking problem happen twice on canoes I had restored . I found that moisture was cause. Fall use of the canoes had allowed excessive moisture to soak between and into the canvas and planking. The canoes were then stored for the winter in an unheated area. Freezing cold did the damage. Cold causes the paint and filler to become brittle. The trapped moisture freezes to further expand the planking and canvas causing the now very brittle paint/filler to crack. This damage is always worse on the bottom of the canoe where the moisture collects. To eliminate this freezing problem winter store your canoe in a dry , warm area. The canoe should also be stored upright without a cover for about a month to allow any moisture to evaporate up and out of the planking/canvas. The canoe can then be stored upside down once you are satisfied that it is dry. Is it also possible that the stem bands were caused by the same freezing? Amazing what ice can do.
Feedback is appreciated

I do not think moisture because one canoe that did this was never finished or out of the barn and it cracked. The cracks are not only on the bottom of the three year old job. They are on the sides. And that canoe sat on the ground upside down all summer long. I also would expect to see bubbles if moisture was the problem. Dave L. did you have bubbles or just cracks? And what clues led you to the conclusion that you had moisture? Moisture COULD have gotten into the one canoe as humidity, so I cannot discount the moisture theory. I think what I may do is try to replicate the problem with some left over canvas on a plain board. I can put on filler thin to thick on differnt boards, (clearly marked which is which) and then wait to see. And then there are the large areas of sun faded, perfectly smooth canvas. Go figure.

I also wondered about canoes that are varnished in and out. A canoe with no varnish under the canvas would cause the cedar to soak up any water Whereas, if the whole thing were sealed the water would have no place to go but the back side of the canvas and that may cause problems. My friend admitted sliding the canoe into the truck bed until it hit the stem band. So I am inclined to think the stem bands don't hold up well to impacts. At this point I am sanding and painting, but to get it right I should probably recanvas.

Yet another variable, I have heard of latex paint being used under oil paint. I don't think I want to risk that. I've already got enough to keep track of.

I have also heard of major canoe companies getting canoes back in the the factory for paint issues as well so I don't feel completely defeated.

I am leaning toward the belief that this issue is similar to Scott's. I think the filler was too thick and dried too fast. Any and all ideas are greatly appreciated.
I'm a slow learner. Got three gallons of Wm Clements sitting here and I wanted to rush things and so---. I had Clements filler crack on me once but the fix was easy. This paint job isn't just sanding out and painting over. I think the most plausible explanation is that for some reason half the canoe cracked at the filler. Gil is right. Even so, I am going to try to replicate the problem just so I can be 100% certain.
I'd say that the filler never cured properly and that the stembands are substandard. There are product on the market that don't do that for which they were designed. I had cheap stem band problems this year too.
seems plausible

those explanations seem most plausible. I got my stem bands from a member, although, again, I don't recall who. Other canoes did not exhibit cracked stem bands, only the one that got slid into the pickup bed all the way.

Gil, what did you do to remedy the cracked filler situation? I'm inclined to recanvas if the owner will let me. He's not concerned at all about the cracks. I on the other hand am quite displeased with the outcome. It also makes sense in that the 11 year old filler/paint job canoe is still good because the filler was likely only one coat because the weave could be seen through the paint. It's really not a bad look at all. Subsequant paintings have smoothed it out. I don't have a problem with the weave beinig seen on a working canoe. On the other hand I sure do admire those perfect smooth mirror like finishes either.