Canvas Wrinkles forming while Filler is Curing


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Has anyone experienced this? Wrinkles forming in the canvas while the filler is curing.

After stretching the canvas and making sure it was stretched tight, I applied the filler (linseed oil/silicon base). This was last week; there were no gaps or wrinkles in the canvas. Today when checking, I noticed lots of wrinkles BUT only near the gunwales. The bottom of the canoe still has the canvas pulled tight. Is it possible that the filler is drying unevenly? The bottom of the canoe gets baked in the sun while the sides receive very little sunlight.

I am hoping that this is simply a temporary problem and that when the filler on the sides of the canoe cures, the canvas will again be pulled tight. Any thoughts, comments and suggestions would be most welcome.

Dave Osborn

You can search the forums for more on this subject. Some search for “wrinkles”. We just had a series of posts discussing the same thing in mid-April.
Personally, I’d try to re-stretch after the filler cures. Make sure the humidity is low when you do it.


Wooden Canoe Maniac
Yeah. I've come to think that wrinkles are the canvas's was of telling you that it's not happy. Some canoe shapes are very simple, and it's easy to get the canvas to conform to the canoe's shape. But for canoes with complex shape - I'm referring to canoes with high profile peaks like Otcas, Yankees, or really short canoes - you really have to be really careful to get the canvas to be happy. I can't say what happened in your case, but I'm certain I know what happened to me. I used to try to get the the flap portion at the stems to be as short as possible thinking that there'd be less of the flap below the water line. So I'd start tacking/stapeling from the bottom and work my way up toward the stem tip, hand stretching as I go. But I found that once I'd finished the flaps I would always have to fuss to eliminate wrinkles that reappeared at the rails. This technique worked ok enough for most canoes but failed miserably on a short 10' Penn Yan Auto Canoe. This little fella is about as wide as a 'normal' canoe but has a blunt 45deg deck profile at the ends. When tacking from the bottom 'up' I found I had to retack the rails seemingly forever to eliminate wrinkles at the rails. Finally the wrinkles appeared to be gone so I mudded the canoe. But a few days later they reappeared. This was over the winter, so I was able to watch as the wrinkles seemed to go away for a time then suddenly reappear again. In Spring they seemed to be gone so I started to paint - and the wrinkles came back like crazy. Ultimately I threw away that canvas and tried again, but this time by tacking/stapeling the flaps starting from the stem tips and working down. This resulted in more of the flap seam being below the waterline but I had virtually no trouble with wrinkles along the rails. And that's the technique I've been using since with no problems.

As I said, not sure if this addresses your situation. And I'm not saying you need to recanvas. But that's what happened to me.