Determining the Waterline

Bradford Wyman

Curious about Wooden Canoes
Hello Forum-

I considering shellacking the bottom of my new canvas job, an OT Guide. I have read posts about this but have not found and discussion about how to determine the waterline. Any suggestions?

Also, I will be taking a somewhat leaky Morris on it's last trip with it's fiberglas cover. Will shellack serve as a stop-gap gap-stopper if I use that on cracks and holes in the surface? I expect to strip it and canvas it after this trip.

Thank you,

I sit the canoe bottom side down on a level floor and position it so that it is also stable and level. Then I trace around the canoe with a pencil. To make this easy (I think it is) I attach the pencil to the top of a wooden box that is the same height as the line I am tracing and then I slide the box on the floor around the canoe. The pencil transfers the shellac line to the filler.
You mention using the waterline as a guide, but that's really not what you are trying to are going to shellac the bottom of the canoe and paint the sides up to the water line.

For the Morris, nothing works better for a quick and easy leak fix than duct tape. Since it's a special canoe, get the good stuff!;)
It is pretty easy. Find a nice, level floor, level the canoe side to side. Get a block the height of your waterline, (IE 4 inches) tape a pencil to the top of the block, make your waterline. To shellac it, tape it off and brush or spray on your shellac. There is a pretty good description of this process in "The Wood and Canvas Canoe".