Doing things in the right order

Tom Wiarda

Curious about Wooden Canoes
I am working on my first canoe restoration, a 1939 Old Town Yankee. I have completed the wood repairs and am planning out the steps to complete the job. I have read the books and have been following this forum but I need to get clear the correct sequence for doing things. These are the steps as I understand them:
Bleach and clean the interior wood
Sand the inside and outside
Apply tung oil to the inside
Apply linseed oil and wood preservative to the outside
Apply canvas and filler
Varnish inside
Paint outside
Install outer gunwales
Install keel, stem bands and seats

Please let me know if I have it right. Is there anything I am missing? Does it matter if I do the varnishing before or after the canvasing? When varnishing how do I keep it from running on the sides while it is drying? Thanks, Tom
I didn't use tung oil on the inside - I think most don't because of cost. I did varnish the inside first so that I had that in place and the BOILED linseed oil/turps 50/50 on the outside didn't dribble through the planking seams and foul the nice dry/clean/sanded interior. Not sure what you mean by "wood preservative" a term that sets off alarm bells. The BOILED linseed/turps adds some life to the very dry planking and perhaps some water resistance.

Just my novice 2 cents. Plan on really smearing the filler well into the canvas with a canvas mitt made from scraps. That will greatly reduce any sanding you have to do to fair it for paint.

I varnished the rails with a 50/50 varnish/turps before fitting them so that the insides of the outwales had some protection from water. Then I did a final varnish on them once they were fitted and installed

I do not use tung oil or boiled linseed oil generally.
I may cut the varnish with mineral spirits and varnish the outside to seal it. I then varnish the inside with less thinner at each coat until at least 3 coats. once the inside is done (or within one coat of being done) I then canvas and fill and prime and paint. the filler has mildewcide.
WEll, I may use boiled linseed oil on the outside.
I think once you canvas the outside you should work on the outside until you get at least a couple coats primer.

I like to install the outwales and finish them before the canvassing. Then they go back on easier at the end of the job.

YOu have options when deciding the sequence.
It looks to me, with the excellent tips from ebeey and Dave, that you have the sequence pegged. With one exception IMO.

I learned in a big hurry and the hard way to varnish the inside before canvasing. On my first boat I was so proud of myself to have gotten a near perfect (to my eye anyways) canvas and filler job. As the filler was drying I decided to varnish the inside. A bit of the varnish seeped between the planks into the canvas and reacted with the filler. There were all these spots like soft sour cream all over the bottom of my "perfect" job. I tried to refill them and let them cure but they wouldn't and left these large divot like patches everywhere. I finally had to strip the canvas off and start all over. I don't know what that was all about but since then I do all the inside work including varnish before canvasing. I've never had a problem since.

I've always prefered to varnish the rails inside and out before installing them but I like Dave's idea of pre-fitting them. It makes good sense.
Thanks everyone for the advice. It seems there are lots of opinions on how to do things. The wood preservative idea came from The Wood & Canvas Canoe book where he says to treat the wood with a 75/25% mixture of boiled linseed oil and Cuprinol wood preservative. Does anyone do this?

I will take your advice and varnish before doing the canvas. I am still worrying about runs in the varnish on the steep sides. Any ideas on how to avoid this?

I see some online stores are offering canvas pre-treated with fungicide. Is this a good idea and worth the extra cost?

Thanks again, Tom
Ah yes, cuprinol. You can rely on anything Rollin says. I just used BOILED linseed and turps.

And yes, treated for fungicide makes sense since you can't (or perhaps won't) be adding white lead to your filler recipe! The frugal Scots among us probably do without but hey, I expect my great grandchildren to do the next re-canvas not my children so I spent the extra - what was it 25 bucks? I can't recall - for the fungicide treatment.

I really had no problem with varnish runs at all. You will be doing it in coats variously cut with turps or spirits - say 50/50, then a 75/25 then perhaps a final coat (or two - you have to make the call) in full strength depending on the brand and how it flows. Spar doesn't seem to behave like the enamel will on your canvas. And it attracts flies if you apply it outside! Lots of flies! I was amazed.

Then again, I'm just a tyro.

Keep up the good work!
Tom Wiarda said:
The wood preservative idea came from The Wood & Canvas Canoe book where he says to treat the wood with a 75/25% mixture of boiled linseed oil and Cuprinol wood preservative. Does anyone do this?

That was written when Cuprinol was an oil-based product. Cuprinol is now water-based, and is no longer compatible with oil-based filler.

You can pretreat with a wood preservative as long as it is paintable after it has dried (i.e. does not contain silicone water repellant, for example).

You can get packets of mildicide from the paint store to mix into your filler that will help some.