Fiberglass instead of Canvas?

flatwater fil

from the lakes of BC

I just got an old wood/canvas canoe as a donation. Using this forum, I was able to identify it as a Greenwood. (thanks). It has been sitting under a tarp for a while, and the canvas is coming off near the gunnels (it's delaminating at the bow and stern). I also notice that there are quite a few layers of paint already on there. The canoe leaks about a liter per ten minutes. The inside was varnished quite heavily (the ribs are kind of coated with varnish). Aside from peeling brass keel runners, there is no major structural damage that I can see.

My question is this, and it may be a silly one. Rather than re-canvassing the canoe, would it be possible to strip the canvas and use fiberglass with either epoxy or polyester right on the outer wood?

My considerations would be ease of work, weight, and being able to see the wood.



It's possible. BUT

using the search function will reveal lots of discussion on the subject. But I'll add a little here. It is possible but canvas is easier and lighter and fiberglass would ruin it and really adversely affect its value. AND, more than likely the glass would split along the keel and leak in short order.
Canvas really is alot easier to do and less weight.
Thanks Dave,

I wasn't able to find any discussion of the subject using the search. Can you suggest the keywords?

Hi fil--

There are many folks here who will attest to the fact that re-canvassing a canoe is much easier than fiberglassing. And many here have had the no-fun job of fiberglass removal...

A wood-canvas canoe has the advantage over boats built of "modern" materials in that it can be made "new" again... or better than new.

The planking on a canoe that was designed to be covered in canvas was never meant to be seen. I know folks have 'glassed over planking and like the look, but if you really want an all-wood canoe there are some beautiful strippers out there-- and there are antique and modern all-wood canoes, constructed without fiberglass-- built with wood that was chosen to look beautiful on the outside of a canoe.

Here is one of the past fiberglass discussions:

There's one from some time ago (years maybe) where someone described finding two Old Towns of the same vintage, but one had been 'glassed and crumbled, while the other was restored. It's probably back a few pages... if someone remembers that and finds it, please post.

Canvas may seem like a daunting project, but there are many here who can help verbally and point you to videos and books... and maybe you live near a WCHA chapter or a member who can give you a hand. Folks here are very friendly and helpful and love getting a canoe back onto the water, with a happy new owner.

Ahhh haha... we both found the same old post! I should hunt for a different one...

That's a nice, concise one though! And we used different search terms.
I have two Greenwood 16' Prospector canoes. They are wonderful boats.

Don't fiberglass yours! Do take the time to learn how to re-canvas it. It's really quite easy and you will be so happy you did.

The folks here are great and will go further that anyone else I know to help.
Agreed. Point of order though....When properly done, fiberglass is actually usually a few pounds lighter than filled canvas and there is absolutely no reason to expect it to split anywhere. The "properly done" part is the kicker though. Most dedicated people who follow directions, take the time to learn about composites before diving in, and work neatly can probably turn out a proper job on boat #3 or so. Boats #1 and #2 will likely be a real mess. These days, when you have an entire army of on-line helpers to guide you through the recanvasing process and help return your canoe to like new condition, there just isn't usually any good reason to fool around with anything else.
Here are a few more to read..there is a theme that repeats...fiberglass bad, canvas good.
You will not find too many folks on this site that will be very supportive of glass over anything other than a stripper...:eek:
Most of us have spent years trying to save canoes from being cut in half for shelving or glassed by misguided "preservationists".
I'm convinced...

Thank you all for reading/posting/your time/pointing me to past threads. I'm completely convinced. Unlike many other things in the world, this thing here seems a no brainer.

In addition, the original owner, (recently deceased), would be much happier for me to restore it to its original form rather than to slather it with nasty molecules, I'm sure. That's the kind of reasoning I was looking for. I was a bit intimidated by the task, but you've encouraged me...

OK then, time for me to dig through all the posts on recanvassing and to start getting materials ready. I'll check in when I hit a snag.

Thanks again!

Reading Stelmok and Thrulow's "Wood and Canvas Canoe" should help with restoration... along with reading posts here and looking for appropriate YouTube videos--- I believe the following stars one of the stars here in Forums:

But that's only one of the ways to canvas a canoe...