How To Clean Babiche Seats?

Scot T

LOVES Wooden Canoes
I'm about to clean and revarnish some babiche seats. The babiche is in good condition, no breaks, no animal teeth have touched them and it's still tight in place. They are just very dirty with gobs of old flaking varnish and crud.

I had asked a simular question a few years ago and I got some good info then. It was suggested that one could use paint stripper with no harm to the hide. I usually use Circa 1850 stripper so before I proceed I just want to check if anyone has any additional information they would care to impart.

Thanks guys.
Take them out of the canoe and put real seats in instead.;)

Sorry, I'm really not fond of babiche seats. :D

Why do you need to strip them? They are so coarse that new varnish should have something to grab onto.
I don't "R e a l l y" need to strip them, but they are pretty gummed up with years of butt crud and old varnish. I just thought there might be a way to clean them up without too much trouble.

I like to hand cane my seats, It doesn't take me more than a couple evenings in front of the tube for a set but these babiche ones are in good shape physically, cosmetically not so much so I thought I'd learn something new. Although, I do remember poking my butt and ripping my pants on the babiche seats in our family canoe as a that I think about it I believe I don't like them either.

I made a set of slat seats (a la Willits) with the slats going lengthwise rather than across, and they were quite nice. Much more comfortable than the crosswise. I'm thinking I'll do that for the 14'6" Huron I'm almost finished.