Just Starting my 1st restoration


New Member
I have had this 17' OTCA for a few years now. The canvas was rotten and I put it under a tarp up on a rack. I pulled it out today to see what was left and to my surprise it looks like it is in good shape. I pulled the canvas off and the wood is dry but I notices some resin or epoxy looking stuff and an obvious patch in the planking. I was thinking that I was just going to try to recover it. Do I need to take off the resin if I am just going to recanvas it or will it be ok? Also do I need to treat the wood before I canvas it? Thanks for any advice. If there is something that I should check that isn't obvious to a new comer I would like to know what that may be as well.:confused: Thanks Lee
If the planking is bad where the epoxy is, now is the time to piece in some new planking. Why leave an ugly epoxy patch?? If you are going to revarnish the inside of the hull, do it when the canvas is off. Also you may want to re-clinch any tacks that appear to have the head sticking above the planking because tack heads will show once the canoe is canvassed, filled, and painted. Otherwise, if all is in good repair, you can canvas it.
My 1st restoration continues

Thanks. I am trying to down load some pics. I am planning on revarnishing the inside. I don't see any damage to the planking or the ribs so I will sand it down a little and revarnish. What is the best/easiest varnish to use, and where is a good place to get the canvas and filler? Thanks Lee
Here are the pics of my 1st project.






That canoe looks very repairable. You might want to strip the old varnish before you add more, but that's your call depending upon how fussy you want to be.

Everyone will have an opinion about what varnishes to use but most of us that have used Epifanes spar varnish recommend it. Most other spar varnishes will be fine. Do not use polyurethane.

I buy my paint materials from Jamestown Distributors as do many other members.

For other materials, look on this site in the builders supplies guide to find a source for your materials.
You should be able to find almost anything you need with these links.

For some coaching and before you start you should consider buying this book by Jerry Stelmok and Rollin Thurlow.

It holds all of the answers to the questions that you will ask once you get started. You will see both names in the builders guides, Jerry as Island Falls and Rollin as Northwoods. You can also find many (interesting) posts from Rollin in this forum...he pipes in from time to time with sage advice.
I'll second Epifanes spar varnish and also recommend West Marine's 5 star spar varnish which is about 10 bucks cheaper than epifanes and is the same varnish made by Epifanes for West's label. I called Epifanes to confirm this. Either way, it is great stuff.

Looks like a great project ahead!
Phenolic and Alkyd resins are not polyurethane resins. Phenolic resins are an early synthetic. Alkyd resins are more recent but still not polyurethane.
still sanding

I am still sanding and I am thinking seriously about a stripper. Thanks for the links to the varnish. I tried the link to the wcha build supply but it wasn't working. So does any one know a good place to get canvas and what is the filler that the Wooden Canoe talks about made of. Is it like a sealer and I put some on the wood or do I just put the canvas on the raw wood then put on the filler. I am not sure I understood the process. I will read through it again but I am not sure if I really understand the process. Thanks for any help. Lee
Hi Lee,

In the old days, canoe builders had their own secret recipes for filler... here, this sort of thing is shared.

Here's an older discussion of filler recipes, which should give you an idea of what's in 'em:


You can use the "search" function above to find other old discussions.

Basically, filler goes on over the canvas to fill and smooth-over all signs of the weave in the cloth and then harden, to produce a surface that will have strangers arguing with you by saying, "that can't be canvas, that's fiberglass!" In the old days, canoes were said to have "a carriage finish", meaning the surface looked like a shiny metal vehicle with pinstriping, pulled by horses.