OT WCC Restoration/rebuild method suggestions?

Interested in input from the Board

The planking is complete and faired. Left to do are Refinishing inside, Canvas/filler, Outwhales. I'll install some pre-fab ash/press caning seats from LLB just for this season and replace them later (yeah right)

Refinishing Inside: This will require warmer weather and a hose - I'll use two part teak cleaner to get out the rest of the stubborn varnish residue (no luck with stripper or paint brush cleaner and the scotchbrite) and freshen up the inside a bit. I had originally planned on starting out with Deks 1, but I think I'll try Le-Tonkinois mostly to avoid having to sand arduously between every coat. Seems the only similarity of his stuff to Captains which I've used for years, is the label 'Varnish'. We'll see how it holds up

I'm going to use up some cheap varnish on hand over the outside of the canoe, then order the treated canvas from up north secured with stainless staples and copper tacks.

I've ruled out the aircraft techniques Dacron/nitrate-buterate or Stits poly-tack,brush,tone etc because of stink of using the MEK volatiles indoors and this stuff is better sprayed than brushed - something else I won't do indoors

Filler - I oscillate between using Alkyd/Silica mix for the traditional smooth painting surface, or simply wetting out with a couple coats of polyurethane varnish followed by a flat alkyd porch enamel. The advantage of the former is standard precedent and a smooth final finish at the cost of weeks and weeks of cure time, versus ease and expedience of the latter with better hiding of rubs and scratches at the expense of a slightly textured surface. I think the difference in weight would be negligible initially with the textured surface gaining weight over years as subsequent coats of paint are added (whereas with the smooth surface, much of the outer coat could be sanded off before repainting). Not sure what I'm going to do yet. According to the canvas gloom and doomers, the canvas will rot away soon enough anyway...

The outwhales: I found some clear eastern spruce that has been recently sawn - the best state for bending.

Each rub rail will be scarfed of two pieces bent together. I will rabbet each edge of a plank wide enough to accommodate each rail half and taper the thickness of this blank at one end (to match the tapered vertical dimension of the rail as it sweeps up towards the end). I will then bend the blank over a ladder form (exaggerated to account for spring-back) and rip it into the two rail halves after it sets. These I will scarf together midships (after checking that the rabbet is on the same side and that the ends sweep in the same direction)

Any insights, opinions, admonishons etc would be appreciated
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Ahh, Golden!

Thanks. I had tried the search thingy for threads like that but wasn't successful. Thanks!

Ladder Mold is built. Time to prepare bending stock!

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Thinking ahead to a warmer day and the TE-KA (NaOH/Phosphoric acid) treatment of the inside of the canoe...

How do I best preserve/Restore the serial numbers stamped on the stem heels? Were they originally burned or inked? I'd hate to obliterate them.
How do I best preserve/Restore the serial numbers stamped on the stem heels? Were they originally burned or inked?

You can best preserve the serial numbers with paint stripper (if necessary) followed by several layers of a good varnish. They were hammered in with metal stamps like the ones shown at http://img1.etsystatic.com/il_570xN.301988537.jpg as Kathy mentioned. These were not typically burned or inked originally.

Yeah, I've only stripped but not sanded. Some of the stamped numbers have swelled back out enough to become a bit ambiguous. Perhaps cleaning the wood around them may redefine them a bit. I'll avoid letting them get too wet.

Didn't get quite as much springback as I expected when releasing those outwhales from the form. Was a simple matter to press some curve back out.

Out whales fit and finished some varnish inside and out

Canvas stretched on


warming up my right arm while I await a free day - I'm going with Rollin's mix. How long a day is this likely to be?

I sewed up a canvas mitt...anyone try using a random orbit buffer-polisher? Would that work as well as a mitt for driving filler into the canvas?
Would recommend against the buffer since you'll likely get more filler spun off onto you and the surrounding walls than into the weave of the canoe ,especially if it is a variable speed buffer!!!!
I sewed up a canvas mitt...anyone try using a random orbit buffer-polisher? Would that work as well as a mitt for driving filler into the canvas?

I use my jitterbug palm sander with a piece of canvas instead of sandpaper. A bit of plastic milk jug cut to shape between the canvas and the pad helps keep it clean.
So jumping ahead a few months - filler cured, whales on, keel made and installed, stem bands bedded into place, the boat saw water on the Connecticut River on Wednesday, and headed up to the Assembly on Thursday with empty seat frames to be filled. This was accomplished by the middle of the day Friday and I paddled my completed restoration to the campsite across the lake Friday evening.


Great to meet some awesome folks and I really appreciate all the advise that came so freely from this forum.
Am I totally missing something here? This canoe is in FAR better condition than many on these forums. It is largely there. Using it as a pattern for new construction seems like far, far more work than would ever be realized by functionality or value. Why not just scarf tips onto inwales and stems (maybe even decks), close it all up, clean it all up, and revarnish, canvas, etc? I sure wouldn't even go so far as replacing the stems. This looks like a simple and straightforward restoration. The apparent brittleness is normal. getting it all cleaned up and revarnished (starting with thin, penetrating varnish) will make all the difference in the world. With the stresses this little canoe is likely to see, these repairs will be great.

Again, am I missing something???


Not at all, just some great paddling in the Connecticut Lakes Natural Area...


and at the top of the Androscoggin

Although I know I could build a nice canoe, It felt rather special to be paddling an original wondering what other adventures passed under this same bottom prior to my time...

Thanks for saving her from me!