Protecting against sand


Curious about Wooden Canoes
So, now after seven months my prospector is ready for the water but its so pretty with the five coats of varnish that I am really scared of filling it with sand. I was thinking of buying some large sheets of closed cell foam that would cover the entire bottom of the canoe in front of the seats. Any suggestions out there.
I can relate to your worries. I let our teenaged daughters take it out, flip it, swim with the canoe, etc. at last year's Assembly. I was dismayed when they were a little careless when coming back to shore and tracked lots of sand and fine gravel into it, which got between the planks then trapped between the canvas and ribs. This made the hull look highly textured on the outside. I was worried about wear on the tops of the bumps, through the paint and canvas over time.

On further thought, I decided to drum on the canoe to try to get some of that sand to fall out. Some may also work its way out due to vibration when cartopping.

Oh well. It's meant to be used.

I sometimes use the puzzle-edged square pieces of foam as knee pads, but those won't do much to prevent sand from getting between the planking.
Rob's right, they are meant to be used but its no fun messing up your work, especially so soon! Yoga mat or something similar, I have a soft black foam mat almost 4x8, covers as much as you want or fold it or cut it. Not always practical to remove shoes, 'specially in November or April!
Sand Damage

I haven't noticed a great deal of sand damage, or dog nail damage, or damage resulting from gear stowage to varnish in my canoes, (and I have kids!). Varnish is durable. Sand between the planking is probably a bigger issue.

I repaired an old Old Town Guide once. It had seen so much use that the ribs in front of both seats were worn down to nothing. This made me smile.:D Canoes and canoeing were a big part of that family's history.

Someone somewhere once said, "paddle it, it ain't a piano".

I went to our laundry service that also supplies floor or entry mats to offices or commercial buildings and bought some old ones cheep. They are carpet with a solid rubber back. The carpet holds the sand and dirt and the rubber backing prevents it from going through. You can get a runner the entire length of your boat if you want.
I have been using those 2'x2' floor pads from the local Harbor Freight store. But the indoor/outdoor carpet sounds like a pretty good idea as well.
"Paddle it, it ain't a piano"!!! thats great!!!

thanks for all the input.
I hate sand, always have! I don't launch from or land on sand beaches if I can avoid it. When I can't, I make sure both paddlers wet their shoes/feet in the water before putting them in the boat to get rid of as much sand as possible (it's very simple in most cases). If that's not possible, then I flip the canoe in the water before take-out, slosh the water around and dump it rapidly to wash the excess sand away. Whatever small amount remains can be banged out after the canoe dries or sucked out with a strong vacuum. Another trick is to spray the canoe (upside down) with a strong nozzle.

I've never had sand migrate through the planking cracks and under the canvas. I suppose if the canoe is filled with sand, or there are large spaces between the planks, or you ignore the stuff altogether . . .
I bought several Army surplus sleeping mats at the Allentown, PA gunshow in February. They are 1/2" thick closed cell foam and at least 5 ft. long with tie strings to keep them rolled up. At only a dollar each a real bargain. I can cover the entire bottom of the canoe if I want to.

I have also used closed cell foam carpet underlayment. I bought the 3 ft. wide stuff made for hallway carpet. 1/2" thick. A lot cheaper than the pads sold specificly for canoeing.

Abnoxious sand grains between the canvas and planking can be eliminated by lightly tapping each visible grain with a hammer. Large bath or door mats will protect the interior.
The sleeping pads are a great idea. I use them all the time. If you can't find army surplus ones go to WalMart and pick up what you need. I always have several around just for my canoes. One pad cut in two will give you plenty of protection for the two paddlers.