refinishing cedar strip canoe


Hey, folks-

Great site! It's been really helpful in my project to refinish a cedar strip canoe I bought last year at a yard sale. I'm in the process of stripping off all the fiberglass from the outer hull and it turned into a much bigger project than I was expecting (3 layers of fiberglass in some areas, with the weave visible on almost the whole canoe). I'm getting to be a pro with the heat gun.

I've got it about 2/3 stripped and don't think I'll be able to finish before rainy weather sets in. I definitely won't have time to re-glass before wet weather. The canoe is sitting in a partially covered area outside, but due to its length it's not completely out of the elements. Here's my question: Can the canoe sit safely over the winter if it gets some moisture on it? I'm planning on tarping it as best I can, but don't think I'll be able to keep it completely dry. It's still glassed on the inside, so I'm kind of worried about water seeping in and sitting against the wood and not drying out. Let me know what you all think. Also, if you've got links to any websites that have step by step instructions for re-glassing I'd sure love to see them. Thanks!

For glassing instructions try:
click on techniques and materials section, then on the page which opens click on "fiberglassing a woodstrip hull".

Leaving a stripper hull unsealed on one side as the weather gets wetter (or for any long time period, for that matter) is always a pretty substantial risk. It can swell, sag, change shape, soak up water and delaminate or split wide open. It's also possible that it will survive just fine, but if it does, consider yourself very fortunate. If you could get the rest of the glass off, sand the wood down smooth and just roll a couple thin sealer coats of epoxy on the wood before putting it away, it would drastically improve it's chances of survival. The irony is that the fiberglassing would only add about one more day to the process. A halfway measure might be to stop stripping and spend a couple days sanding and epoxy sealing the raw wood that already exists. You can always finish the stripping and blend the sealing jobs together next year. A blue tarp (actually, the silver ones are better) sewn or duct-taped into a big bag will protect fairly well (better than just draping or trying to tie the tarp over the boat) but you're still likely to get some pretty damp wood in there if it isn't sealed with resin and that can lead to problems. Just keep in mind that the raw wood is vulnerable, the glue holding the strips to each other is vulnerable (and often not waterproof) and that without both layers of the fiberglass sandwich on the hull there really isn't an awful lot holding the boat together. The more you can get done before Monsoon season, the better.
Thanks for the advice. I'm going to bite the bullet and put all my energy into finishing this in the next two weeks or so. Wish me luck!
not really on the same topic, Last year I refinished my outrigger, sanding back to bare timber, epoxy/fibreglass, then 2 pack polyurethane topcoat. After a couple of months a milky effect started coming up in the epoxy laminate, which has been getting steadily more widespread. I dread the thought of having to strip the boat right back again (45 ft long) but might have to eventually if no-one has a remedy. Suggestions?