Sanding ~ by hand or random orbital

2Lloyd

SeaKayaker2Canoeist
I've just become the owner of a canvas covered canoe (stripped of canvas) that was purchased at Simpson's Department Store in Toronto in 1972. A neighbor wanted it out of their garage. Now it is in mine.

I've ordered a book on restoration and spoken with a nearby canoe builder (Pat at Happy Hollow Boat Yard).

He mentioned that the sanding inside needs to be done with the grain.

Will one of those small random orbital sanders or does their motion move too much in all directions?

Someone mentioned to me that Festool makes a small (and expensive) sander that might be useful.

Any comments on that tool?
 
What I do is to use 220 and sand the ribs with the grain and the planking accross grain as it is real tough to sand that with the grain. I mostly wrap the sand paper around a foam sanding block.

Others use festool. Others use sanding stars from Jamestown Dist. Some use 320 grit. It's depending on your persnicketyness factor. If it's new construction the planks get sanded before assembly with the grain. For that I use a random orbital.

Last summer I restored a wonderful Chestnut that I suspect was untouched by sandpaper.

Past issues of Wooden Canoe have the absolute best descriptions of how to do it.
 
Good shape

It seems to be in excellent shape. Good luck and have fun working on it. What is it? Chestnut?
 
This is a Native built Huron canoe produced on the reserve in Northern Quebec, Canada. Sold mainly through Simpson Sears in Canada. They were some what crudely built compared to other makes but are an excellent to paddle. The original varnish was of poor quality so if it is checked or flaking now is the time to strip it with chemicals and re-varnish before the canvas goes on. The gaps between the planking is normal as they were built with green wood. All the clinching tacks must be checked and replaced as necessary as they tend to work loose on these canoes. Do not use a power sander on the interior as it could remove the clinching tack tips.
 
It really depends upon how significant an amount of sanding is required. On new construction, the planking is pre-sanded, and on the ribs I use a random action orbital. On fresh/new varnish I sand by hand, as it just requires surface prep.

On older canoes that require a lot of sanding, I go at it with the RAO, down to 220 grit. The planking gets power sanded, too, but not the fresh varnish, just the old.

I like the sanding stars for planking. I'm trying out the drill mounted flap sander from Lee Valley. Its too aggressive for fresh varnish, but could be just the thing for old varnish.
 
Try to hook up with some of the folks in Chapter 1, your local WCHA chapter. They are very active and a great source of information - and some of it is accurate :rolleyes: !
 
Not a Chestnut nor an Oak

greatlakes said:
It seems to be in excellent shape. Good luck and have fun working on it. What is it? Chestnut?

I don't think my boat is associated with a known builder. The only thing the former owner knew was that it was said to be built by native craftsman. She bought it in a department store in Toronto.

Patrick Smith ( http://www.frontiernet.net/~whbc/ ) looked at it and said that many boats were made in Quebec by native craftsman. it is not made to the same standards as an Old Town, for example, but will paddle.

It a little under 16 feet with a beam of about 35 inches. In my sea kayaking days I became very particular about hull design and likely would not find a department store kayak I would paddle. I have no knowledge of or experience with canoes.
 
Simpson Canoe

davelanthier said:
This is a Native built Huron canoe produced on the reserve in Northern Quebec, Canada. Sold mainly through Simpson Sears in Canada.

I'll just call it a Simpson Sears Canoe.

Is there a specific reserve associated with canoe building?

Pat Smith ( http://www.frontiernet.net/~whbc/ ) did tell me that most of these canoes were made in Quebec.
 
Simpson Sears wood/canvas canoes are Huron canoes. These were advertised in the Simpson Sears catalogues as Native built 16' canoes. They are all actually 15.5' in length. In Canada there were many w/c manufactures but by the 1950's my understanding is that the 3 main remaining ones were Huron, Chestnut and Peterborough. If you do a search on this site for "Huron" you will find more information. Dan Millers site also has good information. Pictures below are one of many 16' Huron canoes I have restored. Note the unusual thick heart shaped decks, stern seat location, moose hide babiche seats and inwale caps. This one is advertised for sale in the WCHA classified section for about $1560 USD if anyone is interested.
 

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MikeCav said:
Try to hook up with some of the folks in Chapter 1, your local WCHA chapter. They are very active and a great source of information - and some of it is accurate :rolleyes: !

I see that Chapter 1 has a Dansville address. Dansville is my hometown that I left on graduating from high school in 1966. I'm curious how it became the first chapter.

Dansville also has the first chapter of the American Red Cross.
 
What sandpaper to you start with?


On older canoes that require a lot of sanding, I go at it with the RAO, down to 220 grit. The planking gets power sanded, too, but not the fresh varnish, just the old.

I like the sanding stars for planking. I'm trying out the drill mounted flap sander from Lee Valley. Its too aggressive for fresh varnish, but could be just the thing for old varnish.[/QUOTE]


I began sanding with an attachment for a Fein Multimaster and 80 grit. This seemed much to aggressive.

See photograph: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/rNbjC9U0qBdbOz3CZ8VF_w?feat=directlink

A close look at the photograph shows a grove about a 1/4 inch back from the rib. It is hard avoid that with the Multimaster, but I haven't tried finer grit.
 
Sanding

I think I have tried all the tricks for sanding between ribs. ROS, flappers, funny looking sanders to get in tight spots, etc. I think the only technique that works is sanding by hand with a folded piece of sandpaper. Get a roll of masking tape and tape up your fingers like an athlete and have at it. As other folks have mentioned, you can sand with 220 grit across the grain and be okay. Spend some extra dollars on that paper that doesn't clog so fast.
 
I've been using Mirka for a while, wet and dry, and like it. Not too expensive either.

Thank you ... That helps ... I know from my kayak work that sandpaper, especially paper for power sanders, adds up to a good sum.
 
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