seeking some guidance

Roger Young

display sample collector
About 10 years ago, I purchased an OT 18' sponsoned HW sailing canoe, made in 1949, originally a deep blue color, design 45. It originally went to California, where it was sparingly used in San Francisco Bay. A second owner then had it repainted a dark green and white (see first photo), and used it mostly to decorate his condo. That's how it looked when I came upon it. In the ensuing years, the paint has cracked rather badly, and I haven't used it much (see second photo). The interior, however, is nearly pristine. I felt it was time to take on the challenge of cleaning up the exterior paint. I have refurbished models, but this is my first time tackling a full-size project. I seem to be running into a decisive moment in this challenge, and thought I'd ask the experts for other opinions on how to proceed.

I've done a few hours of sanding, trying to get down through what I thought was a thick, heavy coat of green re-paint to find a proper base (see photo 3). It appears, however, that the earlier 'fix' mostly consisted of putting a 'filler' coat over the original paint. As I have discovered a dark blue, which matches the original build sheet, it seems the canoe still wears its original canvas and paint. There do not seem to be any tears or badly worn places. Photos 4 and 5 demonstrate what I believe I have encountered - original canvas with original dark blue paint, followed by what seems to be a body filler, possibly a dark grey primer, then the latest coat of dark green. I have been using an RO sander with 80 grit, so far. This is the result of several hours, filling my garage with pounds of fine dust, and hopefully not too much in my lungs!!

Question: is it worth continuing? it will take a good bit of time to remove all that paint and filler from the whole canoe. If I don't get it all, will I even have a decent base on which to re-paint without running the risk of further cracking? Although expensive, how about simply just stripping the old canvas and starting from scratch? Likely, I will just sell the canoe when finished. I'm really only doing this much because I didn't feel it would sell "as is", with cracking paint - or at least wouldn't get my money back out of it without some improvement.

Your thoughts???


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It needs new canvas, based on how long the original has been on. But, I think you have worked hard and gotten this far, so put a quart of primer and a quart of color. Who knows? It could go a long time with care. It looks like a great canoe. Hardware store paints are around 12 - 15 bucks and quart. Higher quality marine enamels like Kirby, Epifanes, etc are twice that. So you'll only spend 30-60 bucks or so. I think the extra effort would be well worth it.
I agree with Dave that your easiest way out at this point is to simply finish cleaning it up as best you can and then paint it. It is always difficult for me to consider replacing an canvas until it starts leaking badly. There are so many decisions related to replacing the canvas and fully restoring a canoe that it is almost always best to simply sell it "as is" rather than try to guess what a future buyer might want. Good luck,

I'm with you Roger... this very old Chestnut has a great aged interior that I haven't touched, but the canvas had 7 different colours of paint (shades of green), and a lot of peeling and cracking. I tried heat without much luck, and resorted to scraping and sanding carefully. It looks like a map of the world from up close, but OK from 10 feet. But I like that it's still in it's original canvas for now. It's only original once! I tried to match the earliest paint colour by mixing Mist Grey with Sea Green, and it came out quite close. I just hope I didn't match the primer and not the first coat of paint. I used Zinzer Stain Coat white primer under it, and it seemed to do the job.

If it needs to be re-canvassed, that can be done some time in the future, for now it works just fine.

Good luck!!


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Why not just advertise it here as is. Hard to get the cost of recanvasing and painting back out and one that just needs new canvas might be more attractive to this crowd than an inadequate paint job. You can always paint it if it doesn't sell.