Soliciting comments/advice

Dave Wermuth

Who hid my paddle?
I need to repaint a canoe that I did about 5 years ago. the canoe sees very rough use. the paint is cracked real bad on the side that gets the most sun as it sits outside in the elements all summer.

1) Is it somewhat normal for the paint to crack when left outside in this short a time?

I used Bill Clements filler and Kirby paint with no primer in between.

I'm going to sand it until the cows come home and then repaint. but I think I maY PRIMER IT first with latex exterior and then top coat with enamel.

2) Does this sound like a reasonable course of action?
I just finished repainting the first canoe I built. It had been finished with Kirby's primer and Kirby's red. The red had oxidized and looked dull. Nothing I tried seemed to bring it back. I proceeded to sand it and put a coat of Zinser 123 primer on. The 123 builds up and can be sanded down nicely with 220 grit. I follows this with several coats of Interlux Brightside polyurethane enamel. The results were gratifying. I've used Briightside before on the recommendation of Rob Stevens and it has held up very well. The only drawback I've found to the Brightside is that it seems to be somewhat translucent so that uneven colors and patches will show through. It pays to get a nice even primer coat under it so as get a nice even color. Unfortunately I can't vouch for how it will hold up with constant sun exposure as I store my canoes inside.
In general, Brightside holds up very well out in the weather. I painted this boat (rolled and tipped out in a gravel driveway - the perfect environment for a flawless paint job :)) with Brightside (dark green with a little black added). When the photo was taken, it had been sitting outside for three years and had spent the previous season out on a mooring buoy. It was back getting spring clean-up, which didn't take much work. The decks of our old Hobie Cat were painted with teal Brightside and after nine years on the beach, we managed to polish it back up to pretty respectable shape, even though there were a couple spots where the stuff was getting thin.

Enamel over latex primer is hard to predict. Usually, applying a harder substance over a softer, less stable or more flexible one is a mistake and prone to cracking of the harder outer layer. On the other hand, I suppose that if you look carefully at the situation, a wood/canvas canoe is a painter's nightmare just waiting to happen. Here we have a pieced-together wooden hull, a natural cotton skin, a filler layer, a primer layer and a paint layer - all of which have different expansion/contraction characteristics and tolerances as temperature and humidity change. The Zinser 123 is pretty good stuff, so it might be a good one to try. With about a 2mm tip, it can even be slightly diluted with water and sprayed with HVLP equipment. It will blast out of the gun in a rather haphazard manner, but usually shrinks down to a very nice, smooth thin layer as it dries.


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