Stripping inside of canoe


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I am considering purchasing an OTCA canoe, that has been restored some years back, and is in very good condition. The problem is that someone has painted the inside of the canoe, and if I purchase the canoe I would want to strip the paint off and return the wood to its natural state. Would doing this with commercial strippers affect the canvas (it is in very good condition thus I am not wanting to replace it)? Also, would a high pressure water wash (3000 psi pressure) work in removing the paint, and again, would that cause damage to the canvas?
In all likelyhood, yes and yes.

A chemical stripper has the possibility of softening the filler and paint job from the inside out. IF the boat has very tight planking, and IF you don't allow the stripper to sit too long - you might have a chance of pulling it off.

Pressure washers can also damage the soft cedar ribs and planking. (Look at the effect on your deck - leave the washer in one place too long and you have a hole!) In addition, a pressure washer can force water into the cracks between the planks and possibly cause problems with the filler and paint.
That's what I figured, so this one will be a user, maybe down the line I'll redo the whole thing. It took me 6 times to strip the inside of the Morris I'm working on. So the probability of stripper working through to the canvas is pretty good. Well I was just hoping someone would have a brilliant solution. Denis
Mike -
Thanks for the input. It sounds as though it would involve removal of the canvas before stripping, then recanvasing when the stripping is complete. Being familiar with woodworking is one thing, a canoe a completely different animal, so I think I will pass on this due to a lack of knowledge.
Thanks again.



How old is the canvas? May be time to recanvas anyway.

You might try a heat gun and putty knife - gently. I've had better luck removing paint with a heat gun than chemical stripper anyway. It would be a long laborious process but may pay off if the canvas is indeed in great condition. Canvasing is pretty straightforward and there is lots of help on this website if you go that route too.
Frankly, getting the paint out of the interior is probably the hardest part about the whole project. Canvassing, while seemingly daunting, is not that hard - we've helped a number of folks do it through these forums. And there are classes, workshops and chaptering gatherings where canvassing is frequently demonstrated.
i have tried both chem and heat and i'd go heatgun. granted it is slower. i usually use a small triangle scraper and frequently sharpen it in the grinder. the slight curl on the sharp edge seems to help too. if you pick out one area a day to do(say one side 4-5 ribs worth) you will find it goes by fairly quickly.
A change of heart

Even though the canoe I was considering has now been sold, I am intensifying my search for a wood/canvas canoe. The appeal of owning one - it seems to be like owning a dog, it really owns you - is hard to explain but one of those things in life I must do. One that requires a similar amount of work will be sought, and I am sure sooner or later I will find either one that needs some TLC (not wanting a major restoration) or one that has already been brought back to life.
Thanks for the input - the replies have invigorated me and I will now be more willing to attempt stripping and even canvasing if I can find the canoe suited to me.
Thanks for the input - the replies have invigorated me and I will now be more willing to attempt stripping and even canvasing if I can find the canoe suited to me.[/QUOTE]

Try the classifieds here, you might find what you are looking for! Or, come to Assembly next year, there will be several for sale, restored, partially restored, needing total restoration and some you may not want to consider at all.

Ric Altfather

Assembly??? A meeting of some sort for canoeists??? Any info about when and where would be appreciated.

WCHA has an annual get together; there is an "Annual Assembly" discussion forum that you can read to find out more. Dan Miller has a post in there that the next one is July 11-15, 2007 at Keuka College in Keuka, NY. I'm sure others will reply with more information, too.

Here is the link to our Annual WCHA Assembly page - you can see some reports from past assemblies that will give you an idea of what to expect.

Two hundred or more canoes usually turn up. There are workshops and demonstrations on repair/construction, paddling skills, canoe camping and more. This year's assembly feature is Canoes and Canoeing on the Charles River.