tacking new canvas to flat stern


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I'm in new territory recovering an OT 15ft, "paddling" canoe with a flat stern. I know the end of the canvas is tacked to the edge of the stern, and then the canvas is flipped over the tacks toward the bow, thus covering the tacks. Is there, then, another series of tacks nailed through the canvas into the stern edge leaving the tack heads exposed? The filler, I assume, will seal the exposed tacks making that stern area water tight.
Does your transom have a little rabbet around it?
If so, here is what I do.
Stretch the canvas normally. Fasten the sides and bow.
Deploy “cheater” staples into the transom just above the rabbet. This will hold the stretch.
Trim the canvas to twice the width of the rabbet. Add bedding compound (I use Sika 201) to the rabbet.
Fold the canvas under and tuck it into the rabbet and fasten it with staples or tacks.
Pull the “cheaters” out and the canvas will relax slightly and be tight.

Never heard of stapling and then pulling it over the staples toward the bow.
You can also attach the canvas directly to the surface of the transom and finish it with trim. I do the same as above, but attach directly to the transom.


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Like Dave said......bed and staple in rabbet. I covered the whole transom with a mahogany trim piece when I recanvassed a Y-stern.



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We do a lot of square sterns here. Like Dave I use the cheater tacks around the stern. I then fold the canvas under itself about 1/2 inch with a good bedding compound or sealant. The tacks go thru from the outside so you see the head. If the transom is solid I use small ring nails they hold great. The heads get covered with three coats of filler with the canvas. You could fair them over more if your fussy, but that doesn't make it float any better. IMG_3347.JPG IMG_3396.JPG IMG_3429.JPG
Thanks much for the responses and especially the photos. All of my questions have been answered and I feel equipped and confident to tackle the job. The canoe I'm recovering is a 1948 OT, 15ft. with sponsons and square stern. There is a rabbet in the transom, but it receives the planking. The remaining surface to hold the canvas is just the transom edge which is flat and 3/4 inch wide.

Many thanks!!
If ya don’t have a rabbet for the folded canvas to lay in ya might want to wrap it over and add a trim piece.


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Mr. Satter,
Thanks much for sharing. The photos and your explanation make it all very clear. I have restored a number of wood/canvas canoes as a hobby using the traditional "canvas hammock" method. However, the square stern I now have is a new challenge.
You have been most helpful and especially kind.