What latex caulk for keel & stem bands? Or other suggestions

Brian J Knudsen

Curious about Wooden Canoes
I know there are many strategies for attaching the keel and stem bands. There are a few posts about this as well.

I’m thinking of using a latex caulk. Is there a brand or specific type of latex caulk that anyone has used and liked?

Any persuasive arguments to go another direction?

Any tips?
Thank you!



Wooden Canoe Maniac
Yeah, I started to use latex caulk lately. What I find nice is that it's cheap (!), cleans up with water, remains pliable for a long time, yet you can paint over it relatively quickly. A tube costs maybe ~$4 at Ace Hardware.

I guess most guys use what's called bedding compound, like Dolfinite. You can get it on-line at Northwoods. The problem I had with this stuff is that I used mineral spirits to clean it up where it oozed out onto the paint, and I found the spirits caused streaks in the paint finish unless the paint was fully cured. This is ok with a painted keel because you can attach the keel before you're done painting and additional coats will hide any streaking, but that's not so easily done with the stem bands which are applied after painting.

patrick corry

LOVES Wooden Canoes
I find this an interesting topic. I'm about to re-canvas a canoe, and I had planned on using latex caulk for the canvas overlap at the stems, as well as for bedding the stem bands. I regularly use latex caulk for exterior use in my residential construction business and it's quite easy and forgiving to use and clean up. I'll be curious to know of opinions from those more knowledgeable than myself about doing this.

Dave Wermuth

Who hid my paddle?
I've used latex caulk as long as it is exterior and paintable. I used to use dolfinite but i never got through a can of it before it cured in the can and it seemed wasteful. Plus it was a bit tricky applying.


Wooden Canoes are in the Blood
I had always used Interlux bedding compound, but recently I could not get it, so I tried Dolphinite. I found the Dolphinite to be comparably runny and hard to apply. The Interlux is thicker and stays where I want it.
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Dave Osborn

I use Dolphinite traditional bedding compound for the stem bands. I use SikaFlex 291 for the keel and stem canvas overlap.
I put the keel on after the first coat of paint is applied. Any squeeze out is easily scraped off and cleaned with thinner. 3-4 coats of paint then applied when the keel is attached.
I use the Dolphinite on stem bands because if repainting is required, they bands are easily removed. However some folks paint over the stem band….
I use SikaFlex on the keel because ive seen countless failures with traditional bedding drying out and allowing seepage into the hull.

Mud Bug

Hand made things are better
Don't know if any of you fellows are welders, but if you have a MIG welder handy you can blow some argon into a can to keep it from skinning. Never used Dolphinite, but it works for paint and varnish and such.


Wooden Canoes are in the Blood
Mud Bug,

Off topic, but you mentioned longrifles. I just finished assembling a Kibler kit. I have a '30's vintage Bob's that my son borrow to bag his first deer too. There - back on topic.



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Mud Bug

Hand made things are better
Now that's nice, Fitz. (But you laid it down or rocks?!) I had my rifle made 20+ years ago knowing I wouldn't have the money again after my family started. I was right and sooo glad I did. I don't have the skill with wood to do what you did. (I'm a blacksmith in my real life.) Nothing quite like bringing a deer home in a canoe. Bow, shotgun and a paddle. Which did he get it with? Paddle? Ha ha! I never quite got field dressing. If you're gonna go that far, why not keep going and bring home just meat? You get rid of a lot of weight that way and no mess in the yard for the dog to get into. Oh wait--he had a canoe to carry it!

Your Bob's has heart shaped decks, and it's from the 30's--post fire. Curious. Mine has'm too. Pretty things.

Don't mean to highjack your thread, Brian. Thanks for the opportunity to chat though.

Brad Fisher

Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes
Why do these threads always show up just AFTER I struggled and cussed over a couple of stem bands and some partially cured bedding compound?

Good advice ... for next time!

Brad Fisher

Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes
Great tip about putting bedding compound in a caulk tube. I bet it makes it easier to apply too. I’m going to try that …. Next time!

Also, I’ve had luck removing squeeze out with linseed oil instead of thinner. Doesn’t seem to hurt the paint.


LOVES Wooden Canoes
Bedding compound in the can....just smooth out the surface and add just enough raw linseed to cover and no skin, ever. Need some more ? pour it off and get it, pat with a paper towel and use it. Smooth it over again , add the oil, check the slots remove the excess , stand back and admire your job. See you several decades hence.