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#6 Canvas Useable?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by KurtsCanoe, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. KurtsCanoe

    KurtsCanoe Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I've been working on a canoe restoration my father started in 1948. He bought canvas to recover the 16 foot Kennebec shortly after he got the canoe. I still have the canvas, but it's #6 weight instead of the standard #10. The piece of #6 canvas is 60" by 18' and it weighs about 13 pounds. If it was #10 canvas it would probably weigh about 9 pounds. I'm wondering if I should go ahead and use it and not worry about the weight, or should I buy some #10 canvas.

    I would guess the weight difference in the end would also include a bit more filler. Would this heavier canvas suck up a ton of filler?

    Besides the 4 pound weight savings and $90 cost, is there anything else to consider? The canoe was built in 1917 and some of the planking is a bit thin, so maybe it wouldn't hurt to have heavier canvas. Considering all the time I've invested in this, the cost is not much of a consideration. I'm having a hard time making a decision on this. Part of me wants to use the 60 year old canvas my father bought.
  2. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    The Chestnut Canoe Company Ogilvy models had No. 6 canvas, reportedly to handle the shallow boney maritime province salmon streams. We used No. 6 on a 16 ft Ogilvy Henry for the Assembly Auction a few years back. As you pointed out, the canvas is heavier and it took more filler (probably not a significant amount more) and we ended up with a durable although heavier canoe. It is your call. No. 6 will work fine if you want to use it. I wish I could tell you how much extra weight, but your estimates are probably good to go on.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
  3. OP

    KurtsCanoe Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks. It's good to know that it's not unheard of to use #6 canvas. My hull is not the smoothest creation ever built, so thicker canvas will hide a multitude of sins. It's about 50% new planking and the old planking is not as smooth and is thinner in some areas. I'm afraid if I sand it perfectly smooth, I'll have nothing left.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
  4. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Is that canvas treated against mildew and rot? Probably not, if it's from 1948, when it didn't matter because most fillers contained the toxic white lead. Untreated canvas filled with many of today's fillers may result in a short life for your canvasing job.
  5. 1905Gerrish

    1905Gerrish Loves Old Maine canoes



    You can buy a packet of Mildewcide to mix in the filler at most paint counters for 2$ and that should take care of the mildew issue.

  6. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood


    Depending on how the canvas was stored for the last 66 years it may already be living on borrowed time. Granted it wasn't used but given the amount of effort plus the cost of filler, paint and your time to re-canvas the canoe would it be better to start with a fresh new piece? I'm certainly no expert on old fabric but it would worry me.

    Just a thought. Good luck with your project.

  7. OP

    KurtsCanoe Curious about Wooden Canoes

    The canvas has been stored indoors and looks to be in fine shape. I was considering my options for mildew prevention, and was looking for something I would apply to the canvas prior to filling. Would adding something to the filler be just as good?
  8. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    One other consideration is that # 6 canvas would be much heavier when wet than #10.
    Also, if you are worried about mildew, spend the money on treated canvas and kill 2 or more birds with one stone.
  9. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Treating (soaking) the canvas with zinc naphthanate will prevent mildew and tighten the skin.
  10. OP

    KurtsCanoe Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I'm thinking I will get #10 canvas. I'm picturing myself carrying the canoe 15 rods over a portage in the Boundary Waters and cursing the extra weight. I think the lighter weight canvas will be easier to work with and I can get it pre-shrunk and treated for mildew. I noticed that some of the canvas suppliers say their canvas is also water repellant. My local supplier says "10 oz. 100% cotton marine canvas that is "boat shrunk" and treated to be mildew-resistant and water repellent." Is that the stuff I want? Is #10 the same as 10 oz?
  11. MackyM

    MackyM LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I would buy it from one of the canoe suppliers list on the WCHA suppliers list. "Water repellant" might also be filler resistant. Just a thought. MackyM
  12. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    What Macky says....
    Shop the builder/supplier page here. Many sell and ship canvas. Most have websites. You'll get the right stuff that way.
    North Woods sells treated, mildew resistant canvas. Others may as well.
  13. Jerry Fruetel

    Jerry Fruetel A well built wooden canoe is a work of art

    I echo MackyM and Dave. You want #10 midwest cotton duck canvas-- it's not the same as "10 oz. canvas".
  14. OP

    KurtsCanoe Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Yes, it does look like #10 and 10 oz are not the same.
  15. Claude Delisle

    Claude Delisle Curious about Wooden Canoes

    The number system is different the the weight system. Both are regularly used in canvas. #10 duck, I believe, is closer to 15 oz.
  16. johnmetts

    johnmetts Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Hey everybody,
    I'm getting to the point of doing my first canvas stretch. Couple of questions:
    Tacks or staples?
    Once canvas is stretched on the canoe, should I add water and heat (iron) to shrink it tighter?
    Using treated #10 from Northwoods. How much filler will I need for an 18' canoe?
    I am restoring a closed gunnel Carlton, should I tack/staple the canvas on top of the covered gunnel or at the top outside edge? Or elsewhere?
    Shellac and/or varnish on the outside before canvas? (I have oiled the entire canoe with Boiled Linseed oil mixture.)

    Any advice is requested and appreciated.

  17. Jerry Fruetel

    Jerry Fruetel A well built wooden canoe is a work of art

    Do not attempt to shrink the canvas after it is stretched on the canoe. I tried this once, with the canvas tacked at the sheer and still under tension from the come-along. I wet the canvas with hot water and let it dry. Instead of shrinking tighter, the canvas loosened considerably. I had to remove the tacks, apply more tension with the come-along, and re-tack the sheer. The end result was fine, but wetting the canvas was a waste of time and effort.

    Since you've already oiled the hull, I would not bother applying additional sealers.
  18. johnmetts

    johnmetts Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks, Jerry. I appreciate the info. This has been a big learning experience and a lesson in patience for me.

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