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Fixing small seeps

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Selkirk, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. Selkirk

    Selkirk New Member

    Hey folks,
    just picked up an old cedar/canvas canoe by Peterborough Canoe Company. After having it on the water for a little while, I was starting to get water in the bottom. It has not been paddled since it was painted last year, and the paint job looked sound. I was told it was painted with Rustolum paint. It was re-canvased in the 90s, but the last owner had patched some of the canvas with fiberglass.

    When I flipped it over to take a better look at where the water could possibly getting in, I found a couple tiny spots where there was a rough point under the paint that moved when pressed. So I assume that it was not sanded well enough there. There is a small spot running along the keel that looks like a bubble that popped which could be another spot it can be getting in.

    I wasn't expecting to have to make repairs (and I'm hoping I didn't just overpay), but seeing that there is obviously a breech in the canvas, I am hoping that I can keep the paint sound enough to get me through a season or two before I have to invest on reskinning the whole hull. I searched around with the search function but couldn't find anything to help me out. I am sorry if it is a popular question and I'm just bad at search engines.

    I would like to know if others have any advice or ideas to throw at me, my thought for fixing is the following:

    1- dry the boat as much as I can in the sun and/or with a small space heater and/or blow dryer to let as much moisture out as possible. There is a varnish on the wood, but I assume there is a pathway for water vapour to come out if liquid water could come in. I just want to get rid of any moisture that may be between the canvas and the wood to prevent damage.

    2- possibly sand down any little rough bits that I can find that may be breaching the paint.

    3- use super glue to fill in those small paint discrepancies.

    4- if I can find a matching rustoleum paint colour, then I'd roll a bit on any sanded spots that I have to make to finish it up.

    Thanks for reading and for any feedback. Happy to own my first wood/canvas canoe! Can't wait to be on the water. Hoping the ice stays off for a few more weeks here on the East Coast.

  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I expect a lot of people here with far more expertise than me will be chiming in soon, probably asking for pictures... we like pictures of canoes, in any condition... but you might want to pick up this book:
    It's widely regarded as "The Bible" for wooden canoe building & repairs.

    Two other books that have a great wealth of information are:

    Another great book, not currently listed in the WCHA Store, but available through Amazon, is

    Replacing canvas is a routine maintenance item, like putting new tires on a car. As tasks go, it's less daunting than most folks fear. Have you looked for a local WCHA Chapter near you?
    where you may find some advice & help not too far away... it's much easier to assess what needs to be done when an experienced restorer can take a close look. Big surprise, I know! lol
  3. Pook

    Pook Chestnut Canoe fan

    Welcome aboard Selkirk- and welcome to the wonderful world of wood canvas canoe repair!
    Paul has given you great advice as to a couple of books you'll want to reference on a regular basis; they are very good at explaining how canoes are built and therefore, how to repair them.

    There is information on this site about patching canvas hulls to stretch another couple of years out of them before complete re-canvassing but I couldn't find them either. The best info I found was in a series of blogs by Murat, a regular poster here, who patched up an old Peterborough hull a few years ago. (He has since re-canvassed and he covers that in detail too.) Check out:

    I have patched the hulls of my Bobs Special and Langford using this info. Both had cracking and peeling paint that i patched and filled as per Murats suggestions and I'm pleased to say that I've stretched another 3 years paddling out of each. I will however re-canvas the Bobs at the end of next season.

    Note that I didn't have any leakage or obvious holes in either canvas- they were just a series of cracks and peeling paint with canvas exposed in a few small spots. Also note that Tremclad is the name for Rustoleum products in Canada.

    I hope this helps a bit! Hull repair and repaint resized.jpg

    Good luck!
  4. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    After repairing/patching things, painting the entire hull will may give better aesthetic results rather than trying to match paint for spot touch-ups. Painting the whole thing can be done in less than an hour, after any repairs are made. I would be leer;y about using super glue -- depending on the problem, I would use epoxy or Bondo spot putty.
    For discussions of paint problems (mostly worse than what you probably have) see:!&p=40689#post40689 starting at post 12, on bondo spot putty
  5. David Satter

    David Satter LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Captain Tolley's Creeping Crack cure I've never tried it on canvas , but like Rollin said it is fun to say. There's lots of better ways to repair, but couldn't hurt to try.

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