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NooB question - repairs

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Serge Lemay, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. Serge Lemay

    Serge Lemay Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Got a question. If, when repairing any wood/canvas canoe(for arguments sake, a cracked rib amidship), the canvas is still in good condition(no tears), do you have to replace it? If no, would you carefully take it off (even partially) and repair the rib/plank?
  2. mccloud

    mccloud Wooden Canoe Maniac

    If the ends of the crack are together, not poking into the planking/canvas, leave it there. A few drops of epoxy into the crack should hold those ends together. Some folks have glued a thin wood patch across a small crack - ugly, but will hold until re-canvasing time when the rib should be replaced.
  3. OP
    Serge Lemay

    Serge Lemay Curious about Wooden Canoes

    But if you need to replace the rib/plank, do you automatically have to change the canvas?
  4. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    You can't readily just remove the canvas and put it back on. The fasteners that hold the canvas to the hull are right at the very edge of the canvas, so there would be no way to effectively reattach the canvas and have it be tight. In case you haven't canvassed or read about canvassing a canoe before, the canvas is substantially larger (longer and broader) than it will be in its final form. It gets stretched on very tightly, tacked in place at the sheer line and at the stems, and the excess is trimmed very close to the fasteners.

    As for replacing ribs and planking while the canvas is on, that's impossible if you're to do it as original. Even if you can get the wood into place, you won't be able to hammer tacks through planking and ribs. Of course there's always a way to effect repair of damaged parts with canvas on (Tom described one method above), but you just can't repair it in the original building manner without removing canvas.
  5. OP
    Serge Lemay

    Serge Lemay Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks to both of you! Got it!!
  6. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    There is no harm in applying a nicely made wooden patch over the top of a cracked rib to secure it properly until the rib can be replaced...If it is done neatly the repair will blend right in and it will keep the crack from flexing during use. You should attach a cedar patch that is about 5 inches long give or take. If the crack is on a curved section of the hull it is pretty easy to pre-bend the patch or even sand it to shape to follow the rib profile. Sand the top edges to blend.
    If you look at the personal canoes of some highly regarded current builders they have made that exact repair to secure a cracked rib until the next time the hull is canvassed....just don't use tin..that is indeed ugly.
    Cracks and dings are signs of use....almost anything that fails on a canoe is repairable.
    Serge Lemay likes this.
  7. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    To expand on Mike's comments...

    We have a favorite canoe that I had just finished restoring.
    On the 1st outing, going down a shallow river, we found a rock just under/behind the ft seat, cracked 2 or 3 ribs, but the canvas was/is ok, just a bit scuffed.
    I repaired the ribs as described and it's been fine for the last 15 years. Most folks don't spot the repair and have to be shown.

    we're mainly lake paddlers, not rivers, so we're real good at finding rocks. :)
    MGC and Serge Lemay like this.
  8. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    One such repair on a friend's canoe that served for several years -- now gone when canoe was restored and rib replaced.

    Serge Lemay and MGC like this.

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