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Patch or paint?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Eric Bailey, May 16, 2021.

  1. Eric Bailey

    Eric Bailey New Member

    I bought a 1969 Oldtown sailing canoe last year and need to do a bit of maintenance from some cracks and dings that may have happened on the roof rack. The canoe still is watertight but seeing some canvas threads through the paint makes me nervous.
    I have some Dolphin marine bonding compound but still need to buy paint.
    Should I use the compound before I paint or should the paint seal this up?
    What is the best paint? I think I just need the black for below the outer wood bumper (not the right word) since the red above waterline all looks good
    What do you recommend for refinishing the gunwales and bumper.

    I am an old Widjiwagan guide and want to make sure this canoe survives another 50 years.

    Thanks for your help! IMG_4272.jpg IMG_4273.jpg IMG_4274.jpg IMG_4275.jpg
  2. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Hi Eric,
    That looks like a fine canoe. To get 50 more years out of it you'll need to do a bit more than patch it up. It looks like the "damage" is actually in areas that were previously patched. To my eye it looks like you need a new canvas. I would not put dolphonite over those dried rotted and torn spots. If I was going to attempt to save that canvas I might attempt a canvas patch knowing that it's likely to be a short lived fix. More likely I would pull off the outside rails and then the canvas.
    You have not shown any pictures of the inside of the boat but I would take the opportunity to give it a sand and a few good coats of marine spar varnish. Next I would set about the business of putting a fresh canvas on it. The next canvas should be one that has been treated with a fungicide to keep it from dry rotting as it appears your has.
    The listing of Builders and Suppliers gives you places to buy the materials you will need, canvas, tacks, bedding compound, filler, paint etc. BuildersSuppliers ( The canvas that Rollin Thurlow sells is treated. Some folks buy untreated material and add fungicide to the filler.

    There are several books to help you with the process.
    Most of us grey hairs were whelped with this one ....The Wood & Canvas Canoe: A Complete Guide | WoodenCanoeHeritage
    I have heard positive comments about this :This Old Canoe: How to Restore Your Wood Canvas Canoe | WoodenCanoeHeritage

    If recanvasing is not your cup of tea the list of Builders should help you to locate someone to do the job for you. If you do decide to recanvas it yourself you will not only acquire some very useful canoe knowledge but you will also be able to save quite a bit of money. Having someone else canvas typically cost 3 or 4 times the cost of the materials assuming no other repairs need to be done.

    Having said all of that, it's your canoe so you can decide to proceed in whatever way makes the most sense to you. I have offered my personal opinion....others may offer different advice.
  3. OP
    Eric Bailey

    Eric Bailey New Member

    Thanks for the info. Really helpful and I look forward to a time in the future when I can clear the time and space for a recanvas project. I only bring it out 5-6 times per year but I certainly do not want to do any more damage so I'll see if I can do proper patching. I added a few interior pictures since that is the pretty side.

    Attached Files:

  4. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Pat Chapman of McFarland Canoe is in Olympia. He is a fine restorer of vintage canoes.
    He may be able to help you get that canvas stretched.
    Personally, I wouldn’t spend a lot of time with patching. Go with Gorilla Tape and be done with it.
    MGC likes this.

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