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sanding or not

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by joey shorette, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. joey shorette

    joey shorette New Member

    i have two 25 foot 1932 war canoes the cavas looks nice it has been painted a few times and is checked all over or maybe spider web is better can i sand this off or what is a idea i am new to this thanks for your help joey
  2. Mark Adams

    Mark Adams all wood nut


    The spiderweb cracking is usually an indication that is is time to think about replacing the canvas. It is not just the paint, but the filler that is cracking as well. I have heard of ways to salvage canvas that has cracked, but have never tried it. It is usually only a stopgap measure anyway.

    I have a 25'er that is in need of restoration, and I am not looking forward to canvassing or filling!
  3. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Sanding off enough material to eliminate the spider webbing is difficult, nearly impossible. You are likely to sand into and weaken the canvas, and even if you can sand to a smooth surface successfully, it is a lot of work for only a temporary fix. You could sand less and use a high build primer to try to fill some of the cracking, and then paint after a light sanding of the primer, but the result still will be far from a factory finish. You can also just paint right over the cracked finish, working the paint into the cracks, which will help to keep the boat from leaking and will hide the cracks to some degree, at least when viewed from some distance. In all cases the cracking will continue and, indeed, some of the old paint and filler will likely crack again, perhaps right off the canvas.

    I just painted over an old cracked paint job to allow me to use the canoe for a few years before I put a new canvas on the canoe. As you can see from before and after pictures, while the cracks are definitely still there, they often have little or no visual impact. I have gotten two seasons of good use out of the repainted hull, but when I went paddling last month, a crack had opened (reopened) and water leaked through the canvas. The old stand-by, duct tape, always kept handy, kept us paddling for a couple of days without a problem. I expect that next time I'm in Maine in a few weeks, the canvas will be dried out and that a little bit of primer and paint and 15 minutes of time will fix the leak. I expect to get 2-3 more seasons of use this way (probably with some minor patching/repairing) before the canoe gets a new canvas.

    If you want a long-term solution with a good finish, replace the canvas now. If you are willing to live with an imperfect but acceptable (I think) looking, short-term solution, before undertaking the inevitable canvas replacement down the road a while, a couple of coats of paint will probably do the job.

    Attached Files:

  4. OP
    joey shorette

    joey shorette New Member

    thanks for your help i should maybe recanvas just never did one joey
  5. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer


    Most of the folks here will tell you that canvassing your canoe isn't that hard. If you're near one of the local WCHA chapters, or another member, you may be able to get some in-person help. Otherwise, Stelmok and Thurlow's book, "The Wood and Canvas Canoe", shows what to do--- and there are YouTube videos as well:

    There are other videos, and there's more than one way to tackle the job... the main thing to remember is that you can always post questions here and others will walk you through it.

    When it comes to painting your canoe, Pam Wedd wrote great articles in the WCHA journal, Wooden Canoe-- I believe it was at least two issues-- which you can order from the WCHA Store.

    You can use the "search" function (above) to find past discussions with great painting tips. With fall setting in, it might be wise to take your time and have a spring launch-date in mind (unless you live where it's warm year-round, or some crazy thing like that)... you can work out a cool design if you want to... there are some really neat ones that others have posted pictures of... look at these:

    Don't be shy about posting pictures of your work, or asking questions, or begging for help (you don't have to beg much... folks here are generous with whatever they can do to help out!).

  6. OP
    joey shorette

    joey shorette New Member

    thanks again for your help i will soon have to decide joey
  7. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    You can avoid recanvassing if you are willing to accept a less than perfect finish and settle for one that is functional.

    After sanding and cleaning, apply a coat (or two) of Gluvit and follow with several coats of enamel.
    The Gluvit will seal and also fill some of the spidering and give you a surface good enough to paint.

    A friend of mine saved his 40 year old canvas with Gluvit. I was a skeptic but the result was surprisingly good.

    Hey, at least I did not suggest fiberglassing it! :eek:

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