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Stainless staples or tacks for canvas?

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by vtwoodworker, Mar 2, 2021.

  1. vtwoodworker

    vtwoodworker Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I see a lot of people attaching canvas wiht either stainless staples and a staple gun, or tacks. I get that tacks are more traditional, but what are the positives and negatives people have found for each and why have they decided to go with one or the other?

  2. Gil Cramer

    Gil Cramer The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.

    I have used 3/8"stainless in an Arrow t50 for a long time into both ribs and stem. For me, they are faster, hold as well, and don't split the hardwood stem.
    vtwoodworker likes this.
  3. 1905Gerrish

    1905Gerrish LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I'm right with Gil. Stapler eliminates the third hand needed sometimes as well.
  4. Blott

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I used SS staples on my Old Town repair. On older timber there were advantages that they didn't split the wood. As has been said above, the use of a stapler does negate the requirement to have a third hand and arm grafted on !!
  5. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    I use SS staples on the sides (under the rails) and start the ends with staples (due to the one handedness) but once the canvas is started on the ends, I switch to tacks.
    The reason is the narrow ends "fill up" with the staples, the tacks take less space.
  6. OP

    vtwoodworker Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for all the input everyone.
  7. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    I’m also a fan of staples for the reasons mentioned above. But I use small copper tacks for closing up the canvas at the stems because stainless steel staples can be a nightmare when trying to drill holes for stem band screws or outside stem screws.
    vtwoodworker likes this.
  8. Gil Cramer

    Gil Cramer The wooden canoe Shop, Inc.

    Staple the first flap on the the far side, and the second flap on the far side. Center has few staples if done correctly. Not often.
    vtwoodworker and Rob Stevens like this.
  9. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Good advice. That’s what I do but if I hit one staple with the drill bit, then it suddenly becomes a frustrating day. No problems with copper though. After only a couple of times finding a stainless staple I stopped using them in the stems.
    vtwoodworker likes this.
  10. David Satter

    David Satter LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Tacks, Yes staples are a pain when trying to drill a hole for outwales or on the stems. they just get in the way. I do use them if I have to though in some cases.
    vtwoodworker likes this.
  11. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    I guess I'm a bit of a traditionalist...I use tacks. I prefer to pursue the perfect pucker with a cheek full of tacks. Just don't swallow. It doesn't seem that hard to do the "monkey hands" thing to use tacks.
    If I bought a nice old restored canoe and found staples in it I'd immediately start wondering what other "improvements" were made during it's restoration.
    But that's just me. I would also be annoyed to find an electronic ignition replacing the points in an old Healey.
    vtwoodworker and David Satter like this.
  12. dtdcanoes

    dtdcanoes LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Right, Mike....Hey Dad just finished Simonizing, and the tune up with plugs, points and condensor. Can I use the car tonight ? And what about the therapy one can get with the perfect pucker and the last tap to set the tack. Each to his own as the farmer kissed his cow.
    vtwoodworker likes this.
  13. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    The solution to the staple problem where the staples interfere with drilling holes for the stem bands is premark your canvas where the stem bands holes will eventually lie and use tacks just in those areas. It requires a bit of planning - you need to have the stem bands predrilled before canvassing, but it will save time as staples are a whole lot easier to apply.
    vtwoodworker likes this.

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