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This is my first cedar canvas project

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by KAT, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. OP

    KAT LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Thanks, I suppose it is a life, just not the norm. Now if I could only figure a way to make my living from messing with boats, I would be quite happy. Would be nice to get out of the city too.
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Making a living from messing with boats... it's not entirely impossible. I believe we have a few members who do that!

    I, of course, am jealous as all get out... :(

    Hopefully, retirement will eventually happen... and then I spend the rest of my life messing about it boats.
  3. OP

    KAT LOVES Wooden Canoes

    The linseed oiling won't be done here at home, but in my house mates work place which is steam heated and fully plumbed for fume extraction, unless of course I could get a "nice" day at home to work outside and considering how winter is progressing, well above seasonal norms, that may just be possible. Normal day time temp is -12c.

    I believe the oiling will help with the fact the planking is very dry and brittle and I do hope to get some flex back into it with the oil. Varnish is in the immediate future and since we can no longer get varnish in the regular stores, they have all gone to spar urethane or water based, a trip to the local marine supplier carries Epifanes is requiired. I have used it before but it runs $43 a litre.

    At the moment planking is being replaced where required and final fitting of decks and finishing of the inwales is in process and varnish will happen forthwith. No rush though since oilling won't happen for a couple of weeks.

    Any downtime I have will be spent working out how to build a laminted contour seat for this boat since it is going to be a dedicated solo. Of note, the original babiche seats will be available to someone who either wants or needs them.
  4. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Sounds nice... and remember, we like pictures!
  5. OP

    KAT LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Out with the old...

    Old planking came out last week and new ones went in, not without some cracking despite soaking them for a couple days prior. Anything flat was fine, even predrilled the planking for tacks but the very curvy ones still split. What is the solution for that, when we only have store bought cedar to use?

    With varnishing coming up it was time to finish up the decks and get on with some much needed sanding of the inwales and what not. Did final fitting today and gave the underside of the bow deck my usual special treatment. 2 winters ago was my first time refurbing a canoe, that was an 18 foot duralite we had that needed gunwales, decks and thwarts. We used Honduras Mahogany for that and I added my touch to the decks, which was a pair of cougars woodburned onto the stern deck. The stripper didn't get any art, since I had built it. This time, I put my touch on the underside of the bow deck. My logo and some info on the boat, in sharpie. It won't last forever but will last awhile with several coats of varnish and being out of the sun.

    Anyway, this week will see more sanding and then varnish.
    Bad planks removed.jpg New planks before they split.jpg Under bow deck.jpg Cougnoe.039.jpg
  6. Larry Westlake

    Larry Westlake Designer/Builder

    Split Fix

    Kat, I assume this cracky planking is more local red cedar, like your ribs. Your ribs bent OK, and you mention no issues with them cracking when tacked. I assume you have read both the books used as standard references for this work ("Building The Maine Guide Canoe", and "The Wood-Canvas Canoe") so have already tried the push-support wedge they both show, which usually works. And the planks I see in your pix have very mild cup & twist...

    SO: I would suggest that this splitty planking was just cut from one bad board. If you decide to replace any of it, try another board. I use red cedar all the time, and this is occasionally a problem. In flat-sawn stock it shows up as a tendency for 'tongues' to lift from the surface. A local sawyer tells me it is a problem with the tree.
    The other thing that helps is to choose diagonally-grained pieces - they are not as prone to split as true quarter-sawn, but more dimensionally stable and smoothable than flat-sawn.

    You may also have over-soaked. If the planks split long after installing them, it is because they shrank. Just use them dry and apply hot water to the outside - they won't swell up as much and have to shrink again later. The one-sided expansion also cups them for you.

    Larry Westlake
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  7. davelanthier

    davelanthier Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Try using a hand steam iron as you fasten the planking. I wait until the wife has left and make sure it goes back before she returns.
  8. OP

    KAT LOVES Wooden Canoes

    It has been awhile

    Wow, plenty done since I last posted here. Got everything fitted and have 5 coats of varnish on the decks, although not dust free, that is something next to impossible to do in the basement regardless of how much I vacuum. During the second coat on the interior I found another cracked rib but had that out and replaced in two days. Finished up 3 coats of varnish on the inside then got sick for a week.

    The planking was all done prior to that and then last weekend did the best I could with final fairing and oilled the hull.

    Today was canvas time. I live in a rental home so drilling into the foundation for eyebolts wasn't an option and in the past 2 weeks we have had a winters worth of snow. Outside wasn't an option either, so I cobbled together some free standing A frames for the purpose. The upright rested against the back of the floor joist, the bottom had longitudinal support between both frames and knee braces took up most of the force. Not only did they support the canoe but also were good enough to take the tension. Used a large ratchet strap I already had and bought chain for the rest of it.

    It worked as well as I had hoped and we got enough tension to do the job. It ain't really pretty but I didn't have high expectations for my first time. Plenty of bumps and I can see the planking in places, so will just give it a flat finish to hide the uglies.

    It wasn't completely without issue. Had a tear open up about 2" long near the stern so we just stapled either side of it to lessen the stress and it will be under the gunwale so figure that will help. I think it will do.

    Tomorrow is "Filler Time". First varnish coat.jpg Stretching Rig 1.jpg Stretching Rig 2.jpg Canvas Time 2.jpg Canvas Time 4.jpg Canvased.jpg
  9. Larry Westlake

    Larry Westlake Designer/Builder


    So do I! This project is a pleasure to follow, not least because of your "can do" attitude.

    Perfectionism kills far more projects than imperfection ever could.

    Good luck with your filling today.
  10. OP

    KAT LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Filler done

    Now I have to wait a month to see how well I did on this new process.

    When I was putting the first coat on and it was taking soooo much I wondered if I would run out, but did have enough for the two coats the instructions specified. It is very blue, really easy to see when I was thin in spots and needed to add more to fill with the first coat.

    Having a book on the subject and reading alot here doesn't really do much for when actually doing something and thinking, am I doing this right? It looks ok, but of course, time will tell. It is never 70 degrees in the basement so I fully expect this to take a month or more to cure, in the meantime I have outwales to make, possibly build a seat and might just try my hand at paddle making to help fill the time.

    Filler coat 1.jpg Filler done.jpg
  11. Douglas Ingram

    Douglas Ingram Red River Canoe & Paddle

    Looking pretty good. I didn't realize just how equipped your basement work space was, not too bad at all.

    Even though the filler is a bit blue, its because I ran out of grey. Still, there is 3/4 grey and 1/4 blue...
  12. OP

    KAT LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Doug, I've been piecing together the equipment since moving to Winnipeg 3 years ago and finally having shop space. All my tools are Ryobi, the one+ series of cordless and the regular ones which include table saw, band saw, router and sander. It all works well enough and I cannot afford all the top quality stuff. I really only lack a planer but in time, I will get that as well.

    Since I am waiting for the filler to cure and I have time to kill... this boat is going to be a solo tripping boat for me so I need a seat since neither of the original babiche seats will work. I did look at what is available at the local stores and then figured, why not just build one? Umm, ok, I've never built an entire seat before, just hangers and new rails on the slider on my Swift, but how hard can it be?

    Since I have ash gunwales and cherry decks I decided to use those woods in my laminated seat rails. The lack of planer meant block sanding the pieces after ripping them but it turned out alright. Made a mold since I wanted a contoured seat with a downward cant on the front too. Bought the wood Friday night on my way home from work, started on it saturday afternoon and monday afternoon had the frame curing with the thickened epoxy on the joints. Tonight I sanded and put the first coat of varnish on it.

    It turned out well considering I've never done mortice and tenon joints before and did those just with a drill, hand saw and my carving tools. The plan is for green webbing since the boat will be green once painted.
    Seat.001.jpg Seat.002.jpg Seat.005.jpg Seat.008.jpg
  13. OP

    KAT LOVES Wooden Canoes


    Finally getting some things done.

    I did manage to find some of the webbing I had wanted for the seat and after putting 5 coats of varnish on the frame, finished it up this past week.

    Today was supposed to just be trimming the canvas back, but, in doing so I wanted to see how the new outwales work with the rabbit and well, one thing led to another and one side is on and the other would be had I not been 12 screws short. Maybe tomorrow it will be finished if I can find the same screws at the Depot.

    The original outwales had been ash, but there was a slight incident with them and the need to totally remake them. This time I went with cherry. It may not be the best but it will do for now. I may redo them next winter since I am not totally happy with how this first set worked out, but they will do for now, maybe forever, depends.

    Still at least a week away from sanding and painting and the only thing I still need to buy is stem bands. Likely order those from Noah's in Toronto since that is the only place I have found them thus far.

    Seat.Done.jpg Trimming Canvas .001.jpg Trimming Canvas and outwales .001.jpg Trimming Canvas and outwales .002.jpg
  14. Mark Adams

    Mark Adams all wood nut

    It is a funny thing how it works out sometimes. You set yourself a goal that seems like it will take all the time you have allotted. You wrap up for the day, and you realize that you have done not only what you wanted to do, but accomplished the next 2 things on the list as well. Working on canoes is a great time!
  15. OP

    KAT LOVES Wooden Canoes

    This is painting weekend and nice weather helps venting the evil odour outside.

    I'm using Interlux Brightside polyurethane enamel. No primer. This stuff isn't cheap either, $48 a litre. I have two just in case but so far it looks like I will get 3 coats out of one litre. The first two coats are being brushed, the next one(s) will be rolled maybe.

    It looks better in the photo than it is. Rough really, like painting over sand, which I put down to a poor first time filler job and not burning the nap off the canvas before filler. However, this isn't a show boat so it will do just fine.

  16. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    It's not likely a nap issue. that goes away after the first sanding. Sand it with 220? wet sand? I prefer a quart of primer as it fills and sands much better. then the top coat turns out better.
  17. OP

    KAT LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I have so much time into this already that I am not going to just accept a crappy finish, so, once this coat thoroughly dries it is getting sanded off as much as possible, primer goes on and much sanding to try to get it smoother. It is only more time and I have plenty of that.
  18. OP

    KAT LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Sanding well makes all the difference in the world!

    Friday night spent a couple hours sanding one side and finished saturday morning. 120 didn't work well, it got dull fast so I used 150 discs on the RO to take down larger rough spots then went at it by hand with 180 and it smoothed out really nice. Where the ribs were replaced I could see all the hammer dents in the planking through the canvas, so I gave a skim coat of spot putty there and it smoothed out pretty good. I can see why folks will skim coat the entire hull before painting, but I chose not to do that this time as there are enough imperfections in the hull to not worry about.

    Interlux Pre-Kote is evil stuff and I will never use that in the basement again. Let that dry about 20 hours before sanding with 180 again and it was smooth. Just put the first finish coat on after allowing the primer 46 hours dry time, rolled it and tipped it off with a brush and it is beautifully smooth and glossy. It shows every plank and lumpy spot in the hull. However, it isn't rough and it is remarkable to me that this is canvas covered with that nice finish.

    Going to let this coat dry a couple of days before sanding then second coat next weekend. Stem bands are hopefully going to be shipped this week and a couple weeks from now she should be finished.
  19. OP

    KAT LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Aesthetics issue

    I have had this little aesthetics issue. This being a Huron there is the gapping between the planks, which I don't have an issue with, it adds to the character of the craft. The issue was I could easily see the filler colour between the planks, a bright blue/white and it was distracting to say the least, not something I wanted to see while paddling.

    My solution, after experimenting with brushing in the hull colour and other ideas was to apply an acrylic pigment to colour the canvas. I have the pigments from previous painting activities. What I did was thin it really well and then apply it between the planks with a glueing syringe. Any lumps in the mixture would clog the syringe so it needed to be water thin, but that just allowed it to flow really well, sometimes under the ribs to the next visible section.

    After application I would just wipe the excess off the varnish. I know it sticks really well to the varnish because I missed cleaning up after some earlier experimenting and it didn't like coming off the varnish. The pigment is designed for use on canvas so I'm just hoping it doesn't soften once it gets wet outside.

    It looks much better, the colour I used, Raw Sienna, seems to match the cedar pretty well and I'm quite happy with the results.

    In other news, I have the second coat of finish colour on and the stem bands are here, so, I'm hoping to have this project wrapped up next weekend.

    Pigmenting .001.jpg Pigmenting .002.jpg Pigmenting .003.jpg
  20. Larry Westlake

    Larry Westlake Designer/Builder

    Judging from what I saw at art school, you don't have to worry about artist's acrylics coming off. Even with repeated washing in a washing machine, paint that got on our clothes stayed there.

    I admire your attention to such details.

    Larry Westlake
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012

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