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1966 Otca - canvas won't come off

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Brad Fisher, Jun 10, 2020.

  1. Brad Fisher

    Brad Fisher Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Hi, this is the first time I've tried to remove canvas from a canoe. According to the books I have, it should essentially fall off the hull once you remove the stem stacks. Not the case with this 1966 Otca. It seems to have been put on with adhesive. When I try to pull it off, planking peels away. Ack!

    This is definitely a canvas cover, not fiberglass. It's like the filler (white stuff) soaked through the canvas and bonded to the wood. Maybe it's paint? Yikes!

    I haven't tried a heat gun yet; that will be my first option. Any other ideas? Thanks!

    195F2E5C-E170-4510-9AC0-986201784B1C.jpeg Canvas strip.jpg
  2. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Oh baby....that's not a nice thing to discover. You should try using a heat gun on it. You may end up having to remove it the same way you would glass, heat and a putty knife. I have heard of people bonding the canvas to the hull.
    Bo Saxbe likes this.
  3. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    It may be paint. It isn't unusual to see larger wooden boats with canvas covered decks. They are not filled on the outside like canoe canvas, but they are usually set into wet paint and then top-coated with enamel. The painted weave texture provides both water resistance and a non skid surface for foot traffic. Perhaps someone used to canvasing boat decks re-covered your canoe, setting the cloth into wet paint and then went ahead and filled the outside surface. Slow and steady use of a heat gun and something like a putty knife is certainly the first thing to try.
  4. OP
    Brad Fisher

    Brad Fisher Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    The heat gun did the trick on the canvas. I also used it to remove the residue left covering the planks IMG_3463.jpeg - has to be filler, too thick for paint. Now we're down to a thin film. Do I need to take it further? I haven't found a solvent that will thin it, and I'm getting to the point of diminishing returns with the heat gun. I think it needs another once-over, then will sand smooth enough to be canvassed. Or am I missing something?
    Dave Wermuth and Bo Saxbe like this.
  5. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    You don't want to sand too much and make the planking too thin and/or sand off tack heads. It looks like you've done a good job getting everything cleaned up pretty well. And if you're sanding effectively (as it appears), then the white stuff must be dry, stiff and fairly well bonded; that's good.

    The things I would asking include: (1) is what's left of the white stuff well adhered to the planking so that it won't later get dislodged to pruduce lumps, or worse, damage the canvas?; (2) is the residue oily or gummy, or could it otherwise release something that could interfere with filler and paint?; and (3) has any of the material gotten through the joints of the planking to be unsightly or to interfere with varnishing? If the material is well-adhered, doesn't seem likely to harm filler/paint, and doesn't show on the inside, then you're probably good to move forward.

  6. OP
    Brad Fisher

    Brad Fisher Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Just the perspective I need. Thanks!
  7. OP
    Brad Fisher

    Brad Fisher Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I'm circling back in case anyone's curious as to where this ended up. The magic bullet was acetone. It dissolved the filler like magic. I've attached photos of the cleaned-up hull and the finished product. Thanks again for the tips!

    Attached Files:

    Dave Wermuth likes this.
  8. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Nice job. Looks great. I must admit I had my doubts that the old canvas would come off without destroying the whole canoe. Well done.
  9. OP
    Brad Fisher

    Brad Fisher Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks! And the acetone high ... bonus, at little extra cost!

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