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Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by bpolvo, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. bpolvo

    bpolvo Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I have a couple of questions. 1. did the early old town wood canvas canoes come stained on the inside or would this have been done later? I'm talking early 1900's. Mine appears to have a mahagony stain in it that goes with the AA grade canoe. 2. If I'm replacing some of the mahagony parts, 1-seat, decks and double whales, how do I come close in matching the 'aged' mahagony I'm keeping. I've tried alot of different stains and none of them are even close on the new mahagony.

    Thanks, Bob
  2. Paul Miller

    Paul Miller Canoe Nut

    I believe Benson Grey may have addressed the question about OT staining the interior of canoes and they may have in fact done in the the early years, but he can let us know. Morris did stain some of his canoes.

    There had been many postings on how to match stains, but bottom line it is a mutlistep creative process to try and match either the old wood to the new, or old stain on the interior and then the old stain to the new wood of the ribs and planking.

    You start with a stain that looks close and then add other stains that add what you think you need, such as more red or more brown etc. Then you take a piece of rib or plank stock you removed, or your new mahogany, and stain a small spot, then you varnish and see how it matchs the varnished wood you are trying to match. The trick is to make notes and keep track of what you have done, so when you do find a good mix you can reproduce it in quantity.

    It takes time, but that's one of the measures of a good restoration. It's like finding Waldo. The more difficult it is the better the job.

    Good luck,

  3. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Something added to the varnish?

    I think I asked this same question many moons before the Big Crash. It was on a canoe similar to bpolvo's. It seemed to me that the varnish was tinted on the mahogany, since it all came off with the stripper. Perhaps it was done to even the color out some between thwarts, seats, decks etc.

    Some folks suggested tinting the varnish with oil based enamel paints. I haven't experimented with it.
  4. OP

    bpolvo Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    When I stripped the canoe the stain did come out. My ribs cleaned up real well. What seems to be giving me the problem is trying to match stain to come close to the old wood. If anyones done this I'd sure like the formula used so I could try it on my mahagony. This would save me alot of time.

    Thanks for all the help.
  5. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    I'm a bit unclear about what you're asking, but I think you're trying to match new mahogany parts to the old mahogany in your canoe (in some places, it seems as if you may be asking about staining the hull as well). If the former, here are some suggestions:

    First, if you haven't already done so, you might want to use a 2-part teak cleaner/brightener. It can make a big difference in the appearance of you old wood. Since presumably you're taking out some pieces, try this process on some old wood scrap to see how it reacts. Second, be sure you're using the same type of wood for replacement- there are a variety of tree species generically labeled "mahogany" in the lumber trade. Third, attempt to find boards that are similar in figure and color to the old wood in your canoe. Fourth, you'll almost certainly need to mix stains, rather than relying solely on single manufacturer's colors alone. And then, you may need to layer multiple coats, perhaps in different colors.

    You might also try different kinds of stains- there are oil-based ones, water-based ones, alcohol-based ones, pigments, dyes... Some are more or less color-fast than others, especially under UV exposure (but you should be using a UV-sheliding varnish over the stain anyway), so read up on them before trying new ones.

    Hope this helps!

  6. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I don't believe that Old Town typically stained the interior of their canoes but anything is possible. This is the sort of thing that I would expect to see in the build records if it was done. I can't recall ever seeing stain mentioned on one.

  7. OP

    bpolvo Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Just to answer some of the questions back. The build record did not mention stain. I would have to believe this was probably added to the canoe at one time. As for clarification Michael is right, I'm trying to match new mahagony to 100 year old mahagony (or trying to get close). I did try different stains and different layerings but I guess I haven't found the right combination. That's why I thought maybe someone already did this and was successful could share there formula. I'll keep trying and hope other suggestions come in.

    Thanks Bob
  8. mark wismer

    mark wismer WCHA Member

    The Mahoganey on my otca was stained. I removed all the paint from them and there was a brown [perhaps oil base] color over the wood but under all the subsequent layers of varnish & paint. I removed it and found all the mahogany mtaches well with out the stain but looks a little lighter. Since I did not need to replace any of it, it all looks nice w/ out the stain.
  9. Ron Carter

    Ron Carter WCHA # 7925

    My 1954 OTCA AA grade also had stained Mahogany.

    Unfortunately the rails in particular were abraded pretty badly in places from car topping and the bare wood allowed to weather. Did come out much lighter after stripping but the color will never be uniform again without major surgery which I'm not contemplating on a "user" rather than a show piece. 13 ribs and 80 feet of planking were enough.

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