Heritage Canoe Project: Day 8

Anxious to start, after seeing so much progress to date, I arrived early (well, early for me anyway).  Seeing my gleaming treasure, I remarked to Roger that it looked so much better than the sad driftwood, in need of some TLC, that I dragged in the other week.  Always the gentleman, Roger simply nodded.  I did catch Chaucer smirking a bit, but then again, he’s a dog and you’re just not sure what he’s thinking.

Today is canvas day.  After screwing the seat supports to the inside of the canoe, we went to Roger’s work shed to prepare.

Installed seat supportsAfter cutting a little longer length than needed, I was fascinated by the setup Roger had designed to stretch the canvas.  Folding it in half, the canvas was clamped between boards at both ends and ratcheted to stretch a bit.  It looked like a hammock.  We then put the canoe inside this canvas ‘hammock’.

Canoe in HammockAfter Roger showed me how, by using special clamps and his technique, we systematically (starting at the centre of the canoe) stretched and stapled the canvas to the top of the deck, at both sides, where the outer gunwale will go.

Stretched stapled canvasAfter then removing the ‘hammock’ boards, the canvas was cut and stapled (by me) to the end stems while Roger stretched it, first one side, then the other (after gluing and hammering down the first side to prevent it from bunching).  After soaking the entire upper edge of the canvas with clear preservative to prevent mildew, it was time to brush on the hardener.

canvas stretch staple bowBy this time Roger’s assistant Doug had arrived to help.  Thankful for no rain, we took the canoe outside for this messy job.  Armed with a small sander each, with a ‘pleather’ pad installed instead of sandpaper, we watched Roger begin painting on the hardener.

applying hardnerOnce it turned from shiny to dull I followed Roger’s progress with the ‘sander’, working the hardener into the canvas.  Doug followed me with his ‘sander’, making it as smooth as possible.  Doug did an amazing finishing job, as the smoothing will pay off big time when the real sanding takes place in a few days.  It was indeed a messy job and by the time we finished I couldn’t feel my hands from the vibrations.

smoothing hardenerThe now canvased and ‘hardened’ canoe looks great.  Roger said it will now float, but several coats of marine paint will definitely look a lot better.  We parked the canoe on the supports under Roger’s awning, where it will now have to dry completely for several days before anything more can be done.  I sure hope my CRWS (Canoe Restoration Withdrawal Syndrome) doesn’t get the better of me.

resting canoeUntil next time…

previous Heritage Canoe Project next

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