DIY Spray Covers - Sequential Steps & Photos

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TL/DR. TB,TTD
(Too Long/Didn’t Read. Too Bad, Took Two Days to think of every picayune step and find illustrative photos)

I’m putting this up as a separate post so it doesn’t get lost, scattered amidst five pages of my bather and enjoyable off-topic discussions on other threads.

I don’t see any easy way to incorporate a spray skirt tunnel using heat sealable fabric, so this is mostly relevant for partial spray covers.

For my purposes partial spray covers for solo canoes have advantages for non-WW types of tripping and day paddling. Easier entry/egress, less potential entrapment hazard, fewer snaps, and easier to access gear, including day gear in an open area behind the seat. I feel better about using a portage cart strapped around the open center with the partial covers left in place.

PC110013 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Perhaps not just solo canoe partial covers. A belly cover across the middle of a tandem canoe, from behind the bow paddler down to the stern paddler’s feet (or shorter as desired) would be even easier to make. Possibilities as well to make a partial shade and rain cover for a dog companion.

P6100010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Or a custom ice chest cover, with end bilge length end drapes to keep the sun off and the cool in. Lot of possibilities, including custom covers designed for fishing or hunting.


If you have serious sewing abilities just skip using the heat healable fabric altogether, use some coated nylon or poly material, although some of the how-to steps in making templates and seating snap buttons, sockets and studs may still be helpful.

I don’t see the weight savings of lighter denier heat sealable fabric as being worthwhile. Not for DIY dry bags, certainly not for spray covers. I would use the Packcloth material.

The heat sealable material, even the lighter weight Oxford cloth, does not stuff. But the covers will roll up tightly, and fit in an old camp chair bag for transport and storage.

P1200024 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

If you have no old camp chair bags making a custom-sized bag from the heat sealable material would be easy enough, just a long skinny cylindrical bag, perhaps with a simple top flap and Velcro closure; doesn’t need to be dry-bag waterproof, sized long/wide enough to contain the covers, which when rolled are considerably smaller than any old camp chair bag I had saved.

The use of 3M Dual Lock is appropriate only for hulls where snaps would be obtrusively in the way of a paddle stroke or getting in/out. Do not use Dual Lock to attach paddle pockets or lash straps to the covers; pressed together the two pieces of Dual Lock become stiff as a board and un-rollable for storage.

I highly recommend making a simple cylindrical dry bag for a sleeping pad or chair from the heat sealable fabric before attempting a spray cover. What you learn making that waterproof bag will be invaluable, and help prevent costly mistakes on the cover. Everybody needs at least one custom dry bag. And once you have successfully made one custom dry bag. . . . .

https://www.canoetripping.net/forums/forum/general-paddling-discussions/diy/83031-making-diy-dry-bags

Make (and save) a template for that simple cylindrical dry bag, it may not be your last. You don’t need to use see-through plastic and mark thwart locations for that template, even a paper pattern will suffice.

Sequentially, I hope not forgetting anything, a step-by-step for making DIY heat sealable fabric no-sewing spray covers:

You will need to set up a large table surface for marking and cutting the templates and fabric. A 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood, sag-stiffened with some 2x4’s placed underneath (barely) will suffice. And 6’ x 8’ surface is better still; think 58” wide fabric, unrolled to spray cover length; not something convenient to do on the narrow shop bench.

PB180004 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

For anything heat sealable, make a template first. A roll of clear plastic sheeting makes excellent see-through material for spray cover templates.

If the sheerline is symmetrical, make the longer partial cover first. You should be able to reuse the same angled \_/ template, and just shorten the length at the wide end as desired. Making the templates is the most time consuming of any step, so save them, ya never know.

If you purchased the clear plastic sheeting and heat-sealable fabric folded it can (should) be rolled onto lengths of pipe, long dowel or etc to remove the creases. A few days tightly rolled and stored warm will lessen the creases and make the measuring, marking and cutting easier and more accurate. It helps to cut the clear plastic to the same 58” width as the fabric before rolling.

To make spray cover templates begin by taping the clear plastic over the hull. Cut the plastic to the length needed for the cover, plus the iron over hem amount at the ends, but leave it extra wide to drape well over the sides of the gunwales.

It helps to first mark a center line on the plastic and position that along the keel line before taping it in place. Painter’s tape or, better, cheap, barely sticky duct tape works well for that. Make a fold over tab on the tape, and put the fold over end on the plastic template, not the hull, so it won’t pull or tear at the edge of the plastic when you remove it.

Run a Sharpie along the taped plastic under the outwale edge, and mark the locations of any carry handles or thwarts on the clear plastic, to avoid seating snaps directly behind the end of a thwart.

PB190010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Mark the approximate snap locations on the template. For simple rain, splash and paddle drip covers 10 to 12 inch snap spacing has worked well. For covers with more whitewater-ish intentions maybe every 8 inches or so. Plus or minus in snap spacing, so the spacing is fairly even and misses any thwart, yoke or carry handle ends.

Take the plastic template off the boat, lay it on the giant table and Sharpie lines below the existing outwale line for the finished cover amount of below-sheerline drape, as well as the width of heat sealed fold-over hem you desire.

For example, if you want the cover material to end 2” below the outwale add 2” on each side, plus the amount of fold over ironed hem below the outwale trace. One inch hem two inches below the outwale? Add three inches on each side.

PB190013 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Glad you left that plastic template side drape extra long?

It is best to not make any iron-over hem wider than your iron. Your iron, not the spouse’s iron from the closet. You will inevitably get some heat sealable smutch on the face of the iron, which will leave a suspicious smear after ironing the seat of your boxer shorts. The cheapest $8 big box iron will do. If you find a cheap iron with a long flat side buy two and I’ll reimburse you.

Once the plastic template has been rough cut to a trapezoidal shape tape it across the gunwales again and check the fit. Better to find any miscue on the template rather than after cutting the fabric. Take the template back off, lay it on the table and put your thinking cap on.

The fold over heat sealed hems will become peculiarly shaped at the ends to accommodate sheerline angled material, and will require some oddball cuts.

PB190025 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

There is a first time “trick” for making those oddly angled to-be-ironed fold over hems:
Fold the longest sides and make (what appears to be) the necessary fold over cuts on those edges, so they fold flat and even at the ends, heat sealable to heat sealable. Then, if for example using a 1” hem all the way around, cut a 1” wide strip of template plastic and tape it to the bow and open ends. Fold that additional template piece over and making the remaining cuts as will then become apparent. Ideally the corners meet at an I/_ angle, leaving no open un-ironed sleeve.

“Ideally”; I have messed that up a couple (three, four) times. It is much easier to visualize and make the template cuts if you use the same width hem on all sides.

If satisfied with the template unroll the heat sealable material on the giant table and tape the template on the fabric in a few places. Straight edge Sharpie the template outlines, and cut that shape. You will have an angled cut left on the rolled fabric; leave it, it may the same angle as the next piece you cut.

PB200028 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Take the cut fabric and tape it across the hull in place to verify the fit. If you somehow effed up, and a partial bow or stern cover is oops-too-narrow to snap below the outwale, you can shift it forward a few inches for more drape over the outwales and re-cut the narrow end. Or, you know, just don’t eff up dummy.

Use a large piece of thick, smoothly corrugated cardboard, with a straight flat edge on at least one side as an ironing bed. Align the straight edge of the cardboard with the long edge of the table. The longer that piece of cardboard the less often you will have to adjust the fabric on the cardboard as you iron it. See above “use a big table”.

Smooth surfaced cardboard; no creases or dents, and the stuff with visible corrugation ridges on the surface will leave a washboard road on the ironed hems. Who knew I would someday become picky about scrap cardboard?

PB200045 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

These next few parts take longer to explain than to do, and sounds more complicated than they are.

Pieces of Scotch tape (leave a tab) work to hold the folded over edge of the material evenly in place before/while ironing. For long hems I put one piece of tape in the middle and a piece an inch away from each end.

Those ends tape pieces are temporary; once an even hem has been folded over and taped, those pieces are replaced by clamps at the very ends of the fabric, so all that is left is the piece of tape holding the center straight and even.

Eh, don’t extend the clamps past the end of the fabric where the ironing fence will be clamped. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I have done just that.

A trick to assuring an absolutely straight and even hem; if the hem is narrow enough, fold the material over a thin yardstick or etc, tape the folds closed and remove the yardstick. Below, a 1 ¼” hem.

P1160022 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

With the long-edge of the cover side ready to heat seal, clamp an ironing “fence”, a straight edged board, at the edge of the folded over hem. With a long piece of fabric or wide hems, if say your ironing table is 8’ long it helps to use an 8’ long fence and clamp it at either end of the table. Trust me, you will see why after the first time you clamp it down. Shorter pieces of fabric don’t need a full length fence.

Before commencing with the ironing set a clock with a sweep second hand in view on the ironing table. 30 seconds of pressing a hot iron against every inch of a heat sealable hem takes wayyyyy longer then you think.

30 seconds on the hottest “Linen” setting has worked well on both Oxford Cloth and Packcloth, lighter heat sealable fabrics will scorch more easily. Iron over a test piece of scrap first to check your iron setting and time needed. Save it, that ironed over test piece will come in handy later to test seating the buttons and sockets.

P1160026 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The heat sealable fabric only adheres shiny heat sealable side to shiny heat sealable side when ironed over, so avoid any fabric overlap on the hems.

Heat seal iron the hem up to one of the end clamps on the fabric, remove the clamp and finish that finish ironing that end, iron the other side up to and remove the clamp, then remove the last piece of tape and, after see below, iron the center.

There will be a slight curve on the to-be-ironed long side hems, from the curved under-outwale Sharpie line. Freehand ironing curves is a nope. Ironing curves with a straight fence is impossible. Iron up to within a few inches on each where the fabric won’t-lay-flat puckers up, stop and cut a narrow vee slice from the raised-puckered edge.

You will need to adjust the angle of the fence to accommodate the other side of the curve.

PB210052 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Overlapped or puckered fabric won’t heat seal over securely and, again, the material only sticks heat sealable side to heat sealable side. Fold that vee slice down flat and, if you are happy with how the slit pieces meet, iron it closed. If you cut it just right the V slice will iron down edge to edge II.

PB200049 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

PB200050 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

If the hem is narrower than the width of ironing fence you can clamp the fence down over the hem as it cools. Seems to help, some still-hot compression can’t hurt.

After the hot hem has cooled run a fingernail along the edge to verify the hem is fully heat sealed along that entire fold over side. If you find lift-able areas mark them with a Sharpie dot and re-iron that area.

Even watching the clock it is really easy to undercook the edge of the hem, the ironing fence is straight, and the side of the iron curved, so only a fraction of the fence edge is actually under iron at any one time. Check your work.

Any of the heat sealable fabrics, even Packcloth, are most likely to begin a tear at some single ply, un-ironed/un-folded edge or seam. Taping the sheerline’s curve accommodating vee cuts, and any open edges/seams, with Tenacious Tape, after the hems have been ironed over and cooled seems like a good idea.

PB210053 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Put the fully ironed cover on the canoe, check the fit again and verify the snap stud placement. Mark the stud snap locations on the hem on the backside of the cover, another Sharpie dot, centered on the hem.

You will need to thicken the material, even Packcloth, for the buttons & sockets to seat securely.

Little squares of 1” Gorilla tape work. There are (said to be) snap buttons with shorter “posts” that might seat securely in the Packcloth, not that I have ever found a source. The Gorilla tape squares on the backside of the cloth also help prevent tearing the buttons/sockets through the heat sealable fabric when unsnapped the covers.

To verify your material thickness/button post length, take the scrap piece of heat sealable material you previously test ironed, lay down two or three ply 1” squares of Gorilla tape and test seat a a couple buttons & sockets first. That is good practice with the flaring tool and anvil, done first on something other than the cover you just spent hours ironing.

Three-ply squares of Gorilla tape have worked on both Oxford cloth and Packcloth. YMMV depending on the height of the button posts.

PB200043 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Run a shallow bead of E-6000 around the edges of Gorilla tape squares (maybe optional, can’t hurt). E6000 adhesive sealant is a wonderful shop stocked item.

P1150009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr


Melt button post holes through the Gorilla tape and fabric using the point of a 20-penny nail point, heated with a torch. Hint for Doug; I recommend holding the nail with vice grips, not your fingers.


Once the holes have been melted seating the buttons and sockets in the cover material requires an anvil and flaring tool, available at any hardware store, inculded with a pack of snap rivets.

PB200042 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That same anvil and flaring tool has fit every snap rivet I have used, from three different vendors. Use the concave anvil side, the flat side is for the stud and eyelet, and you won’t be using that side, or the eyelets.

Eh, check to make sure the anvil is still concave side up while seating the buttons & sockets; I have smashed the bejeepers out of a couple buttons/sockets on the flat side when I unwittingly flipped the anvil over.

Even when using the concave side of the anvil don’t smash the bejeepers out of the buttons and sockets when seating them; just enough to securely seat them firm and unjingly is fine. Hitting it another time or two is better than crush smashed too far. After you have seated a few buttons and sockets you’ll get a “feel” for it.

Don’t be that guy who seated all of the buttons and sockets facing in the wrong orientation on one cover.

Once all of the buttons and sockets are seated on the cover the hardest, most finicky parts are over. Take a minute to admire your work so far. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

P1150010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

To install the studs on the hull, tape the cover on, evenly spaced under the outwales. Cheap duct tape again, even good quality wide painters tape wouldn’t hold sufficiently. I detest cheap, low-stick duct tape, but there are a few less tenacious applications. . . . .

Starting at the bow end stick a piece of multi-ply duct tape on the hull, under the socket on the cover and press the socket firmly against the tape. Sharpie dot the center of the resulting circular impression left in the duct tape and drill a 1/8” hole.

That duct tape is just a marker, it’s not holding anything, so I stick a piece of painter’s tape as the first against-hull layer for easier on/off. When the top piece of duct tape gets too crowded and confused, with too many circle, dot and holes, just stick a fresh piece of duct tape on top.

PB210065 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Do not remove the tape before drilling the hole. Do remove the tape before seating the stud. Yes, I’m a dipshit and have done both.

You will need a pop rivet tool with a ¼” diameter nose piece that fits inside the studs. Some, not all, pop rivet tools come with such a nose piece. The extended ¼” nose piece on the right.

PB210067 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Use a washer to back up the rivet pin inside the hull. Or use a mini D-ring if you want additional tie points below the inwale.

PB210073 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

PB210074 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Use a washer with a 1/8” dia hole, even wee bit larger will simply fall off the rivet pin inside the hull once compressed. Don’t be like that guy again.

Use 1/8” diameter pop rivets, the rivet head/flange on those fits inside the snaps. 1/8” dia pop rivets come with various length rivet pins. A ¼” rivet pin will work with a backup washer inside the hull on most composite boats. A ½” rivet pin will work through most plastic hulls. You may need to go ¼” larger on either if using mini D-rings as backup washers. Really thick, old school RX canoe sheerlines with may need 1” rivet pins. Use a just-right length rivet; too long is almost as bad as too short.

To begin setting the studs on the hull, fold back one taped edge of the cover at the stem, so the inside of the hull is accessible. Seat that first stud on the hull, using a backup washer (or mini D-ring) held tightly against inside the hull, and compress with the pop rivet tool.

Walk around to the other side of the hull, duct tape, thumb press the socket, Sharpie dot, drill and seat it’s opposite mate, and snap it closed. Might as well do the next one in line while you are on that side of the canoe, then walk around, do its mate on the other side and etc, etc.

Important: Make/mark each sequential socket circle impression with any already-done snaps snapped in place. That means a bunch of snapping and unsnapping to access the inside for a washer/D-ring as you go along, but helps perfectly position and set the studs for the fit of the cover. Unlike coated nylon there is essentially zero stretch to heat sealable fabric, a tad loose is better than too tight, and there is an easy arch anti-puddle solution coming later.

Once the cover has been snapped in place add some drip edge to the wide, open ends of the covers. Automotive bulb weather strip works very well as a low profile drip baffle on partial spray covers. The self-adhesive backing on that stuff is incredibly strong.

https://shop.advanceautoparts.com/p/ameriseal-multi-purpose-bulb-weatherstrip-3-4-w-x-7-8-h-x-8-l-13480/10017524-P

To install an auto weather strip drip baffle just snap the covers in place, mark the outer edge of the outwale, and cut a piece of auto weather stripping to that length. Sleeve a piece of ½” diameter pipe, varnished dowel or etc inside the tubular bulb to stiffen that dip edge.

PB060037 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That was an initial test piece to see if the adhesive held, and the SS pipe fit securely. I couldn’t peel that little squib of self-adhesive backing off the fabric without tearing something. You may need to lubricate the weather strip tube and pole to sleeve a tight fit inside. A liberal application of silicon spray did the trick.

P1150016 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Once pipe/dowel sleeved inside put the cover back on the table and press the self-adhesive bottom of the tubular weather strip in place. No other adhesive addition needed. The rigid pipe or dowel stiffens the wide center-hull drip edges so they don’t sag.

A less expensive, taller but uglier baffle solution is to use ½” foam self-adhesive pipe insulation with a length of ½” rod or PVC glued inside. I like the black rubber Armaflex stuff, it lasts longer, and has better self-adhesive stickem than the cheap grey foam pipe insulation.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Armaflex...1812/100569382

You may want to glue the self-adhesive edges of that pipe insulation with a bead of E-6000.

P1130038 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Paddle pockets and Velcro lash straps are your accessible paddle storage friend. And a near necessity, even with partial covers. It is a lot faster and easier to quickly snatch a paddle off the top of the covers than to extract one from underneath, especially with a gear load below decks.

A good length for Velcro lash straps seems to be 11”; you can always trim them shorter once you have test strapped your preferred paddles.

Having a raised, stiffened tubular drip edge will prevent water on partial covers from draining into the canoe. In combination with a carry thwart under the paddle pocket the Velcro’ed paddle shaft will rest suspended slightly above the covers, and the lash straps will arch the covers a bit for better drainage. If there is no carry thwart below the blade in the paddle pocket it is worth installing one.

P1200030 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Loctite Vinyl, Fabric and Plastic adhesive works well to adhere the hemmed edges of paddle pockets and lash strap pads, but making those pockets and lash pads from heat sealable material was a PITA. I have not yet done so, but cutting up an old defunct dry bag and using that material seems like it would be a lot easier, if not color-matching coordinated.

To apply the Loctite first tape the perimeter of the heat sealable hems (or old dry bag material) inside and out, paint a thin coat of that Loctite on both surfaces, then press together and clamp the glued hems down across the length with a board. Walk away for a few hours/overnight.

P1180010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

If your cover design extends all the way to the tip of the stems I would add Velcro lash straps to hold the painter lines. For easy water covers I didn’t think that tiny amount of extra cover was necessary, especially not with long vinyl deck plates and existing painter bungees. And there is still a deck plate hand hold open and available to grab.

P1200026 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

If you are making bow and stern partial covers for a solo tripping canoe making a center storage cover is worth the effort. Little effort, that piece can damn near be a rectangle with but a few snaps, and you can leave the canoe upright with all your paddling gear kept dry inside.

P2180693 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I have probably forgotten some critical must-do step in the sequence. Don’t blame me, I’m still learning, and jonesing to use what I have learned on the next cover.

If that 30+ step, finicky, just-so sequence of steps seems like a week of work, time and effort, just to make heat sealable fabric spray covers, it probably is, and spray decks ordered from Cooke Custom Sewing will be better constructed, made from time tested design and time proven materials.

For a keeper tripper canoe, I’d go with Cooke Custom Sewing covers every time. No regrets after thousands of miles.

P3080835 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

http://www.cookecustomsewing.com/canoecovers.htm
 
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Mike, thanks for consolidating this important info. Very helpful.
 
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Mike, is that last photo Merchants Millpond, NC?

It is, and the photo above it is at site #12 Hammocks Beach SP in North Carolina. Two of my favorite places to canoe camp. Both short, easypeezy paddle-in distances, along marked canoe trails, but both spectacularly scenic and unique, with decent hiking and day paddling opportunities and reservable sites.

It’s not uncleared portage Crown Land he-man stuff, but enjoyable none the less.

Mike, thanks for consolidating this important info. Very helpful.

Dave, it really did take me two days to think of every picayune step in sequence, and as I expected I missed a few tidbits. For example, after taping the perimeter to catch any Loctite glue that might extend past the side of the glued hems, remove the tape before compressing the adhered pieces together. Don’t be like that guy who Loctite-glued a piece of painters tape under a paddle pocket.

FWIW the correct size washers for 1/8” pop rivets are not found in the nut & bolt aisle, they are in the aisle with the pop rivets, blister packs of 40 for $3.

And, again, while I like the heat sealable covers I have made, and enjoy the challenge of designing and creating them, for a keeper tripping canoe covers from Cooke Custom Sewing are superior in every way.

I don’t want to throw Dan under the “custom” bus (although it is Cooke Custom Sewing), but the custom partial spray covers he made for our Wenonah Wilderness and soloized OT Penobscot are worth every penny.

IMG020 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr
 
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I'm part way through making a spray deck from heat-sealable packcloth, and back looking at this thread for the umpteenth time to refresh details. Like, just now, getting ready to install snaps, what was that about 1" squares of tape under the buttons? I test installed a snap and it is a little loose fit. Oh, yes--Mike wrote about that, so here I am again, re-reading the TLDR thread. Except I did read it all. So for me, TLDR has become "too long, don't remember!"

Some comments on how it has gone thus far:

Making the plastic sheeting, aka vizqueen, template was difficult. How the heck did Mike end up with a straight smooth line on his vizqueen, as shown in his photo? As I tried to Mark a line three inches below the gunwale, my square got hung up on wrinkles in the plastic, and I was unable to keep the square perfectly vertical or the sharpie at a uniform angle, so my lines were squiggly and all over the place. In the end, I folded the template in half, length-wise so that the marks from both sides were on top of each other and marked a "split-the-difference" line. Also, while I had the plastic folded in half, I creased the plastic, then marked the crease for a center line, which is useful. I made a rough cut and then re-attached the vizqueen to the hull and marked where I thought buttons would go. Then I got another color sharpie and marked where the edge of the cover would be, relative to the buttons, and added an inch for the fold-over, and connected the marks with a straight edge. Then, I folded it in half again, stapled it together and cut the green lines (folded/stapled to cut both sides at once, ensuring symmetry). So far, making the template has been the trickiest part. Of course, I'm not very far.

CCov-split-difference.jpeg - Click image for larger version  Name:	CCov-split-difference.jpeg Views:	10 Size:	321.7 KB ID:	124727

The ironing: 1) beyond 15-20 seconds, there is no gain by keeping the iron on there a full 30 seconds. Previous work to dial in the iron's heat setting to the proper temperature revealed that there is a lot of variation between the two irons we have in the house. Perhaps Mike's iron is running a lower temperature and needs 30 seconds. 2) I didn't use an ironing fence, or clamps. Canoe covers are going to have a curved edge, just as the canoe does. So, clamping in place a straight fence doesn't seem to make sense. My ironing was more free form: fold the edge over one inch, but the point of the iron on it to tack it, then move along the edge and tack another spot with a one inch fold, then see where the wrinkle is going to form. Cut a little "V" at the wrinkle and iron it all down. As I got towards the center of the boat I found the amount of curvature is minimal, and I could iron several feet without having to cut the V. There seems to be enough "give" in the material to accommodate a slight curve. My mitre work at the corners leaves a lot to be desired, so I hope that Tenacious tape does the job and keeps the material from ripping.

Holes for the snaps: I don't have any twenty-penny nails, and believe they would burn too big hole anyways. Instead, I'm sacrificing an old drill bit (should have been thrown away anyway). I'm heating the shank end of the bit to burn the hole for the snap.

And that's where I am. My comments are not criticism of Mike's write-up and perhaps are indicative of me being unable to follow instructions. It's not unusual there are different ways to skin the cat, which I think is the case here. And I do appreciate Mike's write up. Without it, I would never even thought of doing this.

Now, what was I doing? oh yes, the first test install of a snap was a bit of a loose fit--1" squares? Having reread that part, let me get back to it before I forget and have to look it up again.
 
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Making the plastic sheeting, aka vizqueen, template was difficult. How the heck did Mike end up with a straight smooth line on his vizqueen, as shown in his photo? As I tried to Mark a line three inches below the gunwale, my square got hung up on wrinkles in the plastic, and I was unable to keep the square perfectly vertical or the sharpie at a uniform angle, so my lines were squiggly and all over the place.

I pre-cut the Visqueen to the 58” fabric width, rolled it tightly on a piece of pipe and left it rolled for a week or so to remove any wrinkles from the came-folded plastic sheeting. It probably helped that I was using a 4’ x 8’ plywood “table” to scribe the additional cut and fold lines.

So far, making the template has been the trickiest part. Of course, I'm not very far.

Making the template is the most difficult part. I’ve saved most of the templates from past heat-sealable fabric DIYs, sleeping pad bags, camp chair bags, tapered end bags, etc, labeled with what they fit and the dimensions. If you thought making the spray cover template was tricky just wait until you make custom sized tapered dry bags for your sea kayak or canoe stems.


beyond 15-20 seconds, there is no gain by keeping the iron on there a full 30 seconds. Previous work to dial in the iron's heat setting to the proper temperature revealed that there is a lot of variation between the two irons we have in the house. Perhaps Mike's iron is running a lower temperature and needs 30 seconds.

When I made the first dry bags years ago we tried the $8 Walmart iron on some narrow 6” long test strips of heat sealable fabric, ironing over a 1” square at the end of a loop. Pulling the loops apart with my fingers I could pull apart the pieces ironed for 5 and 10 seconds, the 15 second ironed piece took a lot effort and 20 seconds was impossible. The fabric didn’t begin to scorch until 60 seconds and I decided 30 second was a happy medium. Different irons may vary; it’s worth doing a couple skinny test strip loops.

P7291044 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I didn't use an ironing fence, or clamps. Canoe covers are going to have a curved edge, just as the canoe does. So, clamping in place a straight fence doesn't seem to make sense. My ironing was more free form: fold the edge over one inch, but the point of the iron on it to tack it, then move along the edge and tack another spot with a one inch fold, then see where the wrinkle is going to form.

I made a few things with curvy edges and found free-handing ironed seams less than satisfactory.

P8021086 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I had to go back and re-iron some weak edges.

P8021088 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

When I tried “tacking” the fabric in spots before ironing it all down I got wrinkles and crinkles, and fence-less free handing a seam the heated edge wavered plus and minus and produced weak areas that seemed more prone to separating further.

The sides of the spray covers I’ve made do not actually have a ( curve; I make a (curved) Sharpie line under the outwale, add the amount of drape and foldover, but scribe those fold and cut lines in a very shallow vee, apex in the middle, with an 8’ long straight edge (the ironing fence), moving it once for the other “angle”.

I iron up to near the apex of the vee, which leaves a raised pucker of material, cut out a narrow slice V, so the cut edges meet up with no overlap, and iron the middle. The straight edge vee is slight enough to be unnoticeable on the covers and allows me to use the ironing fence.

But, as noted, there are different approaches, and more than one way to make a template and cover.

My mitre work at the corners leaves a lot to be desired, so I hope that Tenacious tape does the job and keeps the material from ripping.

That is the next trickiest part, and my template pattern and corner fold work is still evolving.

I’m happy to see someone else giving it a shot. What’s next Chip, a couple end filling custom tapered bags?
 
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I now have covers for the Rendezvous.

Spray Cover Rendezvous.jpeg
I messed up at the stern, not leaving enough material to install snaps on the underside of the deck. So, the stern cover got a velcro strap that loops under the deck plate. One mess-up desrves another--it somehow didn't make sense to tape off the outline of the area on the cover where I glued the straps. For some reason, I was thinking the glue would glue the tape on and I didn't want tape glued to the deck. So, an ugly result, which should not detract from function.

Were Mike's directions too long? Perhaps my attention span was too short. I didn't catch the part about inserting the stiffener into the weather stripping BEFORE applying the stripping to the cover. That is definitely the way to do it, but turned out not to be the only way. The bow cover's edge is stiffened with .5" aluminum tube, the stern's with .5" dowel. I like the aluminum tube better, and it was easier to install, not to mention I didn't need to apply water sealant like I did for the dowel.

Next up, I need to add a paddle pocket and some velcro straps. The paddle shafts will need a velcro lash. Also, I want to be able to fasten the painters where I can reach them while seated.

I'm unsure of the best way to attach velcro to the covers. The stern cover's velcro attachment loop is just glued to the cover because the force on them is pulling straight back, not up like they will be for the paddle and painter lashings. Pulling up, there will be peeling force at the point where the glue stops, and I just don't think that will hold. Does anybody have an approach for this?

I'm anxious to try out the covers in windy condition. It is said covers reduce the wind's affect on the boat. I'd love to be able to objectively measure that. But maybe the difference will be pronounced enough that subjective assessment will do.
 
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Dern it all. Here you all are making your own covers, and I can't even find the time or gumption to install the second hand Cooke cover for my Magic.
 
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DaveO, the gumption to administer CT is more gumption than needed to install a cover. So, you have plenty of gumption, which helps explain why you may not have the time!
 
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I messed up at the stern, not leaving enough material to install snaps on the underside of the deck.

I have had a couple cover sections come awfully close to the edge of the outwale. Not sure why, and not sure what a happy medium is for (intended) length of cover past the outwale. I’m thinking a minimum of two inches , so if it comes up ½” shorter at the stem for some mystery reason there is still enough fabric hangover left to seat the snaps below the outwale.

I didn't catch the part about inserting the stiffener into the weather stripping BEFORE applying the stripping to the cover. That is definitely the way to do it

I tried to stuff the ½ SS tubing I used through the 2” long piece of tubular auto weather stripping I was using as a test piece. Without lubrication it was no bueno even with that short length of tube. I sprayed some silicon on the pipe and it slid right in.

Tried that lubrication on the SS pipe with the 30” long piece of weather stripping and got 4” in before things ground to a halt. What worked was liberally spraying silicon lubricant into both ends of the tubing. Eh, more than liberally; I doused the bejesus out of the inside of the tube, ‘til silicon was dripping out the other end. Best done outside the shop if you don’t want a lubricated floor.

Even then it was a PITA, the rubber tube would inchworm stretch and retract at times, or twist off level. Once I got the SS tube fully seated it was easy enough to un-inchworm any stretched areas or straighten any twists.

I don’t envy you doing that with the bulb already adhered to the weather stripping.

I like the aluminum tube better, and it was easier to install, not to mention I didn't need to apply water sealant like I did for the dowel.



I had the same concerns about using a dowel, and wasn’t sure it would provide the rigidity I wanted. The SS tube I used is overkill heavy, but it is very stiff and easily supports the weight of a couple paddles in pocket and strapped.

Next up, I need to add a paddle pocket and some velcro straps. The paddle shafts will need a velcro lash. Also, I want to be able to fasten the painters where I can reach them while seated.

I'm unsure of the best way to attach velcro to the covers. The stern cover's velcro attachment loop is just glued to the cover because the force on them is pulling straight back, not up like they will be for the paddle and painter lashings. Pulling up, there will be peeling force at the point where the glue stops, and I just don't think that will hold. Does anybody have an approach for this?

Chip, yes, a simple easy one. Cut a piece of thick vinyl, like old dry bag material into a D-ring sized patch. Cut two 1” long parallel slices in the center, an inch or so apart. Run an 10 or 12 inch length of 1” wide double sided Velcro into one slice and out the next.

Use that wonderful Loctite vinyl adhesive (Thanks Chip, that stuff is ideal with the heat sealable fabric) and glue the pad in place on the cover. Wax paper cover, sandbag weights, occasional roller compression optional.

Yes Chip, take the cover off the boat first. Yes Chip, I recommend marking not just where the pads will be placed, but in what Velcro orientation. If the paddle lash straps (plural, two paddles in one pocket scenario) are on the bow cover at a / \ angle run the Velcro at the same angle. Yes Chip, it is better to cut the Velcro a bit over long, and if necessary trim it to size after you strap down a paddle shaft.

Taping around the perimeter of the pad NOT OPTIONAL (glue squeezes out). For that perimeter taping reason it would be easier if the “pad” was more square-ish than circular.

The un-easy, un-simply time consuming way is to make those Velcro lash pads by making another template and iron hemming a pad from heat sealable fabric. Never again; I have some old dry bag material (Thanks Doug) and I’ll simply cut a square-ish shape out of that, dual slice it and glue it down.

FWIW future shop visit wise the dry bag scrap Doug sent me is bright blue, not exactly heat sealable blue, but at least blue. Black dry bag material would look good.
 
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