Hot wax canvas leak stopper

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There used to be a magazine called "Canoe", I stopped reading it when they added kayak to the title, not sure if they are still around. Last night I was reading the August 1991 issue again (it's nice to get old, you forget what you read and it's all new again:confused:)

They had a "Tips from the Field" section and one guy, John W. King from Topsfield, Mass. wrote in....

"I was canoeing up in northern Canada(cool:cool:) using a canvas canoe rented from a local outfitter (I like this guy already) when much to my chagrin I managed to slice the bottom of the canoe, causing a minor but bothersome leak. (been there, done that:().
We did not have any patching material available so we resorted to dripping hot wax into the cut and then "ironing" it using a Sierra cup filled with hot coals (he carries a metal cup and burns campfires, again, my type of tripper:p) This worked so well it lasted the whole trip!

I am the worst at putting stem bands on my canoes, they never seem to hold up to tripping and always leak. Thanks to my new best friend John, I will be carrying a candle and be leak free.
 
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We have used spruce and pine pitch for quick repairs on canvas canoes, way back when we were still using canvas canoes. Found an interesting site..
http://www.primitiveways.com/pine_pitch_stick.html

Our pitch was just mixed with ashes, and spread on while still fairy soft-liquidy like, often with something worked under the canvas tear that would act as a patch.
 
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good tip!

one other thing I despise about the internet is that "old" stuff goes away... old magazines you can organize and save... internet articles, not so much...
 
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I wonder how the wax would affect adhesion of new canvas. I managed to put a one inch cut right through the fabric to the wood last weekend. I was advised..duct tape.. Seems so inelegant!
 
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Working off Memaquay's idea of pitch; I've used a hot glue gun in the shop, very useful for quickly making up jigs I need right then. I think the glue is some kind of plastic that of course melts and gets really fluid, more fluid with more heat. You do need to be careful, it's easy to get it on you and get burned.

The glue sticks I use are the highest strength and amber in color. It would be easy to carry, just a dry rod of glue until you heat it. You would need some kind of heat transfer tool, maybe an axe head or sheath knife (not mine, thank you very much!) and have a care not to get it too hot. I can imagine cutting little flakes of glue and getting them down into where you needed them and then "Iron" on the heat to melt them right where they lay.

If you used a pot of just under boiling water, would that be too hot for the paint on the canoe?

All in all, maybe that duck-tape doesn't sound too bad!

Best Wishes,
Rob
 
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I wonder how the wax would affect adhesion of new canvas. I managed to put a one inch cut right through the fabric to the wood last weekend. I was advised..duct tape.. Seems so inelegant!


Ahhh, the beauty of a wood canvas canoe is that the canvas is stretched around the canoe and secured at the gunnels, it is never adhered to the wood. Fiber glassing the canoe rather than re canvassing solidifies the wood to the outside cover and it is never allowed movement as we head downstream and glide off of those nasty rocks.
In a canvass canoe you will hear cracks when you hit a rock, but you will never see a real crack unless it's catastrophic, then the ribs and plank give way.
Duct tape works well, Up until now I have used it too many times.
 
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But there is filler applied to the bare wood first, no? Would wax residue affect that adhesion? I(we) would NEVER glass a wood canoe prior to applying canvas. I like the wax idea but worry a bit forward in time, maybe 20 years when the boat affected would be reskinned.
I have lots to learn about restoring our very old wood canvas canoe. Yes the old canvas came off in large pieces and nothing stuck to the hull.

At this point I have merely learned that epoxy is NOT a best friend.
 
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I've never seen filler used on the bare hull of a canvas canoe. I have seen one person varnish the outside hull before putting the canvas one, but I'm pretty sure that is not standard procedure. I re-skinned a tremblay once. The veralite covering it was so thick that the planks underneath it were not sanded. It was like they just took them from being rippied into planks and slapped them on the hull. I had to re-sand the entire outer hull, as the canvas would have showed all of the imperfections in a fairly big way.
 
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Being an absolute idiot/newbie to canvas canoe restoration I was going by this.

http://www.wcha.org/canvas-fillers/

The poor naked hull is so dry I know we have to oil her. (No not that way). I have been advised not to be too agressive with an ice pick to check for dry rot. After all it is a cedar planked hull.
 
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Been thinking about this subject of field repairs to the damaged canvas. The way it looks to me, you want to do a couple of things: secure down the canvas back to near proximity of where it was, and close off any access of water to the inside of the canvas/wood area. That hot glue will do both these things and if properly done, I think the repairs would be more that just temporary.
The sticking point will be the temperature needed to flow the glue and just how heat resistant the finish on the surface of the canvas is. Obviously the duck-tape will work but maybe you were looking for a more permanent solution.
If it was me and I wanted to prove the idea or scrap it, I think I'd make a mock up from shop scraps, canvas and what ever finish I used and just see how well it worked.
One of the fun things about experiments of this sort is you can take them apart and just see how well it would have worked in real application. And too by doing a dry run like this you could learn how to do the repairs in the field. Talk is one thing, making it happen is another.

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Yellow Canoe, I've been thinking about you and your ice pick. I know that using an awl or some small blade is the classical method to test for rot in ship's timbers, it makes sense then; you're looking not only for rot but boring insect activity, the clever little rascals will often leave the outside shell of wood and hollow out the inside. The penetrating blade will find them, but the thin planking you're working on, won't any rot be evident with just a little abrasion on the surface?

Memaquay, That guy who varnished the planking; I can understand, it seems like a nice sort of thing to do, but wouldn't it tend to trap any moisture in that area between the canvas and planking? I understand you're not advocating it as a procedure but I couldn't resist throwing in my two cents about a possible down side.:p

We have such a wide range of knowledge and experience here; I wish someone who knows how to rejuvenate old dry wood would speak up. Now maybe it's just not possible to limber it back up to what it was in the prime of life but I'd like to know for sure. If there is a procedure wouldn't it be grand if it worked on old brittle people?:rolleyes:

Following Robin's example, I've decided to sprinkle a few of these smiley faced guys,:), around and about. After all if that guy Dim-marcus can do it why can't I?

Best Wishes,

Rob
:):):):):):)
 
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I have been a lurking WCHA member for a while and have attended enough Assemblies where a canvas canoe is made to understand and see that filler IS applied to the hull prior to application.

If you look at the Old Town build records on the WCHA site you will see the date everything was done..http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?11307-old-town-canoe-needs-a-history!

My three wood dacron canoes similarly have a filler. One of the purposes of filler is paint adhesion. Otherwise it does not stick well.

Planking is cedar, My house deck is cedar. I understand to check for rot carefully. My house deck (actually the front porch) has lots of little holes from microspikes worn in the winter.


Applying a boiled linseed oil /turpentine is done after planking and interior sanding is done..

http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.php?11130-Moisturizing-dry-wood&highlight=oiling

More on ripped canvas

http://forums.wcha.org/showthread.p...vas-Pennyan-cartopper&highlight=ripped+canvas

Not surprisinly I can't find a single thread on the WCHA forums about using pine pitch, which is of course what we want. Something we carry any way that can do double duty. Such as a candle. Or wax firestarter,

Think I will go find another empty egg carton and paraffin.
 
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Robin,

Thanks for that information.

I may experiment with the wax repair method on some scraps as OM previously indicated. I'm a duct tape and bank line/twine type of repair guy, but I carry one wax candle for every two days out to use in my candle lantern. I often worry that duct tape will cause even more extensive damage as it is removed. I know Ambroid glue was a staple of many repair kits. I have yet to put a repair kit together that is specific to a wood canoe but I intend to. In the meantime, its duct tape.

I agree too with the idea of being a little ginger when poking around with an awl or similar. My dog's nails can put some pretty deep sctatches in the relatively soft white cedar hull material, similarly the brass hardware on canvas packs can put some nice gouges in the hull.

I understand that it is pretty standard to varnish (or maybe oil) the materials prior to assembly as it is hard to get to all the cracks and crevices thoroughly varnished and waterproofed during final finishing. Mine was varnished during and after assembly (I don't know if the exterior hull was varnished once complete) and it still gains about 3-4 lbs. of water weight over about 10 days. I've been told that the older canoes weren't always built with the same diligence and can gain two to three times that water weight. If YC determines that it is prudent to do something to the exterior hull prior to canvassing, it probably goes without saying to make sure it is compatible with the varnish that will be used when finishing the hull interior. The old hull will soak it up and hopefully in between the planks, the same place you would want the varnish to go when doing the inside.

Happy fall paddling all,

Barry
 
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Good morning fellow canoe builders! Hey OM, ;), I don't think that varnish was a good idea. Yellowcanoe, my experience with filler is that it is a thing you rub into the canvas, after the canvas is applied. You use an old oven mit or something, and rub in a few coats. It covers the weave of the canvas and gets it ready for painting. I've peeled a lot of canvas off canoes, and it has never stuck yet. I have used a little bit of wood filler on open knots or holes on the hull, but that's it. For repairs in the field, we would bring spare canvas with us, one piece would go under the canvas, between the rip and the hull, and another piece would go over. We used some kind of glue, can't remember, might have been silicon. Wow, feeling old now, and that was only 25 years ago. :mad::eek::rolleyes: (see I can use those things too)
 
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"If YC says".. you missed that I am learning too and refer heavily to the WCHA forums. I am no wood canvas expert. From what I gather oiling is supposed to restore a little resliency to old wood.

Compatibility I think was another entire thread over there.

I did make one boat of mine. Not much was varnished prior to assembly. The interior was varnished before the rails went on though and the thwarts and seat were varnished before installation. But the hull was otherwise all done.

My boat did not have any varnish go between the planks but that was because there were absolutely no gaps at all. Its a good thought though. I would not want bleed through of varnish to the filler and the canvas. Now I have to go look up what the consequences of bleed through might be.. More WCHA search.
 
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I have been a lurking WCHA member for a while and have attended enough Assemblies where a canvas canoe is made to understand and see that filler IS applied to the hull prior to application.


My three wood dacron canoes similarly have a filler. One of the purposes of filler is paint adhesion. Otherwise it does not stick well.



Not surprisinly I can't find a single thread on the WCHA forums about using pine pitch, which is of course what we want. Something we carry any way that can do double duty. Such as a candle. Or wax firestarter,

Think I will go find another empty egg carton and paraffin.


The purpose of OP was to relay a way to repair a leaking canvas canoe on the trail. While the information over at WCHA is excellent and shared by many in the know, most of the stuff they talk about is for "shop" work on canoes, few of which ever go on an overnight trip. Sometimes an old tripper will chime in with a trail tested antidote, but not enough for me.

I don't apply boiled linseed oil or turpentine to the hull of my restored canoes but some folks do. My canoes are all pretty old and they didn't do it at the factory on any I have, why start now. I do use a filler on spots on the hull where there is a knot hole or imperfection that might be seen from the outside of the canvas.

When I hear the term "filler" on a canvas canoe I think of the stuff that's applied to the canvas just after the canvas has been stretched and tacked to the canoe at the gunnels and stems. It's a pastey type of paint that seals the canvas and makes it waterproof, smooth and able to take a nice paint job...

but not so nice of a paint job that we are afraid to use the canoe as intended.;):D
 
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When I think of "filler" my favorite is potatoes mashed with cream and a nice fat lob of butter melting in the middle. I do notice it tends to smooth out my surface. It's probably best I only get it at Thanksgiving and Christmas.


That business about "afraid to use the canoes as intended" reminded me: I did see some really beautiful traditional canoes not long ago on the grass by a park lake, they were owned by members of some club and everyone was walking around looking at the canoes and visiting with each other. Many had little dusting cloths and would rub away thumb prints or dust. Didn't seem all that friendly, which was fine, I was hoping someone would put on a demonstration of that twirling way to paddle that's so pretty to watch. Anyways, a young mother with a baby in a pouch and a toddler about two walked up and the little guy escaped his mother and ran up to a canoe, he might have tried to climb in, but before he got a chance he was grabbed and summarily delivered back to his mother. Not with any kindness, and much wiping off of little kid finger prints. Hmmm....... I looked around, there weren't any yellow canoes so I knew this bunch couldn't be top drawer. So I left. I'll bet no canoes go wet that day. Robin, if that had been you, you'd have let the little guy climb in and probably rocked the canoe just to give him a little excitement. Hansome is as hansome does.

Best Wishes,
Rob



Rob
 
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Well I would like to see more canoes in the water than usually happens at WCHA assembly but progress is being made IMO over the last 15 years. Most of the craft never leave the lawn, but I have yet to see anyone with an OCD dustcloth and a grumpy attitude. (OK maybe two out of 500). To tell you the truth the owners are too busy yakking.. :) to paddle sometimes or their mates are off quilting or something.

I am happy to have three of wood and dacron boats and all are working craft. Its a shame IMO when a lovely wooden boat is a home decor item.

The modern and the modern. Both are boats of similar age.

 
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