View Full Version : Old Town Ser.No. 118475

06-19-2015, 07:17 PM
Newest addition to the fleet. It is a 16 footer built in 1937, just a few years younger than me. Pretty decent condition but the inwales and outwales have had bits and pieces not too artfully scarfed on. Took outwales off, removed the old canvas and was surprised to see at least two generations of patches to the sheathing on the outside. Was also able to remove the brass stem bands without breaking or bending.
I am in a slight quandary now as to weather or not to do a bit of fairing while the canvas is off. Small gouges where clinched fasteners were removed to replace broken ribs, edges where new cedar was patched in—things like that. There is no evidence that any other restorer did that, so wondering if I should bother.
I plan to use traditional methods, canvas, filler, etc.
Any advice or encouragement welcome as always.

boat fan
06-19-2015, 08:00 PM
Lucky man Oldad !

I wished we had those craft here ...

06-19-2015, 08:41 PM
You might go over the hull and look for high and or loose tacks and replace them or clinch them again. Replace any damaged planking. I replace planking with holes and breaks across the grain. I might leave some with breaks that go with the grain. You don't need to replace entire planks, just broken sections. Space butt joints in planking apart so as not to create a weak spot in the hull. Then you can use hot water to try and swell the hammer blossoms out. Go over the hull lightly with 80 grit to remove dirt and high spots and fair in the edges of any new planking. You might find more high tacks after the sanding. I am on the fence about this, but a couple of coats of thinned linseed oil on the hull the day before canvassing seems to be a good way to bring some life back into the dry planking. You might fill deep gouges with some epoxy putty, but I am always afraid putties may come loose down the road under the canvas, likely an unfounded fear, but I usually don't bother filling things.

Your canoe likely has red cedar planking. I find that western red cedar decking is a good source of clear planking. A little Minwax early American or colonial maple hides new planks well under new varnish. You might consider stripping the old varnish completely out of the hull and revarnishing. It is a tedious messy job, but your canoe will look like new when you are done. I canvas after most of the hull varnishing is done.

Todd Bradshaw
06-19-2015, 09:51 PM
Decent epoxy putty will stay put for the duration, unlike some of that crumbly stuff they used to use, or Bondo. The only change I would make would be to oil it with Deks Olje #1 instead of linseed oil. It dries without getting sticky and doesn't eventually turn black.

06-20-2015, 05:24 PM
I just oil the outside of the hull before canvassing. I might seal the inside of the hull with shellac, then it gets multiple coats of varnish.

06-20-2015, 05:30 PM
I have been doing some research and found where someone really likes Deks Olje,1 (not sure of spelling)inside and out and then finishes with Deks Olje 2 on the inside. Any thoughts?
I have decided to strip all of the inside old varnish. Really dark. Been on the fence about this but decided to go for it. Thinking of using a citrus type as there are not so many downsides, fumes etc.

Rich Jones
06-20-2015, 05:35 PM
I feel that your home waters of Lake Champlain are too severe for this vintage craft. After restoration, turn it over to me for use on my small lakes. You can even visit it on weekends! :D

Todd Bradshaw
06-20-2015, 06:08 PM
Deks #1 is by far my favorite satin oil finish for anything other than refinishing gunstocks, where I have a curious, but effective, system using Watco. For boat stuff though, Decks lasts longer and is easier to apply and refresh. Deks #2 is much more like a gloss varnish and I've only used it a couple of times. I wasn't convinced that it went on as nicely as my old stand-by Captains Varnish, but it wasn't bad. I've never left either D2 or Captains out in the weather to see which one wears off first. If I remember correctly, I think Freedom Boatworks used to prime their canoe interiors with Deks #1 and then top coat that with conventional varnish. I've done that a few times without a problem. Unlike a lot of oil products, the D1 dries well enough within a couple of days, so you aren't trying to varnish over sticky oil.

06-20-2015, 09:16 PM
I feel that your home waters of Lake Champlain are too severe for this vintage craft. After restoration, turn it over to me for use on my small lakes. You can even visit it on weekends! :D
i really appreciate your kindness Rich;)
Thanks Todd and all for good advice.
Now to order the citrus stripper...

06-21-2015, 05:18 AM
Your mileage may vary, but I have not had much luck with the so called citrus stuff. There is very little that is citrus about it, except the pervasive Orange odor that becomes downright nauseating to me with time. Check the MSDS of any product you use and see what you are really dealing with. There is much information on this site and at the WCHA about stripping. You might consider a professional furniture stripper if you have one nearby. I have tried most products, sanding, heat gun but I use methylene chloride based strippers because they actually work. I wear a respirator tivek coveralls and get the right gloves for methylene chloride(it goes through most glove materials). Check NIOSH on the web. There is more on stripping techniques at the WCHA. I do a 2ft section of the hull at a time, apply the stripper, and go to the next section while it works, and leapfrog back and forth down the hull, keeping it wet with the stripper. Not much comes off with the first coat. It will come clean in two or three coats. I gently use a putty knife initially and move to a plastic bristle brush and plastic brillo pad as things clean up.

There are some newer green products that I admit I have not tried. Peel away and soy based stuff might be worth a try, but I find they are expensive. I should probably gives some of these products a test run. The problem with canoes is working around all of the ribs.

Todd Bradshaw
06-21-2015, 11:00 AM
I get the feeling that the true effectiveness with Peel-Away is more the technique than the strength of the product itself. They apply the stripper, cover it tightly with the plastic or whatever it is and let it cook for a few hours. Where most strippers tend to start air-drying out and losing effectiveness within a half hour or less (especially in summer) the sheeting keeps the Peel-Away liquid, so that it can keep working. I haven't needed to strip anything lately, but the next time I do, I'm going to try to cover it and see what happens.

That being said, most of the guys I know who refinish a lot of canoes use a professional service because it's such a tedious home project.