View Full Version : Hello And Help!

01-04-2005, 09:36 AM
Hi Folks,

Iím new to this forum and like many other newbees need help. Iím refurbishing a Penn Yan canvas over cedar, 12í boat (I think itís called The Cartopper). From what I could find on the net it was built in 1955, although Iím not sure. The ser # is XH-73556 (from what I could make out). This is not a true restoration, I do not want to re-canvas it, and I would like to keep all the original hardware and wood. The fasteners are soft brass and some of them got chewed up. Another problem is that some of the nuts have either canvas or wood covering them. Iím scraping and sanding the old varnish, quite a job with all the tight spaces. I bought this beauty out of a barn in Maine 20 years ago and used it often up until 5-6 years ago.

My questions are:
How do I patch the canvas? Iím thinking of fiberglass or bondo.
Do I need marine paint for the hull?

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

01-04-2005, 10:30 AM
PennYan used to sell a patch kit for the canvas and there is a man who works on them who has talked about putting together such a kit again. The boats were covered with cloth and airplane dope. What works with that (Nitrate and Butyrate dopes) I don't know. Airplane glue and tacks might work with very fine cloth. Epoxy and fine cloth might work but stretching the cloth would be important and how the epoxy would react with the old dope is a question.

Alan D. Hyde
01-04-2005, 10:33 AM
Used a curved needle, available in hardware or outdoors stores, to attach a canvas patch (use overhand stitches, and tie a knot every dozen or so, and make sure you overlap well onto sound canvas).

Dope the patch, and then paint it to match the boat.

If done carefully, it won't show much, if at all.


Todd Bradshaw
01-04-2005, 12:05 PM
The traditional method of patching canvas is to glue a canvas patch to the original canvas with Ambroid cement. The patch piece can either be slid in behind the tear and glued to the back side of the existing canvas or applied over the outside after the surface has been sanded to rough it up. The crack in the old fabric is filled with more of the cement either after sliding a patch underneath or before laying one over the outside surface. In the case of a big rip, small tacks are sometimes used around the edges along with the glue. After the glue dries, the glue-saturated edges of the patch piece can be sanded a bit to help taper them down so that the patch shows less and then the area is repainted.

Ambroid Cement is still available, but not particularly easy to find. I suspect that epoxy would also work. Polyester-based fillers like Bondo probably won't stick for long. If you need filler, use more epoxy and mix your own (add a little talcum powder, fine sawdust, etc.). For small areas, you're probably better off gluing the patch to the old canvas without trying to glue the whole area down to the wood. Canvas moves a bit with humidity, temperature, etc. and a "floating" patch is probably less prone to opening up than one which is nailed or glued in place. You'll also be glad you didn't glue it down if you ever decide to recanvas the boat and need to remove the old canvas. No reason a combination of glue and sewing shouldn't also work, but it may be quite a battle getting the needle through the filled old canvas.

01-04-2005, 12:35 PM
Ambroid glue is available at good hobby shops. Google it and you may find a place near you. I've bought it mail order from a place called Tower hobbies. The have large tubes.

I think the inside hulls of cartoppers were varnished. Don't paint the inside or the next generation restoration person will curse you as he tries to remove it... :cool:

01-04-2005, 12:36 PM
I think I'd patch the canvas on this Penn Yan the same way I patched a canvas kayak 25 years ago that I still have (punched a small hole in it back about '77). Simply rough the surrounding area well with something like 60 - 80 grit sand paper & glue a small (inch or so bigger than the damage all the way around)patch of canvas on using regular contact cement - round any corners of the patch (use a good bit of cement on the patch as it will soak up the contact cement). When dried paint with a couple of coats of matching oil base paint to fill the weave of the patch & stiffen the fibers. You can then sand the edges well to do some 'fairing in' of the patch. Finish off with a top coat. Yes it will be visable, but it is easy, uses readilly available materials, & will hold up for years.

01-04-2005, 03:04 PM
Thanks for the advice! I think Iíll go with floating patches (shaped like fishes) attached with epoxy. All the wood trim will be varnished after much scraping and sanding.
The boat will not be kept in the water, stored under cover outside.
Do I need marine paint for the hull? It was originally painted a baby blue, which I do not like, so it will be painted a deep green.