Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Chestnut / Peterborough Refurbish Part 1

Started the refurbishment of the 14 foot Chestnut Playmate / Peterborough Mermaid I was lucky to pick up last October. I knew going in that the original canvas on the hull  was nearing the end of its lifespan and would need to be replaced. It had cracked significantly and exposed patches of underlying filled canvas.

Cracked paint on original canvas

But as the weather turned last fall, there wasn't sufficient opportunity to re-canvas and apply filler. Itching to get it out into the water ASAP, I also didn't want to waste much of this paddling season waiting months for the filler to cure. Instead, some time was spent carefully prepping the original canvas for a new coat of primer and paint. Knew from reading on the WHCA forums that this would never get rid of all the cracks but could be used to stretch another season or two out of the canoe.

Over the course of several days, the canvas was delicately scraped around the cracked areas removing bits of old paint flakes. The hull was then lightly hand sanded with 120 grit being sure not to go down to the canvas weave. The last paint job was sloppy as well with plenty of drip bubbles along the hull so sanding helped to smooth down the hull.

To fill some of the wider cracks and chipped areas, I read a tip of using a high quality epoxy based wood filler as an acceptable short-term solution. In the end, I had some of this Minwax High Performance Wood Filler on hand.

It is messy to use and needs plenty of ventilation but I've had good results with it for other wood repairs around the house. Bit by bit it was worked into the trouble spots on the hull with a putty knife with the intention of sanding off the excess.

Messy epoxy putty worked into canvas gouges

By the time the day was done, I sort of went a bit overboard filling any large and small areas so the canoe looked like it had some tropical skin disease.

Uneven surfaces filled

Minwax HP filler is tougher to sand then other types of wood filler I've used, but it can get smoothed out nicely. Here's a typical area sanded clean of the excess.

Paint wise, I ended up using the cheap solution here in Canada. Tremclad Rustoleum Oil based Rust Paints which are significantly cheaper than the Epifanes Yacht enamel popularly used for cedar canvas canoes up here. To ensure better adhesion over all the filler spots, I ended up laying on a primer layer. Not sure if it was necessary, but did it anyway. Rustoleum has a nice Rust-Oxide colour primer (as well as the usual grey) that is more colour compatible with its Regal Red.


If this was meant to be a professional job, the outwales and brass stem bands should've been removed but the original steel screws holding on the gunnels have corroded heavily and the heads have been covered in caked-on varnish. The brass stembands had also been sloppily painted over by the former owner with the previous coat paint filling the tiny screw heads. Too much effort and time would be spent having to clean each screw head just for removal. Instead of doing that now, figured I'll spend the effort of cleaning and removing those once a full re-canvas is done in a year or two. For now, the outwales and stem bands were taped off for the primer layer.

Rust coloured Primer layer

The primer was then sanded down again to get rid of any remaining irregularities in the hull and in preparation of the colour coat. Didn't get a shot of it but after this, a layer of flexible polyurethane sealant was spread on either side of the shoe keel to fill some gaps where old bedding compound had peeled away.


Here's a shot of the Regal Red rust paint going on the hull. 

Single coat of paint going on

Here is the completed result taken from our elevated 2nd story deck...

I knew going in that no amount of surface work on a cracked canvas exterior would result in a completely new finished looked, but overall I'm happy with this little cosmetic surgery. The hull is more even and just a few remaining cracks are faintly noticeable under the new primer + paint layers. Still more cosmetic work to do on the interior with varnish and seats but that writeup will be in another post. Hoping to get it into the water in a few weeks, maybe even for a birthday paddle in early August.

Update: August 2016 - Read Part 2 of the restoration in this post.

1 comment:

W. Bruce Clark said...

Followed this blog with much interest- and spent this past weekend filling cracks and chips in paintwork as suggested in my Bobs Special. Will wait till spring for primer and paint coats.
Thanks for the info!

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