Monday, November 21, 2022

Trapper Canoe Project - canvassing and completion

With all the major woodwork on the 14' Trapper canoe completed by the summer of 2022, the time had come in the early fall to begin the canvassing process. The hull had been faired, the interior treated with 4 coats of spar varnish and the exterior of the hull oiled. 

Learning from the canvassing experience of the 14' Chesnut Playmate in 2019, I adapted the setup with a few tweaks. This time, I built elevated supports onto my sawhorses to allow for less crouching when pulling the canvas down for stapling. This resulted in the canoe being perched quite high and looking funny.

Also, unable to secure lighter weight #12 canvas duck, I ended up using the more traditional #10 duck. The advantage is that the thicker weaved #10 does a better job in hiding some of the imperfections in this 65 year old hull.

The tensioning setup using a Y strap and heavy duty ratchet strap was the same as back in 2019 and the stapling went without a hitch. Next came the stinky process of applying preservative to canvassed hull and letting it air out over a week or so. After this, the canvas was filled once again using a water-based "lagging compound" mud applied in consecutive layers. 

The beauty of this filler is that it cures relatively quickly and can be painted within days of application. Here is a shot beginning the primer coat of grey over the filled canvas.

The canoe's interior had be covered with an oil-based, dark green paint by the original owner. Despite weeks spent stripping the interior during the early days of the project, there were always flecks of green embedded in woodwork, giving the interior a bit of "character". A decision was made to continue the green tradition of this canoe's existence and paint the hull this standard canoe colour. Along with my Red Chestnut, I now have a set of canoes in vibrant Christmas colours. 

As a bit of an extension to this, I decided to paint the deck (which were not original but had been replaced) in this same colour, along with each of the rib tops. As this was going to be used a solo tripping boat, I also removed the stern seat (to be used in another project) and replaced it with a sassafras thwart, also painted green. Being a practical man, the original owner had also long ago replaced the centre thwart with a board of 3/4" plywood. It is still very sound and has greyed to lovely patina. 

The original owner had also long worn through the caning on the bow seat and had replaced it with a metal mesh. This had also been painted green as seen in this photo of when I first brought the canoe home. 

The loose paint on the seat had been scraped away and new coats of green paint applied to maintain this unique build feature.  Here is a shot of the re-vitalized trapper canoe!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Historic Paddle Photo: Standing paddler at Dore Lake

Rainy Lake - canoe at Dore Lake.
ID Number: 05416
Date: ca. 1934-1935
Location: Rainy Lake, Ontario, Canada
Collection: CN Images of Canada Collection

Monday, November 7, 2022

Trapper Canoe Project - plenty of planking and splicing repairs

It's been quite a while since I was able to post about the restoration of the 14' Trapper canoe begun in 2020. What began as a potential project to work with High School students became derailed during the initial Covid shutdown and then again during the multiple waves. 

Resigned to the fact that I would be tackling this project on my own, I started to slowly and methodically conduct repairs on the hull that had been fully stripped of its fiberglass exterior and interior paint. Any broken or rotten planking was removed and work began on rib repair.

While no ribs were cracked, hard usage of the boat by the sole original owner resulted in multiple rotted rib tops. The necessary ribs were were repaired with new cedar spliced on while nail holes in other rib backs were simply strengthened with wood filler.

Also requiring attention were the rotted stems on both ends. Previous repairs on rotted inwale ends were poorly done with too shallow a splice angle, epoxy and screws and non-matching wood type.

New stem tips of rot-resistant sassafras were shaped and spliced on both stems. I was able to secure some white oak gunnel stock to match the original inwales and did those repairs at either end as well. In the end I ended up re-using the decks so did not have to carve out new ones.

There was a fair bit of planking that needed to be replaced, particularly on the bottom where the old canoe had been subjected to heavy metal beaver traps and such.

I ended up using a band-saw and belt sander to mill some planking from left over white cedar stock from the birchbark canoe build years ago. In spots subject to heavy strain on the bottom of the hull, the planking would stretch over multiple ribs to be a stronger repair. 

In spots where the planking would take a severe bend or twist, the plank would be heated with a damp towel and clothes iron and then tacked into place. Over many weeks of slow milling and hammering, the planking on the hull was complete. Plenty of sanding was done to fair the hull but this boring part was not photographed...

Next up: Canvasing and painting. Read that post HERE.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Historic Paddle Photos: Guides using paddles to drink

"Thirsty" - the French-Canadian guide takes a drink from his paddle.
Date: 1941
Parent, Qu├ębec, Canada
ID Number: X-12656

Indian guide drinking from paddle.
ID Number: X-42250
Date: 1956
Gogoma, Ontario, Canada

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