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  • Alick Burt

Building a Wood Canvas Canoe - Part 6

The canoe is sitting in its canvas envelope but the ends of the canvas must be closed and sealed to prevent water getting in.

You may have also noticed that I have been using my own home made stretching tool to stretch the canvas. This is copied from one I saw in Jerry Stelmok's book on Joe Seliga and consists of a piece of wood with a handle at one end and spikes protruding from the other at right angles.

Wooden stretching tool for canvas.
Home made canvas strainer tensioner

What I found when using this is that it works very well up to the point when you over tension the canvas and then the spikes slip through the weave of the cloth producing tears and losing tension. The trick is to pull it just tight enough so it is as tight as you can get it before the tears start and it doesn’t take much practice to get the hang of this. I know that others use hide strainers and some make their own from mole grips but I was happy with my home made creation and if its good enough for Joe Seliga its good enough for me!

With the canoe upside down the ends are first trimmed about 2 inches past the stems.

Ends of canvas trimmed two inches longer ready for closing
The ends of canvas are cut 5cm longer than the end of the canoe.

Then the first side can be pulled tight and stapled or tacked to the stem. I ran a bead of sealant under it first and between the two layers of canvas just to be sure.

First fold of bow / stern canvas tacked in place.
The first side is then stapled tightly to the stem

The canvas is also stapled tight along the gunwale.

Tacking the canvas at the end of the canoe.
Last few staples in the gunwale end up to the bow or stern.

The second side is folded on top to close the join and is stapled or tacked in the same manner.

Stapling  of canvas to the ends of the hull.
The process is repeated on the other end of the hull.

I repeated the process on the opposite end and wrote under the canvas in marker pen “Alex Comb Designed Prospector ½ made by Alick Burt.” After all I didn’t entirely make this boat as I bought it on the form with the ribs already bent. When I make another one I will experience the delights of bending the ribs too!

Marking and dating under canvas on wood canvas canoe
Date and hull design information for others to find.

and here is what a completed end looks like.

Bow or stern with canvas fitted and sealed.
A closed end of the canoe hull.

Next time we will be on the filling stage...



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