She floats but leaks a survey does your all wood canoe leak?

Discussion in 'Traditional All-Wood Construction' started by alick burt, May 24, 2017.

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Is your all wood Canoe Leak free?

  1. Yes

    1 vote(s)
    20.0%
  2. No

    4 vote(s)
    80.0%
  3. sometimes

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    Interesting that you bring that up...I've often wondered what on earth possessed them to place the thwart so far off location. It's virtually useless for carrying...and they are all built that way.

    As long as I'm weighing in here, I'm puzzled by the survey options. The one that seems so obviously absent is Hell No!
     
    alick burt likes this.
  2. OP
    OP
    alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    A Good looking boat :) and even better to here she doesn't leak.

    I like the thwart position from a solo paddler point of view.Luckily I have had others around to help carry her most of the time but might make a removable carrying thwart like the one I made for the Dabchick.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    So a few months on .To be precise last Saturday I took Felix's canoe out thinking she'll be fine now....
    and yes you guessed it she leaked like a sieve!
    I had only gone about 20 yards when I noticed so I brought her back in and hauled her out with a good inch of water sloshing about.
    [​IMG]
    I left her to dry and gave it some thought.
    I am thinking it is probably due to the fact that I have left her drying so long over the summer.
    With that in mind I have decided more varnish is in order so today I rubbed down the outside lightly just to lean off any duckweed really!
    and then gave her a 14th coat on the outside.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Whilst I was varnishing I noticed the planks that seem to have the biggest gaps in the joins (and even these are pretty small less than 0.5mm !)seem to be the ones that are most often in contact with the water which bears out the theory that they get wet ,swell up, and then return to shape once they have dried leaving an even bigger gap between them with age.I suppose I should have varnished again before I put her in the water after such a long drying period.
    So the quest for a dry canoe continues. Not that a bit of water bothes me but I do like to paddle without having to sponge every stroke. :)
    Cheers
    Alick
     
  4. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    So we know why they switched to canvas canoes. I've got a transition canoe. One built on a all wood form but canvased afterward.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi Treewater
    yes I see your point but I still see an all wood boat that doesn't leak as an attainable goal if I can dry it out enough and varnish well it when it is really dry then maybe I will stop it from moving and leaking.
    heres hoping
    and whilst we are on the subject does anyone have an all wood boat that doesn't leak without being taped at the seams??? :)
    Cheers
    Alick
     
  6. Graham

    Graham Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Mine (18 113/16) had been drying for about 50 years when I varnished it. And it seems watertight ...
     
  7. OP
    OP
    alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi Graham
    Interesting, How many times have you put her in the water? Can we put yours on the doesn't leak list?
    Regards
    Alick
     
  8. Graham

    Graham Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Hi Alick, I had her out 4 times, at about 45 to 90 minutes per go. I hesitate to say it's 100% watertight, since with just one paddler it sits so high. But no water came in.
    This is my favourite canoe on the water, as it feels lighter and more responsive than the same length Chestnut cruisers. But it seems a little like paddling a dining room table with all that varnish and wood on the water.
     
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  9. OP
    OP
    alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Earlier in the year Felix's canoe was watertight after a day on the water with lots of times for an hour or so followed by resting on damp grass overnight.
    Hopefully after a few months drying I will be able to varnish her tot he extent that the timber doesnt get wet so doesnt swell and she will stay put...
    Cheers
    Alick
     
  10. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I got this boat as plunder when I invaded Canada. I just had it out on the water. A black seam about three boards in from my left foot took in most of the water. It had leaked before. The canoe had sat in a boat house for I don't know how many years. I wasn't surprised. Added a vote above. Looks similar to Burt's boat. Don't know who made it.
     

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  11. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I totally agree about the off center thwart. I had my friend (chum) out on the water yesterday. I weighs 62 lb and with a center thwart balances to be an easy carry. This boat is only 72 lbs but the off center thwart makes if feel like a lot more.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi Treewater
    Thank you for your vote.
    Yes you can see the leaky seam in your picture as it looks a lot wider than the rest.In my boat (Felix's Canoe)the planking is very tight all over.I am goin to let her dry as much as possible before her next outing and then apply more varnish a week or so before to seal any cracks that might have opened and will try once again to see if I have the reached ultimate goal of a leak free boat.:)
     
  13. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    This subject is actually quite familiar to me. I have moved and restored old wood frame houses. When the tongue and groove wood floor has been excessively wet then dry, as from a leaking roof or missing window sashes, you will go in the house to move it and the floor looks great. (Assuming it was not so wet as to buckle) When you restore the house and put the heat to it the wood drops from 15% moisture to about 5%. There will be gaps in every floor board. There are only two solutions I know. One is to put filler in the gaps and try to match the wood as best you can. The more preferred method is to pull up the entire floor, run the boards through a planer to renew the top, clean out the tongue and groove by hand, (always full of dirt) then relay the floor.
    The reasoning here is that the wet wood under pressure, (as on a floor or confined on the sides of a canoe) crushes the wood fiber and when it dries it does not return to it's original width. In the case of strip canoes, I doubt it is very practical to remove and relay the planks. I'll opt for filler.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi Treewater
    Yes this is my thinking too and I am going on the theory that if I manage to fill the gaps with enough sawdust varnish mixture they will hopefully become filled enough to be kept dry permanently and so no longer be subjected to swelling and movement.(Here's hoping and fingers crossed!)I know its a long shot but that is what I am hoping to achieve.
    Cheers
    Alick
     
  15. mccloud

    mccloud Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Two years ago I restored a strip-built possibly Peterborough canoe which I believe left the factory as a painted canoe. Following repair of the wood and varnishing the interior, I primed and painted the outside. This canoe did not leak. After several uses on the water I noticed that small ridges had appeared on the outside. A possible explanation is that the wood had swelled, forcing the varnish which was in the gaps between planks, outward. These ridges did not go away after the canoe had months to dry. I am reluctant to sand smooth and repaint, as there is no guarantee that the same thing will not happen again. These ridges might be so small that they would not be noticed on a canoe with a varnished finish, but they certainly are noticeable thru paint. If I ever do another canoe like this I will apply some ethylene glycol to the very dry wood prior to further finishing. Glycol soaks into the wood but does not evaporate, as water does. Tom McCloud
     
  16. OP
    OP
    alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Hi Mccloud
    That's interesting I have heard of this ridging effect and also of glycol being used to season wet wood before turning it so it could work.
    cheers
    Alick
     
  17. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Another interesting use is in the treatment of 'dry rot' or 'white rot' on timber joists, partially rotten or affected wood readily soaks it up and the fungus is subsequently killed. The main advantage of this type of treatment is that the glycol is hygroscopic and the wood being already water damaged readily absorbs a water based product.

    Looked up Ethylene Glycol on line and found this. Also, a supplier will send me 100 ml (about 3 1/2 oz) for $43.20 including shipping. Might be worth a try however, this is a water soluble compound so the hull should be wiped dry before painting an oil based varnish on.
    I've got the narrow board boat in the back yard covered in wet towels. I will see if after a few days I can cut down the leaks.
    BTW, Ethylene glycol is that stuff they spray at boiling temperatures on aircraft to de-ice the wings in winter.
     
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  18. mccloud

    mccloud Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I have purchased technical grade ethylene glycol from
    http://www.cqconcepts.com/chem_ethyleneglycol.php
    for what I consider to be a good price. You don't need anything purer. Ethylene glycol is the stuff in most antifreezes, and I have also used antifreeze, but the tints that are in it may change the color of the wood. I have soaked green wood in antifreeze prior to turning. For application to the very dry wood in an old canoe I was not happy with simply painting it on straight, but rather I mix about 1:1 with water in a spray bottle and spritz it on several times over the course of days or weeks. Once this has absorbed, you won't visually see any change to the wood. However, you will detect a difference if you are sanding.
     
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  19. Treewater

    Treewater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Thank you for the link. That is a much better price.
    Thank you for sharing your experience. I have four boats now and have to stop leaks in all of them.
     
    alick burt likes this.
  20. OP
    OP
    alick burt

    alick burt LOVES Wooden Canoes

    This sounds fascinating.I wish I had heard about this before I put 15 coats of varnish on her!
    I wonder if it will work if I run it into the joins between planks?.....
    Cheers
    Alick
     

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