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Wrinkles in canvas

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Zenith, Apr 11, 2020.

  1. Zenith

    Zenith Curious about wooden canoes

    Early last fall I canvased my 1928 Oldtown, and it came out very well with no wrinkles. After waiting for some good weather I applied the sealer, and there was about a week of warm weather for it to start its cure, again with no wrinkles. The boat has been and is in my shop for the whole winter. Since I don't do much in the winter due to the cold, I did not notice any wrinkles. A couple of weeks ago I opened the barn and wrinkles were very pronounced, and I assumed that I had done something wrong. After a week of good weather I again looked at the canoe and the wrinkles were gone. They had taken about three days to smooth out. Now with some damp weather, the wrinkles are back, and even more pronounced than before. The sealer is cured. I figure that the wrinkles may disappear again, but I guess they may keep coming back, and I suspect that painting the boat when they are gone will not help much. If humidity or moisture causes the rippling, that is not a good thing since the canoe will look its worst when it is in the water. I can pull the tacks and try to stretch the canvas some, but the sealer is hard and it may not pull well over the stems. This is the first canoe that I have canvased, but I have a lot of boat repair and building experience. I know a lot of folks are against fiber-glassing a canvas canoe, but I have never had a wrinkling problem using glass. If there is no way to fix this I will probably pull off the canvas and go with the glass, because these wrinkles are not acceptable. I have read the threads on this subject from April 2012 and July 2017, and there is a mention of the cause but no fix. I have some pictures of the non wrinkled job on my site at http://johnmaciver.tripod.com/id13.html , but I can't seem to get a picture of the wrinkles on there.
     
  2. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    If you canvassed during high humidity, the canoe may shrink, leaving slack in the canvas.
    I’ve had this issue twice. Both involved high humidity.
    I pulled the fastenings at the ribs and restretched. Came out fine.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about wooden canoes

    I could stretch it when it is wrinkled, but most of the time it is smooth.
     
  4. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    One time I had filler on the canoe, and the other there was no filler.
    I’d say wait for wrinkles. Or, pull a few staple and give it a pull. See if you get any stretch.
    As I recall about 1/2” was all I got out of it, but it worked.
    You have nothing to lose.
     
  5. mccloud

    mccloud "Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac In Memoriam

    With one canoe that was canvased during a wet fall, then moved in to my shop which has a wood stove, wrinkles in the canvas appeared as I was painting. Most distressing. I threw two pairs of old Levis into it and kept them wet for a week. The wood expanded and the wrinkles went away. In this case, the cure is to paddle the canoe so the wood remains expanded. TM..
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about wooden canoes

    Thank you all for your reply!!! Yes, removing some tacks and trying to pull them out is my best bet, and I hope it works. It is pretty damp out there, so it could be a good time to try and pull them out, but we are also supposed to be getting pretty cold, so maybe I need to wait for a warm damp day. I am not quite ready to throw in the towel on the canvas yet, but looking at the canoe is depressing when the wrinkles are there. But I will figure it out and let you know what happens on this thread. Could be a while though.... And I am also working on replacing 8 frames on the 1908 Morris. So it's all fun.....one thing or another....
    Thanks again for the info.....
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about wooden canoes

    I finally got a picture of the wrinkles onto my web site. You can see the canvas job as completed and one shot of the wrinkles. The other side of the bow is worse, but for some reason I can't add another picture to the site. Thanks again for your input... http://johnmaciver.tripod.com/id13.html
    John MacIver.
     
  8. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    I think we might need some more information. What weight is the canvas? How did you stretch it - with clamps, anchors, come-a-long, by hand? Did you use "clothes pins" on the ends to pull the canvas tight to the hull? Are the wrinkles the same on both ends?

    I agree with Dave. Try pulling a few fasteners and tugging. It looks to me like you may need to go horizontally some which may mean pulling some of the stem fasteners. This may not leave you much canvas to tug. If you have upholstery pliers, that would help get a grip. You can also use "cheater" staples (temporary staples) to hold some areas of canvas, while tugging on other areas.

    I don't think you need to resort to 'glass. I don't think you will need to pull too much to get rid of those.

    Keep us posted.

    Fitz
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about wooden canoes

    Fitz Thank you for your reply. I used standard grade # 10 mildew resistant canvas and a gallon of filler from the Northwoods Canoe Company. I used "clothes pins" on each end pulled tight with a come-a-long attached to a tractor on one end and to the wall at the other. The canoe was suspended right side up in the canvas envelope and upholstery pliers were used to pull the canvas tight. You can see the correct ripple above the gunwale tacks and a wrinkle free surface on the upper photo on my web site. I used about 40 lbs of weight inside the canoe while stretching and tacking. The wrinkles are more pronounced on the end facing the shops large doors, but of course the doors are closed when I am not working in the shop. The wrinkles are not as bad in the center of the canoe. I have been only able to get one picture of the wrinkles onto my site at the moment, but it is the same side for comparison as the upper shot with no wrinkles. The opposite side is worse at the bow than the side showing. Since the vertical ripples are full length of the canoe, the entire gunwale and end tacks will need to be removed, and of course the only stretching that I would be able to do is with the upholstery pliers. The "cheater" staples idea is a good one, and I will try that. As you can see at the bow, the wrinkles go in both directions. That coupled with the fact that the sealer filler is hard may cause difficulty, but as Dave said, I have nothing to loose. It is unfortunate but if I cant get the wrinkles out, I will probably go back to glass. I at least know that I will have no problem with that. But I will give the canvas another shot, but will need to wait for better weather. It is supposed to get down below freezing for a week out here in central Missouri.
    Thank you all for the input!!!
    John
     
  10. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Wow Zenith, it seems you did everything right. It is possible to stretch it too tight. My rule of thumb is just tight enough to get rid of the major wrinkles and enough so the canvas is flat on the bottom of the canoe. As most folks would say here, don't give up hope. I think you might like canvas better than glass. I know I do. Was it an extremely humid day when you did it?

    Fitz
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about wooden canoes

    Fitz, Thanks again for the reply. I don't think there was a lot of humidity, because I would have noticed that. Having worked a lot with fiberglass and paint I am familiar with the hazing that comes with excessive humidity, and I think I would have noticed this. Also, the canvas looked fine for quite a while, and only shows up with wrinkles from time to time. But when they do show up they are pretty bad.
    Thanks again...
    John
     
  12. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Did you oil the hull before canvas? You probably have read the pros and cons of 'glassing a w/c canoe?
     
  13. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about wooden canoes

    Dave, No I did not oil the canoe, but I suspect that that was done at manufacture,although the planking appeared dryer than that of the Morris. The Oldtown may or may not have been oiled. An interesting aside on your post is that I also have a 1908 Morris that I have owned for many years. I found it and another Oldtown on a burn pile in New Jersey back in the mid 1980s and bought them both for about $40. It had a few broken frames and I thought that to strengthen it, water proof it, and make this cheap canoe usable that I would fiberglass it, and that is what I did and used it for many years in Rhode Island before moving to Missouri in 94. It was then sitting in my barn until I finished the other boat projects that I had, then pulled down the canoes a few years ago, joined the WCHA and found out what they were. You can see how the Morris looked with its glass coat as it is the green canoe on my web page before removal of the glass. I figured they both needed better attention and have been working on them since. I decided to remove the fiberglass from the Morris and figured it was going to be a difficult job to do without significantly damaging the cedar planking. However, I found that the glass and resin came off easily in sheets, with no real damage to the planking. I needed only to hit some spots with a sander to remove residual resin. The point is that I believe that the Morris was oiled at manufacture, and the there was still enough oil in the planking to prevent the glass resin from sinking very far into the planking. The glass adhered well enough to the wood to form a bond, but still allowed some flexibility to the boat, and allowed the glass to be easily removed. I am in the process of replacing the broken frames in the Morris, and until the problem with the Oldtown came up, I had been planing to canvas the Morris. I am still going to try to fix the canvas on the Oldtown but will just have to see how that goes. However, given what I have learned, if I do decide to go with glass, I will oil the hull and let it sit for a bit before any glass is applied. And Dave, yes I know about the pros and cons of glassing a classic canoe. But I know that whatever I do needs to look good and be serviceable or the canoe will not be an advocate of old boats. There are benefits to modern materials, and if using the old ways comes out poorly I might just as well sell them as is. At this time though I will try to salvage the canvas job and still plan on canvasing the Morris. We will see how it turns out. Thanks again for all of the input.
    Thanks
    John
     
  14. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    the dry hull may be the reason it shrank after the humidity went down? A good oiling may help them stay put?
     
  15. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    It is quite possible that the glass came off your Morris, not because the wood planking had been oiled, but because polyester, not epoxy, was used as the glass matrix. Polyester was used before epoxy became the goop of choice, and glass set in polyester generally comes right off. If your Morris hull was oiled, it almost certainly was done post manufacturer -- I am not aware that Morris made a practice of oiling hulls. The Morris that I once owned had never been oiled. But perhaps the Morris experts (I am not one) on the forums can address this question.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about wooden canoes

    Wow, I keep on getting excellent new information from this forum!!! Thank you!!! Dave, that is a good possible idea, but I would need to remove the canvas of course to do that. On the other side, the canvas does have shape and some rigidity due to the filler sealer. I wonder if I could turn the canoe upside down, lift off the canvas, oil the hull and replace the canvas. Or since the wrinkles are mostly above water line, remove the tacks and oil down as far as I can reach, or oil the canoe from the inside. This is a new concept, so I need to think about that..... Greg, I did not know about new resins not being polyester. I have been using glass resins since my first boat in the early 60s, but thought that there was two types of resin, fiberglass resin and epoxy. When I glassed the Morris in the early 80s, I just used what was called fiberglass resin. In the last number of years I have always gone with the epoxy. The Morris planking looks and feels as though it was oiled many years ago, so I just assumed it was done at manufacture. By comparison, the Oldtown planking seemed dry. I also like the paint design of the canoe on your profile picture....Thanks again...
    John
     
  17. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Credit where credit is due -- that canoe -- a 1922 OT Ideal -- was beautifully restored by Ralph Nimtz of Wallingford, VT who designed the paint job.
     
  18. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about wooden canoes

    We had a few nice days here in mid Missouri so I was able to get out and pull the tacks in the bow and a number along the gunnels. I was afraid the canvas would shrink back away from the tacks after their removal, but it stayed put. I was able to pull the canvas tight and remove the wrinkles with the carpet pliers, then used a heavy duty stapler to attach the canvas in place. This gave me a third hand sort of, and it worked fine. I then tacked the canvas in place and removed the staples. It has only been a couple of days since the procedure, but so far the canvas is tight with no wrinkles. Maybe 1/8" of canvas was pulled out at most. So I guess I will see how it goes, and if it stays tight then it will be on to the next step. Thanks again for the previous help and input.
    John
     
    mmmalmberg likes this.
  19. ewitzel

    ewitzel Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I am curious to know if the canvas stayed tight, for I read this thread with great interest as I found a similar problem with wrinkles.
     
  20. OP
    OP
    Zenith

    Zenith Curious about wooden canoes

    ewitzel
    There is a lot of good information on this thread, but I followed Dave's comment near the top. I was afraid that when I pulled the tacks out the canvas would shrink back, but that did not happen I think because the sealer was dry and hard. I pulled the tacks along the stem down to about the water line and along the gunwales from the bow back about five feet to where the ripples stopped. I then pulled them out with the carpet stretcher starting from the bottom of the stem and working up. There was enough canvas for the pliers to grab without any problem, and I tacked the canvas in place as I moved up the stem. I had left a couple of inches of canvas above the gunwale so there was plenty to grab onto when stretching the canvas up to the gunwales. The wrinkles came out fairly easily, and I gained only about 1/8 or so extra canvas at the stems. I waited for a couple of weeks to see if the wrinkles would come back, but they did not, so I gave the canvas two coats of paint and I have had no further wrinkle problems. It turned out to be more of a psychological problem than an actual one. Hope this helps.... Good luck
    John
     
    Dave Wermuth likes this.

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