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Shellac the Hull Bottom

Discussion in 'Open Forum' started by ozarkpaddler, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. ozarkpaddler

    ozarkpaddler Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I was thinking of doing this but wondered if I need to sand the paint off and primer it first or just shellac right over it? :confused:
  2. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    The typical approach is to paint to the waterline and then shellac over the filler from the waterline down.
    I have never shellacked over paint. I do not shellac over primer.
    Once the paint is on (as in your case) I would be inclined to leave it as is and use shellac next time the canoe gets a fresh canvas.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  3. OP

    ozarkpaddler Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks, that's what I figured? Was just wondering if it would give me a little extra protection now?
  4. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    I suppose it would not hurt...Keep in mind that you need to "renew" shellac every year or so. Unlike painting it's a quick process. You can literally put it on and paddle on the same day. I have no idea how it will look over paint. You might want to try it "off-line" before putting it on your canoe.
  5. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    I don't believe there is any reason that you couldn't knock the gloss down on enamel, just as if prepping for a final coat of paint, and then shellac it instead. Be advised though, that brushed shellac (especially amber-colored) does not go on as evenly as paint, and even when applied by a pro, it usually isn't beautiful. An acquired taste maybe........
  6. Blott

    Blott LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I tried this. I rubbed the Epifanes enamel down to give a key but it really did not like it and it wouldn't hold so I ended up wiping it all off and painting again. I suspect shellac likes filler far better than enamel.


  7. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    That blotchy sort of application is somewhat typical of what shellac looks like after it's been applied to a boat several times. It is very hard to get a consistent and brush-stroke less result.
    However, on the bottom of a working canoe, one that is used for go, no show, that shellac really serves purpose by smoothly slipping and sliding over rocks and wood. I find it an awefull lot easier to lay on another coat of shellac to heal things up than to try and elegantly repair damage to paint. Unlike paint, the shellac can be layed back on with minimal fuss without adding the extra weight off layers of paint.
    Clearly this is not a finish for everyone and honestly, the first time I saw it I was pretty sure it was not for me either.
    One quick trip down the Allagash and Penobscott sold me on it though. I'll never take a painted hull down those rivers again.
  8. OP

    ozarkpaddler Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks so much for the replies and pictures! The bottom of the canoe does not have to look pretty, it needs to keep me afloat. I love to look at the boat, but I bought it to PADDLE, not admire. Looks like I am on the right track? Using the boat in primarily rocky environments, I wanted something that would protect the canvas and keel better than paint, if possible.

    Thanks so much!

    9-8-15 027.jpg
  9. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    I’m finishing a canoe with a shellac bottom.
    Of the couple hundred I’ve restored, this is shellac bottom #2, and I don’t remember much about the first one.
    Is there a reason to do the paint above the waterline first, then shellac the bottom, or do the bottom first before the paint?
  10. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Dave, I'd say it's going to be easier to get shellac runs off paint than paint runs off shellac. I'd get the waterline figured out and paint first. Good luck!
  11. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Thanks Mike. Thanks for the tips!!
  12. Abenakirgn

    Abenakirgn Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I shellac all my canoes. I use an inexpensive airless sprayer. Takes a little time to mask off and no time to apply. Just don't get heavy handed and try to
    apply too heavily or it will run & sag. Go lightly. Shellac dries so quickly you can just continue back at the other end as soon as the first coat is on. I used
    to brush it on but didn't like the blotchy look or the amount of time it took to brush on. I find a quart will do a 17 - 18 foot canoe. Definately paint first if
    a new canoe.

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