The decorative burnings on a second Penobscot paddle replica were completed over the winter. Here's the pic from back when there was still some snow on the ground...
Since then the paddle has been patiently waiting to be oiled and finally used in the water. While working on painting the canoe, took the opportunity to get this thing oiled up. Sassafras has a muted golden colour to it when it is oiled. I like the tone with the darker pyrography.
Oiled up and drying
I'll likely be taking this one on its maiden trip when the 14' Chestnut / Peterborough is completed.
Started the refurbishment of the 14 foot Chestnut Playmate / Peterborough Mermaid I was lucky to pick up last October. I knew going in that the original canvas on the hull was nearing the end of its lifespan and would need to be replaced. It had cracked significantly and exposed patches of underlying filled canvas.
Cracked paint on original canvas
But as the weather turned last fall, there wasn't sufficient opportunity to re-canvas and apply filler. Itching to get it out into the water ASAP, I also didn't want to waste much of this paddling season waiting months for the filler to cure. Instead, some time was spent carefully prepping the original canvas for a new coat of primer and paint. Knew from reading on the WHCA forums that this would never get rid of all the cracks but could be used to stretch another season or two out of the canoe.
Over the course of several days, the canvas was delicately scraped around the cracked areas removing bits of old paint flakes. The hull was then lightly hand sanded with 120 grit being sure not to go down to the canvas weave. The last paint job was sloppy as well with plenty of drip bubbles along the hull so sanding helped to smooth down the hull.
To fill some of the wider cracks and chipped areas, I read a tip of using a high quality epoxy based wood filler as an acceptable short-term solution. In the end, I had some of this Minwax High Performance Wood Filler on hand.
It is messy to use and needs plenty of ventilation but I've had good results with it for other wood repairs around the house. Bit by bit it was worked into the trouble spots on the hull with a putty knife with the intention of sanding off the excess.
Messy epoxy putty worked into canvas gouges
By the time the day was done, I sort of went a bit overboard filling any large and small areas so the canoe looked like it had some tropical skin disease.
Uneven surfaces filled
Minwax HP filler is tougher to sand then other types of wood filler I've used, but it can get smoothed out nicely. Here's a typical area sanded clean of the excess.
Paint wise, I ended up using the cheap solution here in Canada. Tremclad Rustoleum Oil based Rust Paints which are significantly cheaper than the Epifanes Yacht enamel popularly used for cedar canvas canoes up here. To ensure better adhesion over all the filler spots, I ended up laying on a primer layer. Not sure if it was necessary, but did it anyway. Rustoleum has a nice Rust-Oxide colour primer (as well as the usual grey) that is more colour compatible with its Regal Red.
If this was meant to be a professional job, the outwales and brass stem bands should've been removed but the original steel screws holding on the gunnels have corroded heavily and the heads have been covered in caked-on varnish. The brass stembands had also been sloppily painted over by the former owner with the previous coat paint filling the tiny screw heads. Too much effort and time would be spent having to clean each screw head just for removal. Instead of doing that now, figured I'll spend the effort of cleaning and removing those once a full re-canvas is done in a year or two. For now, the outwales and stem bands were taped off for the primer layer.
Rust coloured Primer layer
The primer was then sanded down again to get rid of any remaining irregularities in the hull and in preparation of the colour coat. Didn't get a shot of it but after this, a layer of flexible polyurethane sealant was spread on either side of the shoe keel to fill some gaps where old bedding compound had peeled away.
Here's a shot of the Regal Red rust paint going on the hull.
Single coat of paint going on
Here is the completed result taken from our elevated 2nd story deck...
I knew going in that no amount of surface work on a cracked canvas exterior would result in a completely new finished looked, but overall I'm happy with this little cosmetic surgery. The hull is more even and just a few remaining cracks are faintly noticeable under the new primer + paint layers. Still more cosmetic work to do on the interior with varnish and seats but that writeup will be in another post. Hoping to get it into the water in a few weeks, maybe even for a birthday paddle in early August.
Wanting to start the quick refurbishment of the 14ft Chesnut / Peterborough picked up last fall, an essential bit of canoe gear needed to be built...a set of canoe cradles. Mike Elliot has a great writeup of on a sturdy set of cradles in his book and I adapted these to fit my needs. A tiny backyard and no garage for storage meant I wanted something a bit more compact and somewhat collapsible.
Canadian Tire sells a neat metal sawhorse which occasionally go on massive sale. Picked mine up for $8.99 each - a real bargain given the usage they've seen for other projects. The legs collapse neatly under the top and a convenient carrying handle allows these to be easily transported and stored.
Mastercraft folding metal sawhorse
With the sawhorses used as the bottom half, scrap 2x4 were cut up and mounted on the top of the sawhorse. Some extra bit of canvas from the tarp project last summer was used as the cradle material and just stapled into the wood as an inelegant but functional temporary solution.
In the end they work well and the legs can be partially folded for better storage discreetly behind the cedar trees in the yard. Work on the canoe could finally begin!
The 12 ft bark canoe I attempted to build back in '08-'09 has been repaired and regummed many times but is no longer water worthy. Over the years, vertical splits developed in the low quality bark I ended up using, but I still have fond memories making it and paddling around the lake. Anyway, thought it would be time to try and get it up on the cottage wall so that I can make space in the garage for another usable boat.
Happy times in the bark canoe
During a brief solo visit up north back in April, I managed to get through a tight entryway and into the unit. After that, some straps were set up into the wall studs and the canoe muscled up approximately 14 feet.
Also ended up throwing in an old burning of the lake's name and the unused Diamond Passamaquoddy paddle. When my wife wanted to repaint the large accent wall a blue colour, I didn't think it would work, but now it looks like the canoe is at least floating on a wall of calm water.
I'm an avid canoeist and general "outdoorsy type" guy with a bit of an artistic side. Recently started this hobby of making custom canoe paddles after my disappointing experience with most commercial brands. This site documents various styles of single blade canoe paddles I've made or researched as well as other canoe related info I've stumbled across on my internet wanderings. Hope you enjoy your visit.