Canoe Restoration

Contact us if you have a canoe that you would like to have us restore. 

Here are the steps to restoring a wood/canvas canoe:

1. Inspect: make a list of all visible work to be done and all materials that will be required.

2. Order materials: paint stripper, wood, canvas, filler, preservative, primer, paint, varnish, fasteners, glue, cane, stem bands, etc.

3. Disassemble: remove outwales, seats, thwarts, stem bands, canvas

4. Clean: scrub inside & out with scrub brush, soap & warm water. Rinse with clean water

5. Reassess: look for any more work that needs to be done that wasn’t visible before disassembly. Order necessary materials.

6. Strip: strip varnish if necessary

7. Bleach wood: Use oxalic acid to remove black stains from wood if necessary.

8. Repair wood: repair or replace broken or rotten inwales, decks, ribs, planking. Make new outwales if originals are broken or rotted.

9. Sand: sand seats, thwarts and entire inside of canoe in preparation for varnishing. Sand outside with 60# on a longboard to fair planking for canvas.

10. Seal: apply a sealer coat of 50/50 varnish to inside planking. When dry apply a sealer/preservative mixture to outside of planking

11. Canvas: stretch canvas on and fasten with rustproof fasteners. Apply zinc naphthenate preservative to canvas along sheer. Allow to dry thoroughly

12. Fill the Canvas: Apply 3 successive coats of filler to canvas with brush, then rub into the weave and smooth down. Put canoe away to dry for 4 weeks

13. Re-cane seats: if seats need re-caning, do it while the filler dries. Varnish seat frames before caning.

14. Prime: sand dried filler lightly with 220# and apply one or more coats of marine primer, sanding between coats

15. Install outwales: steam the outwales if necessary and install on the canoe. Belt sand the tops flush with the inwales and rib tops.

16. Varnish: Apply 3 to 6 coats of varnish to all visible wood, sand lightly between coats

17. Paint: Apply 3-4 coats of marine enamel to the sanded, primed canvas. Sand between coats.

18. Reassemble: install seats, thwarts, keel if any, and stem bands. Do final touches such as decals, painter rings, painters, etc.

All done.


Chestnut Canoe Painter rings

Here's how to make brass ring bolts to match early Chestnut Canoe Company painter rings:

1. wrap a length of 1/8" brass rod around a 7/8" diameter steel bar

2. Cut the spiral lengthways

3. Put them through an eye formed in a length of 3/16" rod

4. Cut to length & thread the end of the bolt.

5. Silver solder the joints & clean up.