Canvas Canoe Videos

As I repair older wood and canvas canoes, I am taking videos of the various steps.  If you are undertaking this type of project yourself, then these videos should help.

Removing  Rotten Parts – the tear down


Stem Top Repair


Rib Top Repair


Inwale Repair


Stretching Canvas


Tacking canvas to hull


Filling Canvas


Re-installing the Keel


Painting a Canvas Canoe


Installing Brass Stem Band


Steaming and Replacing a Broken Rib

Steaming a new rib over the outside of the canoe

30 thoughts on “Canvas Canoe Videos

  1. jim Hilty says:

    Thanks much for sharing the extremely useful videos on the WCHA forum regarding my query about canvasing up-side-down canoes. I’ve seen still photos of Joe Seliga using a winch for up-side-down work but your video clarified. I’m interested in the “mastick” for a filler. Looks easier and faster than applying conventional/historical fillers. Does it actually fill the weave or just cover it? When it is dry, is it “cured” and will hold paint? It must be durable with longevity and allow flexibility or you would not use it, I think. Can or may you identify a brand of mastick?

    Thanks much, Pathologist

    • I use the mastic since I do not wish to wait up to several months for fillers to dry. Too much time to store in my small shop. The mastic is a local product that is primarily used for sealing steam pipes wrapped in canvas. It will not melt, dry, crack or get really hard. It is always somewhat pliable hence you can not sand it smooth after applying. I put on three coats in one day and go slow so that I get it on smooth and it does fill the weave. Then when dry, I paint with a sand-able primer paint before sanding and adding colour paint. If you were to skip the primer stage, you would probably have to add another coat and make sure it is on very smooth. Have been using this product for over ten years with no problems with warranties or customer complaints. There are other brands of mastic that people are using.

    • Hi Jim,

      We are the manufacturer of Robson’s RT-10, that’s the mastic filler used by Orca Boats in the video and also used by canoe makers across North America and in other countries.

      RT-10 is made in Canada using only Canadian/American made raw materials.

      RT-10 stays flexible, elastomeric, and durable after it it dry, it will not flake off or become brittle or crack.

      RT-10 fills 100% of the weave of the fabric and covers it too. It also shrinks the canvas as it dries to make a tight smooth fit.

      RT-10 can be painted with any paint.

      RT-10 is resistant to mold and fungus.

      RT-10 is freeze/thaw stable in the pail and also after it is dry, so it can be shipped and used anywhere at any time.

      Robert Odynski, General Manager
      Robson Thermal Mfg. Ltd.

  2. 1st time rebuilding a canoe, and looking for options. I like this for all the same reasons you state. Since the filler product never really gets hard, what paint do you use. I want a high gloss exterior paint. Also is there an advantage of tung oil over linseed with japan dryer added?

    • The paint I use is Brightsides marine paint made by Petit paints. Should be readily available in most marine stores. As for linseed, there is talk that linseed will actually cause mold growth, so I would stick with Tung or Teak oil.

  3. Lloyd Draper says:

    I would like to purchase some mastic for my canoe redo. Have just got the canvas tacked on and ready to go. where and how can I get the material?

    • The mastic can be bought on my web site through the online store. Depending on where it is being shipped, the cost of shipping may exceed cost of product.

  4. Terence Fedoriuk says:

    Hi! Thanks, I love the videos. Question, when you put on the canvas you did not indicate whether you used treated or untreated canvas. Does Treated canvas work ok with the Mastic? How does untreated canvas if coated with mastic keep the inside canvas from getting wet from water inside the canoe?

    Taras (From Ontario)

    • With the mastic being water based I will either wet the canvas down before applying the mastic or after spreading the mastic over a section, take a wet cloth or spunge and rub the mastic deep into the canvas. In my experience it makes no difference whether it is treated or not.

  5. Will Hansen says:

    Hi Rod,

    I spoke to you last month re the RT 10 filler…..
    I just finished applying it as per your u-tube…

    I got fabulous rapid shipment from Robert Odynski at RobsonThermal

    I note that on your ‘Painting’ u-tube you first use several coats of high build undercoating.

    What brand are you using here?

    I was going to use Interlux Precote and follow it with Brightsides.
    However I could use a little guidance on the high build aspect.

    This is my first time with RT 10 latex type filler ( I usually have used oil based grey fillers and waited for several weeks before painting)

    I like the shorter dry time aspect of the RT 10.
    I don’t need to take your time on a reply just name of the high build product that is good on RT 10.

    Best regards and many thanks for your great videos and web site.

    Cheers Will Hansen

  6. Terence Fedoriuk says:

    Hi Rod, many thanks for your last reply. I bought the Mastic and am about to go for it! One other question, when one is stretching the canvas with the come along, how much should I stretch her? Til the canvas is taunt? a few inches? Or keep going until???



    • The canvas fabric really does not stretch that much, so you are really just pulling it pretty tight. When using the come along, I will stretch one day, let it relax a bit and then go a few more notches on the pulley the next day. It is pretty tight, but hard to describe in words. With the mastic, be sure to rub it in good on the first coat and even use a wet sponge so that it absorbs. It is usually thicker than paint, so needs some water to thin out and rub in.

  7. Terence Fedoriuk says:

    Hi Rod, thanks again for your answers. I have it stretched and nailed. Looks great. I initially did not realize one pulls the canvas perpendicular to the gunnel, and had to redo after having 10 or so ribs nailed. Live and learn.

    I am applying the mastic, but do not know how you manage to get 3 coats in a day! Initial coat took me 4 hours. When applying, I assume one puts on basically a scrape coat, just wafer thin? Also when rubbing it down with wet hands, I keep getting streaks, which I fear will remain, so have to work at it to rub them all out. Do you wet your hands a lot? Or just keep them moist?

    Sorry I need a book, ‘canoe repair for Dummies’! I get the jist, but the technique is really something you need to watch closely, hard to do with a video; such is the same with any trade really.

    Taras (Ontario)

  8. Yes, I wet my hands often. There is a fine line between rubbing with wet hands too soon and waiting too long. But you should be able to sand out the ridges once hard and dry. Applying the filler with the squeeqie is the same process as applying epoxy to a cedar strip boat, so I have lots of practice moving quickly.

  9. Terence Fedoriuk says:

    Hi Rod, thanks so much for your assistance. I have put on three coats of mastic, but can still see the canvas weave. I went through almost 3/4 to 7/8 of a pail. It is a 15 foot canoe. Is that the normal quantity one would use with 3 coats? Does one normally see the canvas weave to some degree?

    I want to get to priming, but thought I would ask in case I went to thin with each coat.

    Taras (Who is extremely tired right now!)

    PS would love to upload a pic when I am done.

  10. HI Rod,

    All the way from Sydney, Australia here – Canada’s cousin country! I have a question regarding the RT-10. It would cost far too much to ship here, and we don’t really have anything comparable other than say a floor tile adhesive made of Portland cement, rubber and sand, and this product which has the word ‘Mastic’ in it’s title which makes me hope that it would be somewhat comparable. Do you know if product would work by any chance? If not I’ll stick with the linseed oil and silica mix I guess.

  11. Terence Fedoriuk says:

    Hello Benjamin,

    I am another Canadian. It cost me about $50 for delivery of two tubs of the mastic, from Vancouver to Toronto. Rob is correct, the mastic works well, and dries fast! I had my Canoe in the water, less than 2 weeks after applying the Mastic; because I work all week.

    The only thing I noticed that was different from traditional methods, was tiny bits of sand, pebbles, getting underneath the ribs and canvas. I can fish them out, but if one is stuck there when I brush the canoe up against something, there is a chance it could drive a hole in the canvas. Could be that I did not stretch it tight enough. Traditional methods take a long time to dry, but tend to stick to the ribs, and less chance of a tiny pebble getting stuck between the ribs and the canvas. I do a lot of canoeing in traditional Canadian environment, versus from dock to lake and back. Try Wooden Canoe Heritage Association’s website, they have a blog there, with several recipes for traditional methods, and lots of good input from experienced canoe enthusiasts. I have noticed some criticism against linseed oil, claims that it may cause mold growth.

    BTW the paint looks way better with mastic! 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint is all I needed.

    Have another canoe, and intend to treat her new canvas traditionally, thus will be able to compare the two methods better. Good luck to ya mate!


    Ps been waiting for Rob to tell me how to upload a Pic of my canoe.

  12. Adrian says:

    I have recently bought a barn find old town canoe. The canvas has some cracks but no holes and no leaks. I wanted to make the bottom of the canoe new again but I didn’t want to re-canvas it if it is not needed. Can I apply the mastic to a painted surface and then repaint? I would of course give it a lite sand first to remove any loss material and give the mastic something to bond to.
    Thanks for any insight you may have.

  13. I would suggest using 4, 5, or 6 ounce 100% natural cotton fabric torn into 3″ wide strips plus RT-10 mastic to patch the cracks in the existing canvas. You would do this by removing any loose material then cleaning, sanding, roughing up the surface as per Rod’s instructions. Then apply a coat of RT-10 mastic over the cracks and immediately embed a 3″ wide strip of 5 or 6 ounce cotton fabric into the RT-10, make it smooth, apply a coat of RT-10 over the embedded fabric, and make it all smooth. Make sure you apply the RT-10 at least 2″ in all directions beyond the 3″ strip of fabric and thick enough that you can’t see any fabric. After the RT-10 is dried thru you can paint it.

    • Ron says:

      May I suggest adopting an old-fashioned technique to improve these patches? Fray the edges of the patch material 1/4″ to 3/8″ by pulling out threads parallel to the patch edge. The patch will bond better and also be somewhat tapered, making it easier to cover.

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