With the wood work complete the next step was to fabric cover the hull, seal and fill it. I’ve described this process in my post It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, NO it’s a CANOE. As this canoe was originally intended for my own use I didn’t want a keel, but rather added a Kevlar® Keel Plate which I’ve described in my post here.
Having removed the keel I was faced with 34 screw holes in the bottom of the boat, many of them partially rotten. I thought of simply replacing them with shorter screws but was worried that at some point, even a short screw, would punch through the bottom of the boat and start leaking. A friend of mine came up with a creative solution. I first filled each screw hole with epoxy. I then used a 3/4″ Forstner bit to remove the rot and create a slight indent. Into each indent I placed a Canadian penny. These I then encapsulated in clear epoxy to preserve them and prevent oxidization.
For years I’ve used TREMCLAD® (aka Rust-Oleum®) on airplanes. It has several advantages, it’s oil based, it remains flexible after drying and, when you need to do a touch up, it’s readily available in most hardware stores. They also produce a marine paint, but I’ve found the regular rust paint variety works just fine and holds up well. I believe the only advantage to the marine version is that it is said to be more resistant to salt water. I used a 4″ foam roller and a good quality brush to apply the paint. This gives as good or better results then, I at least, can achieve with spray equipment. Cooler temperatures(10-15° C) work best, allowing the paint more time to flow.
I chose to replace the original ash outwales with eastern maple. There’s nothing wrong with ash, in fact it is a beautiful wood and easier to work with then maple. I simply chose to use maple because, being extremely hard, it will take a tremendous amount of abuse. It also contrasts nicely with the ash inwales making it, at least im my mind quite pleasing to the eye.
The original babiche seats we in excellent shape and remain my preferred seat type. All they need was a coat of varnish and a new set up carriage bolts. With the seats in there was only one thing left to do, put her in the water. So, onto the roof of the truck, and down to Somenos Lake, she went. I’m pleased to report she paddles as beautifully as she looks.