Contrary to popular belief, canvas covered- canoes are rugged beasts. They are built to be used and, to some extent, abused. They are also designed to be “easily” repaired. One of the most frustrating aspects of repairing wood and canvas canoe is dealing with ill conceived and often poorly thought out field repairs, usually involving fiberglass and copious quantities of polyester resin. While I’m not a purist, frequently use epoxy, and sometimes even fiberglass in my repair work, there are usually better ways to repair common mishaps with cedar and canvas canoes.
Recently I came across a marvelous article on planking shim repairs written by Glen Toogood of Garden Island Canoe and with his permission I’ve adapted it here.
OK, I’m going to discuss planking shims, an easy but neglected aspect of wood/canvas canoe maintenance. The theory is, if there’s broken planking or sheeting, you need to keep it tight as possible against the canvas to minimise the possibility of it getting punctured or ripping if if gets caught on an obstruction.
A well used canoe, well shimmed and ready to be patched on the outside. In the Spring is a good time to do this, before patching and painting.
NOTE: It looks like the shim is beveled underneath. It’s not, it’s just the angle of the shot. You are actually seeing a bit of the underside of the shim, in perspective. I shot these closeups with a short focus.