tiistai 7. kesäkuuta 2011

Fixing a canoe.

I´ve been fixing this old school -or should i call it vintage- canoe, that used to work as a rental vessel in eastern finland, and then its been just lying under tin roof for ages.

First i scrubbed it with ecological heavy duty cleaner stuff, and washed it, time after time with pressurewasher, to get most of the old dirt off from it. Then when it dried i started to sand it,all over many times to get away with all loose,chipping paint layers that had been put on the poor canoe in its glory days.

Its been originally a two-tone, the deck was white at first and the lower part was blue, but it had been painted with two layers of green shades and i sanded away everything that was about to loose,and i used sandpaper discs and such, with grits from 40 to 80 to do this to get teh surface pretty coarse, so the new paint would grab the surface well. Then i started to grind away the never ending amount of quickly made fiberglass, epoxy, glue and tape patches. I understand the need to do these emergency repairs as its the only way to work along the trips, if customers canoe breaks and starts to leak accidentally. You dont often have the time to do it properly, not even close, so people end up just slapping patches over patches and  although theyre meant to be temporary, they often turn into permanent ones.

They were all well sealed and the canoe didnt leak  but man they were ugly even in my eyes and i am a fan of bit more crude looks. So i used angler grinder and everything from chisels to small  hatchet to get rid off the super thick patch layers. I ground them all away, and cleaned and smoothed the original areas, so the new pathcing would keep even a bit smoother than the previous ones and so they would also stick well into original material.  After hours and hours of crude removal, i  started to finish the places and then i washed the whole canoe, to get rid of dust and dirt along with any grease that might have been hiding under patches.

After i had the cleaninga and patch removals done, i sanded it throughly once again. Till this point i had half of 200 liter garbage sack filled with dust,dirt and patches already collected. As well as my lungs were filled up with this skull-marked crap. I had a pro quality, air cleaning and fresh air blowing mask & belt on me but i gave up using it once in a while because it was so damn hot days and the lense of mask was foggy from sweat all the time...

                                             The rear end just before adding the Kevlar mixed layers of glassfiber mat.


I started to fill in the gaps and holes, scratches and dings. I made sure the surfeces were all wet from resin, and then i laid one layer at a time to the damaged part, then i moved to the next and moved around the canoe doing this round after round. After i got some three layers done, i let it to dry over night. At morning i returned, and sanded the  previous patches, lput on new resins and added patches where needed.

                                           Under side of bow, with reinforcings in place. Not
                                            a beauty queen but works.

                                           .....and the reinforced stern.

In to bow and stern i had few good strips of Kevlar mixed fiberglass as well as thin Kevlar strips, and i used those to reinforce the ends of the vessel, and i also used the kevlar mat to reinforce the under areas of rear seat, where these canoes seem to be "driven" usually from and its common to see these get hits just under the rear seat. So this one will hopefully take the forecoming adventures better that before.

            Canoes stern was all ashed in once, and it had been repaired very poorly,
 by filling the undersides of rear deck with urethane and styrox pieces, and it had all wetted and leaked still. The space was "sealed" with a piece of plywood that had rotted. I removed  the plywood, and smoothed the hole, filled the space with styrox,also the front ends space was secured this way now. It wont sink to the river bottom now even if you smash the stern or the bow hard.

                                    Then i sealed the space with plastic coated sheetmetal and fiberglass.

It turned out pretty well in my opinion. I admit i could have spent more time, never ending hours to sand off the visible places and use some filler goos, and other tricks,sweat and time, to make it all pretty to look upon, but i believe that this is double better looking than it was and its also a  it lighter now too,thanks to removal of old patch-piles. It will bash against rocks and sand, and all the fine detail work would ruin anyway so i made it it like this. Some may see it as ugly but to mee its more like a tool.

                                                                     No Bondo ! :)

                              The paint is official finnish army stuff ,olive green colour is RAL 6003.

Oh hey one more thing....

i am still considering some modifications, especially adding a watertight gear container into bow but this i just had to make already.

                                                      Almost hidden holder for fishing rod in the rear.

At this point, i could sell this before i continue playing with it....but im not sure,though. Ive noticed some interested to this vessel already but ive invested a bit of diesel, work & drive hours, paint value, sanding material cost and the fiberglass stuff, resin, not to mention Kevlar aint for free either.