Stretching Canvas

by Steve on December 23, 2008


I needed 20′ of clear span so I had to set up across the garage which blocked all doors including our primary pedestrian entry/exit so this phase happened quickly to keep stress levels tolerable in the house!




Stretch the fold tight to establish a mark on the cable.


Relax the tension and stuff her in.


Tighten up ’til you’re only a couple of inches short of your mark and brace against the overhead to keep the hull from squirting out.  Too bad I didn’t have an assistant to photograph while I walked the plank in the boat to get her good and tight!  Note the carpet pads under the 2×6 – wouldn’t do to damage all the hard work in the inside!


Cut away the excess to within a couple of inches of the planking and start tacking at every rib.  Artist pliers (Vise Grips with big jaws) and a scrap of cedar are used to stretch at each rib.


Tacked at every rib up to the cant ribs in the ends and cut free to work on the ends.


Slit the middle back to the last full rib where the canvas is tacked at each end, bedding compound applied to the stem, pull tight, overlap, tack a few inches and then pull the top overlap aside and concentrate on one side.


Tacks are driven just offset from center.  The second layer will be driven in between the first but also offset to the same side so that the metal stem band will eventually cover and protect the edge of the canvas.  If it all lines up correctly the edge of the trimmed canvas should run close to the center of the stem.


More bedding compound applied over the first tacks, second layer pulled tight and tacked between the first.


Flip the hull and work on tacking the final ribs.


The stem bands will cover/protect the tacks/seams while the outer rails will eventually hide/protect the top edge of the planking, canvas, and the tacks at the end of each rib.


Ready for filler which is essentially a very thick primer that soaks into the canvas.  Multiple coats applied in sections and rubbed by hand will preserve the material and fill the weave producing a hard, smooth surface ready for paint.  It takes a few weeks for the filler to cure and harden so I’m pushing to get it done before our holiday travels so it can be curing while we’re gone.


John Carmichael December 23, 2008 at 16:54

That has got to be great therapy for whatever ails ya!

Looks good, and thanks for sharing the progress.

Weren’t the “War-Hoover’s” wings made of a similar canvas? 😉


Steve December 24, 2008 at 8:16

Funny, my wife said something about therapy the other day but she used it in a different context!

War Hoover out of wood and canvas!? Where do you think I got the skill set for this project? Just kidding but the Viking was “old school”. We had reference cards (unofficial) with “kick here” diagrams to reseat cards. Also certain boxes back in the tunnel could be “fixed” by removing in flight and “drop checking”. My favorite work-around was applying flashlight forcefully to stuck starter valve. Had to get out and do that during start-up at an Air Force base one time much to the amusement of the locals.

Not quite sticks and canvas but it was an old jet. I think a Nintendo or Commodore 64 had more computing power than the Viking’s brain cell!

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