My Canoe; regular paintjob or faux birchbark?

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pipascus

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So I am repairing an old Sawyer canoe (red). The keel had some damage and the person who "fixed" it did a terrible job with epoxy. So I sanded it down and applied two layers of fiberglass tape. Now I have to sand the epoxy that dribbled down the side and then paint it. So I am deciding whether to paint it a sort of coyote brown/Olive drab color, or make it look like a birchbark. Looking for paint the right color for the birchbark. I could just paint it a flat khaki/tan and do the "pitch" with flat black paint. If I go that route I'll add some decorations as well. I want it to look Wabenaki/Abenaki, so I have to check what designs they used.

Also have to do the paddles and repair one of them which split a bit. Figure epoxy mixed with sawdust to fill the split and then reshape. The paddles will also get some design on them.

Here are some photos of my canoe in its current condition...

IMG_4196.jpeg
IMG_4199.jpeg
IMG_4203.jpeg


and a couple of birchbarks that I like and may adapt to my canoe...

w45yo.com.jpg
Wayne-Valliere_Etching-Canoe_2015.jpg
4rgf 4g.jpg


I'm thinking for the dark reddish I can use some of the rustoleum red primer I have left in a gallon can... maybe lighten it a bit with some flat white enamel paint even. Actually I may be able to add a little of the red to a gallon of white or off white enamel to make the tan, and a little bit of the white to the red to make a bit lighter red. Or, maybe that red will do just fine.

The design on the paddle I have yet to determine, but am considering the Rabbit smoking a pipe like on the paddle in the film The Edge. If I go that route though, I will do my own version of those paddle images.

Edge Paddle1.jpg
Edge Paddle2.jpg
 

pipascus

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PS.... If I go the faux birchbark route, I may also add some faux cordage on a strip of wood for the outside gunwales, and paint "strips" on the inside. I want to paint the inside a little darker because it's a little on the light side anyway and I don't want the glare in my face when there's sun.
 

Brokennock

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I have seen birchbark paint schemes that look pretty good,,, and many that look really bad. If you have the skills, go for it. If not, maybe just see if an autobody shop can mix up enough paint that matches the color of the inside of birch bark, give the boat a coat, and go with that.

I've also wondered how thin the bark can be split and if thin enough, could it be epoxied to the outside of a modern material canoe?
 

flntlokr

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So I am repairing an old Sawyer canoe (red). The keel had some damage and the person who "fixed" it did a terrible job with epoxy. So I sanded it down and applied two layers of fiberglass tape. Now I have to sand the epoxy that dribbled down the side and then paint it. So I am deciding whether to paint it a sort of coyote brown/Olive drab color, or make it look like a birchbark. Looking for paint the right color for the birchbark. I could just paint it a flat khaki/tan and do the "pitch" with flat black paint. If I go that route I'll add some decorations as well. I want it to look Wabenaki/Abenaki, so I have to check what designs they used.

Also have to do the paddles and repair one of them which split a bit. Figure epoxy mixed with sawdust to fill the split and then reshape. The paddles will also get some design on them.

Here are some photos of my canoe in its current condition...

View attachment 75800View attachment 75801View attachment 75802

and a couple of birchbarks that I like and may adapt to my canoe...

View attachment 75803View attachment 75804View attachment 75805

I'm thinking for the dark reddish I can use some of the rustoleum red primer I have left in a gallon can... maybe lighten it a bit with some flat white enamel paint even. Actually I may be able to add a little of the red to a gallon of white or off white enamel to make the tan, and a little bit of the white to the red to make a bit lighter red. Or, maybe that red will do just fine.

The design on the paddle I have yet to determine, but am considering the Rabbit smoking a pipe like on the paddle in the film The Edge. If I go that route though, I will do my own version of those paddle images.

View attachment 75806View attachment 75807
Dark brown for the 'seams'. The seams look more realistic if they have some raised texture (lumpy).
 

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pipascus

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Also interesting how some of the birchbark canoes are reddish, others tan, etc.
Birchbark seems almost white. So it seems there’s a good deal of leeway in the base color.
 

pipascus

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So I’m trying to find the right paint to do the birchbark look. Was going to use a flat desert tan for the base but can’t find that paint anywhere around here. I’m looking for non spray paint.

I have some Duralux Marine paint in a “dead grass” flat...
044D6AA8-8FB5-4991-96C9-0C279BDDF48C.jpeg

But that’s too dark and not the right coloration.

I have some Majic Tractor paint in an off white, but it’s high gloss.
I have Rustoleum rusty metal primer that can be used for some of the decorations.

Considering mixing some of this up but not sure how that will turn out.
The off white looks like a good base but the gloss seems like it would ruin the effect.

Then again, the gloss may be better for water repellency?
Read somewhere that mixing in talcum powder will remove the shine. Anyone done that?
I also have some powdered chalk pastels and wonder if that would work.
 

pipascus

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I think I’m gonna paint this one like a regular canoe and then later build a skin on frame to look like a birchbark. I think the trouble to try and make the Sawyer look good is better spent on other things, and later just to the skin-on frame.
 

pipascus

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Thanks again to all. Always great to see the different insights and opinions.
This canoe may get an in between look: a shiny coat of paint with a design or two hardening to the old birchbarks. Later I can build a skin on frame to look like a birchbark canoe.
Those SOF canoes are super light and will probably be my go to, while this one remains as a loaner or for more modern trips.
Anyway won’t know for sure until I decide. Will post pictures once I do either style.
 

Old Hawkeye

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Personally, I think the painted on pitch seams look tacky & obviously fake. But I really like the patterns & designs that run below the gunnels. Decorative, for the period, but not fake seems more appealing. But it's just a matter of personal taste. Show us pics when it's done!!
 

coloradoclyde

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Also interesting how some of the birchbark canoes are reddish, others tan, etc.
This is just a guess, but the reddish color could be caused buy the tannins in the water. Many northern rivers are loaded with tannins from the boreal forest organic matter. Again, just guessing.
Iron is also often present.
 

pipascus

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Personally, I think the painted on pitch seams look tacky & obviously fake. But I really like the patterns & designs that run below the gunnels. Decorative, for the period, but not fake seems more appealing. But it's just a matter of personal taste. Show us pics when it's done!!
Yeah I agree. It would have to be done like a movie prop: with the whole of the canoe built to replicate a BB. Even the seems would need to be built up to seem real. This is doable but not worth it on a modern canoe. I think it may be doable on a canoe built for the ground up.
I may go that route with the skin in frame later.
 

pipascus

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Personally the faux doesn't appeal. Would you use faux leather for your possibles bag?
I think a faux one would need to be very well done and on a canoe built for that, with the visible ribs inside etc. something that maybe can be used In a film.
I may go that route later with a skin on frame build, but on a modern canoe it would be too much work to still look fake any closer than 50 yards.
 
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