Natural canvas longevity

Discussion in 'Camp and Trail Gear' started by Moleman, Feb 10, 2019.

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  1. Feb 10, 2019 #1

    Moleman

    Moleman

    Moleman

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    From what I read, I understand that high quality untreated natural canvas is water repellent/ proof.......but what about longevity?
    If high quality canvas is cared for properly will it last as long as treated?
    Does anyone here use high quality untreated natural canvas and what might be the pros and cons?
     
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  2. Feb 10, 2019 #2

    Black Hand

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    I've been using a Sherwin-Williams tarp for about 15 years (actually 2, but I use the 12x14ft the most). Does that count? Don't know how this compares to treated as I don't have any treated tarps.
    They shed water right out of the package and are still going strong. Water will pool and eventually makes its way through if the canvas is slack, but runs right off when pitched tight. You need to dry any canvas thoroughly before storage because mold will attack the fabric and weaken the material (as will leaving it exposed to the sun for months).
     
  3. Feb 10, 2019 #3

    Moleman

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    Thank you Sir. I've wondered this many times as numerous makers of tentage offer it in their products but hear or read of few ,if any that use it.
    When you look at the price difference between treated and natural for the same product, its obvious that the treatments really adds to the cost.
     
  4. Feb 11, 2019 #4

    Black Hand

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    In a tent, I would personally go for treated (and did - I paid for the Sunforger canvas). A tent is a long-term investment that will last a lifetime if treated properly. I view a $20-30 tarp as disposable (for lack of a better term)...
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  5. Feb 11, 2019 #5

    Le Loup

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    I used to carry a natural canvas, my youngest son uses it now. It worked just fine & it has lasted years. It does tend to be heavier, but you don't NEED a lot for a shelter. Comfort is important, but for an overnight or weeks camp you don't need a 10' X 10' foot canvas!!!
    Keith.
     
  6. Feb 11, 2019 #6

    BillinOregon

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    I'd be curious to work with natural hemp and/or linen canvas some day and see how it compares with cotton.
    A couple of interesting tidbits: "duck" comes from the Dutch "doek," meaning cloth, and canvas is likely a vulgar Latin variant of the Greek cannabis -- "hemp."
    With the recent deregulation of commercial hemp production in many of the states, perhaps we will finally see affordable American-made hemp canvas again.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  7. Feb 12, 2019 #7

    Loyalist Dave

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    Part of that is the quality of the weaving. Tightness of the weave and the quality of the cotton fiber extends the life.
    The number one problem is mold and mildew. This weakens the fibers. So you have to be diligent with drying it out, and exposing it to sunlight, so it's good to dry it in any location, even if you have to hang it up in your basement or garage, but better to give it some sunlight when drying, even if you bring it in doors to finish. ;)

    LD
     
  8. Feb 12, 2019 #8

    BillinOregon

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    Dave, do you happen to know if moisture rots linen and hemp the way it can damage cotton?
     
  9. Feb 13, 2019 #9

    tenngun

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    Yup, it can stay wet forever and in the open it’s ok, fold it and put up wet, buy a new tent before your next event.
    One of the favorite paintings of ships in port, repeated in ports all around the world was with the sails out to dry with yards hung free.
     
  10. Feb 13, 2019 #10

    Loyalist Dave

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    No idea about the linen, and the British records are not any good to us as the tentage in linen was replaced, often on an annual basis, so no telling if it worked for long periods. Linen sails on ships, not a good test either, as they were often dried within a day of a storm abating by simply being used.

    Now HEMP rope, was the preferred sailing rope of the Age of Sail..., resisted rot. ;)

    It's really not that tough to keep the stuff dry though. You can't chunk a wet folded tent into your trunk on a wet Sunday afternoon, and forget it until the following Friday afternoon, on a regular basis. Mildew when caught as it forms just stains the tent.

    LD
     
  11. Feb 13, 2019 #11

    tenngun

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    I’m doubting if most the of the time after a ship cleared port the sails were ever dry, unless the ship was becalmed.
    Uppersails might have dried but lower sails, the biggest sails, would have been catching at least spray and drift a lot and been wet prettuy much all the time at sea.
     
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  12. Feb 13, 2019 #12

    Loyalist Dave

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    I think the salt environment of a sail wet from ocean spray would be a mitigating factor for the mold and mildew. I was thinking more on the line of upper sails furled in a serious storm, with a ship using only what she needed to give her headway...rainwater being trapped in the folds of the furled sails. ;) Of course small coastal trading ships, all of the sails would be much closer to the sea water than a three-masted, ocean going vessel.


    LD
     
  13. Feb 17, 2019 at 2:16 PM #13

    Rifleman1776

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    I recall that as a young cub/boy scout we used surplus military 'pup' tents. We quickly learned that in a rain storm leakage occurred only for a few minutes then the fibers swelled and the leaking stopped. We stayed dry but had to be very careful to not touch the canvas or it would drip at that point. We also learned this was a good way to torture our tent mate. Touch the spot directly over his face while he was sleeping.:D But, I digress. Wonder what kind of cloth/canvas those were made of. BTW, they cost 50 cents per half a tent. Each bought a half and then buttoned them together to make a whole pup.
     
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  14. Feb 18, 2019 at 1:04 AM #14

    BillinOregon

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    Rifleman, I cannot tell you how often I nearly suffocated in a pup tent -- or "shelter halves" as my infantryman father termed them -- pitched on a warm summer day. As a 12-year-old, I loved it!
     

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