Howard Seaver's Keshequa 170 Canoe

Howard enlisted the help of his friend, Daryl Frey, for the construction of the hull.

Here, Daryl is shown installing the first rows of wood strips.

Howard writes:"...After laying the first few strips we noticed a hard spot about 5' from one end of the canoe. The stations were centered properly and looked to be properly cut. We replaced that station with a freshly cut one and all was well..."

"...Stripping the sides went rapidly but was very messy with a lot of glue runs. The next canoe I build will be built with cove and bead strips..."

"...As we approached the curve of the bilge the beauty of the lines became apparent and a very satisfying sight..."

"...Closing the bilge and filling in the sheer went uneventfully. We did make a mistake in cutting the ends of the strips at the bow and stern but were able to clean it up with some heavy sanding..."

"...A whole bunch of time went into removing staples and sanding the hull fair in and out. It was especially difficult to sand the inside to my satisfaction. Again, cove and bead strips would have made this much easier..."

The sanded hull still on the strongback, transported outside via a small trailer

Howard Seaver's Beautiful Finishing Method

"...After sailing large yachts with acres of varnish to maintain I knew I didn't want to use varnish as a finish. After talking with US Paint (, the manufacturers of Awlgrip yacht and aircraft finishes, I decided on clear Awlcraft 2000, a two part ACRYLIC urethane . The end result was wonderful as you see..."

John Little, a professional painter at Crockett Brothers Boatyard, helped "paint" the hull.
Note the use of a plastic sheeting tent to keep floating dust off of the finish
and the suspending of the canoe with hooks under the decks to facilitate the spraying of the entire hull.
That's a very nice method Howard uses, don't you agree?

"...we managed to use a gallon of Awlcraft 2000. I'm not sure where it all went though we probably lost 1/4 of it due to mixing too large a batch...I merely got to a well sanded (220 to 320 grit) and fair surface with the epoxy, wiped the surfaces down with a solvent wash Awlprep or Awlprep Plus and shot the coatings, 2 or 3 coats per shoot for a total of 6-9 coats. The finish is a two part urethane. Two parts of base are mixed with one part Awlcat converter and one part reducer. The reducer is chosen depending on temperature. The finish is durable and buffable, but needs professional equipment to apply it..."

"...Other than the need to spray the Awlcraft it is not difficult to use. John tells me the mixed product can be kept for days if it is kept cool..."

"...Runs are easily sanded and polished out. Multiple coats can be applied in one session..."

"... The seat frames are made of red oak with mortise & tenon joints. Gunwales, decks and accent stripes are Honduran mahogany..."

"...The gloss is so great that if you hold a straightedge to the canoe you can read the numbers to 14 inches!"

Howard's wife, Molly caned the seats with synthetic cane.

She did a very professional looking job!

Additional information from Howard:
"As service manager of Crockett Bros. Boatyard, we paint many yachts a year with US Paint's Awlgrip products. I contacted our US Paint representative and discussed my project with him. Since I had access to the necessary equipment and and a willing professional painter, John Little our paint foreman, he suggested we try Awlcraft 2000 clear which needs to be spray applied. I prepared the hull by sanding the epoxy surface well to a 220 to 320 grit finish. When using high gloss finishes like this it is very important that the surface is smooth and that the weave of the fiberglass cloth cannot be seen or felt by touch. Any irregularities or unfairness of the hull will be magnified by the brilliant finish. In my case this required an extra couple of coats of epoxy to either fill the weave or to help fair the hull. The extra coats of epoxy didn't seem to add much weight to the hull but that was probably because I sanded so much of it off. Sanding epoxy is difficult at best.

Once the hull was sanded to my satisfaction the application was easy. We did three shoots of two or three coats each. After the first shoot there were quite a few runs that needed to be sanded out. (Shooting a canoe in and out is much different than shooting a yacht.) The entire hull was scuffed with a scotchbrite pad and shot again. With one more scotchbrite scuffing and three coat shoot we were finished. The few runs that occurred during the final shoot were easily wet-sanded and polished out.

For those who DON"T have a boatyard nearby or access to the resources that I did, AWL-BRITE PLUS, or a similar product, would be an excellent alternative.

AWL-BRITE PLUS is a three part clear, buffable acrylic finish that, when applied properly, will outperform varnish by far.

Application is easy and if time parameters are met, multiple coats can be applied without sanding between coats. The same finish I achieved with Awlcraft 2000 should be attainable with AWL-BRITE PLUS, which is slightly more expensive than a high quality varnish. After maintaining varnish for years, I highly recommend this product as an alternative for coating a strip canoe."

For more detailed information about AWL-BRITE PLUS, go to: US Paint's AWL-BRITE PLUS Page

Howard's Paddling Reports:
"...Molly and I took her out for her maiden voyage...and were thrilled. The Keshequa felt great, maneuvered easily and tracked well. She's absolutely beautiful!. Thank you...for a very gratifying experience.

"...We went out for another about 15 knots of wind with an 8" chop. The canoe felt great! There was very little leeway with the wind 45 degrees off the bow. She went directly into the sea just fine and felt very stable with seas on the beam. She's a winner!"

A very warm "thank you" to Howard Seaver for sharing his pictures and commentary with us. That's one gorgeous canoe you've got there Howard!

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