Re: [baidarka] waterproofing canvas

Wolfgang Brinck (
Fri, 15 May 1998 09:25:44 -0500

Date: Fri, 15 May 1998 09:25:44 -0500
From: "Wolfgang Brinck" <>
Subject: Re: [baidarka] waterproofing canvas

leonard burton wrote:

> hello folks i have a question ,i an making a spray skirt for my kayak {the
> cockpit is a rather odd shape so a comercially made one wont do }can anyone
> reccomend a waterproofing technique that is both effective and non toxic{as
> im going to be wearing it i obviously dont want it to be poisonous} im going
> to use either cotton duck or nylon depending on recomendations i recieve but
> im already leaning towards cotton thanks in advance
> len

cotton vs. nylon - cotton gets stiffer when wet and whatever you use to
waterproof will also stiffen further in cold weather making the whole thing akin
to cardboard. Nylon on the other hand tends to soften up when wet. You can also
get pretreated nylon -coated one side to make it waterproof.

Marty Honel has used a combination of wax and linseed oil on cotton. Seems to
work pretty well. You need to heat the mixture to melt the wax and brush it on
hot. Obviously, no open flames! About 1/3 wax is good. Old oilskin recipies I
have seen have also had soap in them. Why, I don't know, possibly to help the
wax and oil adhere to or penetrate the fibers better. This is like solid soap,
the cake stuff, not liquid.

I have tried linseed oil and wax on nylon but it does not penetrate and
flakes/rubs off with use.

If you do use cotton, go with something fairly light weight like fabric that
cotton pants are made of.