How I Tie My Canoe to my Car

A friend asked me how I tie my canoe to my car. I figured I would just document it as this might help others. I usually paddle by myself so having a canoe I can load and unload is important to me.

One challenge I have is my canoe is carbon fibre and weighs only 29 pounds. While this is wonderful for loading on the roof, it is easy to fly off if the wind is blowing when you are putting it on the car. It is why step 4 is important for me. As soon as the canoe is on the roof, I loop velcro around the canoe and rack cross braces. This holds it on the car so that a wind can not carry it off before I get the big straps in place.

Paper Mache – Distressing the Teeth

Now that I had a technique for making teeth, it was time to do some mass production. The picture above is of 28 teeth: formed, sanded, smoothed, gessoed, base coated and first layer of distressing applied. I want the teeth to look old so I have been investigating how to distress them.

I still need a few more layers to build up the antiquing look.

And this is ONLY the lower jaw. I still have another 28 to make for the top.

Paper Mache: Types of Glue – White vs Wood

When I started into paper mache I tried several types of glue but quickly choose traditional white resin glue as my favourite. I surfed for more details but one question intrigued me: white vs wood glue.

Weldbond, Wood and White glues

Weldbond, Wood and White glues

For my work I use three glues.

  1. “White glue” or “hobby and craft” – polyvinyl acetate (PVA)
  2. “Carpenter’s glue” or “wood glue” or “yellow glue” – aliphatic resin emulsion
  3. “Weldbond” – a brand of glue by FT Ross

Other than Weldbond, I tend to use generic or house brands of white and carpenter’s glue. Here are my observations of each as it pertains to paper mache.

First thing I learned is all white glues are not the same. Some are thicker and made to grab and dry faster. For paper mache you want the basic white glue. I buy it in three litre jugs and fill smaller dispensers. In the image above, the left dispenser with the crazy top is white glue, the right is carpenter glue. I found a four pack of these pictured small squeeze bottles in an art store. I drill a hole in the top then make come sort of cap. Then I fill them as needed.

The small bottle of white glue called “Craft Glue” is an example of a thicker, faster drying glue. I found it too thick for most of my work and tough to control the flow of glue when dispersing in a thin line.

Latch Bail Jar

Latch Bail Jar

For paper mache glue I use a latch bail jar. Easy to mix up a new batch (90% white glue, 10% water), quick to open and close. It is important to keep the jar closed when not using it to avoid dried chunks. I usually apply my glue with long flat brushes.

Let’s walk through the three for strengths and weaknesses.

White Glue

  • Easiest to find. Cheap.
  • Mixes with water for paper mache. I run 10-25% water depending on what I am doing. 10% water is my most common recipe.
  • Flexible when dry.
  • NOT SANDABLE. Clogs up the sand paper.
  • Will not chip. Of you have a drip or clump off of the side it is not easy to break off.
  • Softens when exposed to water.

Carpenter’s Glue

  • Easy to find.
  • Use full strength.
  • Sandable when dry.
  • NOT flexible. It cracks when bent.
  • Chips off if you have drips off to the side.
  • Resists water.
  • I use when gluing wood parts together such as a tongue depressor to a dowel. The drips out the side chip off easily and you can sand the edges of the bond.

Weldbond

  • Use full strength.
  • Great for gluing an object to paper mache. Dries fast, strong bond.
  • Closes small gaps nicely.
  • Shrinks when dried.
  • Resists water.

So what’s the best glue for paper mache? For me it is all of them. They each have a purpose.

Paper Mache: Trying Teeth in Pottie Mouth

Not that I had a technique for making teeth, it was time to make some and try them on the jaw.

View 2 of the Jig

Tooth Forming Jig

I created nine teeth and attached a short length of bamboo skewer to the bottom. This will serve as the root when putting them into the jar as well as a way to stand them up while painting. I took a board and just drilled a few rows of holes.

Piece of bamboo skewer inserted into the bottom of a tooth.

Piece of bamboo skewer inserted into the bottom of a tooth.

Here are front and side views of the seat with the teeth inserted in.

Front view of the jaw with nine teeth inserted

Front view of the jaw with nine teeth inserted

Side view of the jaw with nine teeth inserted

Side view of the jaw with nine teeth inserted

Lessons Learned

  1. The toilet seat needed to be sanded. The finish is designed to resist staining so it also resists paints and glue. I wish I had sanded the seat before attaching anything like the gullet. Removing 8 screws and the two parts would have been free and easier to work on.
  2. Next time I am going to drill into the base of the tooth with a drill press to make the hole centred and straight. It is hard to hand drill into them.
  3. The depressors sitting in water last about 3 days then they start to fall apart. 

Now that I see how they work, I will start on the side ones shortening them towards the back of the jaw.

This is definitely fun.

Paper Mache: Monster Tooth Maker Results

Steps to form a tooth

Two final teeth sitting on the lower jaw

Two final teeth sitting on the lower jaw

After much experimenting I have come up with the approach I am using for Pottie Mouth's teeth. As I learn more I will modify this post to reflect what I learn.

  1. Start with a $9 box of 500 unsterilized 3/4" x 6" tongue depressors
  2. Soak a few depressors overnight in water Jun 17 - I tried just boiling dry depressors and it worked fine so I no longer presoak.
  3. BOIL them in water for 5 minutes - What I do is put the depressors in a pot with water. Then I bring it to a full rolling boil and turn the burner off. Then I let it sit for 10 minutes.
    The boiling weakens the hard wood's lignin bond, which makes them pliable
  4. Return them to the jar with water.
  5. Remove one from the water and towel dry the surface.
    This prevents diluting the glue
  6. Select a cut piece of 5/8" dowel
  7. Cut off the rounded end of the depressor so that it will be flush with the dowel
  8. Cut the sides to form sharp tooth
  9. Add Wood Glue (not white glue) to the depressor where dowel will join
    Wood glue is sand-able when dry, white glue is not
  10. Place a piece of wet tongue depressor below between the clamp and the tooth. This acts as a guard against the clamp marking the tooth.
  11. Tighten host clamp over end
    By placing a piece of hose or popsicle sticks over depressor you can minimize damage from the tight clamp
  12. Place in the jig
  13. Let dry
    It needs to be bone dry. Exposing to a fan or air flow helps speed the process
  14. Remove from jig, remove clamp
  15. Sand any glue clumps or rough areas
  16. Fill in side between the depressor and dowel with a mixture of Sheetrock 20 and acrylic paint
  17. Paint balance of tooth

June 15. I love tuning a process as I work. Today I decided to use an end of wet tongue depressor to protect the tooth from the clamp.
I added step 10 to put a piece of wet depressor between the clamp and the tooth. I also predrilled the dowel so that I can arrange them on my tooth stand.

Using a piece of cut off depressor end to protect the tooth from the clamp.

Using a piece of cut off depressor end to protect the tooth from the clamp.

View 1 of the Jig

View 1 of the Jig

Dowel and tooth stand

Dowel and tooth stand

View 2 of the Jig

View 2 of the Jig

Tooth Variations

I made several variations of teeth. Here are some of them.

Seven variations on making teeth

Seven variations on making teeth

  • 7 - This is one of the originals. Note the use of a square cut 1/2" dowel and marks on the face from the hose clamps.
  • 6, 5, 4 - These show the tooth front of variations on 7 where I tried building a transition on the back with paper mache. The problem is the paper on the front hurts the appearance of the tooth. The backs shown below aren't very appealing either.
  • 1 - This is a 5/8" dowel with a sloped cut at top. The clamp marks have been minimized with a piece of hose
  • 3 - The side is just painted. White glue was used so the extra clumps of glue could not be sanded or removed
  • 2 - The side is filled in with acrylic paint thickened up with some Sheetrock 20. Sheetrock is a sandable drywall compound. The 20 means that mixed with water it will harden in 20 minutes. You can also get 5 and 90. As most of my drying is dependant on the drying of the paint, 20 was a good compromise
This shows the issue with trying to smooth the transition on the back

This shows the issue with trying to smooth the transition on the back

Here are the final teeth in side and front view.

Final teeth in front and side views.

Final teeth in front and side views.