Decks on my 1931 Osborne


New member
1 Jul 2001
My boat currently has canvassed decks which are now in dire need of replacing.

I have been told that a good replacement is to epoxy on a new deck - can anyone recommend this and tell me of the ease/horrors of application?

Is it cheap? easy to do? hard wearing? and suitable for the old girl?

Thanks in advance


Well-known member
5 Jun 2001
We had canvas on the coach roofs of our 1937 saunders roe which we replaced by grp laid over ply in 1970. when we sold the boat in 1989 they were still perfect.

Pic of Gralian on my site at the bottom of voyages

David ps Take a look at my site


I have a 1939 gaff yacht and I epoxied the decks the year before last.
I had canvas or it looked more like lino, and it was full of holes. Some of the wood underneath was rotten. But the lino had a quarter inch layer of ply under it. I found that the real problem was scraping the ply off as in parts it was rock solid. I used an electric scraper and chisels and anything else. It took about two months, and was quite scary as rotten deck came up in some places.

But eventually that was done. The wood got replaced with some spruce that was cut into the right sized planks by Waterfront Marine.

Then the epoxy. I used SPA and two layers of their glasscloth. They were really helpful - sent a CD of all their products, delivered very quickly, and were cheaper than the local chandlers.

I did the decks in sections and am really pleased with the result. It is obviously not as picture perfect as the jobs done by the boatyard, but is very acceptable; all of the lumps are due to my woodwork beneath on the decks. I had some fun getting the mixture right - there were one or two times when the epoxy started smoking - but I eventually twigged that the shape of the container was key in this. I got good enough proportions of hardener to epoxy by using small containers - I used lots of yoghourt pots - 1 to 5. But it all worked a lot better (ie stayed workable) if I made sure that the surface area of the mixture was much bigger than the depth of the mixture. So the plastic tubs that curries for the microwave come in were about right for the pace that I was working at. It does sound small and slow, but it kept the work neat, and was OK really as regards progress - I'd do a few each night.

I painted epoxy on the deck first - two coats and let it harden, then I did the cloth coats. Then the whole lot got painted.

The main thing is that it is waterproof. It has been done for two summers. My level of skill was really basic - I'd done some bits of fibreglassing before on another boat, but not a lot. So as a guage of how good the material is, I got a stream of people coming up to see 'what a mess I was making' and they went off muttering - mmn, not a bad job that!
Good luck