Replacing Cane w/ Nylon

The cane seats on my OT Penobscot 16 are done for, and I will using some nylon strap from local hardware store, burning some holes through them and screwing them into the existing seat frame, with wood screws & washers (from a fellow paddlers suggestion). I think it is self explanitory but wanted to know if some folk have performed this seemingly simply task; they may have some warnings or suggestions.

I know people’s opinions of cane vs. nylon and don’t really care to start a debate…just want some advice from someone who has tried this out.

Thanks in advance!

I wonder whether fabric strap seats
aren’t actually made with polypropelene. Nylon stretches a good deal when wet. Polypro doesn’t.

good question
not sure…

just need something that will melt and send a screw through and will hold up.

will need to replace everything in a couple of years; i guess this is a quick/simple fix.

I did it with polypro webbing
Sounds like you are doing pretty much what I did.

I didn’t melt holes in the straps but maybe I should have as the webbing seemed to want to bunch up around the screws.

I screwed down one end then used an awlthrough the webbing to put some tension on it before driving the screws into the other end. The seat isn’t pretty if you look close but it is quite functional and I prefer the webbing to cane.


Poly P it is, then…
…if i can find it.

i haven’t bought anything for it yet…prep work so far, but i shall look for it…tomorrow.

i planned on using a soldering gun to burn the holes; burns the edges of the hole to keep the threads from unraveling.

Tommy, you might try a trick I used
with my c-1 straps. I soaked the strap ends with SeamGrip. It strengthened and stabilized the weave so that it could be screwed or punched or grommeted without the strap distorting.

I admit that it might take a couple of tubes of SeamGrip to do a seat, but I’m sure it would work well.

polypro availability
A decent fabric store should carry it. When I need a lot I buy it by the roll from Rochford Supply, but when I need shorter bits, like when I’m doing a seat, I just go to the local JoAnn fabrics store.

I’ll go see what I can find…
…but the Old Town replacement seat has this description for their web seats:

“heavy nylon webbing which is especially durable and more resistant to UV light…”

so i guess the questions that I have know:

Nylon vs Poly P? Comments?

and what are they talking about when they say “heavy” nylon? thinkness, amount of threads per square inch?

Poly pro rope
We used to make the seats for our drift boats with the common 1/4 inch yellow poly rope. If you are handy, you can weave it into a diamond pattern, not handy, just wrap it between the seat beams about 1/2 inch apart.

One trick worth trying

– Last Updated: Oct-25-08 10:26 PM EST –

I re-did a cane seat with nylon or poly webbing, and was concerned about reports that on do-it-yourself seats of this type, the stuff eventually gets looser and sags. I rolled out my stock of strapping material and stretched it by pulling it with my car, and let it sit that way overnight. Must've gotten 7 feet of stretch into 40 feet of material. When I released the tension the next morning, it sprang back some but ended up being significantly longer than before. The webbing on that seat is still as taught as when I strung it, though I can't "prove" the pre-stretch is the reason why. It's also tighter and more comfortable than pre-made webbing seats which I've purchased.

Oh, here's one other trick. Attach all the straps in one direction first. Make 'em as tight as you can. THEN weave the other straps through in the other direction. This results in a much tighter seat than alternating installation of straps in one direction and then the other, because it takes all those straps which you've made as tight as you can, and makes them TIGHTER by inducing a slight zig-zag that wasn't there before. I believe you get maximum tightening in this way if you install all the straps in the long direction first, because in that case, you add a lot more "zig-zags" to that first set of straps when weaving in the second set. If you do this, the seat will become extremely tight even before you pull the second set of straps tight, and the seat gets firmer still once you do pull the second set tight.

By the way, lacking a super-strength staple gun, I just used sheet metal screws to anchor the webbing. It worked really well, but it was awkward to install them without a second pair of hands to help me. I devised a prying tool to let me yank each strap tight and then hold it there with one hand while I installed the screws with the other.

webbing installation
I’ve completed this replacement on my Penobscot’s cane seats more than once. Not sure of type of webbing used (nylon v poly) but 1st replacement set (done in red to match hull) faded badly. Not partial to pink seats,I redid job w/ black. One can also create unique patterns by using various colors and/or widths.

Flipped seat frames over to hide the cane spline channel. Drilled pilot holes. Used ss screws & finish washers to mount webbing thru inside edge of seat frame. Melted cut ends of webbing. there’s been no fraying & no sag using weaving method described by gbg above

Or buy replacement cane seat here & support good cause

Good Stuff Guys
thanks for the advice!

Bump one last time!
the choices i have here locally are:

$2.49/yard at Jo Anns; it is Poly P but they don’t have all i need in stock


$0.69/yard at the Army Surplus Store: mystery material (most likely Nylon)

so, during my current budget crunch, i don’t even see this as a choice. AND i always want to give local businesses money over chains. also, it may even be Poly P at the Army SS (i doubt it).

any last words of advice?

i’ll let y’all know how it goes, if anyone cares!
This has been mentioned before, and I’m not affiliated, but they have great prices, selection, and service.

They also have really good info on the differences in materials and sizes and such.

Seat frames

– Last Updated: Oct-31-08 8:49 AM EST –

As mentioned above, you can cut the old cane at the edge of the spline (leaving the spline in place) and flip the frames over to re-use them. When I did this on my OT, I found that the holes for the mounting screws were drilled at funky angles and needed to be enlarged in order to fit "upside down". Test-fit frames before you do anything! Now is the time to scuff-sand and apply a coat or two of PU varnish.

I don't think what type of synthetic webbing will matter as much as getting it taut. If there is an upholstery shop nearby, you might just stop in and ask how much they would charge for a half-hour of labor. They've got specialized tools and tricks for stretching webbing. A pneumatic stapler is probably the ideal tool for fastening the webbing, though finding SS staples might be a problem.

Look over pics at Ed's Canoe and Essex Industries for guidance. Ed's uses wider, smoother and thinner webbing with practically no space in between. OT uses narrower, courser woven with wider spaces. My ass can't tell the difference. They both use staples.

Beware of those cheap, square stamped "nuts" on the original hanger screws. If you use a power drill to remove/replace them, as I did, those little bastards will bite if they suddenly grab.

Good luck!

strap works…
is pretty slick; thanks for the link. great prices too (from the little I know about strap). they do have a wide variety of all types of good stuff.

but i think will support my local stores.

Ed has some good stuff, too.
thanks for link tktoo!

Ed’s has nylon strap that looks very stout. good prices as well.

Already removed cane, sanded and going to the store today to see what I can find in the way of varnish and poly. i’m ready to get on the water!

I like Ed’s
I’ve got a seat and new full-length gunnels from them. I visited their shop and met Ed. Quality folks there, for sure. Their contoured seat is as comfy as I need in a canoe, though that fancy ‘tractor’ style seat looks interesting. I wasn’t kidding about checking with an upholsterer, it might save the young 'uns from hearing daddy say bad words!

i am worried about…
…the process a bit, and my kid hearing bad words!

but i am unemployeed, and as cheap and bored as ever. and too stubborn and picky to let someone else touch my boat!

Maybe you know
somebody who fixes up old furniture for a hobby that might have the webbing stretching tools to help?

Look at some upholstery tools online. A basic webbing stretcher can be easily home-made, once you see one.

Keeping tension on the webbing while you fasten it is key. The ultimate low-tech old-fashioned method would be to use a magnetic tack hammer with those pointy little blued tacks one-handed while maintaining tension with the other. Watching an experienced upholsterer spit little tacks out of his mouth onto a tack hammer is kinda fascinating!

Whatever you do, buy a few feet more than you need and leave it long while you work. Don’t cut it up into 18 short pieces!

That’s all I got.