Snaps for spray covers

I have a notion to sew up partial spray decks for my Bell Magic. The greatest hurdle to overcome will be drilling holes in the hull (gulp). But I can handle that.

I have read Clif Jacobson’s description for setting the male snap halves on the hull and it makes sense. But I found male SS snap halves with machine screw studs in the McMaster-Carr catalog which look like a great solution. Back them up with a thin rubber washer and a cap nut and you have a smooth interior protrusion rather than the deformed head of a blind rivit.

Has anyone ever used these? Item #95707A870.


I use the stainless snaps
(See Ricks Autumn mist) with the correct size and length stainless pop rivet and washer on the inside of the boat. My local semi dump truck tarp maker actually gave me all the snaps I needed and then told me how to mark the cover after I sewed it up, with a white pencil to correctly locate the female snaps for the cover. He then installed them for free. They have the tools that make this happen in less than 5 minutes. Oh and the material…He had tons of remnants in all colors that he sold me for less than 20 bucks.

Since you are a better bullshitter than me you should be able to get everything for free, including the sewing machine and thread!

I bought a cover for a tandem, I put on the snaps and I hate them. I keep busting my hands on them.

Yeah, but
what does anyone think about using threaded studs instead of the pop-rivited style?


Not sure I see the advantage

– Last Updated: Mar-03-08 8:24 PM EST –

You'd still have a nut/washer combo protruding on the inside, - with the correct rivets and washers, it wouldn't have any significant protrusion, and what does protrude is generally bulby & rounded. Also, it's probably not significant, but the screws & nuts would weight more than rivets would. Sounds a bit like a solution looking for a problem (I hear that one alot).

By the way, Dan Cooke walked me through riveting a hull (trained by the pro...), and it's not as bad as it looks. Just make a simple drilling template/jig, and measure twice. After the first few holes, you'll hardly even wince anymore.

It’s up to you
but are they stainless and will they loosen up and fall out. Since it will be a permanent set up I feel the pop rivets make more sense. Screw threads have a tendency to poke holes in dry bags, legs, and gear and scratch up your brand new bear barrels. Also as far as knuckle busting snaps go the stainless snaps seem to work better and hold up better because they won’t oxidise and jam like the nickel plated ones do when dirt gets in them.

I was thinking of using
acorn nuts to cover the studs, but I suppose a pop rivit would be a bit lower in profile. Yeah Kevin, probably a S.I.S.O.A.P. (Theres a new acronym for ya!)

N.T., I already have a '30 Singer machine so I am all set. And my BS tank is full.

Now, lets see…Oxford cloth for tradition, sil-nylon for high tech, or Gore-Tex for ostentatiousness?


(Just kidding - Oxford or pack cloth it is)

Why not use Velcro?
When we made a ripstop nylon spray cover for our canoe back in 1976, we glued 1"x2" velcro patches (can’t remember the type of glue, but we got it from Read Plastics on their recommendation) on the boat and sewed matching patches on the cover. Worked beautifully. The velcro on the canoe lasted for 20 years before needing to be replaced. It was a three-piece cover and eventually we just used the middle piece to cover our gear, which was tied in a 8x10 blue tarp that we also used for a ground cloth. Never had a drop of water in our stuff even in downpours.


What about replacing broken studs?
I’m kind of attracted to Jsault’s idea of threaded studs, for replacing snaps that have been banged off my MR Guide. The existing studs are pop-riveted. I’ve done just enough pop riveting to have the feel for it, but tightening down a machine screw gives one more of a feeling of control over applied torque.

Snaps in the kayak
As someone in the boat top business, I can say that either pop-rivets or the screw-in will do the job. The screw-in come as screw type (pointed like wood screws) or threaded like machine screws that use nuts.

I would pop-rivet them. Caution. It’s important to use the proper pop rivet tool. You need one with a tip that fits down into the depression of the snap. This will put the snap in snugly. Many pop rivet tools have a flat area at the business end, so the tip of the tool does not reach down into the depression in the snap head. This tool will always leave the snap too loose. Pop rivet tools are cheap. You may have to look at a few stores to find one that actually fits the snap properly.

Thanks, Jerry. I will sort through my
supply of pop rivet guns.

Second thoughts about stud-mount

– Last Updated: Mar-04-08 6:21 PM EST –


My idea of using Acorn nuts may not be so good. While they present a smooth, domed profile they are 11/32" tall in #8 size. Been staring at the calipers for five minutes trying to decide. Properly sized Pop rivits might be the better choice. But dang, I love the feel of a properlv torqued fastener!


PS: I see where Cookes uses plated brass snaps.....I am still leaning toward SS for my application though.

I’m sure you can get snaps, rivets and the correct pop riveter from Cooke’s

Snaps / Rivets
Snaps are either made from brass or stainless steel for the most part. Brass snaps are somtimes are then nickle plated to have that chrome look.

The trick about snaps is they should be low base studs(the part that goes on the canoe) otherwise the fastening method may end up deforming the shape on the snap stud that the spring in the socket part of the snap grips.

A properly sized rivet with the head in the bottom of the snap stud going through the hull and then through a backup washer will protrude less than any acorn nut I have ever seen.

If the snaps are positioned just below where the gunnel meets the hull. Knuckle busting is aalmost in impossibility.

There are some other things to take into acount concerning material selection, and placement.

Dan Cooke

Words of wisdom
from the Man Who Knows. Thanks Dan!

Planning on using my 15x15 Tundra on Assateague next month.


Dan, who might have made a yellow
snap-on cover for a MR Guide? The only label on the one that came with my boat I think said Voyageur, or Mad River, or something generic. The plan of the cover is simpler than what you make for solo open boats now.

The cover you describe was made for Mad River by a vendor of theirs.

CCS has never made Full covers for any canoe company other than the Bell Rob Roy covers with Bell Labels. I also made Wind Decks (partial covers) for the Bell Yellowstone with a Bell Label.

Dan Cooke