Solve the Canvas Puzzle

Boats that are outfitted with eight or more pieces of zippered canvas, create a confusing puzzle. With a looming summer thunderstorm closing in on you from across the lake, putting up the canvas can be a frustrating, nerve-racking, temper raising experience, as you try to sort out which piece fits where. Inevitably, you get the wrong piece of this puzzle zippered in place inside out then nothing else fits. You know the story.

How to Solve the Puzzle for FREE

My simple solution to the canvas puzzle (that I have presented to two major boat manufacturers and is being implemented), is to:

put red and green colored tabs on the zipper pulls when the canvas is still on…red on the left (port) zipper pulls and green on the right (starboard) zipper pulls.

Various materials can be utilized from colored ribbons to colored fabric.

But, the simplest and cheapest method that I’ve used for years, is telephone wire. Most houses and businesses have a few feet of spare telephone wire. Strip off the outside casing and inside are four coloured wires—red, green, yellow and black. Cut the red and green into 3” pieces. Thread them through the zipper pulls and twist. Voila! Now, your puzzle challenge has been reduced by 50%.

Make Canvas Even Easier

For boaters who want to simplify the puzzle even more, you can write on the clear vinyl with a ball point pen. If you number the pieces from bow to stern, write the number in the upper forward corner on the inside. Ball point pen numbers about ¾” to 1” tall are easily visible on vinyl when you are close up but invisible from a distance so guests aboard and passers by on the dock won’t see your puzzle short cuts. Similarly, the colored telephone twist ties have gone unnoticed by guests on our boat for years.

If you don’t have access to telephone wire, you can always use green garden/garbage bag twist ties on the starboard pieces and leave the port pieces unlabelled.

This simple, free tip solves the canvas puzzle challenge. Reinstalling your canvas is now just a quick snap and zip. Your canvas puzzle is solved and your neighbors at the marina will be wondering how you do it so fast.

Have an Even Better Idea?

If you and your crew find this tip helpful the next time you have to put up canvas in a hurry, let me know. If you come up with a different labeling material than fabric, ribbon or wire, let me know and we’ll pass that on.

Share this tip and tell them where you got it.

Doug Dawson 050705

See also:

Now is the Time for repair

Replacing Canvas

Now is the time to Repair Your Canvas


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