Step four - applying the calico

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Remove the boat from the workbench by removing the bracing. Turn the boat over and check there are no nail ends or other sharp projections that may puncture the covering

Lay the calico on the workbench and place the boat, right side up, approximately centred on top of it. Bring the calico up to the gunwale at either side of the seat to check the excess calico is roughly equal, moving the frame if necessary. Repeat with the front and rear of the boat

Starting at the seat, bring the calico tight over the gunwale and affix with staples or tacks. Do a short section either side of the seat before repeating on the other side of the boat. Repeat at the front and rear of the boat, leaving the four 'corners' loose. Work round each of the corners, bringing the material tight. Before tacking to the gunwale, tidy up the excess material into pleats - it is usual to have two or three pleats per corner. Once tidy, finish tacking the calico to the gunwale and trim any excess that lies below the bottom edge of the gunwale inside the boat

Top tip - keep all offcuts of calico, as these can be used to patch any punctures that you may encounter in the life of the skin. More information on making repairs is on the last page of this guide

(Optional, but recommended: stitch the pleats closed, working from the gunwale down the outside of the skin. A curved sewing needle and strong thread will make this task easier)