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Waxed Canvas Fabric

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Waxed canvas fabric can be used for a number of different outdoor projects. This fabric is extremely strong and durable and used to make industrial covers to withstand the harshest weather conditions. Pyrosnuff and Canvak are two of our main lines of waxed based canvas. Both these fabrics are dyed and coated in the USA. Pyrosnuff has an added flame retardant treatment to it and meets CPAI 84 flame resistance. Our Canvak is another waxed based product that has very similar properties to Pyrosunff except it isn’t flame resistant.

Both waxed canvas fabrics are water repellent and mildew resistant. Be careful when choosing from our waxed canvas fabric, we have a few different types.  On some items the wax may come off and should only be used for outdoor tarp applications.  Our more expensive army duck can be used for bags, satchels, and other products that may come into contact with garments. About 8 oz of wax is added to the base fabric which enhances it’s tensile and tear strength properties.

The natural fabric that is treated is a 12 oz single fill duck canvas.  Roughly 6-8 oz of canvas wax is added on to the canvas to increase strength and durability.  Heavy duty sewing machines, with industrial needles are required to work this fabric.  Use our bonded polyester thread for these fabrics.

What is Canvas vs Duck?

Canvas and duck are terms used interchangeably and can often been confused. Canvas is defined as an fabric that is strong and heavy having a firm hand. Use this fabric for awnings, boat covers, and outdoor furniture. Duck on the other hand is usually spun polyester or spun cotton fabric available in a variety of weights and qualities.  Both canvas and duck are available in plain weave or basket weave. Canvas is made from either cotton or acrylic.

Waxed Canvas Fabric Versatility

Ideally, used waxed canvas when you need something durable that needs some water repellent qualities. We carry a variety of weights, widths and colors depending on your specific needs. Some waxed canvas colors we carry include: Oak, Olive Drab, Orange, Red, Yellow, Charcoal and Field Tan.

In the past, waxed cotton canvas seemed to have appeared as a result of the sailing industry in Scotland. Sailors would use their fish oils and grease to coat cotton cloth sails in order to make them waterproof. Wet sails are heavy sails. So, the wax kept them dry, light and easy to work with. Since then, it’s become used for a variety of maritime and military applications. Early retailers used waxed canvas in water repellent jackets and motorcycle clothes.

Waxed Canvas Fabric Uses

  • Messenger Bags
  • Handbags
  • Totes
  • Luggage
  • Protective covers
  • Welding blankets
  • Military Covers
  • Tarps
  • Tents
  • Shelters

Tips for Sewing with Waxed Canvas

Choose Your Needle Wisely – Waxed canvas’s heavy weight requires a strong needle. If you are sewing many layers, then look for 100/16 or 110/18 needle sizes.

Expect and Enjoy Imperfections – Due to the wax coating, waxed canvas naturally scratches and folds. Embrace this feature of the fabric because it leads to some rugged, one-of-a-kind pieces.

Clean Up Your Work Space – After working with waxed canvas, you’ll notice waxy buildup. Be sure to clean your work space, sewing machine and tools after use.

What are the Different Kinds of Cotton Duck Cloth, Canvas?

There are many kinds of cotton duck cloth fabrics. They are known by names that are historically connected to them like “Army”, “Numbered”, “Belting”, “Sail”, etc.

  • Single Filled Cotton Duck Cloth: Generally light-weight, loosely woven, oxford weave cotton duck cloth, made from non-plied single yarns. The more common SF ducks weigh 7, 10 and 12 oz/square yard.
  • Numbered Cotton Duck Cloth: Heavier plain weave fabric, made with plied yarns, weighing 12 to 32 oz/square yard. #1 being 32 oz/square yard and #12 being 12 oz/square yard.  This cotton duck cloth is tight, firm cotton canvas ranging from 22″ to 150″ in width. This is also called wide duck and the weights (numbering system) are on the inverse scale. The weight of the fabric can be determined by subtracting the duck number from 19. A number 8 cotton duck canvas will weigh (19-8)= 11 oz per lineal yard of 22″ width fabric. To get the ounce per square yard, you have to prorate it to 36″ width since 1 square yard is 36″x36″. 11 oz per lineal yard(22″) is the same as 18 oz/sq. yd.  A little confusing, but that’s how he original numbering system was invented.
  • Army Cotton Duck Cloth: 10 oz & 15 oz. plain weave canvas, generally made with two ply yarns. The yarns are finer than the numbered or SF ducks and the weave tighter. Army cotton duck cloth is usually firmer than single filled ducks. Originally used for army tents and clothes, this versatile cotton duck fabric is used in a variety of applications.


Disclaimer: We usually ship all our waxed canvas folded.  On orders over 10 yards we ship it on rolls.  If you order less than 10 yards and need it on a roll, please contact us.  Additional charges may apply