May 26, 2024


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What Is a Canvas?


The word canvas is a generic term to describe an industrial fabric. A canvas is a heavy, strong, and rigid woven fabric that is made from cotton or synthetic (man-made) fibers, which is used for awnings, industrial covers, slipcovers along with various other applications. A canvas comes in different grades, qualities, and weights. A canvas is usually available in a plain or basket (oxford) weave pattern. We will review various weave patterns in a future article.

When trying to find a particular canvas for your project, the internet can be a useful resource but can also be confusing due to the varied available choices. Some example products made from canvas fabrics are, but not limited to: floor cloths, goat coats, scuba divebags, awnings, boat covers, tipis, tents, shopping totes, punching bags, chaps, industrial pipe insulation, slipcovers, pet beds, luggage, tennis court screens, theater curtains, stage curtains, upholstery covers and various other products.

Ballistic fabrics

Ballistic fabrics are made from nylon yarn and are extremely strong. This synthetic nylon fabric is woven in a basket weave, and is coated with polyurethane on one side, making it highly water-repellent. Ballistic fabrics were first used in World War II for airmen. They would protect against small shrapnel and debris (flak). Today, most protective vests are made with a Kevlar/Nylon combination. Ballistic fabrics are primarily used in motorcycle jackets and pants, luggage and small packs. Ballistic nylons have high abrasion resistance and almost no elongation.

Cotton Duck Canvas

Cotton duck is a woven canvas made of 100% cotton (natural) fiber. Popular work wear products are still made with a cotton fabric because of it’s breathability and durability. Heavy cotton duck is also used for tool bags and crafter supply bags. Some of the heavier duck fabric is used in heavy duty tool bags, which are used by mechanics and linemen in the oil and gas industry. Cotton duck canvas is available in weights from 7 oz/sq yd to 30 oz/sq yd, and in a variety of colors. Waxed cotton duck is used for outdoor industrial covers. This cotton duck is treated with a wax finish making it waterproof, and flame retardant. They are used on farms to cover heavy equipment or even made into tarpaulins to wrap steam pipes during the winter.  Light weight cotton duck is used in a variety of upholstery applications. 7 oz duck can be used as curtain liners or artist canvas. 10 oz cotton duck is commonly used in replacement slip covers.