WAAGMEESTER CANVAS PRODUCTS HISTORY
The Waagmeester Canvas Products background is rich in heritage and experience. The Waagmeester family has a long history in US shipping. In the early 20th Century, the Waagmeester family crew worked the schooners Alvina and Irene, hauling timber along the Pacific Northwest coastline. And making sails and rope for these and other vessels.
Founder W.H. ‘Bud’ Waagmeester opened his canvas and awning shop in 1945. He had begun working at 13 and always had a vision to “find a need and fill it.” Bud learned his craft as a sailmaker’s mate in the Navy. He made lifeboat covers, turret covers, winch covers and more. He served aboard the U.S.S. Lexington and even did uniform alterations for many of the crew. Bud made sails for the Admiral’s pleasure boat and pulled on the all-Navy whale-boat race-crew “because the food was better.” He is generally credited with inventing the small boat folding top. The idea was strictly to keep rain off local salmon fishermen. Early tops had roll-up front and side flaps, and “windows” came later. Bud made canvas sails for the local sailors in the 1940s-60s. He made them from heavy canvas for the bigger boats and fine, long-staple Egyptian cotton for the smaller ones. In those early days, Bud’s shop was a home base for many old square-rigger sailmakers. All the finish work and bolt-roping was done by hand.
Even though Waagmeester is still known as a “canvas shop,” there’s not a whole lot of canvas fabrication. Today’s boat tops and the wide range of custom-made covers for rails, winches, bridges, doors, windows, hatches, seats, windlasses, dinghies, motors, biminis and the like, are made from vinyl and acrylic fabrics like Sunbrella. And, instead of the old canvas buff or pale green, a rainbow of colors as well as white and black are available.
Today’s focus is on industrial, commercial and architectural applications but Waagmeester remains a legend in the sail business. In 1989 Waagmeester introduced the first computer driven sail-plotter in the Pacific Northwest.
Now in its third generation, Waagmeester Canvas Products continues to be family-owned and operated. Bud’s sons Steve and Dale Waagmeester and his grandson Erik Waagmeester continue to teach staff the same vision and culture of practical innovation pioneered by Bud so many years ago. Waagmeester Canvas Products continues to deliver to customers the highest level of quality work and unmatched customer service which Bud set as the standard in 1945.