How to Replace a Snap on Boat Canvas using a Punch & Anvil |
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Instructions for Replacing a Boat Canvas Snap with an Anvil & Punch Style Snap Tool

Replacing canvas snaps on your boat cover, bimini tops and other marine canvas can be a challenge. It’s time consuming and expensive to run down to the local canvas shop or boat dealer every time you have broken snaps or need to install new ones. We found the Top Snapper Canvas Care Kit to be an easy to use canvas snap tool for quick and painless canvas snap repair. The Top Snapper Canvas Care Kit comes with snap parts for ten snaps, each consisting of a dome with a hollow post and a corresponding female snap fitting, and a male snap fitting with a corresponding flat back plate with a hollow post. It also comes with a two-sided die or anvil, a punch tool and a tube of Top-Snapper™ Snap Lube. We tested it out, and here are some quick and easy steps for replacing your canvas snaps:

Removing a Damaged Boat Snap

If you removing a broken or worn canvas snap are replacing a broken canvas snap you’ll need to remove the old snap if it is still in place. You’ll probably need to remove the old snap with a drill. There is a hollow post that runs from the dome through the female part of the snap. You’ll want to use a drill bit that is slightly larger than the center of the hollow post – we used a 3/16” drill bit and that seemed to do the job. Place the snap on a firm surface. We suggest using a vice grip to fix the snap in place – you don’t want it to be able to spin as you drill into it, or it might tear a hole through the canvas. Follow all normal safety precautions for using a drill. Place the point of the bit into the hole of the post, and carefully drill. This will cut away the lip that holds the canvas snap together and the snap should come apart.

Using an Anvil & Punch Type Snap Tool to Replace a Boat Snap

Once the old snap is gone, you can put a new snap through the existing hole. Place the post through the hole in the canvas and then place the female snap fitting back in place over the hollow post on the back of the canvas. Make sure that the dome is on the correct side of the canvas. Keeping the canvas snap together, place the snap dome in the concave side of the die, and place the tip of the punch tool into the opening of the hollow post. Strike the punch, keeping it as straight as possible, with a mallet or hammer, using the necessary safety precautions. The edges of the post will roll out and rivet the two pieces together. Make sure that the post has been deformed enough that the two pieces of the snap half are firmly fixed together sandwiching the canvas. If you need to replace a male portion of a canvas snap, follow the same directions for using the Top Snapper Canvas Care Kit canvas snap tool, except use the male snap half and a flat backing plate instead of the dome. Turn the die over when you are using it from the concave bowl side to the flat recessed side.

Installing a New Boat Snap

If you want to install a new canvas snap, measure carefully to determine the exact spot on the canvas where you want the snap to be. Cut a small hole in the canvas with enough room for the hollow post to go through. Follow the same directions outlined above for replacing a canvas snap.

 Setting a Snap in Boat Canvas - Illustrated Step-by-Step

Snap pieces

Boat snaps come in 4 parts. The dome and female part pair and the base and male part pair.

Placing the snap dome onto the canvas Placing the dome head onto the convcave side of the anvil

Locate the correct position and canvas side, then insert the post of the dome through the hole in the canvas.
 Place the dome head in the concave side of the anvil.

Female portion of snapSetting the snap with the punch tool and hammer

Position female portion of the snap onto post.
 Using the punch tool and a hammer, set the snap.

Completed snap is firmly set in boat canvas

The snap is now set firmly in place and is ready for use.

Additional questions? Talk with one of our representatives via chat, e-mail, or toll free at 866.560.1330. We are always happy to help.