canoe hull repair

10:41 a.m. on August 7, 2019 (EDT)
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does anyone have experience repairing damage to a canoe? trying to assess if i can handle this myself.

i have a 30+ year old canoe from Stowe Canoe Company.  The hull is primarily kevlar with a gel coat outer layer.  the kevlar is intact; the gel coat is chipped, about the size of my hand, with a spider crack that extends outward 12-18 inches.

i have watched some online videos about gel coat repairs but am wondering if anyone has advice, hands-on experience.  looks to me like a pint of gelcoat, pigment to kind of match the green color, sandpaper, gloves, safety glasses and a mask would do the job (have various grit sandpaper, a sanding block, and orbital palm sander).

12:03 p.m. on August 7, 2019 (EDT)
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Yep.  But the color won't match exactly.  And unless you really love sanding, it won't be as smooth as the original.  It will, however work perfectly well.

6:57 p.m. on August 7, 2019 (EDT)
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I just finished the Canadienne from 1989.  It was scratched up, faded, and needed some structural repairs, so I cut out the bad parts, added new glass and epoxy and sanded the rough spots.  Yesterday I applied marine enamel over the gelcoat.  It covers up all the repairs, scrapes and cracks and makes it look like a new boat.  That is what I recommend for older boats.  Gelcoat is hard to work with, hard to match the color and not rewarding compared to just painting it. 

You can easily repair the chips with epoxy thickened with fairing compound or what is called microballons. 

10:55 a.m. on August 9, 2019 (EDT)
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ppine said:

I just finished the Canadienne from 1989.  It was scratched up, faded, and needed some structural repairs, so I cut out the bad parts, added new glass and epoxy and sanded the rough spots.  Yesterday I applied marine enamel over the gelcoat.  It covers up all the repairs, scrapes and cracks and makes it look like a new boat.  That is what I recommend for older boats.  Gelcoat is hard to work with, hard to match the color and not rewarding compared to just painting it. 

You can easily repair the chips with epoxy thickened with fairing compound or what is called microballons. 

i estimate that once i pull away the cracked pieces of gelcoat, i'm looking at a roughly 12x12 inch area that needs to be repaired. not structural, the kevlar mesh is fine, just the outer waterproof shell. i had thought this was too large an area to repair with epoxy.  was thinking either marine repair filler reinforced with fiberglas (which i think would be pretty difficult to work with) or a pint of polyester gel paste, use a spreader and some tape to protect the edge areas of the existing gelcoat, then use a block or electric palm sander to smooth it up.  plus a decent mask and goggles to keep the dust out of my eyes and lungs.

so you think it would be easier to paint over the gelcoat rather than buy some pigment, get the color close, and blend with the paste? food for thought.  

4:44 p.m. on August 9, 2019 (EDT)
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No repair is too big for epoxy  You can build the whole boat out of it and it is strong.  It has no odor.  It is predictable. 

Thicken up the epoxy so you can control it better.  Fairing compound, microballoons or wood sanding dust will work.  Easy to work with. Easy to sand.  Making a square foot of gelcoat look right is very difficult.  I suggest paint. 

"marine repair filler" g-tex? 

I have built fiberglass sail boats for a living and repaired around 6 fiberglass canoes.  I am trying to head you in a good direction. 

February 17, 2020
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