Canadian Canoe Routes

Fiberglass / Gel Coat repairs
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Author:  yarnellboat [ October 2nd, 2018, 11:51 am ]
Post subject:  Fiberglass / Gel Coat repairs


I've used fiberglass cloth to repair paddles and Royalex boats, but I don't know much about composite boats and "gel coat"...

I recently picked up a little canoe made of "chopper gun" fiberglass mat, and along the keel at the ends there is some pretty decent bangs, nicks, chunks and cracks in the gel coat, as in the photos. So, I'm looking for advice on how to maintain this type of wear.

stern cracks.JPG

bow cracks.JPG

I'd be tempted just to smush some GFlex into the cracks and then cover with a layer of cloth?

If chips/chunks require filling I suppose I could use some cloth in epoxy to build those up, but I suspect they might pop out pretty easily. I don't really want to do a bunch of glassing over the keel. I'd like to keep any additional cloth & resin to a minimum, so may just leave the chips.

I don't want to do any repairs that aren't necessary, but I'm not familiar enough with a boat like this to judge what's needed - looks like some of the chunks & cracks could lead to leaks, or possibly to larger pieces of the gel coat coming off? So, I don't need to repair ever little crack, but I also don't want it to start leaking and falling apart.

Thanks for any advice on 1) whether this needs repair, and 2) how to do a repair of these gel coat chips & cracks.

Thanks! Pat.

Author:  Prospector16 [ October 2nd, 2018, 3:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fiberglass / Gel Coat repairs

I am no expert, nor have I played one on TV.

But here is what I'd do.

Those big deep cracks I'd take a dremel and open them up wider just a bit to expose clean/new material and to give the epoxy a little more room to get in there. And sand everything lightly that's going to get epoxy, and tape around it all to mask it out.

Then basically do what you suggested. Some of the big chips like the one on the left in the 2nd picture I'd be tempted to cut a piece of cloth small and then test it to stuff it in there, then wet it with epoxy and stuff it in for real. The epoxy as per above.

Author:  Canoeheadted [ October 3rd, 2018, 12:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Fiberglass / Gel Coat repairs

I would... take a dremel to the cracks to clean them up, blow clean with compressed air, mix epoxy with microballoons and putty knife into the cracks and reform any needed profiles, once hardened lightly sand and apply two coats of epoxy for a smooth and tough finish, and then paint it.

You could... clean out the cracks anyway possible (drill, sander, screwdriver, etc...), blow it clean, mix epoxy or fiberglass with belt sander dust to the consistency of peanut butter, putty knife into the cracks and reform any needed profiles, paint it and paddle.

Author:  yarnellboat [ October 3rd, 2018, 9:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Fiberglass / Gel Coat repairs

So, filling the cracks and "painting" with epoxy should be good, no need to overlay any cloth.

In looking at where I could by microballoons, I saw this "mending putty" epoxy and wonder if I might try it: ... nch-114-gr


Author:  Mattt [ October 3rd, 2018, 12:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fiberglass / Gel Coat repairs

Bondo automotive repair stuff should work as well as fiberglass

Author:  T_Bison [ October 12th, 2018, 7:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Fiberglass / Gel Coat repairs

I had the same problem rebuilding a Scamper this summer. Ground out the crack, filled with putty, sand & paint.

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