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PostPosted: June 14th, 2009, 9:19 am 
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Joined: May 20th, 2003, 4:14 pm
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Location: Edinburgh Scotland
I have a Kevlar Evergreen Maple that I bought last year. I love it. It is very fast and predictable. I use it for lake trips.

I opted not to have skid plates installed when I ordered it, I am now thinking this was a mistake. There are some scratches on the gel coat but that is about it. I was wondering:

1. Should I install skid lates before there is more wear on the stem and stern?

2. Is it worth the hassel of doing it yourself or should I take it into a canoe supplier to get it done professionally?

Thanks


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PostPosted: June 14th, 2009, 9:28 am 
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Which is more damaging, some scrapes and scratches that eventually can be repaired? Or, big expanses of rough Kevlar felt that look like some kind of growth, affect the clean entry of your canoe, add some weight, make little gurgling noises, and sometimes catch strands of water weeds and drag them along?

Our old fiberglass Moore Voyageur took some damage on Georgia whitewater streams, but not on the stems. Skid plates would have done nothing. Our Old Town Tripper eventually had enough stem damage that I put on glass cloth skid plates, much cleaner and neater than Kevlar felt. My often-used whitewater boats have never needed skid plates.

We bought a "demo" Bluewater Chippewa, and unfortunately, it came with skid plates. Fortunately they are not the conventional thick kind, but are very thin. However I still wish they were not there.

You'll hear other opinions, but I don't see any point in skid plates until the time comes that the amount of damage requires repair. Then the best solution is not Kevlar felt, but a few layers of bias-cut glass cloth and epoxy.


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PostPosted: June 14th, 2009, 4:31 pm 
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Wait until the canoe is wearing to the point it needs repaired then add them. This way you be sure where on the canoe they are needed and even if they are needed .

The canoe need not be new to have skid plates but on.

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PostPosted: June 15th, 2009, 11:22 am 
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For lake tripping, where the wear will be limited to occasional impacts and frequent abrasion, I think a better solution is the stem band. Bluewater canoes come with these, and I added one to my sundowner. It really isn't necessary, as a bit of glass repair every two or three years does the trick too.

Stem bands come in aluminum or brass, and are pretty easy to install. They don't change the shape nearly as much, and being metal take abrasion really well.

I agree about the skid-plate. They are only necessary for serious whitewater, and then only after a bit of use.


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PostPosted: June 15th, 2009, 2:20 pm 
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I fall into the opposite camp on this issue. I prefer to have the kevlar skid plates on the boat before it gets to the point where it needs them. If you do a lot of tripping in shield country, you are bound to meet up with some nasty rocks. You shouldn't notice any significant difference in weight or performance. My first canoe had stem bands, but I found that they didn't hold up as well as the kevlar ones. Installation is pretty easy if you have ever worked with fiberglass before. The key thing to make the job look professional is to spend the time to do a good prep job and mask off the area against any drips. I bought the kevlar felt plates from MEC for $19.00. I added some acrylic paint to the epoxy resin and managed to get an excellent colour match.

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PostPosted: June 15th, 2009, 9:01 pm 
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mr_canoehead18 wrote:
For lake tripping, where the wear will be limited to occasional impacts and frequent abrasion, I think a better solution is the stem band. Bluewater canoes come with these, and I added one to my sundowner. It really isn't necessary, as a bit of glass repair every two or three years does the trick too.

Stem bands come in aluminum or brass, and are pretty easy to install. They don't change the shape nearly as much, and being metal take abrasion really well.

I agree about the skid-plate. They are only necessary for serious whitewater, and then only after a bit of use.



Interesting opinion... In my WW boats pretty much the only place I DONT need re-enforcement is the stems. I tend to smack rocks on the chines, tumblehome, gunnwales, keel-line etc. I am not really sure how you could hit rocks with the stems as there will normally be big pillows of water deflecting off the rocks. Have you damaged a boat in WW that skid plates might have prevented?

edit-- I suppose you could piton off a rock on a drop and plates might help there. Is that what you are reffering to?

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PostPosted: June 17th, 2009, 8:59 am 
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Dan, I like canoes too. We are agreed.

The original poster spoke of lake tripping in an evergreen maple. A Maple is a low-profile boat with a sharp stem and little rocker. It has "deadwood" in the bow, if I am using the term correctly, meaning that the waterline length extends as far forward as it can. With a canoe like this, a rock hidden just below the surface on a calm lake (no pillow or breaking wave because no current/wind) will contact the stem. Further, on launching and landing if one is not careful, the stems take some abuse. Because they are so fine, the wear tends to be concentrated. Any boats of this style that I have had have been worn on the stem more than anywhere else.

I agree that whitewater boats with blunt stems that are rockered to keep them high are much less likely to be damaged. That said, I have seen many of those that have been bashed in as well.


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PostPosted: June 17th, 2009, 11:12 am 
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I agree that a fast, fine-ended canoe with little or no dead rise will tend to wear on those fine stems. I think that metal stem protectors are a possible solution, but the Kevlar felt skid plates kits I have seen all result in such a crude result as to negate the point of owning a fast, fine-ended boat. Even the thin, light Kevlar slapped onto my Bluewater Chippewa at the factory are weed catchers and minor drag producers.

The stems on composite boats are quite easy to repair and restore. It is easier and cheaper to restore a stem occasionally than it is to put on a skid plate, and the result is nicer looking and more functional.


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PostPosted: June 17th, 2009, 6:08 pm 
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we try pretty hard to avoid rocks in killarney etc and sometimes fail. I like having the skid plate - not essential, no, but makes me feel more secure on a trip. my langford kev has enough gel issues. so if kev, I'm all for it.
is there a reason they are fuzzy though? just more protection per ounce that way? as for looks, well, to a limit, whatever really. some of those homedone jobs do ruin a canoe's look for sure. and a bit slower? so that's it!
i only jump in here to mention there are two sides and some of us are all for a skidplate.

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PostPosted: June 17th, 2009, 6:48 pm 
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I've ALWAYS had 'em on my boats - I wouldn't have much boat left after a summer paddling Muskoka and Haliburton (the rock and boulder capital of the World!!!), if I didn't put 'em on.

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PostPosted: June 17th, 2009, 10:13 pm 
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Yeah, well, we've had our canoes on the Canadian Shield, and stem wear was not any special issue. If you like the protection offered by a big swatch of Kevlar felt, you can be comfortable in the knowledge that many feel the same. But it remains a very sub-optimal solution.


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PostPosted: June 18th, 2009, 9:31 am 
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Paddling solo and leaned over Canadian-style will result in more damage right underneath your knees. But tandem canoes paddled through rocks and gravel will abrade at the stems.

I knew a local that used to buy cheap fiberglass canoes, paddle them through shallow rivers until the stems got sanded off and there was a hole for water to enter freely. Then he threw the worn-out canoe away at the dump and bought a new one... skid plates, preferably fiberglass, would have saved some money in the long run.

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PostPosted: June 21st, 2009, 12:06 am 
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My Swift kevlar came with the big, thick skid plates and I like them because in off colour water where we tend to paddle, you cannot see the granite coming until it is too late.
The Souris River f/g boat we recently bought is in the repair stage at the moment, there are lots of hidden cracks I am finding and I am adding f/g skid plates at the same time. I am using matt instead of cloth and with 3-4 layers they will still be less than half the thickness of the ones on my Swift. They do take time to do but I think it will be worth it in the long run.

In two weeks we will find out how good of a job I am doing... :lol:


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PostPosted: June 21st, 2009, 9:13 am 
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I hate the look of skid plates as well and resisted putting them on my Mason Red Novacraft Tripper---she's a sleek looking boat. :) . But when I refinished her last year (I repaired scratches and repainted), I embedded some 1/4" mesh hardware cloth in the resin and added some layers of fiberglass cloth on top of it. I then smoothed it out with 'bodyfiller' before repainting the whole hull.

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PostPosted: July 9th, 2009, 5:53 pm 
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You could skip the hardware cloth and the E-glass. Order some S-glass from johnrsweet.com and apply it, bias cut, to the stems. S-glass is tough and hard. Some quality canoes have S-glass as the outer layer. S-glass skid plates are low and smooth, not ugly like Kevlar felt.


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