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How to restore an old kevlar canoe??
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Author:  Canoe_Tripper [ June 30th, 2013, 12:35 pm ]
Post subject:  How to restore an old kevlar canoe??

Hi everyone,

I was lucky enough to get a nice 16' bluewater kevlar canoe given to me. For the most part it's in decent shape, but still needs some significant work, but nothing too major... I need some advice on what the proper way to do it would be.

Its been sitting outside for many years. The outer finish needs to be redone. Right now the colour will rub of easily with a swipe of your hand. There are a few dime size spots and scratches where the fiberglass has become exposed, but not many, and some small holes around the stem bands.

On the inside, the fiberglass is quite dry, and like it could start to peel off without a fresh coat of epoxy, in fact on one end there is a piece around the float chamber that has started to fray, or lift a bit already.

All the trim will need to be replaced, but that part is easy enough for me. Having no experience as a builder, I'm looking for advice on what the proper materials and techiniques...

I figure a light coat of epoxy on the inside, but what would I use on the outside?

Pictures to illustrate.....

Thanks!

Author:  Charlie Wilson [ June 30th, 2013, 1:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to restore an old kevlar canoe??

The outside gel can be spot filled, then sanded fair, and the color restored with rubbing compound and a $40 car buffer.

The inside needs help, but I'd try to match the original resin. Contact manufacturer with serial number for that as well as matching gel color. Paint it on with a brush where worst, then roller the balance. Wear a respirator, rubber gloves and cloths you don't intend to wear again.

Author:  Mike McCrea [ June 30th, 2013, 5:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to restore an old kevlar canoe??

Charlie Wilson wrote:
The outside gel can be spot filled, then sanded fair, and the color restored with rubbing compound and a $40 car buffer.

The inside needs help, but I'd try to match the original resin. Contact manufacturer with serial number for that as well as matching gel color. Paint it on with a brush where worst, then roller the balance. Wear a respirator, rubber gloves and cloths you don't intend to wear again.


Charlie is, as usual, right on.

I’d suggest scrubbing the entire hull, inside and out, before doing anything else. Scrub it ‘til it won’t get any cleaner. Accumulated oils, pollen and dirt are the enemies of adhesion in composite repairs.

Plus thoroughly washing a boat is a good way to get up close and personal, and often discover overlooked or grime-hidden areas that could use attention.

Author:  Rockie [ June 30th, 2013, 5:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to restore an old kevlar canoe??

Please check out the attached web address, lots of info and supplies. I have used them for repainting my Nova craft tripper (looks great) from Halifax and will ship direct to your current address for minimual fees. Canadian distrubitor with helpful videos and how to instructions. Very Informative. Special 216 thinners and 333 cleaners for gel coats and fiberglass.

http://ca.binnacle.com/

Hope this helps.

Author:  Canoe_Tripper [ June 30th, 2013, 9:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to restore an old kevlar canoe??

Thanks for the info. Rockie, I will check that link for sure, just typing this as I have finished reading the replies....

I had a chance to start a bit of the clean up today. Found three areas that have been damaged. They are all higher up on the canoe, probably all well above waterline. No doubt they have been inflicted since the trim has rotted away. They are probably about 4-5" long creases where the resin has cracked when the top edge has been folded too far into the center of the canoe. I guess a couple fiberglass patches inside and out should fix that easy enough though. Once the gunwhales are on, they are not going to be subject to stresses in that area that caused the creases in the first place.

One term I am unclear as to what specifically means, is the 'gel' coat. Is this a different epoxy than what is used previously, or is it the same epoxy, put on as the final coat, classifying it as the 'gel coat'??

Another question, Charlie had mention spot filling the gel coat, and buffing to get the colour back. Seeing as much colour come off so easily I would think the exterior finish needs some protection, not just a good buffing... Thought maybe a coat of marine grade polyurethane, or epoxy, or a fresh gel coat, (whatever that is....?!?), or something to repair the sun damage. I really don't know, which is why i'm here to ask. Any layer of finish I add is just going to add weight, so if I can avoid that I'm all for it. Just in my my mind, thought it would need a coat of something on the outside. Hope I'm wrong though!

Author:  Rockie [ June 30th, 2013, 9:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to restore an old kevlar canoe??

Do a search on the http://ca.binnacle.com/ web site for repairing a fiberglass canoe, you will find info and videos that will explain the restoration process from start to finish.

Author:  littleredcanoe [ June 30th, 2013, 9:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to restore an old kevlar canoe??

Gel coat is not epoxy per se though it could be..seems polyester resins are also in the mix

Maybe Wikipedia can help http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelcoat

From your photos the gelcoat has oxidized. Do as CEW suggests. The oxidized layer will come right off.. Buff and the hull will be shiny. I very much doubt that there will be no finish left. I purchased a canoe from a notable canoe person with no misuse, but it had been outside so long that the decals were faded, and the gelcoat was powdery.. Just on the outside.. we buffed and polished and the finish was new. We had to replace every seat and thwart due to rot. Just like you have do do the gunwales.

You can paint the hull but that is a last resort. It is an alternative to gel coating the whole hull. I doubt that you will have to do either.

I am pretty happy following Charlies advice as he has spent so much time..decades with Swift and Bell and other canoe makers.

Author:  Canoe_Tripper [ June 30th, 2013, 11:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to restore an old kevlar canoe??

Thanks... That is encouraging to hear.

I assumed some protection had to be added to the outside, seeing how neglected it had been for so long. If no further UV protection is required that is great.

Seats, thwarts and yoke are all long gone too. Never saw any sign of any of them. Anything that was made of wood is long gone, and well composted by now. There was a couple remnants of trim on the interior, only a few inches long remaining.... and they were rotted to the core. A delicate touch required to avoid them from falling apart. Really nothing left, except the stainless steel screws, which all are still held in place by the composite.....just no wood around them...!

Author:  ezwater [ July 1st, 2013, 1:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to restore an old kevlar canoe??

Do we know for a fact that all pre-Scott Bluewaters were made with epoxy resin? Mine, made around 2000, is epoxy, and has no gelcoat, only thin pigmented epoxy on the surface.

It appears that the old boat under discussion is gelcoated. Did makers using epoxy use gelcoat? Souris River doesn't.

Is there a possibility this canoe was made with vinylester? For refinishing the inside, either vinylester or epoxy (West 105/207) would work. But a further question about the inside. If the dry-looking fabric is still in a matrix of resin, is more resin needed? How about just using a quality UV-resistant spar varnish? Cheaper than resins, goes on easier, levels better.

Author:  wotrock [ July 1st, 2013, 8:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to restore an old kevlar canoe??

I refinished my Novacraft Tripper in Kevlar a few years ago with a 2-part epoxy paint, which I rolled on. The finished looked pretty good. When some of the paint on the keel scraped off again I touched it up with paint from Home Hardware which, luckily, was a perfect color match. Given that no paint can withstand scraping over rocks, I don't see any real diff between the expensive epoxy paint and the much cheaper HH stuff. I assume that both provide UV protection.

I used paint rather than gelcoat on the recommendation of John Winters, who was posting on here at the time.

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