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PostPosted: September 21st, 2023, 11:17 am 
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Hi all, I recently bought a "seen better days" kevlar boat for $100 with the intent to refurbish. Here's some pictures: https://photos.app.goo.gl/neftQB67mSW8bWp68.

Calling it a boat is somewhat of a stretch, all of the wood was pretty rotten and shortly after the photoshoot I removed the gunwales, decks, and seats. I'm hopeful the hull is salvageable but would really value your input. There are a couple of spots where it clearly needs patching inside and out, and it looks like there are a couple of cracks in a crossrib at the midpoint. Also it looks like something's delaminating but perhaps it's just gelcoat or an old glass patch and not the kevlar itself. I've tried to show the problem spots in the album.

At this point, is it worth the effort to try and turn it into a usable craft, or should I just cut my losses? If it's never going to be usable, I'd rather just pull the ripcord early.

Thanks in advance!


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PostPosted: September 21st, 2023, 3:32 pm 
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Overall it looks like it needs new trim, probably a coat of epoxy on the outside of the hull, and maybe some paint.

That said, this picture that shows damage through at least one layer of cloth is the one I'd be worried about: https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipM ... trSXhjYXpn

If there has been water getting in between layers of cloth, and especially if it's been freezing and thawing, then you might have a serious week spot. On the other hand, if it's just abrasion/wear through that first layer then you can sand it down to get a clean surface and apply a patch using fibreglass and epoxy.

Mike McCrea will probably have lots more advice for you. :D

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Last edited by Splake on September 22nd, 2023, 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: September 22nd, 2023, 7:01 am 
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Thanks Splake! The guy who sold it said it was stored in his shed until the hurricane here a couple of weeks ago, but given the accumulation of bird crap and rot maybe not. I think the picture you linked is hopefully just part of a patch, the stuff underneath looks pretty clean and intact.

I did add a couple of detail shots of some creases/cracks that go deeper which I am a little concerned about. I picked off a flaky/brittle chunk and it seems like the kevlar might be damaged.

I'll probably check with the folks at a local outfitter today as I'd probably be buying a bunch of parts from them eventually.


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PostPosted: September 22nd, 2023, 1:49 pm 
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Was it used for racing, it had a foot brace and only inwales, no outwales?

High mounted seats, at the gunwales.

Perhaps a good scrub will help reveal the original hull vs previous repairs.

I believe in canoes that are structurally solid and functional so I’m not concerned the hill aesthetics. So gel coat only if the hill beds the protection, not for the looks.

Definitely get a knowledgeable person’s eyes on it. It’s good to know what you are up against as well as your options.

Great find and price if it works out.

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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2023, 12:58 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
marshydope wrote:
Hi all, I recently bought a "seen better days" kevlar boat for $100 with the intent to refurbish. Here's some pictures: https://photos.app.goo.gl/neftQB67mSW8bWp68.

At this point, is it worth the effort to try and turn it into a usable craft, or should I just cut my losses? If it's never going to be usable, I'd rather just pull the ripcord early.


I know zip about Gillies. A brief Google turns up racing canoes, and a Nova Scotia builder, which may be one in the same.

https://www.kisseynewcanoecompany.com/racing-canoes

https://www.facebook.com/organicboatsho ... 836776721/

Pretty much any canoe can be resurrected to usability. The “worth it?” depends on several things. In no particular order:

Will you have a use for it when repaired?
If not, does it have any resale time & materials value if repaired?
How much does it weigh, and how much weight will the repairs add? Kevlar, so there is hope.
How much money are you willing spend on materials? Quality materials are not cheap.
Are you OK with quick and dirty (cheap) repairs resulting in a “beater boat”? There is a niche for beaters.
How much time and labor are you willing to put in? I enjoy rehabbing canoes and don’t “count” my labor, but it can run into hours and days; months if you have limited free time and are DIYing gunwales and brightwork.
Do you have indoor shop space to commit for the length of the rebuild?

On the flip side, if you have some use for it, can handle the refurbished weigh and have some time and money, rebuilding canoes can be a rewarding and educational experience. And with that experience the next rebuild always comes out better. Half of our boats, and some of our favorites, were repaired derelicts.

Paddle Power wrote:
Perhaps a good scrub will help reveal the original hull vs previous repairs.


I believe that is Step 1 before even beginning to contemplate needed repairs/worthiness. A thorough scrubbing, inside and out, is the best way to get up close and personal with a hull and notice hidden things that need attention.

On really filthy hulls I use a 50/50 mix of Dawn dishwashing soap and household cleaning vinegar, with a scrub brush and no or very little water. That mix will straight take some grunge off.

Do not use car washing soap or anything else with waxy additives, lest it interfere with bonding future epoxy or paint.

Scrub a dub, post some cleaned photos, and let us know what you find. Could be an interesting canoe.


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PostPosted: September 24th, 2023, 4:50 pm 
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Thanks Mike. I unfortunately don't have indoor shop space for (tight bends to get into the basement, plus my wife's already asked to move some of my One Man's Trash for a bit of workout room) but I've bought a car shelter for the back yard, so hopefully that will be useful.

I'm stoked to spend some time resurrecting this boat. I'll give it a good scrub in the next couple of days. The person at Old Creel were cautiously optimistic, as it'll certainly float, but who knows what hiccups will arise. My wife and I do a couple of trips to Kejimkujik every year and our 60lbs fiberglass boat is just a bit much on longer portages. I want to end up with something suitable for our 2-3 day trips, and a bit lighter than our current boat, but I had the hull weigh in at ~45 lbs without gunwales or seats, so maybe that's not going to happen.


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PostPosted: September 25th, 2023, 12:16 pm 
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marshydope wrote:
Thanks Mike. I unfortunately don't have indoor shop space for (tight bends to get into the basement, plus my wife's already asked to move some of my One Man's Trash for a bit of workout room) but I've bought a car shelter for the back yard, so hopefully that will be useful.


Where there’s a will there’s a way. A car shelter will work to keep rain and leaves off while you work. Maybe not the bugs stuck to wet epoxy or paint. Gel coat, epoxy, paint, varnish are temperature sensitive, but there are ways and sequences of work seasons around that.

marshydope wrote:
My wife and I do a couple of trips to Kejimkujik every year and our 60lbs fiberglass boat is just a bit much on longer portages. I want to end up with something suitable for our 2-3 day trips, and a bit lighter than our current boat, but I had the hull weigh in at ~45 lbs without gunwales or seats, so maybe that's not going to happen.


That is heavier than I would have thought for a naked kevlar hull. Seats with hangers and hardware weigh 2 – 3lbs depending. Gunwale weight depends on the dimensions and material; wood (which wood?), aluminum, vinyl, but you should be able to keep it under 60lbs with attention to repairs and gunwale/brightwork weight.

It would be interesting to know the Gillies “model” or intended use; there is some racing canoe history there. FWIW I found Gillies in a 1995 Buyer’s Guide:

“Tradition and technology combined in customized high performance products, from double-bias fabrics to Airex-cored bagged layups. Custom trim is available as are custom layups”

Gillies offered 5 models in 1995; a 17 footer, the Scotian 17, two 18 footers, Scotian 18 and Stock C-2, and the 18.5 foot PR V11. Except for the Soctian 17 (Tandem Tourer) those last three are noted as “Performance Tourers” or “Marathon Tandems”. The racing canoes weighed 30 to 38lbs, the tourers between 50 and 66lbs.

Gillies made one 16 footer in 1995, the “tandem tourer” Scotian 16.

16.5 feet long, 34 ½” max beam, 32” waterline, 13.7 inch center depth, 50 to 62lbs weight.

I love a good canoe mystery. I knew zip about Gillies, now I know a wee little bit. Where’s your tape measure? I’ll bet a buck blind it is a Scotian 16.


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PostPosted: September 25th, 2023, 5:26 pm 
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I had time enough to scrub the outside after work today and snap a few pictures before sunset. They're uploaded to the album link in the OP. A few more repairs are visible so somebody clearly liked the thing enough to keep it around. There's actually a very good reason that the hull is heavier, which is that it's actually a 17 footer. The seller called it a 16 and I picked it up in the dark, but seeing it next to our prospector it's definitely a foot longer.

Anyway, the odds of it ending up lighter than the prospector may be fading, but barring any huge red flags coming out of the cleaning I will still move forward.

Thanks for all of the research Mike, its really satisfying to learn more about this thing!


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PostPosted: September 26th, 2023, 5:11 am 
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I have played enough poker to know that blind bets are a bad idea. Instead of the dollar how about the specs for the Scotian 17:

17’ long
34” max beam, 33” waterline
13.1” depth at center
430lb recommended burden
52 – 64lbs
$995 - $1350 USD in 1995


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PostPosted: September 27th, 2023, 7:43 am 
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Length, max beam seem to line up with that. The depth too but tricky to gauge while it's upside down without gunwales. The center depth and burden seem a bit lean for a tripping boat, not that we'd exceed that but it would probably rule out bringing the dog along.


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PostPosted: September 27th, 2023, 9:53 am 
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Having seen the updated pictures I'm not as optimistic about this boat. There appear to be several places where the cloth is cracked. While any one of those can be patched, the overall condition would appear to be pretty fragile. You might end up putting in the work to make it look good only to have it crack somewhere else the first time you have the slightest bump.

I did do a fair bit of work restoring a fibreglass canoe a long long time ago only to have it come back in a possibly worse state after a single day trip.

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2023, 1:40 pm 
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Splake wrote:
Having seen the updated pictures I'm not as optimistic about this boat. There appear to be several places where the cloth is cracked. While any one of those can be patched, the overall condition would appear to be pretty fragile. You might end up putting in the work to make it look good only to have it crack somewhere else the first time you have the slightest bump.

I did do a fair bit of work restoring a fibreglass canoe a long long time ago only to have it come back in a possibly worse state after a single day trip.


I had the opposite reaction after seeing the photos of the Gillies semi-clean, but Splake is right. You don’t know the history of the Scotian; the lay-up (52lbs to 64lbs is a big range), how hard it was used, how the damage occurred (cracked on gentle rock contact or blew off the roof racks at speed?), how it was stored (outdoor UV degraded for 30 years?) or the materials quality & workmanship of any previous repairs (auto store E-glass and poly resin?).

You do the “can push on the hull and listen for cracking noises”, but that is a fool’s errand on a hull with damage, or course it is going to snap-crackle-pop. Even new, undamaged composite hulls will make creaky noises; I’ve never belived that was much of a test. I guess you could smack it with a ball peen hammer, but dayum.

Back pondering to pondering future use and finished weight. With broken cloth repairs, new gunwales, seats, thwarts/yoke, maybe a couple coats of paint so it isn’t butt ugly (if you care about that sort of thing) it is likely going to be close to the 60lb weight of your fiberglass canoe. More of course if it was one of the heavier 64lb layups.

I’d still fix it, but I love a boatwork challenge, and other than the gunwales I have the epoxy and cloth, the seats, thwarts, yoke etc already in shop supply. If I don’t have to buy that stuff I don’t think about those costs. Well, I did total it up once. Jeeze, that much? I didn’t do that math again.

Best case scenario, if you DIY everything you can (wood costs = X$’s), buy sufficient epoxies, cloth and peel ply, plus SS hardware, brushes, sandpaper, gloves and other incidentals/dispobables you might be near the $200 mark. Wild ass quess, not sure if that is US or Canadian dollars.

If you buy gunwales, seats, thwart and yoke you might double that $.


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PostPosted: September 28th, 2023, 9:37 am 
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Well... I was doing some patching on my cedar strip this summer and thought I might have to buy another batch of West Systems resin and hardener. That would have been C$300 just for the epoxy.

So .... if this reclamation requires buying the epoxy plus the glass plus other parts plus shipping, then my guesstimate is that it would be heading closer to C$500 or more. These days $600 (including the initial $100 for the hull as is) for a working canoe is still a pretty good deal.

Given the # of cracks showing, I would also be thinking about adding a new layer of fibreglass (being the better choice than Kevlar for the outer layer) over the whole hull in addition to the individual patches. Maybe that's overdoing it.

(Side note: Scoping out someone else's project is almost as much fun as planning my own and a whole lot less expensive. :thumbup: )

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PostPosted: September 28th, 2023, 2:05 pm 
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Splake wrote:
Well... I was doing some patching on my cedar strip this summer and thought I might have to buy another batch of West Systems resin and hardener. That would have been C$300 just for the epoxy.

So .... if this reclamation requires buying the epoxy plus the glass plus other parts plus shipping, then my guesstimate is that it would be heading closer to C$500 or more. These days $600 (including the initial $100 for the hull as is) for a working canoe is still a pretty good deal.

Given the # of cracks showing, I would also be thinking about adding a new layer of fibreglass (being the better choice than Kevlar for the outer layer) over the whole hull in addition to the individual patches. Maybe that's overdoing it.


If it needed another layer of cloth, even lightweigh S-glass, that is going to add considerable weight to a 17’ canoe and might be a project killer for me, not just the weight but the cost and labor. I’ve done it on a rare-ish composite canoe, a UV trashed Kevlar Blue Hole Starburst. It wasn’t worth it, the Starburst kept cracking in new places every time I used it.

I’m glad someone else took a shot at estimating costs. Without seeing the hull first hand and having a refurbishment plan the cost of repairs is a total guessing game.

“Worst case” (most expensive) scenario, in USD

New Gunwales. Two piece aluminum gunwales $160 a pair. And $250 shipping.
https://northwestcanoe.com/shop/ols/pro ... um-gunwale
Oh, and deck caps that fit the aluminum outwales. Two winky end caps, if you can find ones with the correct angle, $40.

OK, not aluminum. Provided you have a table saw and helper you can buy an plank of ash and DIY wood gunwales. You would need an 18’ board, minimum 4” wide, 6” better if you want wood for DIY seat frames and thwarts. Hereabouts that is at least $100, and they aren’t shipping an 18’ x 6” ash board, so pick up only. Strap an extension ladder to your roof racks before you go.

The simplest wood gunwale solution would be to buy a scarfed knock-down set. $300 plus some wood to DIY deck plates.

https://northwestcanoe.com/shop/ols/pro ... IT-18F-KNC

Ed’s Canoe sells Knock-down wood gunwales run $250 for 18’ lengths, but they are left square, not rounded. A little elbow grease will round off the right angle edges.

https://www.edscanoe.com/14kndogusy.html

Easiest non-DIY brightwork solution would be to buy a “Complete Repair Package” from Ed’s with seats, hangers, yoke, thwarts, carry handles and hardware. $150.

https://www.edscanoe.com/corepa.html

Epoxy, cloth and peel ply are best bought together from the same vendor to save shipping costs. Prices below are from Jamestown Distributors.

https://www.jamestowndistributors.com/home

Quart of epoxy resin, $50. Half pint of hardener, $13, enough for patches. A yard of fiberglass, enough for patches, $10. A yard of peel ply, enough to cover the glass patches, $13.

Call the mimimum epoxy and cloth $100 with shipping.

Paint to make it pretty. Rustoleum is the least expensive Topside paint, $30 a quart. Or just plain Rustoleum enamel, $17. Rolled and tipped a quart will do two coats in a 17’ canoe. Topside is worth the 2X cost if you are spending the effort to paint.

Incidentals and disposables; oil and varnish for gunwales and brightwork, paint brushes, roller sleeves, tape, sand paper and sanding disks, gloves, acetone for boo boos. That stuff adds up a lot faster than you might think. Call it another $50

What’s the running total so far?
Knock down gunwales - $250
Complete Repair Package - $150
Jamestown epoxy, cloth and peel ply - $100
Rustoleum Topside - $30
Disposables - $50

$580 total. I knew there was a reason I didn’t like calculating those costs. I guarantee I forgot some things, maybe some G/flex, D-rings, rope, cord, bungee. Ca-ching.

Splake wrote:
(Side note: Scoping out someone else's project is almost as much fun as planning my own and a whole lot less expensive. :thumbup: )


Indeed. If I took all of the costs into consideration I might never repair another canoe.

I did minor repairs and major outfitting on a bro-in-law’s canoe. He tried to give me $20 when I was done. Puh-freaking-lease. For starters that was two solid days work; I haven’t worked for $1.25 an hour since I was 12. I said “No thanks, my pleasure”. He left me a twenty. I mailed him ten two dollar bills.

FWIW, hereabouts places willing to do repairs and outfitting start at $65 an hour. The really pro folks charge $85 and up an hour.

I didn’t tell him but later, just for funsies, I totaled up every penny; new seat, hangers and thwarts, D-rings, lacing cord and painter lines, epoxy and cloth quantities, down to indiviudal brushes, pairs of dispoasble gloves, sheets of sandpaper/RO disks, etc.

It was close to $200 just in parts and pieces.

There is an old saying “If you want to make a million dollars in the canoe business start with two milllion”. With the caveat that I know some semi-skeezy flipper repairers who buy low, do the absolute minimum and eventually sell high, that adage may apply to refurbishing derelicts as well.

All that said I’d probably still fix the Gillies.


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PostPosted: October 4th, 2023, 6:12 am 
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Just updated the album with a few pics of the inside post cleaning. There's like 10+ areas I'm a bit concerned about inside and out. Several stiffening ribs that run vertically up the hull are cracked (not sure what they're called), a few holes that definitely need a fix, and some older repairs that I don't really love the look of. But as you say, none of the material is really missing. And I know that pushing on the hull and listening for cracks isn't an indicator of a problem, but outside of areas that are already broken it doesn't seem to crack. But maybe I wasn't pushing hard enough.

I also dug a couple gallons worth of dirt from the bulkheads at the bow and stern. The styrofoam was in fairly rough shape. Not a great indicator of its treatment or storage but it was part of the weigh in, so presumably that's a few ounces lighter.

I'm tempted to move ahead with the fix. I know a guy who did the canoe maps for NS who knows his stuff, I think I'll try to get his opinion as well.

Thank you again for the input! Will keep you posted


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