View topic - Another kevlar canoe repair, major rebuild

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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2013, 5:35 pm 
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My first post and it's a pile....or I should say my canoe is :(

I'd like to restore my dad's old canoe but it is a mess.
My brother had it for twenty years, then he busted a bunch of the ribs out and left it to rot.
I managed to snag it off of him several years back, but I had no time for it as well.

Now I'm looking to (hopefully) bring her back to life, but I'll need to pick some brains. I am cabinet maker by trade and have the tools so the woodworking, although a challenge, is not beyond my scope. There's enough structure for me to make patterns.
The kevlar however is a different animal.

I would have liked to add a few feet, as me and the kids should have a 3 seater, but from what I'm reading that may be too hard to accomplish, so I'm thinking to rebuild it as is, and if I do need a bigger canoe to use the rib bending forms as a buck for a cedar strip.

My first question is I've read about repairing holes, but what prep should be done to the skin? in spots I can see pin holes though the kevlar mat. Do I remove the paint? I think it would be epoxy paint.
BTW It is kevlar... the mat is a gold colour.

I can't remember who made this, but it was made in Stayner, Ontario in the late 70's early 80's. It's 15'-6" long.


Thanks for any help on this.


Last edited by homeschool_canoe on September 23rd, 2013, 6:01 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2013, 5:39 pm 
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I'm trying to post a pic but no luck so far....
Do you have to have so many posts to upload pics?
Do you use the "upload attachment" for pics or do you have to use a image hosting site and link it to your post?


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2013, 5:42 pm 
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Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
Image hosting site, copy the link and post.


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2013, 5:48 pm 
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Thanks

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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2013, 5:53 pm 
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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2013, 6:06 pm 
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In a Kevlar boat, those ribs make no sense to me. They are screwed to the keel. I haven't personally seen such a boat.

Do you want the keel? I think that of course you need new gunwales and decks. But the ribs make no sense except the original builder might not have built a robust enough bottom with enough Kevlar to avoid oilcanning. You might consider adding additional bottom footballs of Kevlar. Because of the rip you will need to do this anyway.

I am not a repair guru so will leave that to others. I find the brass stem bands interesting and think this may have been made off an existing plug for a wood canvas canoe by a wood canvas builder experimenting with new materials. The heart shaped decks are interesting.

Thanks for posting!


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2013, 8:21 pm 
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I'll just wade in and say what I'm thinking......personally I don't think it is worth salvaging. I would question the basic construction methods used in the first place, and I wouldn't want you to throw good money away. I've built several cedarstrip canoes and repaired quite a few composite canoes, but I wouldn't touch that one. However, there might be others with a more positive voice, who might be familiar with that kind of canoe, so don't give up!


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2013, 8:36 pm 
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This canoe is super light, 48 lbs IIRC maybe less.
The skin is only .050 thick, I think it's only one layer of kevlar. The ribs, keel, gunwales, etc is the only thing that gives it structure.

Although it looks warpy, once the structure is repaired it would stiffen right up.


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2013, 8:50 pm 
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You can build a canoe for under ten pounds. That does not make it durable unless you understand stress points.

The floor needs reinforcing. I have never seen a kevlar canoe with one thickness of fabric.

I think the original builder wanted to use kevlar in place of planking over ribs. But the ribs are certainly cheesy; not close enough nor thick enough. Most of the problem is, however, due to the ribs not being able to be secured to something underneath. That is why they broke! Ribs in a wood canvas canoe are brass tacked at least every half inch. These ribs are tacked once in a three foot span! Needed is at least a geodesic frame to tack the ribs higher up.

It's a homebuild and not completely thought out. Don't waste your time.


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2013, 9:33 pm 
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Three foot span? They are screwed every rib...about 6 inches, through the keel on the other side.
I know that it was a company Stayner, I went there as a teen, his yard had several dozen canoes and was at the time a respected custom builder.
My brothers BIL had several of this guy's canoes over the years, he like them and he was an engineer... that designed just about every bridge in Ontario provincial parks for the last 30 years. I think he might have known a bit about structure.
I haven't seen him in years, I'll try to contact him to find out the builder.


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2013, 9:46 pm 
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Not a properly conceived and executed canoe design.

Given your skills, I think you will get much better results in less time by making a stripper. It will be lighter, stiffer, faster, and prettier. You can choose plans for one big enough for all your crew, though after you've done one, the kids will want their own.

When Native American canoes got to that point, they started over.


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2013, 9:56 pm 
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Yes I meant three foot span. Look at the rib tacking. It's at the keel where the ribs are screwed through the skin. The next tack point is where? At the gunwales.

Not sufficient. There would have been a hundred tack points in a traditional wooden canoe that was canvas covered.


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2013, 10:17 pm 
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It's not canvas, it's stiff kevlar.
The thin kevlar skin is very stiff in two dimensions, the ribs take care of the third.
I went on many a trip with this canoe as a teen, Kawartha highlands (before it was Kawartha highlands) , Ottawa river, Algonquin, etc... done rapids, bounced it off of rocks, it was stiff and light.
One thing I'm sure of is it was never meant to be "pretty".

I sent my brothers ex-wife an email, hopefully her brother (the retired MNR engineer guy) will get back to me about who made this canoe.


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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2013, 10:24 pm 
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The ribs are inadequately screwed. The thin kevlar skin is in and of itself not stiff, especially if it is one layer.

If you want to restore it for sentimental purposes, that is an entirely a different mater.

We just want to point out that the design has some flaws. Maybe you did not want that input.


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PostPosted: September 24th, 2013, 7:28 am 
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Kevlar canoes are usually built with at least a couple of different layers...the kevlar is often sandwiched between layers of regular E cloth or S cloth.....then they are usually built up in a variety of fashions, usually involving more cloth, to create strength and form.

Many people associate kevlar with incredible strength, probably do to bullet proof vests, etc. However, canoeists who use their boats for tripping usually associate Kevlar with light weight...something that is easier to portage. They know that it can be a relatively flimsy hull, depending on the construction methods.

Your canoe would be the flimsiest construction method I have seen for a Kevlar canoe. Also, 48 pounds for a 15 1/2 foot canoe is not that light. You could build a cedar strip of the same size around that weight. I have a 17 1/2 foot wennonah that comes in at 44.

However, if you are set on the rebuild, this is what i would attempt. Others might wade in with better suggestions. I would replace those broken ribs so that you could get some kind of form back. Probably replace those inner gunwales and decks as well. completely sand the exterior hull. Use some kind of fiberglass tape to span that hole, and use expoy resin to attempt a patch. It might be a good idea to stretch duct tape across the hole on the inside to attempt to get some kind of contoured patch. Then take 17 feet of e glass, 60 inches wide and run it the entire length of the canoe. Wet it out with epoxy resin, and then use a couple of more coats to fill in the weave. Sand it when dry. Paint it. Replace the outside gunwales. I guess you will have to put that darn keel back on too, which is a shame.

Including the cost of epoxy, glass and wood for trim, you'll probably be looking at 400 bucks.


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