Fiberglass canoe repair

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by Chris56601, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. Chris56601
    Joined: Jul 2014
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    Location: Bemidji, MN

    Chris56601 New Member

    Hello,
    This is both my first post, as well as a series of questions I have about a project I have decided to take on. About me, my name is Chris, I live in Northern Minnesota, I'm 29, single, and an Army vet. I have a decent amount of repair ability, but nothing over the top (I can weld, lay fiberglass, do basic wood work, and other related things decently.)

    The canoe is a 13' fiberglass, not sure of the brand, made in 1972. Has ash wood (gunwales, yoke, etc.).

    Now to my questions... I recently got the canoe for free, knowing it would need some work, but once I got into it (like with all projects), I found more problems. Originally there was a leak in the bow/keel so the original owner gooped a bunch of sealant on it, mostly appearing to be silicone, and maybe an attempt at a fiberglass patch. Repairing the fiberglass should be easy enough, but my concern is, under the keel and some fiberglass, there's another strip of wood that has rotted. The wood appears to only go from the top of the bow (gunwale area), down to where the bottom becomes flat, and there is another fiberglass wall behind that. I have pictures below, but I'm wondering what everyone here thinks is a good idea? Should I cut the entire strip of wood out and try to bend a new piece of wood to replace it? Should I reinforce what's there with epoxy/glass and maybe a long piece of threaded stainless into the not rotted wood? Or do you have any other ideas?

    [​IMG]
    Here's what it looked like before I got into it too much

    [​IMG]
    Here it is with most of the "repair" removed.

    [​IMG]
    And here you can kind of see the hole from where the rotted wood once was.


    Any help would be appreciated, and I will try to get better info and pictures added tonight once I'm done with work and whatnot.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
  2. upchurchmr
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Chris,

    Please take a picture looking down the length, just of the bow.
     
  3. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The wood is probably a core for the fiberglass nerf to stiffen the area. Sometimes it is also a wear piece, so the actual hull doesn't get damaged. Grind it and build it up with fiberglass. It will be OK.
     
  4. SukiSolo
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    Location: Hampshire UK

    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Agree with Gonzo. Grind away the loose stuff, remove all wet wood and dirt. To build up the core you can either laminate some thin timber strips or just fill it with epoxy and a filler say micro fibres and micro balloons (mixed together). Sand/grind that down to the original timber height then glass it up. Ensure you have enough glass reinforcement to allow for future 'scuffing' on this area!.
     
  5. Chris56601
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    Location: Bemidji, MN

    Chris56601 New Member

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Hopefully this is what you were asking for.
     
  6. upchurchmr
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Thanks, but I think the guys who really knew already had your answer.
    Now I understand the situation and their reply.
     
  7. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    I'm curious of what those lumpy strips are on the side of the bow in the first two photos. Could you take a photo of the inside of the canoe?
     
  8. Chris56601
    Joined: Jul 2014
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    Location: Bemidji, MN

    Chris56601 New Member

    The lumps are strips of wood, but I will do what I can to take a picture of the inside after work. The strips are spaced about like you can see from the raised areas, and will eventually need to be refinished, but I want to get the boat water-tight before I go working on how it looks.
     
  9. Chris56601
    Joined: Jul 2014
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    Location: Bemidji, MN

    Chris56601 New Member

    Sorry it took so long to reply, been busy... I found out the canoe is a "Stowe Mansfield" which I guess is no longer in business. I found a picture online of what the inside looks like, and what the canoe should (or probably did at one time) look like. The only difference I can see between the two is that my canoe has a second seat.

    [​IMG]
     

  10. SukiSolo
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    Location: Hampshire UK

    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Thanks for the later shot. My inclination would be to laminate a new end piece. One trick is to use the existing curve of the stem but put a layer of polythene on it deep into the groove. This will create a barrier to any glue spillage as you build up the layers. If you laminates are very thin you may be able to use gaffer tape or similar to act as a clamp.

    A more longhand way is trace the curvature off the stem, using a profile guage. Then cut a male form from say 25mm (1") + thick scrap MDF, Chip or similar and use that as a form. This way is a bit freer for getting the thickness across the boat correct, as you can plane it to fit very well. This mode allows proper clamping with F, G, and many other types of clamp.

    Once you have the piece, it can be bonded in, preferably with epoxy and most likely a thickener - colloidal silica, or microfibres. It may be advantageous to scarf it to the existing keel rather than butt joint. Also possible is to glue a linking piece in afterwards, bridging the two parts and covering the vertical butt joint.

    Once the timber is in place make good with glass and epoxy, and surface with gelcoat the green parts. You can finish the timber stem to suit. Probably best with epoxy sheathing and then paint. Yes, you lose the nice varnished look but it should be a bit more durable. If you really want the varnished look, and the timber is good enough, then sheath and use a UV resistant varnish.
     
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