Blue Hole Canoe identification / repair

Hi, I’ve read through many posts in this forum on Blue Hole Canoes and I see a lot of really knowledgeable people on here. So I’m wondering if someone can help me figure out which canoe I just bought and what types of products I can use for repairs based on the material the canoe is made of. I think it’s Royalex based on what I’ve been reading but not sure.

I was told it was 20ft when I bought it, but it’s not, it’s 17’6" long and has aluminum trim which sounds to me like it’s the MGA but I don’t know for sure. Here are some pictures including the manufacturers info plate (serial # 17A-6973). I forgot to get a pic of the side view of the canoe, maybe I’ll get that later. Thanks!

Blue Hole 17A

– Last Updated: Sep-01-14 2:29 PM EST –

Blue Hole made a model called the 17A and based on the ID plate I would say that is what it is. It is clearly Royalex.

I am pretty sure that the MGAs had the model code letters "MGA" and the MGBs the letters "MGB" before the 4 digit serial number.

This thread might be of interest to you:

How to go about repairing it depends on how much time and money you are interested in investing in it.

The only page I saw that had any kind of a model list for Blue Hole Canoes was this one which showed 4 different models:

That makes sense if they made a 17A model. Thanks for confirming the Royalex material on mine, now I know what kind of repair kits I could get if I decide to take on any repair projects.

If anyone else knows of any specific repair kits that may be good for this canoe or if there is a how to guide on refinishing/painting the canoe let me know.


Folks should keep in mind that restoring
Royalex or composite is NOT like restoring wood-canvas. If one has the specs and forms, an old, damaged wood canvas can be brought back literally to its original state.

You CANNOT do that with a Kevlar, FG, or Royalex canoe. You can get “close” in some cases, but the details of the construction are different.

Again, it depends on how much time, money, and perhaps learning you want to invest.

Royalex is a sandwich material. The structural part is ABS plastic, but the ABS is in three layers: a “foam core” with a solid layer of ABS bonded to each side. The foam core renders the specific gravity of the hull less than 1.0 so it won’t sink, and it provides rigidity.

Bonded to each side of the ABS component is a thin layer of colored vinyl. The vinyl protects the ABS from UV degradation and is cosmetic. It also makes it easier to bond outfitting into the hull using vinyl adhesive.

In your boat the blue interior and exterior is the vinyl layer. On the exterior, in the high wear areas of the chines and stems, a good bit of the vinyl has been abraded completely away exposing the light colored ABS. It also looks as if there are several areas in which the outer solid layer of ABS has worn through exposing small areas of the foam core. It is likely that around these areas of exposed foam core, the remaining solid layer of ABS has been thinned out.

If you are willing to invest somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 or so I would start by removing what is left of the crappy Kevlar felt abrasion plates. Felt materials consist of compressed, short fibers and even Kevlar felt is relatively weak because there are no long fibers running through it. It is very common for Kevlar felt plates to break off in big chunks as yours have. You may be able to take the remnants off with a chisel or you may have to take portions off with a power sander. You will generate lots of dust so wear a mask and work outside. Try not to take off too much ABS along with the Kevlar felt.

Next, I would sand the entire hull bottom removing any loose pieces of vinyl that are bound to come off anyway, and smooth the edges of the vinyl that remains well-attached. Later you will want to paint over the exposed ABS to protect it from UV exposure.

After cleaning up the hull, fill in any voids where the foam core has become exposed. Personally, I would use West System G Flex epoxy and I would specifically get the 650K kit shown here:

This is available from many vendors. Don’t worry that the package says “Aluminum Boat Repair Kit”. This kit comes with 4 oz of resin, 4 oz of hardener, some colloidal silica powder to thicken the epoxy as needed, some mixing tools, and etc. Mix small batches of epoxy by mixing hardener and resin 1:1 by eye. For filling in the foam core I would thicken the epoxy by stirring in silica powder. Apply the mixture to the voids and let it settle in. You will probably need to make more than one application. When the voids are fill sand the cured epoxy fair and flush.

I would also by a yard or so of either 6 oz/sq yd fiberglass or 5 oz/sq yd Dynel plain weave cloth. You could use either to make new abrasion plates to cover the stem wear areas after removing the old Kevlar. If you are interested in doing this send me a PM and I can give you more detailed instructions on how to proceed. If you are careful not to waste epoxy, a single 650 K G Flex kit will probably be sufficient to apply a pair of abrasion plates and fill in the voids where the foam core is exposed.

Finally, if the vinyl is intact on the hull sides, I would probably just wash the boat up and paint the hull bottom up to a 4 inch waterline. You can paint the whole thing if you wish, but that will add a bit more weight. Just about any spray paint will do. You will need a couple of cans even if you just paint the bottom. A lot of people use Krylon Fusion which Krylon claims to be formulated to better adhere to plastic. Valspar also makes spray paints formulated to adhere to plastic.

If you want to brighten up the aluminum gunwales some, go over them with some very fine steel wool.

Thank you for the info! That’s exactly what I feel like I want to do and would be willing to put in the money for. I agree the kevlar felt plates looked like crap to me right away and I wanted to take them off somehow with out damaging the kayak. They feel like they’re on pretty good even though they are missing chunks. I bought the canoe last weekend for $75 so I think the extra “fix-up” money will be worth the investment.

I’ll need to gather some of these products starting with the sanding and epoxy, the 650 g/flex sounds perfect. If I get to painting, would another product be good for UV protection like this: or does the paint pretty much do the job itself?

Thanks again!

Re Blue Hole Canoe
I have SN: 17A-6974 and mine is Royalex, not MGA.