Can this be repaired?

I have a 14’ fiberglass canoe that I really love. Nothing fancy, but it suits me just fine. Last fall, it fell off the roof of the car during transport and the stern was smashed pretty good. Is this repairable?

I don’t care if it looks pretty, but I’d like it to be highly functional. I’ve never done anything like this before but am a pretty handy person.

Any and all advice welcome. Thanks!

As a new user, I can only post one photo at a time. Here’s a close-up:

And one from the other side:

Yes it can be repaired. If you’re asking if it can be repaired I will assume you don’t have a lot of experience on this type of repair. You’d have to take it somewhere to have it done. Not sure how much you would want to spend to repair it. That’s a good bit of work to repair it all.

I’d call that a rebuild.

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Sorry to hear of the mishap.

I would say if you were to take it someplace and have the work done it would cost more than the canoe is worth. DIY if you don’t value your time highly I think the materials only it could be a nice rewarding project as you have a history with the boat.

There are numerous videos on line showing how to work in fiberglass and it doesn’t involve a lot of real special equipment. You want to work in a well ventilated area and you want to use proper PPE when grinding and applying the resin.

The repair will have to be done from inside and outside and if it was mine I wouldn’t care if there was extra thickness added to the inside but I would want the outside to look close to original when finished. Maybe a full paint when done to the outside rather than full gel coat replacement. :canoe:

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It is probably repairable but may well not be worth the investment in time and money for materials. And I agree with bud 16415, it will almost certainly not be worth it to pay someone else to repair it.

If you really like the boat you can try to fix it yourself and make it a learning experience. If you have never worked with epoxy and fabric a good place to start is to read the relevant portions of “The Epoxy Book” available on-line from System Three, a major epoxy manufacturer.

Of course, the book describes the use of System Three epoxy products, but the information is pertinent to the use of other epoxy products, although the mixing rations of resin to hardener will vary with different epoxy products.

In addition to a quantity of fiberglass fabric and epoxy you would need a considerable quantity of supplemental materials such as spatulas and mixing vessels for the epoxy, masking tape, solvents, sandpaper, paper towels, disposable gloves, and finally spray paint to cover your repairs.

As a side note in maybe helping you make up your mind about the repair.

How much would you like to spend on materials? I just quickly took a look on Amazon pricing resin and cloth and if I would make the repairs if say someone gave me a damaged canoe such as yours. The reason I say that is because I just bought an old town 147 guide in pretty nice shape for 150 bucks.

Just a crazy thought if you don’t plan on fixing it and putting the money to something different in a used canoe. You could chop off the good end square at say 8’-10’ and convert it into a rustic bookshelf. I have seen these before in lodges and cabins and they make a nice designer item and sell for a lot. Even if you had a place for it in your home or man cave it would be a way of repurposing it and keeping in and the memories around. Save yourself a lot of work and step up to a newer canoe.

Just a thought.

Fiberglass is like metal. It can pretty much always be worked with and repaired. Having it done would be very expensive but you can find and buy some glass matt and resin and do it yourself. There is a bit of work involved but it’s not particularly expensive or requiring tons of skill. It is labor intensive though, especially if you want it to look decent. There will be layers of glassing and a ton of sanding. Noting you can’t do, especially in todays world where you can find web pages devoted to anything and a ton of youtube videos.

Repairing that to look anything near what it was will take skills, time, and money. Your max budget is?

Where do you live? I would love to find a good used canoe for $150. Here in VT, a decent canoe on Craigslist is at least $500.

Thanks for all the replies. I really appreciate it.

Any ballpark estimates on how much materials would cost? I don’t mind spending my time but am not sure how much money I want to invest.


I agree when I look on Craigslist here I find only a few canoes and almost no kayaks and people are asking top dollar. Most of the time they are pretty new and lightly used. People bought them with the intent of using them a lot and grew tired quick.

Where I live is a little river town and 2 out of 3 garages have a canoe hanging on the outside or from the rafters. I just started asking around how people liked their canoes. Most of the people haven’t used them in years or have switched to lighter and smaller kayaks. That’s how I found mine and yes there is a large degree of luck and keeping my eyes open.

As to DIY costs to fix yours with just supplies and material you will end up spending $200-$300 at least. Your cracks are deep and in some places all the way thru so a lot of the material has to be ground away and feathered back and then the pieces being saved need to be jigged up to put them in proper location and then the layers of glass need to be built up and extra added to the inside for bracing IMO as the joint wont be as strong as the original.

It has been years that I have done a little glass work and that was on cars. :canoe:

Yes, I would agree that a minimum cost for materials would be $200. But it almost always winds up being more than the initial estimate, especially when you add up the costs for all of the incidentals.


Wow. $200-300 is not worth it to me, especially when you factor in time spent and the learning curve for something I’ve never done before. I will look for another used canoe. If anybody near Central VT is selling a decent 14-15’ canoe, let me know!

Or if anyone knows of a way to find discounted epoxy/fiberglass materials, I’d still consider fixing it. Thanks again.

That one could be fixed, but damage seems extensive on the outside and I can’t help but wonder if some of that does not go all the way through. You might spend upwards of $300 fixing it only to find it still needing more work.
There are bargains on canoes to be found if you know where to look. I have found 3 on Offer in the last couple of years all under $200. An OT Kennebec in Royalex, a Dagger Reflection 16 in Royalex and a Discovery 174. Read the posts carefully, many do not know anything about the boat they are selling. Two were listed as “fiberglass canoes” and at least down my way that is the kiss of death , so people pass on them. I spent more money outfitting them with new seats and hardware than I spent on the hulls.

Just out of curiosity, and hopefully to save this from happening to someone else, how did the canoe fall off the car?

Your canoe appears to have some brittle old fiberglass that has failed. The molded keel is not a good sign. This looks like a pretty old crunched boat. Fiberglass has a useful life and this one may be near the end.

I agree with the $250 ballpark estimate for materials. You really need a new deck and gunwales. This is an opportunity to learn to work with fiberglass. That is the greatest value, not the finished product. This canoe is never going to be much, but if you are in love with it, you can forge ahead and learn something. When it is finished you can paint over the repairs with enamel.

My first canoe was Sawyer Cruiser that had been wrapped. Both sides were ripped out of it. I paid $25 for it, repaired it and paddled it for years. I sold it for $400 a long time ago. But that was a famous brand name canoe. I learned a lot about fiberglass repair on that one.

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Patching that up will add excessive weight to one end of the canoe. The damage is so extensive I would pass on repairing it, but you may be able to make a form from it to build a new one.