Canoe Repair Souris River

I have this Sauris River Canoe that has been wonderful for many years but it really needs some attention now. I am going to “refinish the outside” as described on the Sauris River Website. The bottom is getting soft. It was done once before about 20 years ago. I have the West System 205 Epoxy and 207 hardener. I am also going to fix this crack on the inside/outside and a crack in the bow. (pictured) I talked to two experienced people and got ideas how to do it along with the website repair page. Two layers of fiberglass cloth the under layer a little smaller, and folded into the seam in the bow. I plan to clean with with acetone, sand and then acetone again. I know to be careful with the sanding inside because it’s kevlar.
Question. Do you think I should use short pieces to make it easer, or do the bow crack with one long piece?
Then here is the big question. Hubby applied this plastic kayak tape on the outside of the canoe. Why, why, why. So what should I do about that? I am afraid that if I try to remove it I will really rip the finish off. If I should remove it how should I do it and then will I have to do something to clean it after before finishing? Or, should I leave it and work around it? I don’t like the way it looks…
Any tips on any aspect of this job would be appreciated.

Thanks for your help.
I am working on the whole fleet so please see my other posts.
It seems they will only let me add one picture because I’m a new user. I have pictures of the cracks as well if there is another way for you to see them.


Also, should I attempt to remove the old skid plate? I think there was some damage in the bow when we put it on. I also believe that it was separating in some spots which was why he put the tape on.

If the bottom or your boat is getting soft, that is a problem. You can add epoxy and fiberglass to repair it, but you may need to cover the whole floor of the boat. You do not describe what you mean by soft.

I had an early Kevlar Sawyer Cruiser. It was built in 1978 and had some hard use. One day I was paddling it in a lake near my house and the whole boat started to fold in half. I was very lucky not to have that experience a long way from home on an overnight trip. It makes me shudder to think of it.

At some point, old canoes made of fiberglass and kevlar need to be allowed to die a dignified death.

Yes, I guess I wasn’t very clear on that. It is not soft as in thin. but there are some areas on the bottom where it is starting to feel a bit fuzzy (that’s what I meant by soft), like the finish has worn through to the cloth. Not bad but I don’t want water to absorb into the cloth so I have not been using it. It is still solid but not pretty. That’s a scary thought. did your canoe seem solid before the big fold?
Still not able to post more pictures. I’ll have to read about that. any ideas what to do about the tape?

Thanks for your help,

Tough call without seeing it. Most old boats can be repaired with enough materials, but it adds some weight and it takes some time.

A Souris River canoe is worth more to try to save than the average canoe out there.

Giving an update here. I did pull the tape off. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, no worse than duct tape. I also chipped off the old skid plates with a putty knife. It was some work but came off okay and now I’m able to see why they were put on in the first place. The bow is pretty dinged up. I cleaned up the whole thing with acetone and sand paper. Wow, there is a lot of fiberglass missing from the bottom.
I have decided to retire this boat from back country travel. I still plan to fix it but it will only be used as a spare boat for easy paddles with groups where someone may not have a boat. I’m in the market for a new (used) light weight canoe.
In the process of cleaning it up I began to notice more stress fractures, mostly in the middle going across the bottom. Yes, she looks like she could fold. Thanks for opening my eyes on that.
The plan now is to cover the entire bottom with fiberglass, the small crack on the inside and the crack in the bow as well as a full coat of epoxy. She will be too heavy to carry very far and you are right, she will never be “pretty”.
Not quite dead yet though but she will always travel with a “rescue boat”.
Thanks again for your help,

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I had a Souris River canoe that was getting soft. I put a layer of Nidacore on the inside and covered it with 6 oz. glass cloth, painted it and put those colored sprinkle things in the paint to help keep it from being slippery.

It worked great. It was a few years ago, though, and there are other things than Nidacore out there now.

Why don’t you take a few more photos and post them.

Hi, At first I could only post one picture because I was a new member but I tried again and here are some more.
The first one shows the crack that is inside the bow. I am going to try and fix that one with strips of fiberglass/epoxy (6 weight) folded into the crack, two layers, the top one bigger than the inside one.
The third photo shows how much of the bottom looks now. I have sanded the whole thing and it didn’t fuzz up much. I just have to clean the sanding dust off before proceeding. I plan to cover the whole bottom as much of it is like this after sanding.
The third photo shows the worst of the cracks, there are 4 or 5 less obvious ones. This one is visible on the inside so I will put a little patch on the inside too. I am thinking of using 2 weight fiberglass on the outside, but if I am giving up on keeping it light and keeping it pretty, should I just go ahead and use 6 on the outside too? They have 6 available locally here I would have to order 2 online.
The photo of the bow shows what that looks like now that the tape and skid plates are off. I have worked on cleaning this area and I just want to work on the spots where the adhesive remains before cleaning the dust off and proceeding with the repair. I plant to try lighter fluid with Ronsonol for that, which was suggested by someone on the BWCA forum.
Thanks for your help!

Bow after skid plate removal.

Bottom showing one of the thin areas.

This is the worst of the cracks on the bottom.

The new photos help. I agree this boat can be repaired. I like the idea of not using it for an overnight trip.

My first canoe was a Sawyer Cruiser that had been wrapped. I paid $25 for it back around 1980. The sides were ripped out of it. The aluminum gunwales were wavy. It was my first canoe repair. I used a lot of material and it was very strong, though heavy. I paddled it for 12 years and sold it for $400.

We got this one from an outfitter at least 25 years ago and I don’t think we paid more than 200.00, it was laying outside in a mud puddle. Resurfaced her and replaced the seats then. She has had heavy use but is stored inside and wet footed at the landings.
I agree, these Souris River boats are gems…rough gems.

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I have had nightmares about my canoe folding up!:grimacing:

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I did some procrastinating and went on some trips. I did get the rest of the prep done and now I’m faceing the last stretch of weather where it will be warm enough. So, in doing some further research some have suggested that it would be better to put the reinforcing fiberglass on the inside rather than the outside so as not to interupt the flow of water around it as you paddle. We got a new Wenonna and they now have internal skid plates, so I’m thinking inside would be better and would still add strength. What do you think? I looked up the Nidacore that CraigF suggested and that would really be ideal. It would be just like an internal skid plate, however, the cost and the time it would take to get it before the cold sets in are making me hesitate. How much strength would internal fiberglass sheeting really add? Should I stll put a small patch on the outside where the actual crack is? Should I go up the sides a little with the sheeting? It occured to me that it may be stronger if I run the fiber of the fabric the opposite way from the acutal construction of the canoe. What I am thinking is to put them like diamonds on the floor of the canoe and line them up, cutting them off where they go too far up the sides. What do you think? If I do this should I overlap them just a little or have them just meet?
Thanks so much for your help.

If you have a crack on the outside of the hull you don’t want water to get into the fabric where it can degrade the hull material. A properly done and finished exterior repair will not affect handling of the boat and can be nearly invisible if you care about color matching.

I have a couple of woodstrip boats that I take into areas I shouldn’t. That makes me patch the outer glass often.

Make the patch a couple of inches larger than the crack. When the epoxy cures, you can feather the outer edges of the patch and no one will ever notice it.