Canoe restoration help

I’m restoring a very well-used 1991 Wenonah Advantage canoe. It’s a skin coated Kevlar hull. There was a 1" wide Velcro fuzz strip glued around the perimeter of the hull just below the gunwales. It was used to secure a spray skirt.

I removed the fuzz leaving a nasty thick strip of rubber cement. I hit the cement with Acetone and denatured alcohol. The alcohol does very little and the Acetone does more but not nearly enough to remove it.

A friend suggested a heat gun. Any other thoughts?


Maybe try the acetone again
… while using an old credit card, hotel room key, or gift card as a scraper. It’s not quite as good as a fingernail but it lasts a lot longer.

I tried that…
Actually I used a stiff-bladed putty knife with a sharpened edge. I was able to scrape off some of the cement but the stuff is so tough and thick it’s going to be too slow to be feasible and I worry I will stab the putty knife through the hull with the force I’m using.

If I could reduce the thickness of the residue I think the Acetone would cut the remainder.

So far I’ve applied Acetone with a rag but maybe I should find a way to wet the surface with more Acetone.

Rubber cement?
More likley contact cement or some other construction adhesive. Velcro sometimes comes with a thick, gooey pressure-sensitive acrylic self-adhesive.

If the stuff is hard and brown or tan-colored, I’d try gentle heat like a hair drier and a sharp plastic spatula or putty knife. Acetone is so volatile, it’s hard to keep a large area wet. You might try good old paint thinner, or a citrus-based paint or floor stripper instead.

Is the stuff hard?

– Last Updated: Apr-04-12 1:30 PM EST –

If the rubber cement residue is hard enough at sand or grind I would consider trying to get the bulk of it off using a Dremel tool using a sanding drum.

I assume that it is not hard enough. If not can you shave it off with a knife?

I have found that warming some glue residues with a heat gun will aid in their removal. I wouldn't expect that to be the case with rubber cement, but it is worth a try. Perhaps a sharp wood chisel wood work better than a paint scraper.

I would try mineral spirits if you haven't already. Goo Gone is probably also worth a try. I have found that one solvent will work better than another similar one for reasons that are not clear to me. So if all else fails and acetone does not seem to be up to the task, you might try Toluene or MEK (methyl ethyl ketone).

Good luck with the boat. The Advantage is one of my favorite canoes.

Another idea
If it really is rubber cement, put some fresh rubber cement over it, wait for it to get tacky, then “roll” both the old and the new up into a ball.** This works for removing rubber cement from old kneeling pads. I’d try maybe a 18" at a time.

**This is a Mike McCrea tick

Thank for the ideas
I’ll try all the ideas I’ve read. There is so much of the stuff.

I’ve already scraped off ancient kneeling pads, seat pad, hip pads and I’m about to drill out rivets securing the foot rest and eyelets used to lash in floats. The hull is surprisingly in decent shape with some off-colored patches and nasty looking wear strip. The hull is soft in a few places between the ribs.

My plan is the prep the hull surface the best I can and re-skin coat with polyester resin. I successfully restored an old Itasca with the same treatment.

I’ll post the results of my adhesive removal efforts.

Thanks again.

try a can of Mr Muscle …

– Last Updated: Apr-04-12 11:14 PM EST –

....... it's an oven and grill cleaner .

But before going full bore with the stuff do a small test area (very small) , to be certain the Mr Muscle won't affect the cured resin or skin coat .

You can spray this stuff in a small plastic container and brush it onto the tape residue liberally , it's sorta foamy . or if you feel confident that it has no negetive effects on the skincoat/resin , then just spray it onto the residue .

Let it set for about 10 mins. or more and see if it doesn't wipe that residue right off .

Use nitril disposable gloves , protect eyes , use respirator mask (don't breath airborn droplets while spraying) , and don't let it get on your skin anywhere (will burn you) .

Another item to try is carb cleaner , apply with a small brush ... again test against skincoat/resin first for negetive reaction . Carb cleaner is wicked stuff too .

Both these items are adhesive eating stuff . The Mr Muscle is a bit gentler .

Another option (which I would try 1st) could be to try some dry ice , rub it over the residue lightly scrape off . Dry ice (frozen CO2) is about (minus) -109 degrees F. , use heavy insulated gloves to handle . Dry ice sublimates (goes from solid to gas , no liquid stage) . Safeway food store sells it around here . It sublimates faster than water ice melts . It will probably freeze the residue right off (make it break it's bond) , no chemicals - natural atmospheric stuff (just frozen) , used for comercial lable residue sticky removal all the time .