Carbon Paddle Edge Repair

Looking for a cheap “fix” to a carbon paddle edge getting scuffed/chipped on river rocks. Happy if it lasts for 6 to 12 months.
Whats your experience with:
Nail polish
Car door guards
Electrical tape
Something else that works

Ez-Keel tape fastest. West System Epoxy with silica mixed in. 6-12 months doesn’t matter depends how often you’re out and the abuse it gets. I use door edge guard when I keep spare paddles on my deck. It would pop off in the water being used. Unless you cleaned off factory adhesive and used a different glue. Gorilla tape is much better than duct tape but up against rocks it’s tough.

I have fixed quite a few Onno carbon paddles with 6 oz S-glass fiberglass because I have a large supply of it from glassing wave skis etc. The rolls of s-glass tape West Marine sells work fine. It’s kind of tricky to cut it to make a nice fit around the curve. I’ve used carbon fiber tape too but it is brittle and I don’t think it was worth it. Personally I use fiberglass bladed paddles (I have two old Werner paddles that have lasted for years) for whitewater paddling, using a carbon fiber paddle to brace off of rocks is not going end well.

Once you start with glass and supplies it’s not to cheap unless you have them and then you need some experience.

On some of my carbon paddles that take a lot of rock hits I’ll just roll on a thin bead of fast setting epoxy. Just take something like a toothpick or wooden shishkabob skewer and mix a little epoxy and dip the skewer in it and roll it along the blade edge holding the skewer perpendicular to the blade. I also often add a strip of electrical tape as another tiny sacrificial edge and to hopefully add just a touch more resiliency to the blade edge. I’m sure something like keel easy would be tougher but I like trying to keep the blade edge as fine as possible.

Is water getting inside your paddle? One of my Cyprus blades developed a leak last fall. I could hear water inside the blade and watched as it dripped out (slowly). I put several applications of Capt. Tolley’s on the edge of that paddle and so far, no more leaks.

If I don’t have any epoxy around I use JB Weld. It is a slower curing epoxy thicken with metal shavings, it doesn’t crack like 5 minute epoxy does.

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails ( I use for fly tying) works okay, but it takes 5 or 6 coats to do it.

I use West Systems G/flex thicken. It comes in two tubes. It will flex not crack. It is thick and slow to run . if you spend maybe 15 minutes turning the paddle from time to time, it will harden and not run. I put a layer around the edge of my wooden Greenland paddles. If you over apply it you can shape it with files and sandpaper when it dries. It cost about $25, if I recall correctly.

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Although using cloth as Seadart suggests will result in a stronger repair, on a black carbon fiber paddle blade epoxy with graphite powder mixed in can be used to fill divots. It will not thicken the paddle edge, which will adversely affect the way the paddle edge slices into and through the water, and it won’t be too noticeable.

A friend of mine had a paddle that he wanted me to fix the edge on and he brought me some woven kevlar cloth used in making racing boat hulls. It was a bear to cut, but it has held up for a couple of years. Cloth probably was worth more than the paddle though.

Kevlar fabric can be used but Kevlar fuzzes up when abraded and aramid cloth will be very visible on a carbon-fiber paddle blade. Dynel will also be plainly visible. Fiberglass bonded and fully filled with clear epoxy will be much less apparent.

I also use Gflex. Good stuff for small jobs .

G Flex is very convenient for small repairs because it can be mixed up quickly in very small batches by eye so there is no wastage. But the bond to non-plastics is actually a bit better with the conventional type epoxies (according to West Systems test data) and G Flex does not cure completely clear but has a slight honey color when fully cleared. But if G Flex was mixed with graphite powder that would not matter at all.

I also use Gflex for most repairs - it dries to an amber color which some people will not like, but it is flexible and keeps the repair from cracking. I also sand and shape my repairs and uses a few coats of resin between sandings so the blade thickness increases as small as possible and maintains a hydrodynamic shape. It takes a few tries to learn how to do this so best to practice on an old beater paddle first. The small bottle of G-flex are big enough for many repairs. Sometimes you can get a two pack for $30, on sale. When I see that price I stock up ( that’s two bottles of resin and hardener each.). I use Gflex resin a lot in making laminated bows.