fiberglass canoe info needed

-- Last Updated: Aug-01-08 6:51 PM EST --

Does anyone have any information about American fiber-lite canoes. Weight, width or years made?

This company made cheap, chopper gun canoes that were sold by Sears. Thick heavy hulls and very rudimentary trim pieces. Outsides painted to look like birchbark on some models, plain colors on others. Never saw one here in NY sold under any name but Sears.

In the 1990 Canoe buyers guide there were three models listed under American Fiberlite of Marion ILL.; a 12’ and two 15’ versions. The company blurb states they had been in business for 17 years at that time, putting their start in 1973. They were not listed in the 1991 buyers guide or later.


american fiber-lite
Thanks Bill

This was alot more info than I had. It also give me more to think about. It may not be the best investment

Don’t walk away, RUN !
I have seen several of these at boat launches over the years, broken in two and stacked next to the trash bins. And I am talking gentle rivers and lakes.

Avoid chopper-gun boats in general
This method of boat-building has its place for low-cost, barge-like commercial fishing skiffs, when cost is the primary consideration. When used for a canoe, it results in a heavy and weaker construction. Who wants that?

A gross generalization, yes, but close enough to be a maxim for used boat shopping.

Not a good buy at any price except free
If this canoe is still solid and the trim is tight to the hull, it will get you on the water and paddling. It is not a good paddling canoe and it is very heavy for its length. In the method of construction that we refer to as chopper gun, a mix of short glass fibers and resin is shot from a gun using compressed air. The short fibers will follow any hull contour, but do not distribute forces across a wide area. These hulls are thick and rigid when new, but are easily punctured by impacts since the force is absorbed by a small area.

A good composite canoe is made with multiple layers of finely woven cloth that distributes impact forces over a large area, is much lighter and at the same time stronger. It just uses more expensive materials and more labor.

Since we figure this hull is almost 20 years old at the youngest and could be as old as 35 years, its best days are past. There are many better canoes out there for sale.

Check the classified ads on this site for something in your area. Post where you live and maybe we can find you something good that is close by.


Very old post …
All false, well mostly. These canoes are extremely light for their length. Some advice, never ask an elitist for advice. Yeah I know it’s a very old post, but what the hell.

yep, free is a good price.
Good answer pasce. I have two of these and they’re great for small, quiet lakes. Easy for one person to move around. But both have been patched… that construction method on this particular boat resulted in very thin, somewhat fragile boats… not heavy as others have stated. But being fiberglass they are easy to patch. The first one was $20… the other one was free. Works for me!

Just Bought
Thanks for the information.

I just picked a 12’ sport canoe model up for $40. It was full of snow and tumble weeds laying against a burn barrel. It had been used to inspect stock ponds throughout eastern Colorado. A few holes and one crack. It won’t be that hard to get it sea worthy again, good enough for the pond in the backyard. /Users/smcrane/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Originals/2012/Apr 25, 2012/IMG00407-20120505-1758.jpg

new to me!
I also just bought one too. It looks like some labeled as Sears, but cleaning the paint off of the ID tag, it says it’s American Fiber-lite Model 17. It is light weight and no evidence of patching. I think it will work good for lakes and will probably even try it in ocean backwater areas. I probably paid too much since it wasn’t free, but I like that it’s so light as I had tried other fiberglass canoe’s that would maybe hold up better against rocks, but I plan to avoid those anyway.

Another one
I bought one for $50 or $100 on craigslist a year ago. It’s doing well. It’s heavily patched, and I’m sure I’ll have to patch it again at some point. But it got us on the water for almost free. So far so good.

Great Canoe
These canoes i have noticed are fairly inexpensive and worth the price. Overall the only real problem i have had with my 12’ sears canoe is stability and that was fixed by lowering the seats. the canoe fits my son and I comfortably and we have had no problems with landing on shores. Mine has no cracks or patches and i have been pretty rough with it so all the for lack of a better word SNOBS can just be quiet about them being cheap pieces of crap and learn how to use them.