footbrace leaks

I had installed a Bell aluminum footbrace in my Merlin 2 about a year ago. Recently started using the Merlin on overnights and weeklong trips. Last trip I noticed that when I loaded the boat with an additional 100lbs of gear, water started pouring in through the rivet holes! Obviously it was not fun paddling/bailing across a windy bay on my last trip. It doesn’t happen when paddling with on a day trip with just my weight (170) and typical gear.

Options: I thought removing the rivets and using bolts,rubber washers, silicone and locknuts. Or, ditching the footbrace and sealing the holes with something like marine tex unless someone has a better solution.

I knew
I could get some good advice on this. Went to Home Depot and West Marine and couldn’t find the right size rivets. The heads on the rivets I got with the kit were about 1/2 diameter. All the others at the stores have small dia heads. Anyway, since I’ve got back to back trips coming up this is the only weekend I’ve got to do this. Went the bolt,neoprene washer and nut with the goop route.

If this doesn’t work I’m going to remove the footbrace and seal those holes. Reading a previous footbrace post found the Plexus adhesive should work to re install without holes.

Now, do any of you know what the best way to seal those 6 holes in a whitegold Bell layup would be? I’ve never worked with fiberglass so have no clue.

Bolts Not Pretty…
…and it’s difficult to make yourself drill into a pretty hull. I installed footbraces in a Bucktail with bolts, rubber washers and shoe goo. I also Put them a bit high “Just in case.” Put water in the boat and tilted it and no leakage. Here’a a pic of what I did to the Bucktail. WW

nice job!
Mine look ALOT WORSE! Only because I am so paranoid about the water getting into the hull that I made the washers a tad larger than yours and there are 3 holes per side. That’s why I want to get rid of them. My canoe sure is pretty but those footbrace screws/rivets don’t look good. However, love the footbrace! What to do…

Funny Looking?

– Last Updated: Mar-11-07 9:01 AM EST –

Thanks, they look a bit "Odd" to me, but it works if your feet arent too short! I say, better it be a bit "Ugly" or "Odd" than to leak, though. WW

After looking at your finished product
makes me want to re do what I did yesterday to the Merlin. Your solution looks way better than mine. Actually, I should’nt have drilled the 3 holes as per instructions. I think your solution of 2 holes would’ve worked just fine and looks nicer. The position you have yours at may be a bit too high for me because of th height of my seat.

In another website on canadian canoe routes I found an archive and they suggested a trapeze type system using the forward thwart to support a wood dowel that is suspended via cords from the thwart. Real simple solution!

refit footbrace
Simple fix: GE silicone cement

Complex fix: Drill out rivets, sand bracket areas on interior with 120 grit, clean w/ acetone. Turn hull on side, apply VE Resin, and FG or Kev tape over bracket "patch, resinate w/ VE resin, [ Bell uses VE, Iso or poly won’t bond], apply peel ply and resinate. When kicked, turn hull to second side; repeat.

When doing second side interior, apply three generous dots of matching gel coat to holes in hull. When solid, sand w/ 120 grit dry, 320, 600, 1000, 1200 and buff w/ rubbing compound…

Repeat on second side. Remove peel ply from fiber tape.

Sand backside of brackets w/ 120 grit; clean brackets with acetone. Apply Plexus and hold in place, one bracket at a time, until Plexus has set. The stuff we use, 420a sets in 12 minutes at 70dg F and turns yellow to match Kevlar.

Then sand

Maybe I’ll use that cement to glue the
foot braces in my Phoenix Vagabond

I was planning to bolt them in, but gluing them in might be more aesthetically pleasing.

Is the cement called GE Plexix silicone cement 420a?

GE Silicone is one part adhesive available in hardware store. It will seal holes and may bond footbraces to a hull. Costs ~$8.00 per caulking gun tube.

Plexus is a two part methacrylate adhesive from ITW. It costs ~$12 for smaller applicators. I know it to be available from Jamestown.

The 420a is a flexible version with a 12 mionute pot life we use at Pb to install seats, footpegs and thwarts and decks for our Cobra XL Trim package.

Plexus and silicone
Plexus is used by many boat manufacturers for a bombproof seal (bass boat decks to hulls, QCC decks to hulls, QCC bulkheads).

Be careful with silicone. Once used it may be impossible to get any other adhesive to bond to that surface. Cheap and watertight though.


you’ve got me thinking

– Last Updated: Mar-12-07 10:19 AM EST –

You know how silicone absolutely will not accept paint unless it is specifically "paintable" silicone?

I wonder if the paintable silicone would better accept adhesives?