Graphite/Epoxy "skid plate" on Royalex

Will a mixture of graphite and epoxy “stick” to a Royalex boat to cover wear?

I’ve got a well-used Penobscot 17’ boat, new in 1992. After this many years of sandy beaches, granite Boundary Water landings, and general use and abuse by a number of teenagers, the vinyl layer on the outside of the boat has worn away in a narrow strip on the bow and, to a lesser extent, on the stern. There is even some wear on the keel line, though not as much as on the bow and stern. The material under the vinyl seems solid and undamaged. I really don’t like heavy Kevlar skid plates, so I’m interested in something lighter to protect the material. I’ve seen graphite power mixed with epoxy applied to fiberglass or wooden boats (in fact, I have a Kevlar Explorer that came from the factory that way, limited trial run). I’d love to do this to my Penobscot and keep it around a few more years.

Can it be done? What type of surface preparation should I do? The boat is stored inside most of the time, and I’ve previously applied some epoxy to a few really deep gouges and some paint.


Would carbon fiber be better?
I was reading the information on the West Systems site. Would that work instead of the traditional skid plates, with or without the graphite/epoxy mix?


Mark off area you want to cover.

Sand with 80 grit paper. Rough it up real good.

Wipe down with acetone dampened rag.

Tape off marked area and surrounding hull with tape and plastic. (The epoxy might run).

Mix a thick solution of epoxy and add 30% graphite and 10% fumed silica. Goop it on with a chip brush. Don’t apply too heavy. (Might run).

After it starts to cure (the “green” stage) remove tape. Don’t wait too late or you might have to wear it off.

Not only is S-glass a harder wearing
material than carbon cloth or carbon biaxial, S-glass will be more resistant to cracking when used in a skid plate application. Carbon fibers are too stiff and too brittle.

Carbon cloth obviously does wear smooth, without fuzzing, but carbon fibers can be scratched more easily than S-glass fibers when a loaded boat is dragged onto shore. The stiffness of carbon cloth in epoxy is not matched by hardness. Other data, anyone?