Help identifying Bell Morningstar model

I’m new to the canoe world and made the mistake of buying a canoe that won’t serve my purposes. I was led to believe this Bell Canoe Works an early Royalex model (original owners claimed purchased in 2001) and I was getting a deal. Upon further inspection after getting it home, seems too “brittle” to be as claimed and although I don’t have the exact weight yet, it is very light. I wouldn’t feel comfortable using it on anything other than flat water, so now looking to sell it and recover what I can but would prefer to give an honest assessment as to what it is. Any help in identifying the model would be grateful.

From the pictures it is a composite hull, not Royalex. Mroning star is the model name.

The floatation tanks and elongated hexagon-shaped core mat indicate that it is composite, not royalex. In terms of the specific Bell layup (fiberlar vs. kevlar), what year was it manufactured? See the last two numbers of the hull ID. Then check this thread out:

are you sure it won’t meet your needs? people like that hull a lot, and I bet it is quite a bit more durable than it may seem initially.

If it’s black gold, white gold or fiberlar, then it’s pretty tough. It won’t be as resilient when dropped on concrete or smashed hard into a rock or sharp object as a royalex canoe, but it will be much stiffer an paddle more efficiently.

Contact me if you decide that you don’t want it and are near Illinois. I may be interested.

I wouldn’t sell that just yet. That’s a great hull, and it looks like you got a great deal on it. I would do a little research into what exactly the layup is, maybe call ORC and see if they still have the serial numbers and records, or maybe ask Ted Bell. If that’s just a faded gel coat finish, you should be able to shine it up a bit. You can get replacements for the wood parts. If you still want to get rid of it you’d be able to get quite a bit more, or possibly trade for a nice royalex boat. Even if you don’t want to fix it up any, you may be able to trade for a royalex boat. I know I’d consider trading my royalex Bell Drifter for it, but I’m in Nebraska

steal of the season. wow. at three+ times the price, that would sell in the twin cities over the weekend.

Even if you’re planning to drag it on gravel bars every trip and immediately wrap the canoe around a tree, why not just keep it and paddle it, especially for that price?

All of the White Gold and Black Gold Bells I have seen have had a Kevlar-colored interior, sometimes with the multi-colored Bell “tweed” or regular aramid, depending on year of construction. I would assume that to be a fiberglass boat.

@pblanc said:
All of the White Gold and Black Gold Bells I have seen have had a Kevlar-colored interior, sometimes with the multi-colored Bell “tweed” or regular aramid, depending on year of construction. I would assume that to be a fiberglass boat.

I wouldn’t . Charlie Wilson posted that while he worked at Bell there were many variations of the interior. Including painting.
The exterior just appears to be oxidized gel coat. Get thee an orbital polisher and some rubbing compound and a nice two hours of work will give you one pretty boat. The Morning Star is a terrific hull. Its not for whitewater but gravel won’t kill it.

Regarding the Black Gold, I’m sure this boat pre-dates the availability of that layup, and all the Black Gold boats I’ve seen were exactly that - Black. Anyway, I was feeling very certain that when I chose between Kev-Light and Black Gold for my Merlin II, and was looking at the two boats side by side at Canoecopia, the Black Gold version did NOT have the foam reinforcement mat in the floor. At a later date when I became aware of how difficult it is to do a proper repair on hull damage below the mat, I regretted that I hadn’t chosen the Black Gold instead of the Kev-Light.

I had the impression that most of the fiberglass models lacked that foam mat too, but these pictures make me pretty uncertain about that.

Can anyone clear up which layups used the foam reinforcements and which did not (if any)? I bet Charlie knows. And Pat #2 has a Black Gold Merlin II but I haven’t seen him around since the change from .net to .com.

As to questions about which layup the O.P. bought, the guessing will be a lot more accurate once he reports the actual weight. Too bad the old Bell Canoe Works website finally got shut down. It stayed up and running for several years after the company died, and was a handy reference while it lasted.

$300 with two bending branches paddles…that’s a steal! On a great hull that looks like it could be shined up with a little tlc and elbow grease. If it was within a days drive I’d be on my way trying to figure out how to justify the road trip to my wife! This was a great deal at $500. pbatt, at least paddle that boat before you get rid of it, that really is a nice hull.

My black gold Bell Merlin II has a green gel goat on the outside, but not the inside.

@Yanoer said:
My black gold Bell Merlin II has a green gel goat on the outside, but not the inside.

Okay, I hadn’t seen that before. Now, what about foam reinforcing??

I can’t remember if the BG boats has a foam diamond or not… The ones I have seen were never black inside. I’d think the foam unnecessary with a carbon layer.

If you can get Charlies attention this will all make sense.

My Kev lite Merlin II had the foam core ( of course…something to stiffen the bottom)

Rummaging around the attic of my computer I find this bit from Charlie.
"Skin and Gel Coat per CEW

• Skin coating attempts to eliminate the weight of gel coating a hull, which can weigh 6 lbs for a mid sized tandem.

Start by laying in a resin rich initial blanket. Usually, Kevlar, sometimes carbon. Which makes a difference later, which will be explained later.

Sometimes, a very thin glass layer will be laid in under the “initial” blanket

The first blanket is allowed to gel and cure. The balance of the boat, including, maybe, a core and ribs is laid in, wet if wet bagging, dry if infusing. Vacuum is pulled and the boat gels and cures.

When the skittle is pulled from the mold, pinholes may present. They are filled by squeegeing the thicker resin used in the first blanket into the voids.

As a Kevlar skin coat boat is used, it flexes. As Kevlar is hydrophilic and does not bond with resin, small bits of resin break out. Eventually, if the boat is all Kevlar, it will leak.

Carbon is hydrophobic and bonds with resin so presents fewer leak issues.

Gel coat is a plastic layer sprayed 8-12 mils thick. I cannot imagine how it might leak."

Kind of makes you wonder just when your all Kevlar boat will become pinholed!

No foam core in the three black gold Bells that I own, though there is a similar diamond pattern of cloth reinforcement.

That is a Fiberlar hull with Bell’s unique two piece aluminum rail system. We can tell because the interior is gel coated and the core mat bottom is less distinct than the Kev-Light/Lite hull’s thicker foam cores. While some KLt and B/G hulls were gel coated in opaque colors I doubt we’d ever paint the inside, as it would increase weight and cover Kevler. The glass over the core mat core was never as scenic as Kev, hence the opaque interior.

Sweet canoe. How much did you pay for it? I picked up a Morningstar last summer in royalex. Like new condition with two microlight paddles for $1,100. Love the boat!