Identifying type of plastic

I am going to look at a used canoe for which the owner has basically no information. Looks to be in nice shape with wooden yoke and seats.

Is there any way to determine what quality of plastic if I can’t find a manufacturer or model?

Would very much like a royalex boat.

go over
to the marina, boa shop, yard n press the hulls. With hands, fingers. Press in see how the material reacts. Write the data down then check boat reviews for those hulls.

Royalex is primarily for river rock bashing or outback tripping down rivers, with rocks. Paddlers using light even Kevlar construction therein are sometimes unhappy walking out or paddling a drainage barge covered with duck tape.

plastic canoes
There are basically three types of plastic canoe:

single-layer polyethylene

three-layer polyethylene


Actually composite canoes are also plastic in a sense. FRP stands for “fiberglass reinforced plastic” meaning a plastic resin that has been reinforced with fiberglass cloth.

Single layer poly canoes are pretty easy to spot. These include Coleman and Pelican canoes but also some models from higher end makers such as Mad River. These canoes are made from solid, thermoformed polyethylene. While solid polyethylene works well for kayaks and short canoes, it does not work too well for longer ones since it is too flexible. These canoes will therefore have some type of endoskeleton consisting of a metal or plastic keelson and supports extending down to the keelson. The supports are typically in the form of molded seats that extend all the way down to the keelson, and a center “console” that does likewise. These are the least desirable plastic canoes because even with the skeleton they flex too much, they are heavy, and the seats and consoles cannot be moved or removed.

Three-layer polyethylene boats are somewhat similar to Royalex in that they have a foam core sandwiched between two solid sheets. The foam core adds buoyancy and rigidity so there is no need for an endoskeleton and no need for supplemental flotation to insure positive buoyancy. These boats are rotomolded and constructed by adding three different formulations of polyethylene powder to the rotomold sequentially. These boats are tough but significantly heavier than Royalex boats of similar size and they sometimes have a tendency to deform.

Royalex consists of an ABS foam core sandwiched between two solid ABS sheets. The ABS is protected from UV degradation and abrasion by a thin layer of colored vinyl on the interior and exterior.

Three-layer polyethylene boats have an appearance very similar to that of Royalex. With three-layer polyethylene the exterior color extends throughout the entire exterior solid poly layer. With Royalex, the color of the solid ABS exterior layer is different from that of the exterior vinyl.

If there are areas of exterior wear on a Royalex boat in which the outer vinyl layer has been abraded away, you will see the contrasting color of the underlying ABS. If the canoe has wooden gunwales they will likely be sandwiched around the top of the hull exposing the hull material in cross section between the inwale and outwale. If so, it is relatively easy to see the 5 layers of a Royalex hull versus the 3 layers of a rotomolded polyethylene hull.

blue hole

The Galt Cruiser !

say PbB…what hull is the Kevlar forerunner ?

the first ABS I squooze, I was skeptical …

interesting memory…‘like’ I am there …

Thank you.
Amazing insight pblanc. I am instantly a much more informed buyer.



Not many older brittle boats on the market … a few on the rocks …

Someone from that leafy cottage shop up the road came by to say Hi …and to the 544…