kevlar hull repair

Hello, Just picked up a Wenonah solo plus and a Bell Northstar for a good price. Both boats are kevlar and in need of some patchwork on the hull from rock riding etc. I usually use s-glass and epoxy on the royalex boat I have. Would it be the same for the kevlar boats? You can see the kevlar fabric through the outer hull. Thanks


repair supplies
I did some repairs on a Bell Magic Kevlar. Sounds like mine was more serious than yours. I think I got my supplies from bell. Its hard to find on there mew web sight but they still sell repair kits.

Maybe call them.

Go to and search for - Kevlar canoe repair – and you will find many places that sell repair kits.


If the Kevlar fabric is not fuzzed,
maybe you will not need to glass it. And is the fabric Kevlar? There is a chance the builder used a layer of glass as the outer layer, to prevent fuzzing and to take advantage of the superiority of glass over Kevlar as an outer layer.

Your E glass should be fairly fresh, not over a couple-three years old. notes that while Kevlar cloth is not coated, glass MUST be coated for resin to adhere effectively, and the coatings used on glass cloth deteriorated with age and exposure to ambient moisture.

Not sure on the layers
On the solo plus the white outer layer is gone in short streaks of 1 to 3 inches and a 1/4in wide exposing a goldish/yellowish fabric along the bottom of the boat. The fabric is not fuzzy.

On the Northstar the keel has oval chips along the whole length that have been somewhat filled in with expoxy. The bad area is where a piece of one of the kevlar skid plates broke loose taking part of the hull with it. The fabric that is exposed here appears black with part of the outer layer still attached.


Yeah, that’s why I hate Kevlar felt skid
plates. If the skid plate had been done with S-glass in the first place, it probably would not have chipped out that way, and would not have damaged the boat underneath. S-glass also wears smoother than Kevlar felt.

Can’t tell you what to do, especially not seeing the damage, but I would grind both those skid plates off.

One of my canoes, a Bluewater Chippewa “demo,” came with some extra-thin Kevlar skid plates. I would not have chosen these, but they are so thin that they have no inherent stiffness on their own, and therefore are unlikely to chip out and pull away the glass underneath.

I’ll proceed by
chipping any loose pieces of hull out of the hole fill them in and then a layer of s-glass/epoxy.

Besides grinding is there a better way to take those skid plates off. Heat gun? The skid plates feel kind of brittle. Knowing me I would probably slip with the grinder in my hands causing more damage then what is already there. I will replace them with some s glass/epoxy. On the solo plus it looks like the factory used a flat rope with expoxy as skid plates

Your concern about grinding skid
plates is well justified. I am reluctant to suggest alternatives because they rely on hand tools and “touch,” and I can’t predict which would work best. I have NOT used a big, auto body shop, disk grinder, but even a disk attachment on a 3/8" drill can cause damage on a bad day. The thing to do is try it on thick areas where you are unlikely to damage the hull itself, and acquire the necessary ability to control the process.

If you have good control with hand saws, you might consider cutting a series of parallel grooves in the skid plate, down close to but not into the skid plate/hull interface. Then, if your skid plates are “brittle,” you may be able to undercut the series of parallel ridges using a bull nose plane or a sharp chisel held at a low angle. I’m not guaranteeing even initial success with this approach, because I have used it on other laminates, but not on skid plates.

I am sceptical about the heat gun approach because it seems to me that enough heat could be conducted down through the patch to soften the hull laminate. Anyway, Kevlar is one of the most resistant fibers to heat. Maybe someone else on the board has heat gun experience.

It is ironic that one of the main reasons for the success of Kevlar felt skid plates is that they hold together and are easy to apply when they go on the hull. When you want them off, they are amongst the most difficult things to remove.

Have some pics
The first 3 are an example of the damage on the Solo Plus and last 2 are from the Bell.

As you can see someone didn’t do a good repair job. Is this what marine-tex would look like? Broken off skid plate chips along the keel filled in with epoxy

Here are my thoughts. On the Solo plus remove any loose outer layer, sand off gel coat around scratch, fill in scratch with filler+epoxy then add one layer of s glass.

On the Northstar justleave the skid plates alone but epoxy s glass the area that came off. Sand along the whole length of the keel for those chips and epoxy s glass.

Any other comments?


Bumpy Bump Bump
Still undecided which way I should approach my repair. Any help would be appreciated Thanks


Gel coat

– Last Updated: Sep-27-07 5:02 PM EST –

On the Solo Plus, I would go ahead and order some gel-coat from Wenonah and follow the instructions on repairing a gel coat outer layer. From the close up picture it only looks like the scratch went through the gel, not too much into the kevlar.