So I just picked this canoe up yesterday, after lots of research and reading a lot of forums and such. It’s my first canoe, and supposed to be a pretty decent one. I got it for $650. It’s royalx canoe. I’ve taken a few pictures of a bit of wear on the stem and the bow, and one scratch at the middle of the bottom of the boat. To be honest, the pictures make the bow and stern look worse than they are. When I close my eyes and rub my hands over each, it all feels uniform, just a little rough, from years of use. The scratch on the middle is a little more pronounced, like the rode over a sharp rock. I’d like this canoe to last me a good while, so any advice would help. I’m not terribly handy, so hopefully it won’t require major surgery. Advice on layman’s terms would be very helpful and much appreciated
PS, since I’m a new user it will only let me upload one pic.
Press in firmly with your thumb on the dark area from which the sand-colored vinyl has been abraded off. If it does not feel spongy or give you can just paint over those areas with some type of paint that gives a reasonable color match.
If the material does feel spongy in that area it means the ABS material of the Royalex has been thinned out by abrasion. In that event, it would be best to apply a patch over it which could be accomplished by applying a long, tear-drop shaped abrasion plate.
If you check around your area, you may find someone who has experience using epoxy and fiberglass cloth if you don’t feel up to that, although it is not that hard to do.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the scrapes and gouges otherwise. They won’t have any significant affect on strength or function.
It’s def as hard as can be, just like all the area around it. So maybe just a coat of paint? It’s one type of paint better than another? Also, is this a decent canoe, or at least for what I paid for it. I second guess all my decisions.
You could add a couple of kevlar pads on the stems with epoxy to account for the wear.
I normally use two rolls of fiberglass cloth in 2 inch and 3 inch applied with epoxy.
Welcome! In my opinion, the Mad River Explorer is one of the best all around canoes ever produced. While not fast, it’s not a dog by any means on flatwater, and it’s plenty capable in whitewater up to Class III in qualified hands. They’re also almost indestructable. I’ve had a royalex one for 20+ years that was completely wrapped around a rock and left for dead. The bow and stern were only about 3 feet apart. With new gunwales and seats and a little patience straightening it out it’s been a great boat and from more than about 20’ you can’t tell anything ever happened to it. I’ve also got a kevlar one that was essentially given to me after a fork lift went through the side of it. Again, with a little work it’s like new.
Ppine’s suggestion of the kevlar skid pads is definitely something to think about. A lot of folks will tell you they are overkill, but they are fairly easy to apply and then you don’t have to worry about wear anymore. The guys at Northwest Canoe have some good info and a video with some details.
The Mad River Explorer 16 is a nice canoe in either composite or Royalex. It is a very nice jack of all trades boat.
If it were my boat, I would not apply those Kevlar felt abrasion plates. For one thing, Kevlar felt is really not very strong consisting only of short fibers, and the adhesives in those kits do not yield the best bond strength to Royalex. The Kevlar felt is thick and heavy for its poor strength and over time chunks of it tend to break out under hard use. The kits are popular only because the material keeps its shape and does not fray (unlike woven cloth) so they are relatively easy to apply.
Here is a thread from several years ago that describes the process of applying abrasion plates using either fiberglass or Dynel woven fabric which results in a much stronger, smoother, lighter, and more abrasion-resistant plate that will result in much less hydrodynamic drag on your canoe. It is a long thread with probably more information than you would like, but if you are interested in doing something like this, you would probably be able to find someone locally who has some experience with fiberglassing.
The best epoxy to use on Royalex is West System’s G Flex.
Krylon Fusion in a rattle can.
So would I be ok to use the krylon fusion paint as mentioned below, and see how she held up for a season or 2, or is that a terrible idea?
Yep, give a coat of paint & go paddle when it’s dry. After a while you will see any areas that need attention based on your usage. If you are not running whitewater or enjoying some of Canada’s finest granite then you probably will not need skid plates.
It is probably OK to go ahead and paint the worn areas. Keep an eye on those areas. At the first sign that any of the foam core is becoming exposed, a proper repair should be done. The foam core is easy to recognize. It looks like a sponge or baby Swiss cheese.
I would go ahead and do the skids myself, but I have a great habit of repairing things worse than they were. If rather not ruin this.
It really isn’t that hard. I have coached friends on how to do it by email and they had very acceptable results. Of course, as you work with epoxy and fabrics you learn little tricks that make the job easier.
The thread that I cited has just about all the tricks that Mike McCrea and I have learned in applying skid plates to many canoes. The main thing is to plan it out ahead and be patient. It can be a little frustrating dealing with plain weave fabrics because they want to change shape on you, trading width for length and vice verse, as you work with them, and they want to fray along the cut edges. There is also a tendency for the edges of the fabric to pleat up when going over a sharp curvature.
All of these problems are minimized by simply being patient and gentle working the epoxy into the fabric and continuing to slowly work out and tamp down any pleats. Another important thing is to make a template of the skid plate out of something that doesn’t change shape (I use brown packing paper), folding it lengthwise to make sure it is symmetrical, and making absolutely sure you have it taped on the boat straight when marking out the outline of your plate on the boat.
The same template is used to mark out your fabric on a flat surface. Doing a careful masking job will eliminate stray drips on your canoe. It all sounds more difficult in explanation than it really is.
If you choose to take this on at some point, I would suggest getting some 5 ounce/square yard Dynel plain weave fabric. This tends to fray a bit less than plain weave fiberglass especially if you cut out the patch on the bias with the fibers of the weft and weave running at 45 degree angles to the long axis of the plate. That also helps it lay down over a curve with less tendency to pleat.
“If it were my boat, I would not apply those Kevlar felt abrasion plates. For one thing, Kevlar felt is really not very strong consisting only of short fibers, and the adhesives in those kits do not yield the best bond strength to Royalex. The Kevlar felt is thick and heavy for its poor strength and over time chunks of it tend to break out under hard use. The kits are popular only because the material keeps its shape and does not fray (unlike woven cloth) so they are relatively easy to apply.”
I couldn’t agree more, kevlar skid plates caused more damage than they prevented