Quick advice on a possible good deal

I have an opportunity to purchase an Indian River 16ft fiberglass canoe for $200. It seems like a pretty good deal but I wonder about the reliability of fiberglass canoes.

I’m not worried about the weight as much as the durability of the material. What can you all tell me about fiberglass canoes? Yea or nay?

depends on the glass used and whether it was blown in a mold as fibers or laid in as woven fiberglass cloth.

I suspect your prospect is chopped fiberglass strand.

I have a Sawyer 190 that is 21 years old and fiberglass. Its quite durable. But its well made with woven cloth.

Fiberglass continues to exist in Millbrook boats just as an example…they are used in whitewater. But they arent chopper fiber boats either.

Thanks kayakmedic
Thanks for your advice. Now I know the questions to ask regarding the fiberglass.

Look at the inside of the boat
If it was built with a chopper gun, you will see short, irregularly shaped fiberglass strands rather than what appears to be a woven cloth.

High quality glass boats are built with fiberglass and/or Kevlar cloth that is impregnated with the minimal amount of epoxy resin required to bind the fabric layers solidly together. With the chopper gun technique, there is a much higher percentage of resin to fiberglass and since the fiberglass strands are so short, the strength is much less. So you get a boat that is simultaneously heavier and weaker.

Having said that, a canoe built this way might be plenty strong enough for your needs depending on how you plan to use it. If you don’t mind dealing with the weight penalty, and the hull is reasonably well-designed shape wise, it may be worth buying.

doesn’t sound like

– Last Updated: Aug-09-10 9:25 PM EST –

chopper gun, although the photos remind me of some chopper gun builds I remember from long ago.

I know of one power boat company that uses chopper gun, Cruisers Inc., and though I prefer lay-up, I haven't heard of any complaints with the chopper gun. Figure it must weigh more though per given strength.

How do you plan on using it?
I live on a lake and many of my neighbors have “chopper gun” canoes.

They get no special treatment… left outside they eventually become pretty brittle. They are just used for fishing and doodling around the lake.

Price seems right if thats what you want out of your boat. There is a use for those sort of canoes.

Indian River Canoe’s
Are made with a chopper gun and are very heavy. Most have a keel built into them which is a dead give away of a cheap canoe. The $200 asking price is high because I see many for a lot less in the Tampa Craig’s list. The Indian Rivers are made here in Fl.

sounds stolen

mphelps3 , how is it that the link …

– Last Updated: Aug-10-10 9:14 PM EST –

...... dagger put up "Indian River Canoes" says all thier models a are hand lay up and use 18 oz. woven roving , if they are chopper gun canoes ??

Have they changed from chopper gun to hand lay up or something ??

Again in the link , thier 16' models weigh in at 65 lbs. and 70 lbs. ... that's not really heavy for a fiberglass canoe I don't think . Not all are keeled models .

In the pics. on daggres' link , it looks like there is a type of coating on the interior that would hide any cloth patterns (hand lay up) , or chopper gun construction evidence ??

Age might explain it
I’ve seen a number of posts here over the years about very old Indian River canoes having heavy, chopper-gun hulls. The website linked by daggemat seems to show how they are made nowadays. This age-difference idea is just a guess, but it’s one that jives with what I remember, but what I remember might also be wrong.

yeah that could be , age difference …

– Last Updated: Aug-10-10 11:52 PM EST –

....... as in either they used to be chopper gun and now are hand lay up .

Maybe even a whole different company keeping the Indian River brand name , but building different designs than the original Indian River canoes (but now hand lay up ??) .

I'm just curious , because I was under the impression (and I'm not sure why either) Indian river canoes were chopper gun construction , but daggers link put a big question mark there for me now .

the answer is according to Indian River

– Last Updated: Aug-11-10 1:11 PM EST –

....... thier canoes are a combination of both chopper gun and 18 oz. woven roving cloth . Apparently they've been making these canoes the same way since 1966 .

Indian River canoes are made in Independence, VA. since the beginning . They also now are Mohawk Paddles .

The layup is gelcoat , chopper gun , 18 oz. woven roving cloth , chopper gun , interior gelcoat grip finish .

The hulls depending on model could be , V hull , flat bottom , arch bottom (the tunnel designs) , keel or keeless .

And for what it's worth (my opinion), woven roving is about the strongest glass cloth possible to use because roving has extremely high glass fiber content to resin ratio .

These may not be the most high tech of modern designs and multi material layups , but there is no doubt in my mind that the Indian River canoes are tough , solid and strong ... I'll bet they are seriously stronger than the modern high tech layups of expensive canoes today (as in turn one over and jump up and down on it and see which one breaks first) .