refirbishing a fiberglass canoe

I was given an old fiberglass canoe that a friend found sitting behind a shed on property he purchased a few years ago. It may have sat there for a number of years before he purchased the property, but it must have been a beautiful canoe at one time. It is a Core Craft canoe model # C1702129.

I found out that Core Craft canoes have a cedar core sandwiched between fiberglass layers. It has a few gouges down to the cedar core on the sides and much of the keel is wore down to the wood.

It seems to be quite sturdy, and has no apparent leaks.

I have a good paint sprayer, but I don’t know what paint to use or how to go about repairing the gouges in the paint.

I’d appreciate any info you could give or if you could direct me to where I could get the info I need.


May be a hard restoration. Maybe
you could spend a similar amount of effort building a “stripper,” with cedar strips sandwiched between fiberglass. You’d have the choice of some wonderful designs, and the result would be fast and light.

I’m old enough to remember Core-Craft canoes, and I never was excited about them. Others may differ…

paints in order
best to good are Awlgrip, Imron, polyurethane, at least in the fiberglass yacht field. My 28’ sailboat is Imroned and it was gorgeous for several hard seasons.

I’m just guessing here, but thinking an epoxy resin (just fell in love with g-flex, but have only used it on royalex so far) paste with micro beads to fill the gouges, and maybe a layer of light (6 oz.) glass for the keel.

in more general terms
The general types of yacht paints, in order of most difficult/shiniest/most durable, to easiest-to-apply/cheapest

Two-part polyurethane paints (like Awlgrip, Interlux Perfection, Epifanes Polyurethane)

Single Part polyurethane paints (like Interlux Brightside or Epifanes Monourethane)

Yacht Enamel

All can be applied by brush, but the first two categories take some practice, and 2 people.

My guess is that either of the first two are more work or money than you’d want to spend on an old found canoe, unless it were very special. The 2-part Epifanes costs $75 for a can that’s a little smaller than a quart.

We refinished our 26’ sailboat with that stuff, and it looks like brand new gelcoat from 10 feet away, even a few years later. But it was an extremely time consuming, and fairly expensive project.

thinking the Brightside
wouldn’t hold up well, unless you really baby the canoe. I’ve used it a lot on my old boat, and used the excess to paint canoes,albeit I coated the bottoms of my poling boats…

Is your Core-Craft a triple keel model
like those described in old literature? If so, expect it to track straight but to be reluctant to turn.

I wouldn’t add glass to the outside, because of the difficulty of getting it to conform over or around the triple keels. You could add glass, or polyester cloth, inside, but it sounds like some “bondo” work and painting may be all you need to have a super stable lake boat.

Assuming the wood is dry right now …
( IMHO ) I would definitely get a couple plys of glass ( with epoxy ) over the wood BEFORE you put in. Then its sealed up and you can go use it without soaking the wood / core. Think about painting it when you are out paddling.

Brightside guys … I can still remember a rep putting a can of it in my hands when it first came out. Used it once and gave the rest away.

The Z-Spar equivalent lasts way longer long term.

I’ve heard that the one-part paints are really easy to scuff. The two parts aren’t bad, but they’re very thin, and I don’t think they would hold up long at all on the bottom of a kayak or canoe. They do look sharp though!

My guess is that paddle strikes might be a problem with the one-part, but I’d guess that the 2-part would be able to hold up to that kind of contact.

Another option.
Tape off the bottom. Tint some epoxy resin and “paint” the bottom of the boat with tinted epoxy. Then use your polyurethane paint on the rest of the hull. The epoxy is MUCH tougher than paint.