Repair advice

I’ve got a Chesapeak 17 that had about 4" of the bow broken off, and a subsequent terrible, impatient repair job that left it a bit crooked. In addition, the varish is cracking and there are many scratches and gouges. Here you can see pictures. I would really like to straighten out the tip of the bow. What’s the best way to approach that?

As for the refinishing, I plan to sand down to epoxy, look for any deeper gouges and repair, and then do a maintenance coat of epoxy followed by varnishing. I don’t care if she’s got some scars that show, I think it’ll still be a useful boat.

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You know you will get more specific experienced responses on the CLC web site post you posted. Most of that damage is just sunburned varnish and some ugly screw holes. Interesting bent nose. I’d approach from the front. No…What do you mean best way to approach that? A lot of that is personal capabilities and desires. It is above the water line. It really doesn’t affect paddling. Except maybe in some waves. Is it looks? Is it fear of it falling off?

Personally if it were mine. I’d likely cut the thing off and experiment with a solid stem fitting. Typical of strip kayaks.

But for a simple fix you could cut it off. Cut the deck back above the clamps. Use the new deck piece as a guide for the hull patches below. Over lapping the new deck piece over good hull and clamps. While in there I’d make sure there was a backing for the attached (not shown) bow handle. Then glass in new ply to the straightened bow shape. Feathered or “scarfed” to the old stuff with glass inside and out.

OR …I’d leave it and start a new boat.


I didn’t even consider a solid stem replacement…maybe epoxy a couple of brackets and carbon fiber tubes inside to add some strength back. I have a little experience with composites, but mostly carbon fiber and fiberglass in the aviation world. I think I have more confidence in carving a solid stem to shape then getting the scarf to look nice.

Thanks for the idea and the response!

At CLC John put pictures of repairs to tree damaged dories. Look on the web site for those pictures.

Listening to me too well could be dangerous. I’m likely to do flames inlay to cover up patch marks. :blush:


I look too at the bow of the C-17 and wonder how the bow cracked off. I’m guessing that the clamps, 3/4 x 3/4" wood strips stopped about where that break is. I think I’d be tempted to remove the deck back to behind the handle holes. Then cut out new deck to make a pattern for the bottom to follow. I’d likely cut out new ply with my coping saw in a flame finger pattern on the hull side and the deck. The new hull/deck wood to be stained blood red. I’m not so sure about the wood stem unless it went outside of the current hull. There’s likely a bow pour that would make it difficult inside. Either way the clamps could be improved by extending them to the point farther. (plane ends)

I’m tempted to suggest a Bairdarka style nose that would create a hand grip of deck over the hull sides. But that isn’t practical or perhaps pretty.

There is also an idea to eliminate the hand hold but extending the deck to make a hand hold forward of the “straightened” bow. Kind of a Cyrano de Bergerac nose you could use as a handle. Or not…

Either way I suspect as you sand off the varnish you’ll find that the epoxy is in OK shape. But be sure to remove all the varnish before adding any “maintenance epoxy” . If you just epoxy over varnish is doesn’t work well.

I’d also look at drilling out the screw holes, filling and redrill. I noticed most of them have water soaking signs. Likely just drilled holes with screws no sealant or epoxy fill/drill.

There is no easy way to fix that boat except one. Add some fiberglass to smooth out the contours, then some epoxy mixed with thickener like microballoons and fair out the lines. Sand it and paint the hull. Leave the deck varnished. Everything else is going to be very labor intensive.

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I agonized about painting the hull on one of my wooden boats. I painted it dark green and the boat looked great. When paddling it it still looked all wood and it cut down on varnishing.

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Measured it last night, 17’10" long! Larger than I thought.
Not opposed to painting the hull, especially if I can find a plum-colored marine paint.