Repair carbon side keel strip

Hi- I have a mini fiberglass rowing shell that resembles a kayak in shape. Its in great condition but a 6 inch strip of black keel tape has come slightly loose / popped away from the hull ( the strip is the one around the edge of keel that would bump the side of a dock). Manufacturer advises to replace the strip with carbon tape and west epoxy. Anyone know where I can find info on where to buy the tape ( I assume unidirectional with a finished edge) , and how to apply the tape. I see references to “soaking” the tape in epoxy but thought maybe I just need to wet the back of the tape with epoxy and apply? Any guidance would be appreciated. Many thanks for the advice.

Any chance you could post a picture of the affected area? I’m a bit confused by the “edge of the keel that would bump the side of the dock” - the “keel” is usually used to describe the centerline of the hull. If it’s the hull to deck joint the repair would be a bit more involved than just a protective keel strip.

As far as supplies, check out They also have lots of great repair how-to videos.

If I understand you correctly what you are describing is a rub rail on the side of the hull. You may or may not want a finished selvage edge. A selvage edge makes the tape easy to work with but tends to stand slightly proud when fully wetted out. Tape with an unfinished edge can be applied without fraying if you use care. Mask of the edges where you want the sides of the rub rail to end and they after the wet-out coat of epoxy has cured to a green state, trim any overhang along the edge of the mask with a sharp knife like an X-Acto.

Jamestown Distributors has 1 1/2 and 3 inch wide carbon fiber tape but the minimum order is a 12’ roll and it is quite pricey. Fiberglast has carbon fiber tape in a variety of widths (narrowest is 2") with an unfinished edge that is available in 10’ rolls and is somewhat cheaper.

Thanks Brodie…here are the pics…apologies for using the wrong terms…the strip I need to replace is the black strip you see along the side of the boat… I will take a look at Jamestown…thanks a lot for that…

That is definitely the hull to deck joint. Is there any access to that area from inside the hull? An access port maybe? The seam could be reinforced from both sides that way.

Also the black that you see is gelcoat, not carbon. While you can certainly use carbon for the repair, if set in epoxy it will need to be covered up to protect the epoxy from UV damage. Black gelcoat will match (mostly) the existing seam line.

Thanks very much Pblac. I posted a photo of the strip I was referring to…I guess it would be called a rub rail. 2 Questions: do you apply the epoxy to the boat and lay the carbon strip on it, or apply to the strip/soak the strip? Since I need 1 inch, do you think I can cut the strip lengthwise to go from 1.5 to 1" without fraying the edges?

Thanks Brodie… Accessing from inside is a great idea…I just took a look through a hatch cover and I can see the spot from the inside. The strip is actually tape, it is popped away enough to handle it / feel it…The manufacturer confirmed that it is tape and advised that I should remove the existing tape in that small 6" area, sand the surface below, and use West 105 with new carbon tape to make the repair. Im having trouble finding the 1" size but I’m sure someone has it.

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Could you just epoxy the loose 6" section back down?

Thanks Grayhawk. If I can flex it a little bit to get it to lay flat epoxying it down would be the simplest approach, especially if I can do as Brodie suggested and seal the seam from the inside as well. Good idea.

You could cut tape with an unfinished edge longitudinally leaving it a bit oversized so that the edges overlap your mask, then trim away the overlap when the epoxy is still green. If you buy 1 1/2 inch wide tape I would probably not cut it and just let it overlap your mask by 1/4" on each side, then trim. That can give you a very nice, precise edge. You can also mix graphite powder into your epoxy. This will give the finished result a nice, glossy black color and be opaque enough to protect the epoxy from UV degradation.

As for your other question, do both. Mask off your edges and paint the area to which you are applying the tape with a thin coat of epoxy. Lay your tape on it carefully preserving the straight lines of the weave, then carefully brush on more epoxy starting in the center of the strip and working outward toward the edges dabbing epoxy onto the fabric without disturbing the lay of the cloth.

Just to give you an idea, here is a photo of a Curtis Dragonfly canoe to which I applied an abrasion plate. The fabric I used was 6 ounce/square yard S fiberglass rather than carbon fiber, but if I had used carbon the result would have looked exactly the same. The epoxy used was West System 105 resin with 206 hardener with West System graphite powder mixed in.

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Thanks so much for the very clear and detailed instructions…Should be easy to follow. The result you got on your work is fantastic…looks incredible. I hope I can get such clean results. Many thanks again.

We’ve had good luck with West Gflex. It takes longer to set but it hasn’t failed me.
Possibly you could tape it in place until set…