Repair Damaged Flashfire

-- Last Updated: Mar-09-12 11:50 PM EST --

Bought a used Flashfire, actually TWO Flashfires. One has some "Crush" injuries that happened when it was shipped years ago. It was duct taped over the areas and paddled. The damage is the first 3 pics. I've put glass patches and kevlar skid plates on royalex, R-84, and tuffweave boats. NEVER patched a kevlar boat, especially one with injuries this bad. I also bought a 2nd Flashfire with some similar damage. It also needs new gunnels.

Also, the boat has a "Milky," look (see last photo) on the interior that resembles mold. When whetted, the "Look" goes away. Any ideas?

Would welcome any and all repair ideas! I will be away at work the weekend, so I won't see the board until Monday. Thanks!

My wild guess…

– Last Updated: Mar-10-12 1:21 AM EST –

The white Flashfire has/had some moisture trapped between the layers in the hulll this resulted in mold growing between the layers.

Likely the boat had "make do" repairs & was paddled.
Water found it's way through those "make do" repairs.
Trapped water between the layers never completely dried after usage.

Just a wild guess.

Didn't think I'd ever see that "blue bomber" again.
What was it; 10 years ago when it made it's debut at the Rendezvous......looking much as it looks right now?

The horror..............the horror!


I’m not sure about that Bob

– Last Updated: Mar-10-12 8:31 AM EST –

Bells are rather notorious for interior "blush" even when completely undamaged. Although the picture does show an extreme amount, the appearance is similar to what happens in my Merlin II (on a much smaller scale) which has never been damaged in any way. Bell talks about the phenomenon on their site here: Treating the hull interior with 303 Aerospace Protectant or Armor All makes the blush go away for a little while, but it comes back after water has been sitting inside the boat for a while.

As for the repair, the fibers are clearly broken all the way through and you are looking at patching both the interior and the exterior. I would use at least 2 layers of cloth on the outside and one on the inside. Don't use Kevlar on the outside repair. Fiberglass works better on the exterior. It has better resistance to compressive forces that the cloth is typically subjected to when the side of the hull is pushed in. What is equally important is that it can be sanded smooth and doesn't fuzz up when abraded the way Kevlar does.

E 'glass is OK (6oz/yd weight). S 'glass is even better (stronger and more abrasion resistant) but can be a little harder to fully wet out. Cut your cloth patches so that the fibers of the successive patch cross those of the first patch at a 45 degree angle (on bias) as it will increase the strength of the repair. Conventional wisdom is to apply the biggest patch to the hull first and make each successive patch concentrically smaller. I have done it the other way around with good results but if you put a larger patch over a smaller one, be sure to feather the edge of the first patch well before doing so.

I would use Kevlar on the interior. It will look better and the fibers are stronger when subjected to tension (as they are when the side of the hull is pushed in). It is also not so important to sand it smooth on the inside. I would be inclined to cut a sizable rectangle of Kevlar cloth (it is hard to cut) wide enough to completely cover the visible damaged fibers on the interior and overlap the adjacent good hull by at least an inch. I would make it long enough to reach, or nearly reach the inwale on each side and apply it at right angles to the keel line of the canoe so that it will more or less resemble a big rib ala. Wenonah cross rib constructed boats when you are finished.

In order to get a good bond you are going to need to sand down through the gel coat until you see the underlying cloth fibers. If you sand the interior (Kevlar) too much you are going to get a fuzzy mess. I have generally used epoxy resin like West Systems 105/205 or 105/206 for cloth repairs on composite boats, but I would email Charlie Wilson and ask him if vinylester resin would be a better choice in this case. I have never used vinylester resin, so I can't offer any advice there.

Jamestown Distributors sells fiberglass and Kevlar cloth. They also have a goodly number of DIY videos at their site:

Most of the guys over at buy their cloth from Sweet Composites and you can find quite a bit of helpful info at their site:

If you are planning to buy some cloth, let me know, Terry. I have been putting off buying some Kevlar cloth I need to repair a C-2 and perhaps we could order a length together if you can estimate the dimensions of what you will need.

I have generally just smoothed up exterior patches well and spray painted with the closest matching color of Krylon Fusion spray paint which sticks pretty well to plastics such as Royalex or polyethylene. You might be able to get a closer color match by searching around auto repair stores for automotive touch up paint.

What the heck you gonna do with two Flashfires? Build a catamaran perhaps?

Same Kind of Damage
I picked up a kevlar Malecite with the same kind of “puncture” in the hull. I had planned on making the patch from Dynel with a mix of G-flex and West System 105/206 which I used on the Courier rebuild. My thought was to use this on the outside of the damage as it is near the waterline and on the inside use S-glass. The Dynel is a thicker cloth so it will not be as clean a patch as S-glass but I would rather have a rock solid patch in that area. I haven’t worked with Kevlar before so this should be interesting.

The dub I bought it from left it sitting in a puddle where is filled with water and froze and the first thing I noticed when I got it home was that weave in the puncture was wet so I have been letting it dry out before I attempt any repairs.



– Last Updated: Mar-10-12 10:46 AM EST –

Well, I prefaced my statement with "wild guess" Pete.

Bell says, "It is caused by mineral deposits and water permeating into the canoe's outer most surface.
Typically under kneeling pads, or packs where water has collected & been trapped while paddling".
I wasn't that far off for a wild guess!

Bell also says, "Blushing will go away after canoe dries out".
NOT always it won't !!!

Terry said, "I got both of the Flashfires for 50 bucks. I'm gonna built a catamaran, and sail to Hawaii; watch some of those hula girls"!
Terry has this thing about hula girls ya know.......

I told Terry, "Leave me that kevlar Courier I sold you in your will". If the ocean, or the hula girls don't kill you; your wife certainly will! Those "country girls" won't stand for their husbands messing around with hula girls.


Hawaii, huh?
Ask Terry to bring me back a lei.

I’d like to hear CE Wilson on repair of
the white boat. I’m not sure that the Kevlar fibers are broken through. The outer layer is glass.

Left on my own, I would patch the inside first with at least two layers of Kevlar, or I have some Kevlar/carbon weave. I would put some gentle pressure on the inside and outside while the inside patch hardens, in hopes of getting the original layers closer to their intended position.

Then I would carefully remove the outer gelcoat, and dish the outer glass slightly (should be two layers to work with). Then I would do a two layer, concentric, largest patch down first, repair with S-glass. Carbon would be acceptable in non-wear areas, but the black color might inspire re-application of gelcoat, which I despise.

They don’t look like difficult repairs, but to get them to be both strong and pretty…well that’s why I’d like Charlie to show up.

I guess I don’t need to get back to Joe
regarding those boats :slight_smile:

Have fun with those boats.

Flashfire catamaran? Cool.

I DID receive detailed imfo and contact imfo in a couple of pm’s from CEW. Was impressed and humbled by his generosity! I’m worrying now, though, that TWO projects may have been more than I needed to try to “Bite off!” Maybe I can put one toward a Starfire???

Well then

– Last Updated: Mar-12-12 11:55 AM EST –

You could sell the white boat to me and let me worry about repairing it.

What resin did Charlie think would be best to use?

If you are going to do a gunwale job on the blue boat, I suspect Dave Curtis at Hemlock Canoe could sell you a deck plate blank, unless you wanted to make your own replacement deck plate.

Check Your E-mail, Pete

Bell’s Blush

– Last Updated: Mar-12-12 7:53 PM EST –

The blush is caused by using Co-Rez 5000. It seems to absorb a little water under a big knee pad or if the boat is left in sunlight with water in it.

To remove the blush, wipe the hull with an acetone rag. NO NOT use 303 inside the hull as it will compromise repairability forever. That last from John Gall of Johnny's Boat Shop in Huntsville ONT. "Please don't introduce another chemical family into a boat you want me to repair."

Repairs should be made with VE resin. I'll gladly send gel and laminate repair protocols to anyone who wants them, electronically. It turns out Terry needed re-rail and rail routing info too. Ugh!

You could just do a "good enough"
repair to the boats, rather than a “best you can do” repair just to get the boats on the water for you and the misses, especially if you’re going to be paddling them on the rocky Ozark streams. The less pretty they start out, the less concerned you’ll be when you scrape the bottom, bump a rock or drag it across a sand bar.

You don’t have to repair it as if for resale, just to a solid, functional and safe condition.

That’s something to consider when feeling a bit overwhelmed by the extent of the repairs needed.

Those retired guys have so much more time available for pretty repair work :slight_smile:

I’m with you…
A couple layers of Kevlar on the inside, using VE resin as per CW. Good info.

On the outside I would break away the cracked and loose gelcoat, and use a good filler (Evercoat #27 like I showed you) to smooth it all out. And paint it. The filler is not an epoxy. I wouldn’t use an epoxy, because later if you ever did want to get it perfect, I’m told gel coat doesn’t stick to epoxy. I used the #27 on a white Shockwave I got (and sold, regretfully), and it turned out very good. You can get this repair done in a day and spend less than $40 on the stuff, I would guess.

These boats are broken in for you, and “safe” to use on Ozark streams. enjoy!

Oh, Mick’s intention was to install vinyl gunwales and those decks you picked up. If you want the vinyl ones instead of the wooden ones we picked out, let me know because a set of gunwales was meant to go with the boat!


get the residue out
My first try to remove the white residue was with soap and water.

My second try was going to be vinegar in case it was like a lime deposit…

My THIRD try was going to be Acetone. Try it Terry!