repairing a wrapped royalex canoe

Hello - my first post here on,

A couple of weeks ago, I watched in horror as a couple of friends wrapped my Dagger Legend 16 around a rock on the North Toe River here in Western NC.

Everyone was fine and we recovered the boat, and now I am trying to determine the best way to repair the damage. The hull is still intact, with only a few very fine cracks where the creases were deepest (hopefully just in the vinyl skin?). I used my girlfriends hair dryer to heat up the plastic enough to push the sharp angles out of the creases and flatten it out a bit, but I am concerned about the overall strength of the damaged area.

What should I do next? Photos:

I have been reading up a lot, and I am planning on filling the creases with JB Weld. I have considered using fiber glass or kevlar to apply an inside patch over the damaged area. Does that seem necessary or is it likely strong enough as is? If a patch is advised, what material should I use? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



Perhaps nothing needed
Your photos look similar to a Royalex canoe I bought used that had been wrapped at one time. Similar creases although yours are more extensive. I did not have any cracks in the vinyl (inside or outside. I did no patching and have paddled the canoe in WW for the last 15 years with no noticeable issues. My hull was other wise fine - it still looked like a canoe with the classic linear hull and symmetrical ends. My gunnels were just fine - yours looks stressed from the mishap.

If you have cracks, perhaps filling it with G-Flex might be a good choice. I’m sure others will chime in on patching options.

The South Toe has been on my to do list for quite a while - that’s nice country up there.

Based on the pictures, the hull was
sharply bent when it was wrapped. It will tend to bend along those lines again, if it is “wrapped” or put under similar stress. However, I agree with the poster above that you might be able to paddle the boat for years without a problem, if you’re lucky.

Paddle the boat before repairs, and see if it seems “loose” or out-of shape. If not, then you might just reinforce the crimped gunwale(s).

If you decide the boat needs reinforcement, then your idea of Kevlar ( or Kevlar/glass) reinforcement is a good one. It is better to apply the cloth and epoxy directly to the ABS, rather than to the vinyl. You can remove most of the vinyl easily using a sharp 1/2" chisel held at a very low angle, with the blade edge angled to the line of progress. Usually the vinyl will skim off in one pass, right at the vinyl/ABS interface. Your cloth patches should be the classic concentric, largest patch applied first approach. Bias cutting (to put the fibers at a 45 degree angle to the stress lines) will double the number of fibers crossing the damage zone. But the later patches can be straight cut. I think 3 layers inside might suffice. Try to do the work in segments, rather than across the entire expanse of the folds, and it works best to epoxy all layers of a segment at one time, rather than one at a time.

You can use fiberglass to patch the outside, but that gets into real labor.

But the above poster is correct, you don’t want to get into massive repairs until it is clear that they are necessary.

update: hair dryer round 2

– Last Updated: Apr-09-12 6:57 PM EST –

I took another crack with the hair dryer this afternoon and focused on removing creases, rather than just bending back in shape. Wow - substantial results. The major creases are significantly reduced.

Take a look:

Also included are photos of 2 other crimped places in the gunwales. One of them definitely distorts the shape of the boat, though mostly above water line. Is this something I should try to fix? What is the bend way to bend and/or reinforce a crimped gunwale?

If I’m paddling a friend’s boat
and wrap it like that I’m buying my friend a new boat and keeping the wrapped boat for myself. Just a thought. Isn’t that sort of an unwritten rule?

It’s possible a crimped gunwale could
be gotten at least partly back to original position by heating, bending a bit past original position, and allowing to cool, slowly. Otherwise it’s a replacement issue.

The crimp can be reinforced with cloth and epoxy. The more bowed out side could be forced into positon and reinforced with Kevlar. The bowed in side, one would use glass. But it’s tight patching work, and care is needed to avoid having a hand snagger on the gunwale.

It is totally necessary to repair

– Last Updated: Apr-10-12 12:00 PM EST –

the gunwales? EDIT: (Is it necessary?)

If I just live with the damage, am I taking a big risk of further damage?

Obviously, gunwales that have been
crimped, above a hull that has been crimped, leave a weak area that may bend or even tear if the boat is stressed in the future.

But you can go ahead and use the boat if it does not seem obviously bendy in those areas. Just take it easy and hope for luck. My Tripper had a snapped vinyl gunwale, repaired only with epoxy, and I used it for years. But then, the hull had not been crimped.

heaat gun
Use a heat gun…better results than a hairdryer…hotter.

but you can easily overheat Royalex and melt and deform the foam core with a heat gun if you overdo it. Touch the surface of the hull periodically as you go to make sure it is not getting too hot.

Boonestock, have you tried heating
the crimped gunwales? They may also have some “memories”. Go slow, to allow the heat to penetrate the thickness. Once the plastic is hot, you might even try applying a tool to push the more wayward surfaces into place.