Repairing bulkhead

Greetings all. Taking a close look at a 16’ Fiberglass Old Town Stillwater I just got from my uncle, and I noticed that at the bow bulkhead there is a 4-5" area where the bulkhead meets the hull on the inside where the seal has broken loose.

I realize I am likely not using all the correct terminology and for that I apologize. Basically there seems to be a large piece of styrofoam like material in the extreme bow (I assume to assist with bouyancy). Covering this foam, is a piece of fiberglass looking material that seals from the gunwales down to the keel on both sides to keep water out of that compartment. It has come loose for about 5" or so, and has two small pinholes in the face, and I am wondering what material to use to clean it, and how to reseal? I am not too bothered if it doesn’t match completely. I just want to repair it as it is near the bottom of the sides, in order to keep water in the bottom of the canoe out of the compartment.

Any suggestions? Thanks.

I’ve had a similar break in a canoe.
The bulkhead probably contributes a small amount of rigidity to the hull, as well as sealing off the flotation foam. So while I sometimes think of just tearing out the bulkheads and flotation (substituting float bags), a repair may be the best thing.

It will require going to a West Marine or similar place and getting some 6 oz glass and some repair resin. I much prefer West epoxy, which sticks better than ordinary polyester repair resins. Then it will be a matter of sanding clean the area to be repaired, and then glassing a couple of layers, at least, over the broken area.

If you feel up to doing this, but want more advice, let us know and we’ll all kibbitz mercilessly. Or, you may be able to find a boat repair shop in your area that can do the work for not much more than you would spend on the glass and epoxy.

Good advice

Thanks… I’ve got that!

– Last Updated: Jun-09-09 8:05 AM EST –

I have some of that stuff left over from a repair on the front of my fiberglass travel trailer, so I probably have everything I need. I assume I can use acetone to clean that fiberglass the same as I did on the camper to get it nice and clean for bonding?

Of course letting a boat shop do it sounds nice too... I've already had a bunch of extra projects this Spring, and with a baby girl on the way in early October, I think my wife has some painting in my future! :)