Restoring Fiberglass Canoe - question

During the winter I dragged home an old canoe from the curb where the previous owners had placed it for trash collection.

Yesterday removed the gunwales and all paint and outside fiberglass patches to see what I am dealing with. It’s got a couple of cracks and worn areas that I should be able to fix with thickened epoxy and some fiberglass cloth.

The questions is about the cracks in the gel coat. Basically, the entire hull is one continuous spider crack -;( Not too many deep gauges but the hair cracks are pretty much everywhere.

For the deep gauges I plan to use the same thickened epoxy. Do you think the hair cracks would need some special treatment before applying some enamel paint? Or what else should I consider for a cheap and quick finish? Does not need to be pretty, just to keep the water out so that I have something that I can float on on flat water.

This is a 14’ canoe and is quite lightweight so I don’t feel it is rugged enough for hard use but for easy water it should be fine…

I’m Sending You a Link
To a project I’m working on. It might help with how you approach this. I’m not an expert but it has all come out pretty good.


Check the West Epoxy website.
They make money from people restoring FG speedboats. Maybe they have a product penetrating enough that you could use it to seal those little cracks. Other FG speedboat or sailboat sites and sources are also worth checking.

I was tempted to suggest wiping Eastman 910 (super glue) over the surface, but I don’t think it stands up to water indefinitely.

You went through a lot with this project of yours!

After sanding a few inches I decided I hate the dust. I use wet sanding now - no dust and it seems to go faster as the sand paper does not fill-up with gunk almost immediately. The 3M sandblaster (or whatever the word was) paper is holding-up well to water and does not show much wear after sanding off a couple of square feet. I figure a couple of sheets will be enough for the outside of the hull.

Geez - 100+ holes you filled-up and that nasty crack! Mine is not that bad - only 6 holes and 2 cracks + 2 worn edges where skid plates should have been… But looks like my hull material is a lot hinner than yours - light but not made for WW…