Royalex exterior vinyl is letting go

-- Last Updated: Apr-01-08 4:20 PM EST --

I have a five year-old Royalex canoe (made by a livery company on the Buffalo river in Arkansas--hence it's name: Buffalo).

Used once or twice a year--no accidents or collisions.

I went out last weekend on shallow Ozark stream and when I took her out noticed that the Vinyl has actually let go from the ABS substrate in two separate places. In one, it's a small bulge about the size of a dinner plate, but still intact.

The second, on the port side of the bottom about a third back from the bow, has actually torn, exposing the substrate underneath.

The core is intact and hasn't been damaged.

Is there a recommended product for repairing this? I've seen lots of discussion on the Net about Royalex repairs, but most of them seem to be dealing with structural issues in the ABS (holes, creases, etc). This isn't the case here.

Any and all advice will be appreciated. Trust me, there isn't any way you can insult my intelligence, since I don't really have any and what little I used to have, I'm losing as I approach 60.


If I were you…

– Last Updated: Apr-01-08 12:05 AM EST –

If I were you, I would seek information directly from the company that made the canoe.

The first question out of my mouth would be,
"What can "you" do to help me with a problem I'm having with my Buffalo canoe"?

Would love to hear their response to that question.
I don't think a 5 year old canoe should be having that problem; unless there is a "rest of the story we're not hearing. Examples: You bought a blem, or you left it stored in direct sunlight, or unprotected in extreme cold for 5 years.
I currently have Royalex canoes by Old Town, Bell, and Dagger that are older than yours & they don't have that problem. Have also owned Mohawks that were older than yours; also no problems.


Weren’t there some rumors
of delaminating RX sheets after Uniroyal sold the sheet business? Not trying to start anything here, just trying to remember some discussion about QC problems in the sheets.


The vinyl is just an ablation layer and
a UV shield. Once a bubble occurs, I would slit it open. My reasoning is that whatever raised the bubble will likely include some water, so that injecting epoxy will result in a very troublesome epoxy-water interaction. Something has to be done to get the area under the bubble entirely dry. I might be tempted to inject a urethane rather than an epoxy.

If a bubble occurs right over a stem area, where one might be thinking about a skid pad job anyway, now is the time. The bubble should be cut back to its borders. If the raised area is irregular, unwanted vinyl can be sanded off or removed with a good, sharp, chisel held at a very low angle. (The ease of the chisel method shows that the vinyl to ABS bond is good but not THAT good.) The edges of the vinyl at the outside of the ABS should be sanded. A Kevlar felt skid pad should be applied according to standard procedure, and it is OK for it to overlap the vinyl a bit, as long as the vinyl is cleaned and sanded (ABS too) for a good bond.

Or, for a class job, use bias-cut S-glass layers rather than Kevlar felt, and use West epoxy. This does require a bit more skill than Kevlar felt application. The largest S-glass layer should just cover the ABS, or overlap the vinyl a bit. Subsequent layers should be concentrically smaller. If the ABS was not damaged, you might need only three or four layers of S-glass.

About (No not about almost exactly) 20 years. It is - 20 c regularly and we do get some sun, occasionally LOL. No problems. She is an Old town.

These things should not delaminate.

Talk to the maker.