Royalex Scrape & Gouge Repair

Hi, new here, first post. Happy to have found this site.

I’ve got an OT Hunter I bought 20 years ago that’s seeing serious use lately. The hull’s getting scraped up pretty good from the rocky creek I’ve been fishing. Worse is the gouges from the occasional piece of scrap iron. Pulled out on a gravel bar Sunday in a thunderstorm to get off the water. When we re-launched there lay a submerged broken car spring sporting fresh green plastic trimmings in the spot we just vacated.

I’m wondering whether home repairs of this type of damage can be made. If possible I’d like to keep up with the problems as they occur rather than let the canoe turn into a total mess that needs professional help. Cosmetics aren’t the big issue, but restoring the strength/toughness of the damaged area is. Can anyone outline the steps that are needed or link me to a site that stocks repair kits/material? I imagine this topic has been discussed before. A link to a previous thread would be fine.

The OT site doesn’t seem to directly address Royalex repair.



Keep on scraping
Welcome to p-net.

Scraping comes with the terrirtory, which as you note, includes rocks and steel. Don’t worry about the scrapes and gouges until you start to see the inside of the royalex. Put paint or truck bed liner on the first few through-the-exterior scratches. Once you accumulate a boat load of exposed royalex, put a new layer of material over the bottom. Kevlar and fiberglass were commonly used, and p-netter McCrae recently put a layer of Dynel on p-netter Topher’s boat. That solution looked promising to me and I have some dynel awaiting application to a boat I’m rehabbing. We’ll have to await reports from Topher to know how well the dynel holds up, but it seems like a good idea.

For the present, enjoy your boat and ignore the scratches.

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

It isn’t just a question of cosmetics,
because when the vinyl top layer gets worn through, the exposed ABS is very vulnerable to UV damage when you are just driving around with the car on the top. If you have exposed ABS, you need to keep it spray-painted or treated with 303.

Gouges are not necessarily worth bothering with. When Royalex first came out, we were told that gouges could be removed by heat, but I don’t think many people have had success with that.

If you have areas where the vinyl is gone AND the ABS is worn, then one way to patch it is to use a layer or two of e-glass or S-glass, applied with West or similar epoxy. Then, however, you need to give the epoxy some UV protection. Many glass patches make for a heavy boat. Don’t use Kevlar. It is not a good exterior patching material. It is great for interior patches, however.

It is really important to make sure that your ABS is not cracked in a way that allows water to infiltrate into the foam center of the sandwich. If there is such damage, a long drying period, perhaps with drilling of small water vapor escape holes near the break, should precede patching.

Give us any details and somebody will have ideas.

I think my memory is fading. Someone posted a question about this recently, and I remember wanting to take note of the responses, but apparently if I did, I’ve forgotten. Still, I seem to remember someone recommending the use of JB Weld to fill gouges. The Mohawk Canoe website used to sell JB Weld (maybe they still do), which makes me think this is a fairly standard method. Check the Mohawk website and see if they say anything about Royalex repairs. The Wenonah website or catalog would be another source for such info. Wenonah and Mohawk seem to be a little more customer-oriented than the other builders, and if there’s a builder that talks about this stuff, it would be them. You’ve got me curious now, and when I get the chance I’ll do some checking myself.

Visited the Mohawk site

– Last Updated: Jul-11-07 5:12 PM EST –

They've got a good write-up there on how to repair Royalex. For the type of damage I have (so far), the JB Weld will probably be all I need. I've got the stuff on hand, so I'm ready to go.

However, the Mohawk instructions bring up another question: How do you tell when a gouge/scrape goes "through the outer layer and shows the next layer of substrate"? Does the color change? If so, what should I look for? The gouges I have so far maintain the exterior color (green) to their bottom...though they seem rather deep to me.

BTW this site has been an eye-opener. Had no idea so many companies were building canoes. To me it was always Grumman or Old Town or.....Coleman. Guess I should get out more.

P.S. Thanks, everyone, for the replies.

JB weld/epoxy
I’ve had good luck so far using epoxy thickened with a plastic powder filler and sanding it flush. haven’t had anything deep enough yet to make me want to use cloth.

BTW, the WEST folks just came out with a more flexible epoxy that sounds like it might work especially well for Royalex:

Color change.
Yes, when you reach the ABS, you’ll see a color change. Royalex is laminate made from a foam core covered by sheets of ABS and finally vinyl for protection. The ABS is usually black or green, but this is not a hard and fast rule. When you see wear spots that are a different color than the the rest of the boat, you’ve reached the ABS. If you ever reach the foam, there won’t be any doubt in your mind (it’s usually a cream color).

I used J.B. Weld on my solo canoe extensively as a filler and it has held up quite well. However, it and most epoxys don’t stick to the outer vinyl layer as well as to ABS, so there’s not much point using it until you’ve worn through.