Should I just paint or install skids?


I have an early 2000’s Mad River Explorer in Royalex. Both ends are worn through the Vinyl, exposing the ABS layer but not into the foam. I’d like to postpone adding skid guards but I’d like some advice from you guys. The wear is limited to the keel area, the light color in the other scratches is wax, an experiment that I will not be doing again. What would you do?

I had good success recently on my Royalex canoe using simple 6-ounce fiberglass cloth bought off the shelf at my local home improvement store. I cut the FG into thin strips, soaked and smooth things out with gflex epoxy(Although I did add a little graphite powder to the mix that made these home made skid plates a black color. But this also more strongly reinforced the damaged area against any future collisions.) If you’re fussy about neatness, use removable painter’s tape around the edges of where you apply the fiberglass strips. Then simply peel off the tape after everything’s dry. I then sanded smooth any dried loose FG threads…I ran the boat down rocky whitewater this past week, with no discernible performance problems(except with my own paddling skills, of course :wink: I might add the disclaimer that my wear/tear was at the stern stem, and not along the length of the keel…But then again, that wouldn’t have stop me from applying the fix as personally I don’t care all that much what my hull bottoms look like. So long as things are solid and streamline!. Good luck.

You need abrasion protection.

I suggest dynel cloth as it highly resists abrasion, Gflex epoxy from West Systems, and Release Fabric (Peel Ply) also from West Systems.

Here is what I did to a Royalex Explorer. Black coloring is carbon powder mixed in while prepping the epoxy.

I’ve had good luck with KeelEazy. No muss, no fuss. holds up well to normal use, not sure about white water rock bashing.

Thanks for the tips. I’ve looked at both consumer options that were mentioned. KeelEasy sure looks simple, and it’s inexpensive. Any other satisfied customers out there? Have no concern about rock bashing, I don’t do it much. I have been known to be a dry footer, though. How much graphite or carbon did you two mix in to the epoxy?

I have a similar problem on my Yellowstone solo. My temporary solution is a piece of gorilla tape - amazing how long it lasts. Let us know what you decide.

Sometimes it is not apparent from looking whether the outer solid lamina of ABS has been thinned out by abrasion or not. I would go over the area that has been denuded of exterior vinyl pressing in firmly on the hull with your thumb. If the area feels spongy, the solid ABS stratum has been thinned out, and it won’t be long before it wears into the foam core. If not, you could just protect the exposed ABS by covering it with paint and reapplying as needed.

If the area is thinned out, it is definitely easier to apply reinforcement before the foam core is exposed. Either 6 ounce/square yard plain weave fiberglass (E or S 'glass) or 5 ounce/sq yd. Dynel will work well. If you want an abrasion plate with very minimal drag, you can feather the edges of the plate very nicely if you want to take the time.

I have never used KeelEasy. Some whitewater boaters I know who have used it tell me it does not hold up well for that use at all. The bond basically depends on contact cement, which will not result in as strong a bond as epoxy. I am not sure whether the edges of KeelEasy can be cleanly feathered or not. It is much thicker than a single layer of fabric and will result in more drag, although perhaps not enough to be noticeable.

When I add graphite powder to epoxy, which I have done often, I add it little by little and stir it in until the mixture is slightly thickened. I have never measured it be weight or volume.

–What he said…pblanc’s advise to me earlier on this board, gave me the confidence to go ahead and make my own repair. :slight_smile:

@eckilson said:
My temporary solution is a piece of gorilla tape - amazing how long it lasts."

The handy-paddler’s secret weapon!

If you’re a dry footer, then you are likely landing the canoe on the shore line, the same with launches. The stems will abrade unless you enter and exit the canoe while afloat or put some skid plates on.

For my usual sized skid plate I use 3 oz of mixed epoxy and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of carbon powder for each skid plate.

One key is to make some templates of different sizes out of cloth or paper before you cut out the shape on your dynel or whatever fabric you chose. The smaller the skid plate, the less epoxy and cloth you will use and less weight you’ll add to the canoe. You are looking to strike a balance between protection and weight/cost. You have the advantage of having in front of you the wear pattern of the canoe; use that as your guide for what needs to be covered. The areas revealing the ABS (where most of the abuse is occurring) would be helped by adding a small second layer of dynel that covers that area. The smaller piece of dynel goes on top of the larger skid plate. If you get organized you can put both dynel pieces on at the same time.

Here’s a pic of a small dynel plate on a ultralight canoe

Great info, thaanks so much. I’m going out on the Peshtigo this weekend. No time to do much so I’ll slap some Gorilla Tape on for now. Then make plans for Dynel skids in the near future. Great Info!

Well I just threw on some Gorilla Tape skids. I used alcohol wipes to clean before hand. Adhesion seems good. We’ll see how long it lasts.

@spiritboat said:

@eckilson said:
My temporary solution is a piece of gorilla tape - amazing how long it lasts."

The handy-paddler’s secret weapon!

the incompetent (or lazy) boat repairer’s secret weapon.

Well I did call myself out as a dry-footer. I assumed that the lazy part was implied. I’m surprised that my gunwales still resemble a wood product :wink:

Guys, the “lazy” thing would’ve been to have done no tape, no nuthin’ at all!

(Proving once again, that until ones learns the “ultimate discipline” that is laziness, one will never be a perfected completely self-satisfied human being (I say this only as a fallen grand master of the slacker’s art.) >:)