Sprucing up an old Kevlar racing hull?

This weekend I bought an old Kevlar Wenonah Pro-Am racing canoe built in 1990. It’s been sitting outside for many many years and the hull has the texture of light sandpaper and doesn’t look too hot. I don’t think the clear coat is gone as much as it’s just pitted and worn. There are some small cracks in areas and small chips others.

I’m wondering what would be the best way to smooth it out and get it back in shape. Should I run a buffer over it with a polishing compound to smooth it out and then spot patch the bad areas or should I just roll out a fresh coat of epoxy on the whole thing?

Also, if anyone has any information on the boat itself I’d appreciate it. I’ve found nothing online. Not that it really matters at this point, just curious.



Contact Wenonah
I e mailed wenonah with the model and serial number and got a reply with the original specs, purpose, and the weight that hull left the factory at! Great people there

at wenonah.

Charlie swengros

Wenonah may have used Kevlar for
the outer layers, so be careful about buffing, much less sanding, or you’ll raise fuzz. Rolling on epoxy is a labor of love and will add weight. I wonder if you could get it clean enough to use a self-leveling substance like a 2 part urethane varnish.

Just did this earlier in the year
1989 Wenonah UL Whisper that had lost most of it’s shine. I used a 1000 grit scotch pad, found at a woodworking store, to scuff up the boat and between coats. One coat of epoxy followed up with 2 coats of Benjamin Moore spar varnish. Less then $100 in materials plus labor. Looks really good for little money and effort.


What about a Gel Coat re-application
I have a similar condition with a 1980’s Kevlar DY Special (by Sawyer). I was thinking of light (1000 grit) sanding and an application of gel coat. I was not thinking about applying coats of epoxy or varnish.

Is this (use of gel coat only) a bad idea?

Any other thoughts and observations are appreciated?



Not sure
If your boat is like mine it probably didn’t come with gel coat. With that in mind and having the epoxy on hand I went with the epoxy/varnish.


gelcoat is good for UV protection, but
it doesn’t add strength and is at least as hard to repair as a coating of West 105/207 epoxy. I like the idea of a vinylester/solvent wash, though it is perhaps more reconstituting than full recovering.

After doing the vinylester/acetone mix I feel like it could probably use another coat or two to get it really smooth again. It seemed to do a great job of filling in the weave of the exposed areas but when I run my hand over it now that it’s dry I can still feel the texture of the weave.

There are a few areas that should have some small patches so maybe when I’m doing that I’ll put one more coat on the bottom of the boat.

It sure did go on nice.


Any chance that pictures can be posted?

Very interested to see how this goes.

Can you post pics here?



Different tack
If you have a 90’s vintage WeNoNah it’s probably a VE skin coat boat, So for the sake of Pete Boy, do not sand/buff.

Clean with acetone.

I cannot recommend an acetone cut application of VE cut with 25-30% MEK, {NOT MEKP}. It is the preferred solvent to get a smooth finish. MEK requires MEKP catalyst as indicated for the amount of VE Resin mixed. Acetone goes the other way, requires more MEKP and weakens the resin.

Another option is to mask off the bottom and spray paint it. You’ll get a 2 mill surface, twice as rough as new gel but way netter than you’ve go, and the whole thing can be done for the cost of used newspapers, one roll of masking tape and three cans of spray enamel. This is more in keeping with the value of the boat prior and post refurbishment.

Contacted Wenonah!
Have a ultra light skin coated Solo Plus. I asked Wenonah what they put on for a outer layer. They told me it was vinylester resin.