Tag Archives: canoe

Canoe Repair

Cracks in the hull, minus the moose hoof prints

Prior to heading out to the lake a couple of weeks ago, I had to do some repair work to the hull on my Old Town Discovery canoe. This past winter, I followed moose tracks over to where I had the canoe stored, and found that the moose tried to go through the canoe. I thought it was stored well enough on saw horses, but a moose does what it wants to, and I’m sure it looked like a snow covered log.

There were moose prints in the snow covering the canoe, but it must have realized that it wasn’t a log. If a moose had put all its weight on the Old Town, it would have gone through the hull. As it turned out, the moose only put a few cracks in it. To be fair, the canoe is at least 30 years old, so I have received my money’s worth, but I also like to squeeze every bit out of something I can.

So I decided to repair the hull.

Sanded hull

The first step was to get the canoe in the Rover Hut, then sand the entire hull.

Acetone the hull

I then cleaned the entire hull with acetone. Warning: Acetone should only be used in a well ventilated area**

After the cleaning, I cut alongside the cracks with a razor blade to allow the epoxy I was going to use to get down into the cracks. Then I cleaned the entire hull a second time with the acetone. Luckily, acetone dries extremely quickly.

G-Flex 650 Epoxy

After some internet searching, I found that the G-Flex epoxy was the best product out there to repair the Royalex of an Old Town canoe. I called their tech center to tell them my plan, and get any insight from them. They were incredibly helpful! I received the go ahead from them, and went back out to the Rover Hut. Side note: I did have some down time. The product is not sold in Fairbanks, so I ordered it from Amazon. They promptly sent me a box containing only the epoxy hardener, which is utterly useless by itself.

Filling the cracks with epoxy

Like most epoxies, G-Flex is a two part system. There is a resin Part A, and a hardener Part B. You mix equal parts of both together to get the working epoxy. I mixed up a small batch, and filled the large cracks. The next day, I flipped the canoe over to fill brush some epoxy over the cracks that had come close to coming all the way through the hull.

The hull completely coated in G-flex epoxy

Because of the canoe’s age, there was a fair amount of what I would describe as “spider-webbing”. A series of tiny cracks that had not gone through the hull, but had probably made it easier for the moose to cause the large ones. I wanted to coat the entire hull in the epoxy to at least buy me some time with the spider-webbing. Luckily, the G-Flex went on rather easy with a brush, and spread out in an even coat.

The epoxy can be top coated, although I have not done so. Krylon Fusion spray paint is said to work well on Royalex, but again, I have not attempted that.

The Discovery back on the water

The end result: The old canoe was back on the water, and glided just like it did when I bought it. No leaks, and the epoxy didn’t scare away the lake trout.

Oscar Scherer State Park

Oscar Scherer trails

It was “All Trails Day” in Oscar Scherer on the Saturday I was there. Volunteers were staged at various intervals with stamps, so that hikers could prove they hiked all the trails in the park. Since I just stumbled onto the event, I had to continually tell the “stampers” that I was unofficially on the trek. I had hiked two trails the day before, so I hiked only the ones that were new to me. Still, incredibly kind people manning the stations, and I had some great conversations with several of the volunteers.

Lake Osprey
Lake Osprey

South Creek runs through the park, in fact, I was camped on its bank. The offer a guided moonlight canoe trip at night down the creek, which is a trip I highly recommend. Only the guide up front has a headlamp, the rest of the group members have glow sticks slung over their backs, for canoeists to follow. It should be noted: The guide specifically told me, that if you are not from Florida, he will not point out the alligators to you while on the float.

South Creek
South Creek

South Creek Swimmer
South Creek Wildlife

Little Manatee River

Little Manatee River

I camped out at Little Manatee River as I made my way north through Florida. A nice park with a couple of decent trails. I hiked the Oxbow Nature Trail the afternoon I arrived. It wasn’t too long, and does get out along the river, but the heat of the afternoon called for a shorter hike.

L M R site

Of all the campsites I had in the Florida parks, I liked Little Manatee the best. Nice big trees, and the sites are not right on top of each other. In fact, the foliage was so thick, Moby Dick could have parked in the next site, and I would have barely noticed.

Little Manatee 2

Canoe rentals are available at the park office, and it’s a nice, relaxing, meandering float. The river is not too wide, and it moved slow.

On the north boundary is a 6.5 mile trail. I did that one early in the day to avoid the afternoon heat. Part of it does follow the river a bit, but the vegetation is thick, so one really sees very little of the Little Manatee.