Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

Keel Instalation

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by slk, Oct 3, 2019.

  1. slk

    slk Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    What do you guys use for the keel installation for the bedding compound? Do you actually use the marine bedding compound or can some other compound be used that is more reasonable in cost. There must be other chalking compounds that will work.

  2. Just1moredave

    Just1moredave Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    The keel screws go through everything waterproof, lots of holes. I made a new keel with a hollow in the center for extra bedding compound (old one was flat). I used Dolfinite, lots of it, in the hollow, on each screw, at both ends, on the stem band, everywhere. It worked (so far). It would probably take me an hour to get the keel off again to fix a leak - I think 25 screws.
    MGC likes this.
  3. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Dolfinite works great, but I’ve been using SikaFlex 201. I like using the caulking gun to apply it vs a putty knife with traditional bedding.
    I use the Sika on the stems as well when canvassing.
    Been working great for me.

    Is said that traditional bedding stays flexible, which is true for several years. That may be good enough. We’ve all seen hardened bedding under old keels that are no longer sealed. If there is a leak, it’s the first place we look.
    I think the SikaFlex will last forever.
    Dave Wermuth likes this.
  4. OP

    slk Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I like using a caulking gun also. I was hoping there was something out there. Is the sikaflex 201 a white color? Not that is matters all that much. Anything that would squeeze out can be removed with a putty knife. My thing was I just do not have a need for a quart of bedding compound.

  5. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    White, grey, tan, and black, I think.
    It’s paintable, so color shouldn’t matter if you install the keel before painting.
    I always install the keel after the first coat of paint. It gets 3-4 coats of paint while on the hull.
  6. Ron Bedard

    Ron Bedard Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I've used the windshield sealant available at auto parts dealers to bed some sailboat hardware and coamings in the past. It's used as the bead between the windshield and the metal it is applied to. Much less expensive than stuff from the boat supply places. I was thinking about that stuff when I canvased my canoe this summer. I ended up using some high quality (50 yr) paintable caulking from a gun, and wiped off the squeeze-out. 3 coats of primer and 2 finish coats means there's lots of paint over the sealant no matter what I used. I'm working on another one now, and I think I'll go get a tube of the windshield stuff this time. It's paintable so I'll also use it under the stem bands.
    Good luck,
  7. OP

    slk Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    On another question on the keel. Do they really add much stability as far as roll over and such or are they mainly for tracking better in open water? I am at the point where I have not drilled any holes in the bottom yet. I want to put the brass stem bands on no matter what.

  8. MGC

    MGC Paddlephile

    Arguably a keel does a nothing to improve how a boat handles or paddles. The shape of the hull, the tumblehome, the entry affect how the boat handles and paddles. A keel will fight your paddle. The Canadian boats have the right idea..they use shoe keels.
    Punching holes in a new canvas to install it...make sure before you do. If you are uncertain, paddle the boat for a while without it. You can always go back later and install it.
    If I am putting on a new keel I varnish it. If it's an old one that's been painted I'll repaint it. New keel.
    Dan Lindberg likes this.
  9. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Keels can provide protection for the hull bottom in some situations such as rocky beaches or awkward docks:
    ss IMG_0210.JPG ss IMG_0214.JPG
    They provide some minimal tracking assistance in open water, and essentially no assistance to control or prevent in a roll-over.

    In my opinion, when restoring/repairing a canoe, if your canoe has a keel, keep it (you have to deal with those screw holes somehow) ; if it does not, there is usually no reason to add one. If your canoe has outside stems, it will usually have a keel, which should be kept.

    Keels are mostly a matter of taste, and there ain't no accounting for taste.
  10. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Every design feature is a trade-off... keels help the canoe go straighter, but they impede turning. So if you can't keep a canoe going straight enough without one, okay, add the keel. When running in quartering waves, they assist the waves in turning the boat dramatically from side to side, as the waves pass the boat, making it very difficult to maintain your heading. In a river , if you get turned somewhat sideways to the current, the current will push on the keel, and again turn your boat in ways you don't want it to, or push the entire canoe sideways, where you may not want it to go.

    As MGC said, you can complete the work and leave the keel off, paddle it for a while, and then decide whether you want one. In the long run, you're better off learning to paddle without one, IMHO. Instruction is a good thing.

    Except when you have outside stems, as Greg points out; outside stems, as applied to these older canoes, need keels, by design.
    Andy Hutyera and MGC like this.
  11. Howie

    Howie Wooden Canoe Maniac

    As for a bedding compound make sure whatever you use has no silicon in it as you won't be able to paint over it. I use Ace Hardware's Acrylic Latex Calk. It's paint-able, and seems to remain pliable for quite a while. And cheap!
  12. David Satter

    David Satter LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Howie, there's some great videos out there on how to reuse your caulking tubes over again. Not saying your cheap:) but they work. I buy empty caulk tubes so you can put anything you want in them like Dolfinite or even color your caulk before you put it in the tube.

Share This Page