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old town chipewyan tripper 1975 royalex redo the surface

Discussion in 'Open Forum' started by Michael Ellington, Aug 18, 2021.

  1. Michael Ellington

    Michael Ellington Curious about Wooden Canoes

    good day

    i recently bought a 75' tripper with royalex
    the surface isn't real bad but the ends are messed up some from usage and patches done in the past. looks like someone has used bondo to fill in some the bigger scraps and such. i was going to use high grit sandpaper and sand down the old stuff and redo these areas.
    is it ok to use bondo on royalex to refill the scraps and then i was going to use Kevlar strips to cover the ends to protect from damage and seal with the west system 655. anyone have any better ideas or will this be a good way of redoing the surface. can the old green color be polished back some with car wax or buffing

    thanks for any assistance
     
  2. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    About 35 years ago I bought a used Royalex Mohawk canoe from a canoe livery for a very good price because it had significant wear on the outside of the stems at both ends, with the colored layer of plastic worn away. And over subsequent years, the next, thicker layer that makes up the bulk of the Royalex lamination wore/broke away, leaving me with only the thin, somewhat flexible layer of plastic on the interior of the hull stems.
    100_5184 (3).JPG

    So in 2007 I filled the damaged area with epoxy putty – the kind that come in a two-part roll that you knead till it is uniform in color, filled the damaged area with that putty, then sanded it fair once it had set hard. This stuff is easy to work with, less messy than Bondo, and (I think) more durable.
    100_5205 (2).JPG

    Kevlar felt kits are sold specifically to repair such damage, but I did not like the thickness of the felt -- not needed for the use I would be giving the canoe, and I guessed that it would look bulky and not so attractive. Instead I used some thin Kevlar woven tape – easy to work with (except somewhat difficulty to cut), much thinner than the felt, and being Kevlar, strong and abrasive-resistant enough for my purposes notwithstanding its thinness.
    100_5215 (2).JPG

    I put it in place using West epoxy, applied second and third coats of epoxy that I colored black, figuring that it would be nearly impossible to make a good color match with the red color of the hull. I masked the third coat to make neat edges.
    100_5432 (2).JPG

    100_1458 (2) sm.jpg

    The canoe gave good service for another 8 years, showing essentially no signs of wear in the repaired areas, until it was destroyed when the garage it was kept in burned down.

    The outer surface of Royalex is relatively soft -- not like fiberglass. I would be very leery of power buffing it, and I would not be in a hurry to sand away small scrapes -- you would be sanding away the outer layer of plastic, which is structural as well as cosmetic. And I think you would have color-matching and adhesion problems if you intended to paint the sanded areas. I suppose that waxing and buffing by hand wouldn't hurt anything -- maybe someday I will try waxing the used Old Town Camper bought to replace the Mohawk -- but I tend to think of Royalex as a maintenance-free material., and I don't worry about minor scuffs and scratches. I have never tried painting Royalex, but I think (perhaps mistakenly) it is one of those plastics that paint doesn't stick to very well, unless you should accidently spatter a bit on it. If anyone has any experience, good or bad, painting Royalex, I would like to hear about it.

    Greg
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Michael Ellington

    Michael Ellington Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Greg,

    thanks for this description of what you did on your canoe. this is exactly what I wanted to hear and this is sorta what I have in mind. I don't want to get overly aggressive with any sanding. the overall condition isn't that bad, I just want to repair the ends and put on the Kevlar tape for future usage. the epoxy putty and Kevlar woven tape look a bit nicer and easier to deal with then the Bondo. how did you apply the west epoxy with the tape? I can come up with a couple ways? soak the tape and then apply or just paint coats on it and let it soak into the tape? was it 655 west system that you used? were the epoxy putty and Kevlar tape hard to find? I am sure I can goggle them with ease. but thanks for the directions - this is the way I am redoing my canoe. yeah I wasn't very keen on putting any power tools to the surface of the canoe, just hand tools and very high grit sand paper. I like the look of the canoe as she sits.

    have you either found replacement to the bow and stern tie downs, other than using u-bolts?

    thanks
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Michael Ellington

    Michael Ellington Curious about Wooden Canoes

    oh one other thing - I have the plastic molded chairs - where can I go to replace them with the wooden ones? I contacted old town but they sent me to another site because they dont have the wooden ones anymore?? any leads on this
    thanks
     
  5. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

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  6. OP
    OP
    Michael Ellington

    Michael Ellington Curious about Wooden Canoes

    yeah maybe chairs wasn't the right word, seat. I was told by old town to look up island falls canoe because they have the wooden ones but this is another site that you to gave out - thanks I will look them up

    thanks again
     
  7. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    I like to do business with Essex. They employ handicapped and less fortunate people to build seats and a lot of other canoe accessories.
     
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  8. OP
    OP
    Michael Ellington

    Michael Ellington Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I reached out to Essex this morning, I like their pricing too. thanks for the heads up, plus a business who does good to others is a good thing too
     
  9. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    You might also consider using West Systems G-Flex 655-G to do repairs on the hull. I have used in on several Royalex Old Towns stem repairs. The nice thing about G-Flex is that it is tough but not brittle. It also has a very nice long working time. You can lay Saran Wrap over it and smooth it as it cures to achieve a nice level finish. You may also color match by tinting it.
    For cleaning the hull use a Non-Scratch Scotch-Brite and soap detergent. Follow with 303 Protectant. Only sand where you plan to bond.
    Here is an old discussion where alternatives to Kevlar were discussed;
    Skid protection | WCHA Forums
     
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  10. OP
    OP
    Michael Ellington

    Michael Ellington Curious about Wooden Canoes

    MGC
    yes thanks for this, this way is my plan, I have only a couple places where the old Bondo has been removed and needs to be replaced. so is Bondo not a good way or JB not a good way either? I plan on filling in the chunk places (they are small) with an epoxy just not sure which one. but I am at this time planning on installed the kelvar tape over these areas and the using the west systems g-flex over the tape and coating several layers. has anyone tried food coloring the g-flex to try and match the color of the canoe? I dont want to paint the canoe at all. but I might color the tape if I do decide to go that route. thanks everyone, you guys have been great help in the envisioning of this project
     
  11. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    As best I can recall, for the epoxy, I used105 resin, probably 206 hardener, 406 silica filler, and whatever graphite West offered. I don’t believe that West G-flex was available back then and as Mike mentions above, I think it might work well. Alnong those lines, TotalBoat (see Jamestown Distributors) also makes a flexible epoxy similar to G-flex called FlexEpox which I have used to good effect, although not as a fabric matrix.

    As to method -- I painted a clear coat on the hull, laid the kevlar tape on, then applied more clear epoxy to saturate the tape. The two following coats of epoxy had graphite added to give the black color. (Graphite also apparently makes sliding over rocks easier – I don’t think this aspect of graphite make much difference in this application.) The first two coats, clear and the first black, I did not really mask off – I just went a bit beyond the kevlar tape – I did roughly mask the area to protect against gross drips, etc. I cleaned up/lightly sanded between coats. I neatly masked off a slightly larger area for the final graphite coat. Also, as I recall, before applying the epoxy, I lightly singed the area to be epoxied with a blow torch – having read somewhere – don’t know where -- that doing so improved adhesion – in any event, at least it apparently did not hurt anything.
    100_5223 sm.JPG

    100_5349 sm.JPG

    100_5380 sm.JPG

    I forget who I bought the Kevlar tape from, but these folks seem to sell it by the yard -- https://fiberglasswarehouse.com/kevlar-tape -- whereas most dealers only sell it by the very large--and therefore expensive—roll.

    Kevlar is quite difficult to cut – use good sharp scissors. I found it useful to put masking tape at the point where cutting – the Kevlar tape is somewhat loosely woven and wants to fray; the masking tape holds things together while cutting -- see the picture in my earlier post.

    The epoxy putty can be had at almost any good hardware store or big box store – often with glues, and often in the plumbing department. Ask for an epoxy putty stick.

    As to bow/stern tie downs – our Royalex Old Town Camper has molded handles which, while not elegant, are serviceable.
    camper sm.jpg

    My deceased Mohawk had tiny little eyelets which were inadequate, so I drilled two holes into the aluminum deck plate and knotted a bit of bungee cord in place – again, not elegant, but it did the trick. See the pictures in my previous post.

    Our wood/canvas canoes have small wooden carry thwarts near the decks, which make good tie-down points when car-topping or for attaching a painter -- here's Jerry Stelmok's model 1889:
    IMG_0133 sm.JPG
    I don’t know if the Chipewyan gunwales are amenable to attachments, but if you can make and attach a couple of simple carry thwarts, that would be the way to go, in my opinion.

    I would question whether food coloring would be compatible with epoxy. Powdered pigments are available that are intended for mixing with epoxy -- see Jamestown Distributors or West Marine or other purveyors of marine epoxies. It is not likely that you will get a perfect match, which may be okay. But instead of hiding the repair, you might consider making it a feature with a complementary or contrasting color.

    Good luck, and post pictures when you are done.

    Greg
     
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  12. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Michael,
    Bondo and JB are not well suited for this repair. Bondo absorbs water and it breaks. JB will peel.
    Use the 655-g to fill any voids. The 655 is a thickened epoxy.
    You might be considering the thinned version to install the tape? Follow Greg's lead here...he has suggested a good process. Frankly, the last time I fooled around with doing one of these I simply used fiberglass cloth and resin. It was a bit of a beater and already worn through. That was 10 years ago and it's still going.
    If you search the internet you will find epoxy tinting kits available. You should consider one of those if you want to try and color match. One such example;Amazon.com: Epoxy Resin Colorant 14 Colors Epoxy Resin Transparent Pigment, Epoxy Resin Liquid Dye for Resin Jewelry DIY Crafts Art Making(10ml Each)
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2021
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  13. OP
    OP
    Michael Ellington

    Michael Ellington Curious about Wooden Canoes

    brilliant thanks both of you and everyone else
    i can see all of what you guys are saying to do and it makes sense to me and seems fairly cut and dry
    my canoe isn't in that bad of shape. i am just trying to mend and secured the fix for the future
     
  14. OP
    OP
    Michael Ellington

    Michael Ellington Curious about Wooden Canoes

    here are some pictures of my canoe of when i bought it
    i haven't done anything to it yet. the seller had no idea of what they had as far as a canoe. she called it fiberglass and i was like i don't think so. so i think i found a total win here. i have it on the water once so far and it's awesome on the water
     

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