Refinish Your Canoe Repairing a Skid Plate Repairing a Crack or Stressmark Installing Skid Plates


Skid Plate Repair by Red Rock Wilderness Store

Many folks get all bent out of shape when they see that their skid plates have worn in the wear zone of their canoe or a canoe that they are about to buy used.  That's almost always a small area on the bow and/or stern and it is unique to the specific hull of the canoe and how the canoe was slammed into shore during its indentured life in a canoe livery.  As a private owner, an easier way to avoid this type of repair would be to not plow your canoe into shore like a farmer sinking a plow blade into black dirt preparing for this season's corn crop, but some folks never quite figure this out.  I've seen evidence of that at the canoe landings and particularly enjoy watching Brand X kevlars slamming into the gravel at Lake One, Moose Lake and Fall Lake.  They don't hold up like Souris Rivers and in fact I saw a Brand X canoe that had a bow which looked like shark bite in an Oreo cookie.  Nontheless, this example is for those among us who need to solve this skidplate wear problem because we haven't figured out that the massive grinding sound we hear is made by the bow when 240 lbs. of  "Bubba" slides up 30 inches onto shore at about 20 MPH.  The answer is not necessarily to install an entire new skid plate, however.  In most cases, you can simply add a little piece to the boo boo and go back to plowing Bubba into shore again.  In the example you'll see below, I'm actually going to build a stronger reinforcement that matches the existing black skid plate of the canoe.  It's a Souris River, Le Tigre kevlar,  Quetico 18.5 three-seater, and after a whole summer of "Bubba-Paddle-Harder x 3 - PLUS gear", this front plate has finally shown a little wear.  The wear is indicative of making portages shorter the hard way.  I'll also refinish the canoe with a coat of varnish so you can see how nicely a Souris River handles a beating and then recovers minus the patches you'd see on those Brand X canoes which simply can't hack paddler brutality as well.

Click on each image to see a bigger picture is stunning detail - well, maybe not stunning, but better.

SR Quetico 18.5 with worn strip in the front skid plate. This is no where near the end of the world.

This is what the wear zone looks like.  You can see the Le Tigre kevlar beneath the black plate. Most folks would now put a new skid plate right over the top, but the rest of the plate is fine.  They usually only wear in one spot, so why replace the whole thing?

This is what kevlar felt looks like.  It is simply felt which is made of kevlar fibers. I just cut a little strip to start. BUT, the key is in the cutting.  You'll need really sharp, good quality scissors.  Kevlar is unbelievably tough to cut and also comes from Texas Tea. 

Here I'm just placing the piece of felt with the ends trimmed to points.  The points make it lay down over the old skid plate better.  If you had a non-black skid plate and were doing this, you'd be skipping the next steps with the aluminum powder and graphite.

Here's where the felt will end up after you soak it in resin.

Here's what you need to start.  Epoxy resin, cup, stir stick, rubber gloves - for a regular skid plate canoe.  Add aluminum powder and graphite for a black skid plate canoe.   I use larger containers of 105/205 resin/hardener by West System.  You would not need to use these because they a cost a lot of dough and are WAY more resin than you'll need.  I'm just trying to scare the tar out of you with this intimidating looking junk.  You can use a couple of West System repair packets which cost only about $16 for a 6 pack.  Two of those packets would work just fine. You DO need the disposable blue glove, a stir stick and the plastic cup.

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