Canoe Repair Adventures of Duncan Crawford (and his wife)
It began with this branch, somewhere in Florida. This is Duncan's Story as told by him.
Duncan's wife and the offending tree
Click on the picture for a bigger version
Definitely NOT "Brand X" canoe country.
Rolling the canoe is even worse in these waters.
Well, it's been an adventure, and I'm now completely convinced of the durability of kevlar epoxy construction...
Last week the weather was finally warm enough to work on my boat, the LeTigre Quetico 17 that 'ate' a low-hanging live oak last December on a Florida trip, while riding atop my truck camper. You may still have the "before" pictures of the damage somewhere in your email archives. It took three longish days (counting drying/setup time) to complete the job, plus the 4 hours or so this winter to straighten the dished-in gunwales, but as of last Friday morning the boat was done, 34 patches in place and the bottom sanded/varnished for good measure. Looked almost like new if you maybe closed one eye a bit and still smelled a bit of new varnish. My wife and I were set to go on a weekend trip to the Maryland Eastern shore that afternoon as soon as she could get home from work. About 10 am I was ready to load the boat on top of the truck camper... camper roof was dry, wind had died down, sun was out-- time to go for it and be ready to move out as soon as my "bow babe" got home. I can't remember how many times over the years I've done this, always without incident.
<sigh> I leaned the bow up on the camper, gunwales up a couple of feet on rear of the camper, made sure everything was stable, and started up the rear ladder next to the canoe. As I was crawling onto the top, the wind came back... blew the boat sideways, out of reach, and dropped it onto the blacktop driveway... about 11 feet down. It's a big camper, if you recall from when we picked up the boat in Ely last year, and up on a F450. The boat bounced a couple of feet then skidded sideways on the pavement, leaving a bit of road rash on the port side of the stern, and the bottom seam of the bow buoyancy insert de-laminated from the bottom-- but no other damage, not even a scratch, on the outside at the bow.
So, after a bit of muttering it was boat back into the garage and up on the sawhorses... two more (fiberglas) patches to repair the insert and glue it back to the hull, with a bit of Saran wrap taped in place to prevent sagging, plus some touch-up varnish on the stern rash. About three hours later my wife came home, chewed me out thoroughly for not waiting for her help, and we loaded the boat on camper, plastic wrap, mildly tacky varnish and all. Three hours after that we were at our campsite, but the plastic wrap had gone missing somewhere enroute... leaving a nice smooth finish, but possibly annoying one of the usual speeding tailgaters. Saturday and Sunday were on the water.
At any rate, there are now a grand total of 36 patches on this beast, and no leaks. For that matter, there were no leaks after the initial crushing by the tree and had we been afield on a remote river we would have been able to paddle out without even duct tape. I used fiberglas on the outside above the waterline (four places, mild stress cracks), some fiberglas on the inside between the ribs (4 places) and fiberglas on the bow tank (2 places). Everything else-- the serious cracks below the waterline inside and outside-- is patched with LeTigre fabric from the pieces you obtained for me from the factory. If there were a crack that got fiberglas inside, the outside got kevlar.
The repair directions/pictures on your web site were more than sufficient, and the Saran wrap/roller trick indeed gave a nice feathered edge and gloss finish where I used it on the outside. On the inside, where I didn't care about a glossy finish and had the ribs to deal with anyway, I simply brush-smoothed the epoxy, doing two thiner coats, then sanded and hit the patches with a satin marine spar varnish to get a uniform inside appearance.
I've attached a couple of pictures of the repairs, taken shortly after wiping things down following this weekend's trip-- it's been raining here and the slight cloudiness on the edges of the inside patches is due to that-- nice and clear when dry (might be the varnish). I've just applied a second and final coat of epoxy to the bow tank patches, and tomorrow I'll tip the boat over and do a bit more sanding/varnishing to eliminate the unsightly scratches on my new patches. I'll also apply a couple of bow decals I'm making, now that the boat has earned a proper name (we won't discuss what my wife named me). At least for the next trip in a couple of weeks I'll have a "new boat" (likely waiting for wifely assistance in loading)... and no more anxiety about getting that "first scratch" or doing irreparable damage on a trip.
Joe's Summary: If I was hiring a canoe repair guy, Duncan would be on the very top of the list. Just by looking at our web pages and using his excellent common-sense approach, he did a SPECTACULAR job on these canoe repairs! I've got nothing over him and in fact, I learned a new technigue for gunwale straightening. I'm looking at it asking myself why I didn't think of that? You learn something new everyday! Duncan's weak point: Canoe loading in the wind. :-P
See Duncan's new logo for his Souris River Quetico 17
Back to Red Rock's Home Page© 2008, Northwind Outdoor Recreation, Inc. All Rights Reserved.