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Old 09-28-2010, 04:48 PM   #1
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kevlar canoe care

I'm sure this has been addressed here before and we should have paid more attention, but I can't seem to find it.
What is the best method to remove superficial scratches from a Bell kevlar ultralight canoe? Nothing really deep just white scratches. Also, this is our first kevlar boat and we are trying to be extra careful, but we enjoy getting off the "main road" so to speak and find ourselves negotiating beaver dams and portages-is it normal to get some scratches or are we not being careful enough? It seems to scratch pretty easy just barely touching a rock or even a sandy bottom. We always enter and exit while the boat is still in the water, but "stuff happens". My thinking is that it is like bass fishing-if your not getting hung up in the weeds once in a while or wrapped around a tree limb-you are probably not doing it right. Just interested in some input from our more experienced paddlers and boat owners and any advice on maintenance from those who have been there. Many thanks!!
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Old 09-28-2010, 07:48 PM   #2
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Kevlar, huh?
I guess I've heard of boats actually being made from that stuff...

Seriously, the scratches can be dealt with the same as any other composite covered substrate.
You could either:

1. Clean, degrease, and lightly sand the entire hull, then recoat with whichever resin the boat was originally made with. (If it's polyester, you should be able to smell the styrenes when sanding) This may be more time consuming than you might like.

2. Clean, degrease, and lightly sand the entire hull or at least the worst sections, then apply a coat or two of high quality varnish with a UV filter. I am fond of Epifanes but everyone has their favorites. If your boat is an epoxy hull, it is important to protect both the resin and the Kevlar from UV degradation.

3. Do as I do...ignore the scratches and just build another boat. If you saw the bottoms of my boats you might be shocked...I use them pretty hard! As long as the glass is still OK, I don't worry too much. Every few years I do go over the hull and sand and varnish.

As far as sensitivity to scratching on rocks and sandy bottoms, think about that sand for a's pretty much like 40 grit abrasive, and the rocks are more like 100 grit that never gets dull.
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Old 09-28-2010, 09:03 PM   #3
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I don't think there is anything you can add to protect from getting scratches and I really wouldn't worry about the scratches unless they are deep enough to expose the kevlar cloth. A gel coated hull could have hidden the scratces a bit more and is easier to "dress-up" but can add another 5 to 10 pounds to the weight of the boat

I don't think it is worth the time/ effort/ money to address those superficial dings......think of them as "bragging" scratches!

Maybe CW or Simon could chime in on this?
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Old 09-28-2010, 09:38 PM   #4
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Agree with the 2 posts Hornbeck bottom is all scratched up as well - and the way I figure it, the day after I try to "fix" those scratches there will be brand new ones made on my next trip. Pretend they're not there.
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:43 AM   #5
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Thank you for the input guys. I did not think we were being careless,they are all superficial and cosmetic, but didn't realize how easy it scratches. It seems like if you are really using it that the scratches are unavoidable. (We are enjoying the versatility of such a light weight tandem) We'll look at the scratches like the wrinkles on our faces-we've earned every one!! I agree, If we fix them they will be back the next time we use it. Just needed to hear it I guess from some with more experience. Thank you for the input.
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Old 09-29-2010, 06:31 AM   #6
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Every scratch is a memory.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:04 AM   #7
Vermont Scott
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Look at it this way: 'the more scratches you have on your canoe the more fun you are having'. That's what someone told me about their Hornbeck Lost Pond boat. I have to admit that initially I hated seeing the scratches accumulate on mine but I'm used to it now and it adds character. No one is going to have a canoe that looks exactly like mine or yours-consider it a 'custom finish' : )

"We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it."
-George Washington Sears
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Old 01-20-2012, 02:27 PM   #8
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I know this is an old post, but it cant hurt. I have found that a good cleaning with soap and water then a good application of 303 protectant does a nice job of minimizing the scratches.
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:44 PM   #9
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Don't use 303 inside any boat. The stuff makes a Very slippery surface. And from my experience 303 is a better and different product that Armor All or any thing else.
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