Bell NorthStar - the leaker

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My boat leaks. A third of the way into a BWCA trip I realized it really was leaking, not just water draining from my boots. I couldn't find the source so turned around and came back out. I suspect it's due to inadequate epoxy but for all I know could be something structural, maybe along the bottom somewhere. I figured a quart an hour isn't much but I didn't want any surprises by myself at the top of Lac La Croix.

Anyone have ideas where to look?
 
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Have you upended it in a dark room and put a light below to see if there is a pinhole somewhere below the waterline? It takes a surprisingly little void to let in a lot of water.
The only area you can't examine that way is below the tanks. And that area is probably the most suspect. That would require two defects; one in the stem and one in the fabric that forms the tank. I trust the expansion holes did not let in water.

You can always email Charlie Wilson.
 
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I'm sure you have done as I would and looked for any obvious holes. Given that you haven't found anything perhaps it's something that only opens up under load.
Now water is heavy and I'd approach this carefully but if you put it up on sawhorses and filled a little bit at a time, your leak may appear. Not a whole lot of water, after all the amount on a canoe that gets wet isn't all that much with anything like a normal load.

I'm sorry your trip got scuppered, I'm guessing here but with this canoe there was a time when it didn't leak? If that's so, then did anything happen to it in storage or transit? I hate to say it, but did you loan it to anyone? I enjoy a good mystery but that is about as far as I can conjecture knowing no more than we do.

Best Wishes,

Rob
 
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I am not sure that Bell used epoxy. It might be a different resin. I would urge you to ask Charlie as he was a principal at Bell prior to its sale at ORC. The rest of us are consumers.
 
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My experience with fixing a variety of cracks, holes and general bobos on canoes is that resin alone won't solve your problem. You will have to lay in a strip of glass on one side or both for best results.
 
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Well, if it proves out that you've got some hidden crack or something I'd sure listen to Memaquay, what he's describing sounds like a real fix.
But if, on the other hand, there are a bunch of little holes that want plugging I may have an idea that could help:

Over the years I've broken and repaired a bunch of things, often the problem is how to get the glue completely into some hard to reach corner or crack. A trick I've discovered is to cobble the end of my shop vac on one side of the item, this often involves masking tape to plug the gaps, draw a vacuum on the work and flow the glue into the other side. Obviously, once the glue appears on the far side you've done all that you can do. Thicker glue will require a longer suck.

Good luck! And it sure will be interesting to see what you find and how you go about fixing it.

Best Wishes,

Rob
 
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If I may, in #5 you say that this is a case of complacency; I don't see it that way at all, a careful reading seems to indicate that the canoe is new to you and none of us would expect a new canoe to leak. Don't be too hard on yourself; 99.999% of the time water on the floor has been tracked in by me or the dog, or perhaps a clumsy paddle stroke. A leak would be the last thing I'd expect.

Rob
 
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