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Dirt Magnet Canoe Question II

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I have a white composite Malecite that is the worst dirt magnet of any boat I have encountered, and I have owned other white canoes.

It is not just the color, the white gel coat was so thinly applied that the underlying weave of the cloth faintly shows through the gel coat.

That canoe would pick up a scum line if I paddled it in a pool of Perrier. Worse, every bit of pollen, pollution and road trip grime embeds in the visible weave. I wash it after trips, but even with some elbow grease and soft bristle brushing it is impossible to get all of the embedded grime out of the weave. In that weave begrimed state the otherwise attractive Malecite is fugly.

The question is how to fill that weave after the next time I scrub it clean

I have washed and scrubbed the Malecite. Multiple times with different cleaning agents. The gel coat really is super thin; you can see the underlying weave pattern in the gel coat, and feel it with your fingers, especially now that the weave filling crud is gone.

On the other hand I have abused the hell out of that boat, even cracked (and repaired) the bottom on one memorable trip, and that super thin gel coat has yet to develop a single spider crack. There is something to be said for a thin gel coat layer. Just not this thin.

I had detail scrubbed the Malecite earlier this summer, and it was already beyond filthy again. Time for some serious elbow grease dirt, pollen and pollution removal. I washed it with a grime-removing car wash soap. Twice; the second time very little additional crud was coming out from the weave. It was less grimy, but still weave embedded dirt pimpled.

So I tried DougD’s homemade PowerShot mix, a straight 50/50 mix of Dawn and white vinegar, no water, and scrubbed it with a soft bristle brush. Twice, going back over any area I had missed. Better, but still a little dirt pimpled in some very weave exposed areas, especially at the stems. What the hell, I have the hose, bucket and brush out, I detail scrubbed it a final time with the car wash grime soap, to little additional rinse color in the bucket.

If you are counting I washed the canoe 5 times today. My elbow hurts and I have given up trying to get it any cleaner.

The entire hull is now a matt-finish dull and the exposed weave even more apparent to the eye, and touch, especially now that the voids are not filled with self-fairing crud.

It is ready for some topcoat to fill that dirt magnet weave, and I am stumped. I had thought that buffing on a couple coats of marine wax might do, but wax may not be sufficient to fill that exposed weave depth. And if I wax it and do not like the result it is back to 5-stage scrubbing to remove all of the wax before applying a top coat.

So I’m thinking - alcohol wipe it, tape off the gunwales and:
Paint the entire outside with spar urethane, which I have
Or with a hull-matching cream colored enamel paint, which I can easily get
Or use something like off-white Petit Easypoxy, which I have never used but could order.

I think I know which way I should go, but what says you?
 
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I'd stay away from spar. I'm afraid it will turn it a yellowish shade of white that will only get worse with age.

If I wanted to fill that shallow weave I'd mix up some peanut butter consistency epoxy and put in on/off with a squeegee. Then lightly sand and paint the hull. Or just paint without epoxy and what it will be is what it will be.

Alan
 
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...a hull-matching cream colored enamel paint, which I can easily get...

There might be some kind of filler coat enamel available, ordinarily used to fill in wood grain and create the smooth surface for the top coat. It should create a thicker layer... the top coat might fill in the micropits, but whenever I've used an enamel it dries so thin, it doesn't hide surface imperfections much.

A thickened epoxy is what I'd most likely go with... talcum powder mixed into epoxy until it's about the consistency of sour cream, brushed on to create a thick enough layer to fill the weave and then sanded smooth.before applying the topcoat.
 
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...

So I’m thinking - alcohol wipe it, tape off the gunwales and:
Paint the entire outside with spar urethane, which I have
Or with a hull-matching cream colored enamel paint, which I can easily get
Or use something like off-white Petit Easypoxy, which I have never used but could order.

I think I know which way I should go, but what says you?

FWIW, I painted my back-from-the-dead Wenonah a couple of times, once with Pettit Easypoxy ("mist gray" -- almost white) and once with general purpose $10 rustoleum ("sail blue"). I couldn't tell much difference between the two paints in either durability or adhesion. I'm sure real marine paint has some advantages, but I couldn't tell you what they are.

If it were me I would hate to add weight to a boat just to make it easier to clean. But I drive a dirt colored Subaru, so maybe I'm at the scruffy end of things.
 
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FWIW, I painted my Wenonah a couple of times, once with Pettit Easypoxy ("mist gray" -- almost white) and once with general purpose $10 rustoleum ("sail blue"). I couldn't tell much difference between the two paints in either durability or adhesion. I'm sure real marine paint has some advantages, but I couldn't tell you what they are.

I have painted the (white) bottoms of a few boats using white enamel paint, some with spray paint and some with roll on/tip out. The finished surface looked good, but the paint seemed awfully easy to scratch or scrape off.

I am hoping that epoxy paint will prove more durable.


If it were me I would hate to add weight to a boat just to make it easier to clean. But I drive a dirt colored Subaru, so maybe I'm at the scruffy end of things.

I hate to add the paint coat weight too, especially to a UL hull. I will eventually post some photos of just how fugly the hull gets in short order.

But the fugly factor aside I swear the canoe is slower than it should be. This is not my first Malecite and I wonder if the distinct weave on the hull below the waterline is adding drag or wetted surface or some blahblahblah fluid dynamics loss of efficiency.
 
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Have you tried polishing compound? Not rubbing compound. Body shop buddie says rub in straight lines not circles. Has removed tough stains from car, ought to work on gel.
 
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Have you tried polishing compound? Not rubbing compound. Body shop buddie says rub in straight lines not circles. Has removed tough stains from car, ought to work on gel.

I am scairt to do anything that might further reduce the already micron-thin gel coat.

The Malecite is as clean as I’m going to get it. Next step is to (carefully) use a heat gun and straight edge starter, and peel off all of the (42, I just counted) individual MRC logos letters, kevlar stickers, and the 4 pieces of shop-installed reflective tape.

I never really liked the giant block letter MAD RIVER CANOE amidships on either side, and the other “Kevlar” and “Ultra-light” stickers mean nothing to me. I will try to reuse the precious (discontinued availability) High-Intensity reflective tape somewhere else.

And then, wash/scrub (for the 6[SUP]th[/SUP] time) to remove the adhesive residue and prep the hull for taping and painting.
 
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Some before and after washing photos

Before washing

P9211228 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

P9211231 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The Malecite had been scrubbed clean in early summer. The weave showing through the gel coat is a serious dirt magnet.

After washing and scrubbing, and scrubbing, and washing (5 times), twice with the DougD special mix of 50/50 undiluted white vinegar and Dawn

P9221236 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

P9281239 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

P9291245 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Time to remove all of the Mad River logos and labels. The fugly (giant individual block letter) MAD RIVER CANOE came off easily enough. A few seconds on each letter with a heat gun and they pulled off one by one.

P9281241 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The old Reservoir launch permit stickers required more heat gun to soften the adhesive, near fingertip burning hot to come off in one piece

P9281242 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I didn’t want to waste the high intensity reflective tape, so I removed those pieces very carefully and reapplied them to the colorful tarp and site flags.

I think the hull will be far more attractive without all that damn geegaw MRC lettering and labeling. Plus I have finally found the ideal place for that lettering and logoing

P9291246 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Of course now that the stickers are gone I need to remove the adhesive residue, and wash the whole boat again before painting.
 
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Super thin and gel coat just doesn't make sense, are you sure that it is gel coat? The chemistry of gel coat doesn't work if it's too thin, it often "alligators" when the fabric layer is applied. Any chance it was sanded a lot before you owned it?
 
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Super thin and gel coat just doesn't make sense, are you sure that it is gel coat? The chemistry of gel coat doesn't work if it's too thin, it often "alligators" when the fabric layer is applied. Any chance it was sanded a lot before you owned it?

I am the original owner and the hull has never been sanded, aside from a small patched area on the bottom where I cracked it and made repairs.

Is it gel coat? I am assuming so. The color is/was close to “sand”, one of the gel coat colors Mad River was offering in 2003. There are a few areas, mostly on the stems below the gunwales where the gel (or ?) is thicker and the weave doesn’t show through.

Some past gel coat discussion. Given the information on that thread I am now thinking that it may be a pigmented skin coat. The outer coat was never especially shiny.

“Resin coat can be tinted. An experienced skin coat builder can make a tinted outside pretty darn good looking, though never as shiny as a gel coat. Skin coat saves a lot of weight over gel coat”

http://www.canoetripping.net/forums/...-spider-cracks

It is also an odd duck. A UL canoe, with IQ gunwales, which are heavier than any other possible choice. Plus I have solosized it, and retrofitted all of the IQ outfitting, including the bucket seat, foot brace and thwarts, including a utility thwart with sail mount.

The IQ concept was not successful, but with some adaptation some of the IQ accessories are very handy and easy to slide into place. Even better, custom IQ stuff is easy to DIY.

http://www.canoetripping.net/forums/...iver-iq-system
 
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That is one nasty looking finish. Are those dark specs dirt or holes in the weave? It looks like cloth that wasn't fully saturated but maybe it's just the camera playing tricks.

Alan
 
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That is one nasty looking finish. Are those dark specs dirt or holes in the weave?

I think the dark specs are dirt in the weave that I simply cannot wash or scrub out. Lots of the specs came out with the first soap and sponge washings, more with the vinegar and Dawn scrubbing. But after 5 rounds of washing and scrubbing that is as clean as I can get the hull.

It looks like cloth that wasn't fully saturated but maybe it's just the camera playing tricks.

That seems a good possibility.
 
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I just asked LDC about your dirt magnet Malecite. When I described the pocked texture that filled with debris, he immediately said it sounds like a skin coat. He wanted to know if it was Kevlar and said the HIN # may reflect information on the build. Are there any extra digits, dashes or letters in the HIN? Dave suggested something like a K-L referencing Kevlar Light.

LDC has built three skin-coat canoes this summer, each was tinted with red and they came out very nice (IMO). Smooth to the touch but not as uniform in color. I would think that the weight and makeup of the outside fabric would play into the surface texture. Our three each used a lightweight S-glass before the subsequent schedule of Kevlar and Carbon/Kevlar.
 
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I am the original owner and the hull has never been sanded, aside from a small patched area on the bottom where I cracked it and made repairs.

Is it gel coat? I am assuming so. The color is/was close to “sand”, one of the gel coat colors Mad River was offering in 2003. There are a few areas, mostly on the stems below the gunwales where the gel (or ?) is thicker and the weave doesn’t show through.

Some past gel coat discussion. Given the information on that thread I am now thinking that it may be a pigmented skin coat. The outer coat was never especially shiny.

“Resin coat can be tinted. An experienced skin coat builder can make a tinted outside pretty darn good looking, though never as shiny as a gel coat. Skin coat saves a lot of weight over gel coat”

Pigmented skin coat makes a lot more sense to me. Gel coat would add 4-5 lbs and thin just doesn't work. Never tried a skin coat layup but I think it's in my future.
 
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I just asked LDC about your dirt magnet Malecite. When I described the pocked texture that filled with debris, he immediately said it sounds like a skin coat. He wanted to know if it was Kevlar and said the HIN # may reflect information on the build. Are there any extra digits, dashes or letters in the HIN? Dave suggested something like a K-L referencing Kevlar Light.

Conk (and Dave Curtis), no K or KL at the end of the HIN, as was typical with Vermont-built Mad River kevlar and kev-light canoes.

The Malecite is a North Carolina built canoe and instead of “K” or ‘KL” (or “KH”) MRC stuck a Kevlar Ultra-Light sticker on the bow. I don’t know if MRC has gone back to adding the “K” or “KL” appendix to their HIN numbers, but I preferred the permanence of that to a flimsy vinyl sticker.

I did not know that MRC made skin coat canoes; they explain skin coat in their FAQ page, but I don’t recall seeing it as a build option in their catalogs of the day. None the less I now believe this is a (poorly done) skin coat canoe; MRC was trying all kinds of new things when they first moved to NC.
 
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I did not know that MRC made skin coat canoes

Maybe they don't. They probably all remember the time they tried it on that Malecite years ago and what a disaster it was.

Alan
 
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I won’t be getting to anything further on the Malecite until I get back from a trip.

All that “probably a pigmented skin coat” considered, does the plan to paint the scrubbed-well-clean exterior with a coat of Pettit EZPoxy sound reasonable? Or two coats, if that’s what is needed to fill the weave.

I am tempted to put some skinny Dynel and white-ish pigment skid plates on first. The stems are not especially worn (I am at least that careful with the UL Malecite), and if I added skid plates I‘d be tempted to roll on/tip out a thin coat of epoxy overall while I was at it, since I would have to cure-wait, maybe wet sand, and wash again before painting.

I’d rather not do either skid plates or epoxy coat, and add as little weight to the hull as possible while filling the dirt magnet weave.

Also, ah ha! On close post-scrubbing inspection there is a smaller than pinkie-finger nail size chip out of the (skin coat?) on the vee of the bow stem, cleanly chipped off down to the underlying fabric.

That (whatever) coat on the vee of the stems is thicker than anywhere else, thick enough that that area just at the apex of the vee shows no fabric weave, despite 15 years of scrapes and landing wear on the stems

FWIW the outer coat exposed by that chip is. . . .how to measure that depth. . . .maybe four stacked business cards thick. Call it 1/16 of an inch thick after a modicum of wear.
 
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Wow, Mike - that's nasty looking stuff.

I had to go gaze on my own Malecite to get that image out of my mind - and to compare. Yeah, there are a few areas in my kevlar Vermont boat where a hint of the texture of the weave barely shows. But it doesn't trap dirt - it wipes clean easily. Sorry - I can't think of any better solution than Alan's.
 
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Wow, Mike - that's nasty looking stuff.

I had to go gaze on my own Malecite to get that image out of my mind - and to compare. Yeah, there are a few areas in my kevlar Vermont boat where a hint of the texture of the weave barely shows. But it doesn't trap dirt - it wipes clean easily. Sorry - I can't think of any better solution than Alan's.

Well, after some contemplation, here’s where I’m at. In for a penny, in for a pound. Or two pounds, and multiple days labor.

I am going to put some narrow skid plates on the Malecite’s sharp V stems; either Dynel or some bias weave German-made fiberglass tape I have available, using a mix of West 105/206 & G/flex and peel ply compression.

While the epoxy on those skid plates is still green I’m going to roll on/tip out a full-hull exterior of epoxy to help fill the weave and coat any exposed fabric.

Let cure, wet sand, roll on/tip out a coat of Pettitt EZPoxy. Let cure, wet sand, roll on/tip out the recommended 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] coat of EZpoxy.

I am not sure if a thin coat or even two of paint is going to fill that dimpled weave, and the fabric is so exposed that I would like some straight epoxy atop it first.

That means three sequential topcoats, and two wet sandings/washings/drying, but I might as well try to do it correctly from the get go.
 
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