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More EZ-Poxy Painting



I have Joel’s Current Designs Nomad sanded and washed and ready for fresh coats (x3) of white* paint over some previous vee bottom repairs. The Everglades is hell on boats.

Before sanding the Nomad’s bottom in preparation for repairs and painting. After sanding off flakey gel coat “repairs” that bottom stripe needed some paint protection. (That stanky blue barrel on the table had to vacate the shop toot sweet, followed by the stank lid)

P6050014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

It is easier to paint two boats at once, so I vigorously scrubbed all the grime off the late 80’s soloized Explorer this morning. The Explorer already has a 5” wide (very) white paint stripe over the repairs on worn center vee, and with the canoe clean even I can see that the original color is more of a cream, or what MRC called “Sand”.

I cut off all the the old painter line loops and through hull float bag lacing, which definitely needed replacing, but I was hesitant to remove the Duckhead stickers and hand painted “Shop Gogetch” and Passamaquody “Rabbit in the ferns” Gogetch recreation and etc to prep it for painting. But the bottom really needs a few coats of paint.

Those decorative elements:

Rabbit in the ferns, more interested in his pipe than today’s MRC logo. He got chubbier with age; didn’t we all.

P6120009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Shop Gogetch, hand painted on every boat we have owned. A stylized combination of four different Passamaquoddy canoe builder’s personal Gogetch (Noel Polchies, Old Peter Polchies, Joe Ellis and Solomon Paul – pages 84 – 85 of The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America.

P6120011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Original Passamaquody builder Tomah Joseph’s “Rabbit in the ferns” Gogetch, from whence Jim Henry lifted the MRC Rabbit logo. Page 87 of that wonderful book.

P6120014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Some of the scratches are actually deep gouges, from when a friend stopped, with the sides wedged between two above water boulders, so he could stand up. Rocking the boat unsteadily side to side as he stood. Sharp edged boulders.Those gouges are well through the vinyl and into the old-school black ABS layer underneath.

P6130015 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

New Explorer paint plan; tape off a scum line 7” below the outwales, enough to cover the worst of the scratches and gouges, and use Hatteras Cream EZ-Poxy to paint the bottom.


I’m not sure how that will look, I’ve never seen the Hatteras Cream color once painted, but that plan will preserve all of the Duckhead stickers (fast running out), High-Intensity reflective tape (sadly discontinued) and various Gogetches (laboriously teeny brush hand painted) above the scum line.

If that two-tone color scheme proves aesthetically fugly I’ll have enough EZ-Poxy Hatteras Cream left to tape off the outwales and paint the whole damn hull. It won’t hurt to have some extra paint coats on the vee bottom, and I can always repaint the Gogetches.

*I had planned to paint the bottom repairs 19 foot stripe on Joel’s Nomad with a can of (very) white Rustoleum Topside paint, to more closely match the white gel coat. White-ish, Current Designs actually calls that hull color “Cream”.


But Joel called this morning and said he would prefer the better quality EZ-Poxy in Hatteras Cream, which will be one can, one pan, one roller and one foam brush easier for me. And I have two (very) white bottomed decked canoes that don’t see Everglades sharps abuse in need of repainting, and can use the white Rustoleum Topside on those.

I’ll have to send Joel off this fall with a little can of Hatteras Cream for future touch ups. And we can tackle the bottom of his oft-repaired Caribou while he is here.

Time to get taping and papering. I am getting good at that, and fast.


To make the scum line for taping I drilled a small pencil point hole in a ruler at the 7” mark and used that, run along under the outwale edge, to give me a consistent scum line mark just above my decorative flourishes. Taped and papered at the scum that line.

The Nomad line was slightly weirder, we had laid 2” strips of cloth and epoxy over the well worn areas of both stems, but also needed to epoxy a 6” x 6” Dynel patch over the cracked center. That center crack is what happens when you drag a 19’ boat out of the coming storm and up onto a chickee platform.

P6050015 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Those tape lines on the Nomad are more of an elongated < >.

Still, straight line taping with no curves to accommodate is easy enough. Good thing; the Nomad has 76 feet of tape on it, and the Explorer 66 feet. And a lot of newsprint.

Finally time for the easy part, rolling and tipping out the first coats of paint. Roll half the hull, keel line to tape line, tip that out, roll the other half, tip it out. I didn’t time it, but maybe 30 minutes to roll and tip both hulls. Same as ever; half a day of prep work sanding, washing, taping, half an hour to roll and tip.

P6130019 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Notes from the first coat:

I like the color, it is much lighter and creamier than what is shown in the EX-Poxy color chart.

The narrow stripe on the Nomad bottom was the easiest tip out ever, three foam brush swipes and done.

The Explorer bottom was thirsty. That pre-90’s canoe has lived on the outdoor rack for the last 15 (20?) years, and the bottom had no gloss look, or even feel, it was almost chalky to the touch. The sides of that hull are still glossed vinyl slick, so it was time to paint a new glossy UV protective scum line bottom.

Just that scum line bottom of the Explorer used up nearly half a can of EZ-Poxy, but I think I’ll have enough paint to do both boats three times, the second and third coats always go on less thirstily.

Dry time for EZ-Poxy is “24 hours”, and I managed to time the painting for a low humidity spell of weather. I’ll still wait two days before lightly sanding and topcoating that paint. I got retiree time, and Joel won’t be back ‘til fall.


OK, some “Pay attention next time” things. I had seen some sags and drips from the previous sloppy paint stripe on the Explorer’s stems, and told myself “Sand those off first”. I forgot, and two coats of EZ-Poxy has done nothing to hide those sags.

The Nomad had (er, still has) a thumb sized chunk of gel coat busted off at the tip of the bow, clear down to the kevlar. I didn’t even notice it ‘til I got to that end with the roller. Too late to fill in that missing chunk now, sounds like a task for gel-coat Joel.

I ended up trying something new this time. In the past, when taping and papering a hull, I have pulled all the tape and paper after each coat, hauled the boat outside and wet sanded it with 220 or 300 wet paper and a hose, let it dry, hauled it back inside the shop to re-tape/paper and second (third) coat.

I always do that with tape & mask for epoxy work, and pull the tape when each epoxy coat has stopped dripping but is still tacky, fearing that the epoxy over-roll or drips will adhere the tape edge to the hull if left to cure.

While I am getting good, and fast, at taping and papering, 142 feet of taping and 70+ feet of newsprint is still a chore. I didn’t pull the tape before the second coat this time, but instead lightly dry sanded the hulls in-situ in the shop, and then brushed/lightly tack clothed the hulls to remove any dust or residue.

The second coat of EZ-Poxy went on well, and filled most of the light scratches. Looks great already, and the second coat used wayyyyy less paint than the first. I’ll have plenty of paint to third coat the boats, with enough left over for both Joel and I to have little cans of Hatteras Cream touch-up paint.

Second coat of EZ-Poxy cured I in situ re-sanded and cleaned a second time, and I am about to roll/tip the third and (I hope) final coat. I’ll pull the tape when this coat is still tacky, so at worst there are two coats of epoxy paint over the tape edges.

I can foresee one of three tape-pull possibilities:

The tape will all pull cleanly, and my nagging concerns were happily misplaced. Fingers crossed, my relief at that success would be great.

The tape will pull somewhat cleanly, and I’ll have to run a razor blade along some EZ-Poxied tape remains edges to lift them off.

The tape removal will take extended flakes and chips of paint off when it lifts, and I’ll be back to re-taping and a 4[SUP]th[/SUP] coat.

Any bets on what happens?

OK, I’m just killing time. I’m ready to roll/tip the third coat, wait a spell and pull the tape for the great reveal.


Far freaking out. The tape pulled cleanly with the 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] coat of EZ-poxy still tacky. I now see no reason with paint, even epoxy paint, to de-tape, wet sand and retape. Hell, I think I could have laid four, five, six coats of EX-Poxy on over that tape with the same clean-pull result. And I used cheap painter’s tape, not the 2X$ stuff.

P6160001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I will still de-tape while epoxy coats are still tacky, wash, wet sand and re-wash. Mostly for amine blush possibilities, partly because I doubt that epoxied tape would pull cleanly.

I was concerned that I would have a distinct “ridgeline” of paint coats at the tape edge. It is invisible to the eye, and barely discernable by touch.

EZ-Poxy Hatteras Cream is definitely “creamy”, much closer to Mad River’s “Sand”, and far less white than Current Designs “Cream”.

P6160008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I have enough left that if Joel wants to tape and paper the deck seams and paint the entire hull bottom of the Nomad I will happily watch. And supervise. Missed a spot there Joel.

After a couple cure-days I flipped the Explorer over to install new through-hull floatation lacing, and replace the old painter stem loops with better line.

P6160010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That Explorer has short, retrofitted bow and stern partial spray covers. I am pondering DIY’ing fuller bow and stern covers, but those adapted (plastic toggles under float bag lacing) IQ covers go on and off so quickly and easily that I may keep them. With the spray covers in place the painter loops need some more hand comfy toggles.

P6160019 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Despite the vintage RX weight that soloized Explorer is a hell of a do-everything tripper, with all the usual comfort and function outfitting.

Downwind sail on a utility thwart

P6160012 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

P6160014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Back band, yoke strap, minicel knee bumpers

P6160021 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Minicel wedges for blue barrels, D-rings, webbing loops, etc

P6160023 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Final notes on those two paint jobs:

I neglected, as is often the case, to prep something on which to smear the paint left on the rollers and foam brushes. My stump repository of old resin, varnish and paint to the rescue.

P6160018 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Joel’s Nomad does not fit well in the shop; at almost 19’ long unless it is up shop center it blocks one of the three doors. It had to go outside, and on the sawhorse racks so I could so I could space the “racks” at the right distance to put the foam wedges under the bulkheads. Still, better stored outside here than outside in Florida. During hurricane season. While Joel is in Maine.

P6160016 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I needed that shop center space, two more boats washed and in the shop, ready for a fresh bottom coat of paint.

P6170030 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr
Aug 7, 2019
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Williston, VT
Mike, Karen and I paddle a 1979 Royalex Explorer. It has original ash everything (always stored under cover), all still in good shape. But when I look at the work you do I realize it could use some sprucing up! Well done!


Mike, Karen and I paddle a 1979 Royalex Explorer. It has original ash everything (always stored under cover), all still in good shape. But when I look at the work you do I realize it could use some sprucing up! Well done!

I really enjoy finding old derelict canoes and refurbishing them, but I also enjoy bring the boats from our family fleet into the shop for routine maintenance and upgrades. Those are our “keeper” boats, and I want them “kept” in good condition.

OK, if I am selling one of our boats it will go up the driveway in the best possible condition, with my best outfitting practices. All of our boats essentially have my name on them, at least my identifiable shop Gogetch and Duckhead stickers, as well as my actual name and contact info, paint penned somewhere obvious, with a more hidden golf club label somewhere up inside.

Little things, like taking old thwarts and yokes off to inspect and sand/reseal the butt ends if needed, replacing worn line or bungee. Oiling wood gunwales, although we are down to a single wood gunwaled MRC Independence, which we will never sell.

Or just giving them a thorough wash and inspection. There are definitely things I don’t notice until I get up close and nose-to-nose with a hull, detailing it with a sponge and scrub brush. Hmmm, lookee there.

The Explorer needed a good washing, which revealed (I already knew) that it desperately needed bottom paint. The stripe of cheap Rustoleum Enamel I had laid down over vee bottom repairs years ago had gone to hell, and the unpainted portions of the bottom were chalky to the touch. (The sides were still surprisingly vinyl slick).

There are a lot of good canoes out there (and a lot of bad ones too). I believe those vintage Royalex Explorers are one of the best do-a-bit-of-everything canoes ever made; tripping, day paddling and hunting, flatwater, moving water, mild whitewater, tandem, tandem with kid passenger, even bow backwards solo.

And that vee bottom sails downwind quite agreeably, even with a simply bowman’s golf umbrella held horizontal. Probably upwind too, but I don’t do that.

If I didn’t have my beloved soloized Penobscot the Explorer would be my go-to tripping canoe. That Explorer was rebuilt soloized, seat and utility thwart positioned, foot braced, knee bumpered and etc for my O-lineman son’s dimensions. He lifts, so the Explorer’s weight is nothing to him (not a canoe I really want to carry these days).

The stern thwart is minicel padded for his peculiar purposes; he is a fast paddler, often well out front, and he doesn’t like using a back band. But when he pulls over to wait for the rest of the family to catch up he will lay flat, butt on the seat with his shoulders resting on that minicel covered thwart, happily staring up in the treetops as if in a lounge chair. He does look comfortable.

Yes, that minicel cushioned thwart was Dragonskinned to best contour comfort fit his shoulders. It’s the little things. Our Explorer is a 1984, so like your’s the good, thick, old-school, never say die Royalex.

Oft told tale of that best used canoe find; $200 used Explorer on a club board; an idiot friend passed on it because it had busted cane on one seat. When I handed the seller no-dicker $200 the next day he emptied a shed of a truckload of canoe goodies; 4 nice paddles, a couple decent PFD’s, a side motor mount, portage cart, a T-bar receiver for a truck hitch and some other trinkets.