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Outfitting, Maintenance and Repair Preparations

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After years of waiting I picked up my first boat last fall, I got a 2008 NovaCraft Prospector 17 in royalex. Finding a good condition prospector in AZ took a long time and I'm pleased with the boat. It has one small (~4 inch) cold crack but otherwise is in excellent condition.
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I've been reading through a lot of old posts on repair and maintenance of canoes, but would love to get some people's input to make sure I'm not missing anything important before I start working on my boat in the next few weeks. For reference these are the posts I've been primarily looking through


As well as some others about gunwale finishing and whitewater outfitting both on this site and others.

This boat will primarily be used for river tripping in the western US this summer, and then in AK next year and beyond as I will be starting a new job there before too long. As such it will encounter a fair bit of whitewater and I'm planning on installing whitewater outfitting and skid plates to preserve the canoe.

Now finally on to what I am looking for advice on

1. Repairing the cold crack:
Here is my plan please let me know if I'm missing anything
-remove the gunwales (I'm going to take them off to re-finish them anyways)
-drill a hole in the bottom of the crack with a 1/8 inch drill bit
-widen the crack (I'm planning on using a hacksaw since the crack is so short)
-bevel the crack (I don't have a dremel so I'm going to try and use a sharp chisel instead)
-sand the bevel
-tape the outside with packing tape, fill with g-flex, tape the inside, squeegee bubbles out of the crack
-drill out the holes in the hull a little to allow contraction and expansion

The cold crack originated at one of the deck plates. Since the NovaCraft wooden deck plates sit inside the hull past the end of the inwales should I move the mounting screw of the deck plate to not sit over the cold crack or is it fine to drill through the repaired crack?

2. Skid plates
- Use dynell cloth cut on a bias and g-flex mixed with graphite to make the skid plates
-Tape everything up really nice beforehand, and apply a release film over the top
- Use a roller to press the g flex into the dynell
-Remove tape and release film after the g flex is done dripping but before it cures

With the graphite in the epoxy does the skid plate have to be black? or can I color match to the hull?

How much will the dynell stretch once I wet it with epoxy? How much of a buffer should I give myself with my tape?

Do I need special sheers to cut the dynell like I would kevlar? What have people used for cutting out their plates in the past?

3. Refinishing the gunwales
-I'm planning on using tung oil rather than varnish because since this boat will see river duty the gunwales are more likely to get scuffed and I'd rather have to do more regular maintenance that is easier than deal with hard to fix scuffs and chips

4. Whitewater outfitting
- I'm planning on using the Mike Yee tandem kit.

Do people think it is better to use HH-66 vinyl adhesive or the Vinyl-tec 2000 to attach D-rings and other vinyl anchors? Rutabaga has Vinyl-tec so it's easier to get in the US now than it used to be, but it is a lot more expensive then HH-66 so if they work similarly well I'll go with the cheaper option

Do people have a preference on how to set up airbag cages? Since I have wood gunwales I'll need to drill through the hull, but I can either lace directly through the hull or I can feed the cord through the hull to make loops and then lace the cage off of the loops. It seems like the second option would be easier to remove for trips where I might not need airbags but I don't know if that comes with a sacrifice in how secure the airbags are. If people prefer the second option what size cord do you use and do you protect it with vinyl tubing where the cage laces in?


Thanks for taking the time to read through this very long set of questions
 
How much will the dynell stretch once I wet it with epoxy? How much of a buffer should I give myself with my tape?

Do I need special sheers to cut the dynell like I would kevlar? What have people used for cutting out their plates in the past?

Some stretch in the Dynel but not a lot. I just use my "good" scissors but I've cut up scraps for patches using Dollar Store scissors.
 
1. Repairing the cold crack:
I would drill your hole at the bottom of the crack before removing your gunwales to prevent it from getting worse while working the gunwales off.

Also, I would recommend making sure the heads of all the screws in the gunwales are fully exposed and not covered in gunk or have small splinters from the gunwales overlapping the heads. When I backed out my screws on my MR Explorer a couple screws took a small piece of the gunwale with them. So I had to sand down and now have small divots in the wood around those screws. Could probably achieve this with a small file or the tip of a nail to scrape around the screw and fully expose the screw head.
 
Do people have a preference on how to set up airbag cages? Since I have wood gunwales I'll need to drill through the hull, but I can either lace directly through the hull or I can feed the cord through the hull to make loops and then lace the cage off of the loops. It seems like the second option would be easier to remove for trips where I might not need airbags but I don't know if that comes with a sacrifice in how secure the airbags are. If people prefer the second option what size cord do you use and do you protect it with vinyl tubing where the cage laces in?

I've done it like this:

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I used 8mm thick polyester cord for the lashing - and for the loops I used a correspondingly large, translucent aquarium tube.

Because I drilled holes along the entire length of the boat, I have plenty of fastening options.
Not only for the floats, but also for all kinds of equipment.

regards
Michael
 
I picked up my first boat last fall

Dustycassidy, welcome to site membership! Feel free to ask any questions and to post messages, photos and videos, and to start threads, in our many forums. Please read Welcome to CanoeTripping and Site Rules! Also, please add your location to the Account Details page in your profile, which will cause it to show under your avatar, as this is a geographic sport. Many of the site's technical features are explained in Features: Help and How-To Running Thread. We look forward to your participation in our canoe community.

You have researched well and have things well thought out. I'm glad some of our previous threads have been useful research resources for you. That's one of the primary purposes of this site. Here's another thread on applying Dynel skid plates:

 
You don’t have to take the gunwales all the way off, especially since the cold crack is near one of the ends. I have just loosened the section around the crack when repairing several Royalex Mad River canoes with cold cracks. Being in AZ you shouldn’t have an issue with the gunwales rotting. I have several 1980’s vintage canoes with wood gunwales which have survived fine in the high desert low humidity climate since I brought them to Utah 35 years ago. An application of Watco teak oil once or twice per year has kept them perfect. What rivers are you planning to run?
 
I would drill your hole at the bottom of the crack before removing your gunwales to prevent it from getting worse while working the gunwales off.

Also, I would recommend making sure the heads of all the screws in the gunwales are fully exposed and not covered in gunk or have small splinters from the gunwales overlapping the heads. When I backed out my screws on my MR Explorer a couple screws took a small piece of the gunwale with them. So I had to sand down and now have small divots in the wood around those screws. Could probably achieve this with a small file or the tip of a nail to scrape around the screw and fully expose the screw head.
This is good advice. I hadn't thought about the possibility of damaging the gunwales or making the crack worse by removing them
 
I've done it like this:

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View attachment 139855

View attachment 139853 . View attachment 139848 . View attachment 139850

View attachment 139852 . View attachment 139854 . View attachment 139851 . View attachment 139849

I used 8mm thick polyester cord for the lashing - and for the loops I used a correspondingly large, translucent aquarium tube.

Because I drilled holes along the entire length of the boat, I have plenty of fastening options.
Not only for the floats, but also for all kinds of equipment.

regards
Michael
Do you find that this makes it pretty easy to remove the float bag cage? For me the biggest appeal of doing it this way is that for flatwater trips I could easily get rid of the cages, but if it's still a pain it might not matter that much.
 
Dustycassidy, welcome to site membership! Feel free to ask any questions and to post messages, photos and videos, and to start threads, in our many forums. Please read Welcome to CanoeTripping and Site Rules! Also, please add your location to the Account Details page in your profile, which will cause it to show under your avatar, as this is a geographic sport. Many of the site's technical features are explained in Features: Help and How-To Running Thread. We look forward to your participation in our canoe community.

You have researched well and have things well thought out. I'm glad some of our previous threads have been useful research resources for you. That's one of the primary purposes of this site. Here's another thread on applying Dynel skid plates:

I'd actually read that thread, but felt like I had already put too many links in the post.

Thanks for the welcome, I've been reading through a lot of old posts and it's been really helpful. This is such a great community resource.
 
So today we had a break in the snow and rain and I started work on the boat. I took the gunwales, inwales, and everything else off. The drill as a dremel substitute did not work (it isn't a high enough RPM) so I ended up just cutting the material away from the cold crack to create a bevel and sanded it down. I began sanding the gunwales and inwales and will hopefully have that done and have them oiled by the end of the week and the cold crack repaired.

I did come across a new issues that I'd appreciate feedback with. When I took the thwart and yoke off I noticed that there are cracks at most of the bolt holes. I'm trying to decide what the best method to repair/strengthen these is. I feel like a repair is fine because the cracks are butted up against the hull, but I would like to reinforce these cracks. What would people recommend? I was thinking about trying to use either waterproof wood glue or g-flex with a thin and flexible backing across the crack (either a wood veneer or similar).
 

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Hey @dustycassidy

I would make a cut in the crack with the saw to widen it ... wrap the entire upper area with adhesive tape and then fill the crack and the screw holes with Epoxi - after curing, re-drill the holes, smooth the filled cut and that's it.

Or - clamp it with an iron nail that is bent into a cramp at the ends.
Two staples per crack should be sufficient

regards
Michael
 
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