How to Patch a Fiberglass Canoe

How to Patch a Fiberglass Canoe
Bumping into rocks, logs and other obstructions is a regular feature of canoeing in creeks and swamps, which often leads to cracks and holes in the canoe's hull. Thankfully, many canoes are made from fiberglass. In addition to being lightweight and durable, fiberglass is an easy material to patch up. Most cracks and minor holes in a fiberglass canoe can be repaired within a single weekend.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Handsaw
  • Power sander
  • Rough-, medium- and fine-grit sandpaper
  • Cardboard
  • Tape
  • Fiberglass patching cloth
  • Epoxy
Step 1
Set the canoe upright in a well-ventilated area and inspect the damage.
Step 2
Cut away any jagged or uneven part of a hole in your fiberglass canoe with a handsaw into a circular or ovoid shape.
Step 3
Wash the area around the damage with a de-waxing agent. Allow this to dry.
Step 4
Sand the damaged area of the fiberglass hull with a power sander, using medium-grit sandpaper. For a crack in the canoe's hull, sand the cracked area to a smooth finish. For a hole, sand the edges of the hole down to an angle so it forms a concave opening from inside the canoe.
Step 5
Tape a piece of scrap cardboard over the outside of the hole.
Step 6
Measure the thickness of the hull and start cutting fiberglass patch cloths to fit it. For roughly every 1/32 inch of thickness in the canoe hull, you'll need one fiberglass patch cloth. If the hull is 1/4 inch thick, for example, you need eight cloths. To patch a hole rather than a crack, cut these in ever larger circles/ovoids, to match the concavity of the hole. The first circle/ovoid of fiberglass patch cloth should be an inch wider than the hole, and so on until the last one extends at least 1 inch beyond the perimeter of the hole itself.
Step 7
Mix a batch of epoxy. Lay the smallest circle or ovoid of patching cloth in the hole and coat it with epoxy. Continue laying patches and coating them with epoxy until you reach the last and largest cloth patch, which is laid over the top the hole and seals the entire patching job up.
Step 8
Allow the epoxy to dry overnight.
Step 9
Sand the patch so it is flush with the hull. Use rough-grit sandpaper to grind the patch down, and then medium- and finally fine-grit sandpaper to create a smooth and even finish.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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