Tips on gelcoat repair

I was hoping someone could help with tips on repairing gelcoat. Pics below show the repair area.

I found a small crack in gelcoat this evening. When I pressed on the crack it leaked out water. I chipped away a little of gelcoat and found soaked glass underneath. I sanded away some more gelcoat that easily flaked off. It seems like I could sand more gelcoat away on the top of repair area because it does not seem to be well adhered to glass underneath.

I know I need to let the glass dry for at least a week, it is pretty soaked. I am not sure what products to use for the repair though. Was planning on using a few layers of sanding resin or solares to make waterproof again, then finishing with a couple layers of white spray lacquer or enamel.

Am I going in the right direction? Should I just take this to a pro? Does anyone know what a pro might charge for a repair like this? Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Submitted by acolytephoto on Sun, 07/26/2009 - 10:57pm

your best bet if youre in kailua is to take it to uncle paul gay right there at the canoe hale. he gives great deals and does great work. he has done some minor repair for me and if its not right he will make it right even if he has to do more work.

#1 Wed, 07/29/2009 - 3:21pm

If it's leaking water you're gonna need to fiberglass it most likely. Take it to a pro and get advice and see if its something you're confident doing. If you have no experience it is probably best that you get it done professionally until you practice on something less important to yourself than your canoe. I learned most of my glasswork on some really old surfboards that I just wanted to get on the water with rather than do some high performance surfing.

I think that there is some repair work being done in the Kamanu shop so call them up and if they do repairs I'm sure they fix it up for you.

#2 Wed, 07/29/2009 - 4:50pm

Looks like the honeycomb core may be soaked? If so, then you've lost tensil strength. So comfirm with a pro next as to what to do. What do you think POG?

#3 Wed, 07/29/2009 - 6:58pm

Saw it ... did not have time to write yet.

Acolytephoto, you are welcome to call me it you want.

I just sent over a long winded ..

" How to touch up a gelcoat scratch " write up to the guys @ ... Should be up on the site any day now.


#4 Wed, 07/29/2009 - 7:51pm

Sorry to answer a question with a question but need more info to help.

Any idea how the damage got there ? Are you the original owner ?

Do you think its delamed on the inside ?

How does the seam look when you lean on this area ?

This is Soric so its not really gonna take up water like true honeycomb.

For sure don't sand on it anymore 'till someone who knows looks @ it.

Right now it looks like you could just dry and glass over it, fair and spray with whatever you want. White is EZ.

Don't sand any more 'cause what might be causing it is a whole 'nother scenario altogether.

A good way to dry it is to set up a fan to blow across it not AT it.


#5 Thu, 07/30/2009 - 12:12am

Spent most of my day working on small kine half-*** temporary repair.

Talked to a few guys in Kailua who said "don't worry too much" and "put stickers on it." Didn't feel totally comfortable with that so I went with the halfway decision: I put a blowdryer over the area for about 4 hours. Cleaned the area with acetone (the honeycomb became bigger and fuzzy at that point). I put 3 layers of solares on it, sanded smooth in between (pretty good job i think). Looked pretty water tight at that point. THEN I put stickers on it.


I think the problem happened because I store the boat with hull side up kinda at a slant towards tail. I dont think I have any leaks, never noticed any water after long paddle. But this area seems to be where any water would run to and pool during storage. I guess storing hull side down wouldnt be any better??

Just hoping to avoid more of the same problem, or a costly repair, or worse yet, losing my tail on a big day....

Thanks for all comments.

#6 Thu, 07/30/2009 - 12:42am

In Kailua , there are lots of composite experts. Milan at Outrigger Connection, Uncle Paul Gay , and The guys at Kamanu Composites . There`s probably alot more too.

#7 Thu, 07/30/2009 - 2:17am

Yeah! Some of the others I'd check out would be the old timers: the pioneers of the sport, like Mr. Composite, Brent Bixler, and the Father of the bump riding canoe, John Martin in Kaneohe.

#8 Thu, 07/30/2009 - 4:26am

Yeah Koa canoe...good list of ding repair gods, but you gotta have Paul Gay in there as well. For what Paul charges people, he basically does it for love...and does a great job as well.

Also, I like your "Father of the bump riding canoe" title for John Martin. John is the god father of one man canoes. Karel and others took it to another level, but John started it.


#9 Thu, 07/30/2009 - 10:13am

Actually storing the canoe on it's side so the water inside pools around the seams is NOT a good idea. The edges of the hull and deck where they join, are very likely to be porous and possibly contain exposed unsealed core material (in this case Soric as Onno identified) which will soak up water.

I would store the canoe in it's natural position, or if you prefer, so the drain hole of the canoe is the lowest point and water flows out.

Cheers Rambo

#10 Thu, 07/30/2009 - 3:01pm

I didn't include Paul, because he was already mentioned and recommended by others previously on this thread. But I do remember his old "long boat" one-man canoe mold that he kept in the backyard, which Karel used to make "club" boats. Those are rare vintage "lagoon" style canoes that should do well in the upcoming "Around the Hat" race.

#11 Fri, 07/31/2009 - 3:10pm

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