I seem to be rebedding a lot of keels lately, and I have wondered the same thing for a long time, Cavy......Great question!! The putty knife and can application is OK, but I kept thinking there has to be a better way.
Recently I took a bold step away from the traditional and status quo bedding compound and bought a Boat Life product called "Life-Caulk" from Jamestown Distributors.(I can hear the hissing!) The application was a dream!! It cleans up with acetone and is sandable and paintable after 7-10 days....sooner if wet cured with water.
I don't know how this is in the long term, but I'm lead to believe it will last many years.
I'm open for criticism of the use of this .....I'm still learning this business....aren't we all??
they use to have the bedding compound in tubes but unless you used the whole tube within a couple of days the interior compound would harden and the rest of the tube was wasted. I could split the tube apart to get at the unharden stuff but that defeated the whole reason for the tube. I think other people had the same problem because the tubes were not around for very long.
The Life Caulk is a flexable glue which will glue your keel to the boat. Easy to use, very effective and good untill you want to remove the keel and then you have to cut off what may of still been a good keel.
I think Rule makes a non adhesive be
dding compound as does SikaFlex.
I still use Phenoseal Vinyl Adhesive which is water soluble whilst uncured and paintable when cured.That or 5200 on the sdrews but not on the body of the canoe.Personally I think sealants tend to trap moisture next to the canoe inducing rot in the canvas or keel.
Putty in a can worked for a long time.
Any Polysulphide caulking will also work but the odour is one of sulphur.
It's an old post but for reference for someone googling for info....
A few days ago I removed a keel and transom plate/shield from a cartopper. Both were bedded with Phenoseal about 15 years ago. The back of the transom plate had about 1/2 inch of phenoseal on the edge of the back. The plate back was in excellent condition, zero moisture problem. It was a bear to get off and given how hard it was the plate coul d have been put on without screws and held in place with the Phenoseal.
The keel was rotted but also a struggle to get off. Again given how hard it was to get off it also could have been held in place without screws. The Phenoseal left after the keel and plate were removed were very difficult to get off but came off with cutting and sanding.
Yesterday I put on the keel and transom plate with 3m 5200 and today my friend told me what used years ago. The tube of 3m was $28 and the net price for Phenoseal about $4. Given how durable the Phenoseal was I'll switch to that in the future.