need a temporary keel and temporary paint job


Curious about Wooden Canoes

So I was very blessed to just picked up an Old Town 18' locally in need of restoration--probably a CS grade. The hull has retained a very good shape, ribs and planking are in fairly good condition, hull is fiberglassed and the interior has been painted. In the meantime, we have a trip coming up soon where I think we'll be able to use the canoe since it appears to be nearly seaworthy. There are two small wear spots (size of a quarter) through the fiberglass which we can easily patch as a temporary fix, but she's also missing her keel and in need of a temporary paint job. The previous owner had screwed on a keel from inside right through the ribs and I want to do the same thing. There's no time for any true restoration for this trip, I'd just like to get her usable for now. The kids are 'stoked' about it and I don't want to let them down. We'll do a test run locally before we know for sure.

As for the temporary keel, I thought I'd use a piece of white oak and screw it on through the ribs as was done previously. Eventually I should do this with bedding compound, but I think for now I'll use 3M 5200 or maybe even silicon which are available locally. So what size should I make the keel: 3/4" wide by 1" - 1 1/8" deep and tapered down toward the bow and stern? This trip will be entirely on a string of lakes--no whitewater, but probably some dragging along the bottom. Also, what other wood has historically been used other than white oak?

She's not real pretty right now, so I'd also like to put a coat of dark green over the fiberglass to match what little color is there. Most of the hull has no paint but is down to bare fiberglass and epoxy. What do I rough up the surface with--maybe some 80 grit? and what paint should I use. It's only temporary, but I want something that will look decent and hold up a little bit anyway.

Thanks for your help and thanks for this great forum,
I'd make the keel 7/8" x 7/8" But I would make it trapezoidal / \ and white oak is good. Silicon has been used but I think it doesn't go well because nothing will stick to it. For a temporary paint job, I'd use rustoleum oil based primer followed by rustoleum oil based enamel. Valspar tractor paint from the Tractor Supply is ok too. I would start with 100 or 150 grit and go tor 220 for the primer and paint. Actually, I'd not put a keel on but you probably have holes where the keel once was? And make the keel so you can re use it for the real resto. the keel would normally be attached through every other rib and the screws most likely are 8 x 1".
Hi Dave,

Thanks for your reply. I'll follow your advice on the keel and probably use the 3M 5200 to seal it. It's great stuff, just impossible to remove but at that point I'll be removing the fiberglass anyway. Just curious why you wouldn't install a keel. The build sheet as well as the countersunk holes in the ribs show this canoe had a keel as well as bilge rails originally. Seems like they would help this large, broad Guide model track a little better in open water and protect the hull as well. What are the disadvantages? I know it won't slide around as well in whitewater with the keels. Also on the rustoleum, is there any reason I couldn't use the spray can? This is really just temporary, I wouldn't do that over canvas. The fiberglass has it's outer coat of epoxy missing over large areas and we're down to the epoxy-filled fiberglass, so it's kind of rough looking but it all seems to be sound. It does flex a bit more than I expected. When I set it upright on sawhorses it flexes right over the 2 x 4s on top of the sawhorses. I guess I expected that would bit firmer especially with the fiberglass.

Thanks again,
You're really going to want to use a quart of paint and use a 4" hi density foam roller. Spraying it would work but seems like more cost and more work. I don't jump out of perfectly good airplanes and I don't drill holes through perfectly good canvas. Just a personal preference. Keels provide some protection from the ground and pickup trucks and maybe even underwater stuff. Tracking, turning, etc are subject to technique/skill. I have two 18' canoes. One has a keel and the other doesn't. Blindfolded, I don't think I could tell the difference.