Skid protection


Curious about Wooden Canoes
Reading about skid plates - see the advantage for stems. Any thoughts on applying kevlar fabric to entire bottom after fiberglassing?

Greg Nolan

Would be minimally useful only if you are planning on brutally abusing your canoe -- otherwise, a waste of time, effort, and money.

Jim Dodd

LOVES Wooden Canoes
I see the biggest problem using Kevlar felt, is you can't machine it once its on !
On my last few kevlar hulls, I used 100 % Polyester Fleece.
Sweat Shirt material. You can sand it smoothonce it's cured, and it will add extra bulk to the highly abraided area of the stems. Buy it at Wally World for a few bucks, and it's available in a wide selection of colors.




Curious about Wooden Canoes
... 100 % Polyester Fleece. Sweat Shirt material. You can sand it smooth once it's cured, and it will add extra bulk to the highly abraded area of the stems.

How many layers thick do you make the fleece? Do you put it over the glass or under? Do you wet it out separately from the glass/kevlar?

Greg Nolan

When repairing the worn stems of our Mohawk Royalex canoe ten years ago, I used 2" Kevlar tape rather than the Kevlar felt mat that is usually found in kits. The tape is much thinner than the mat and uses less epoxy, resulting in a repair that is somewhat lighter and less bulky, and to my eyes, more attractive. The thickness of the felt may be suitable for livery canoes which tend to be abused, but I think the thinner Kevlar tape is more than adequate to stand up to the way most people use canoes.

Rather than trying to match the red of the hull (something that is near impossible), I made the repair black by adding graphite to the epoxy. We have used this canoe rather than one of our wood/canvas canoes when setting out in very shallow and/or rocky streams where we expect bumping and scraping, and the repair has served well. Perhaps for really heavy white water use where serious rock contact is planned, something heavier is needed . . . .

As memory serves, I bought a couple of yards of the tape from Fiberglass Supply Co. but other places also sell it by the yard.

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Jim Dodd

LOVES Wooden Canoes
Hi Gary

I wet out the polyester fleece, off the hull.
One layer is plenty. Lightly sand the area where the skid plate will be applied. You could use saran wrap if you want.
As Greg showed in his pics, mask off the area, that doesn't get the plate ! Apply on top of the glassed hull.

The beauty of the poly, is it's sandable, easy to get (Wally World), and a variety of colors.

I did, like Greg, and mixed graphite, in my epoxy resin, when I skid plated a carbon fiber hull.

Also be sure to use Epoxy resin !

Good luck !


Andre Cloutier

Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.
If you lay Saran Wrap over the plates then as it begins to cure, and before it's green you can smooth the felt out by hand , I use this method ever since I saw it, nice smooth skid plates and no need to sand them unless a light scuff if you are painting over them. When the epoxy is still green you can trim them with a knife for the edges that go over the tape laid out beforehand

Todd Bradshaw

The problem with Kevlar on the bottom for abrasion protection is that it gets fuzzy when abraded, and that is quite difficult to fix. Some of the better Kevlar canoes from builders like Mad River have actually been built with a thin layer of fiberglass as the outside layer, to try to control the fuzzing. You would also be adding a lot of weight, so it's not a great idea. Kevlar skid plates (or almost any skid plates) are pretty ugly and much bigger than needed unless you're bashing a plastic boat through whitewater. We used to use the Kevlas skid plate felt, but would use the canoe a bit first, find out where the concentrated abrasion spots were on the stems from actual use and then apply small, cigar-shaped strips (typically maybe 3/4" wide and 8"-10" long) to those specific spots. Worked like a charm and minimized the ugliness and potential fuzzy area.


"Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac
In Memoriam
"-unless you're bashing a plastic boat through whitewater."

Like Todd says, use it awhile and let the rock scratches tell you where protection is needed. You want to apply the kevlar pad to a roughened area anyway. I have worn through kevlar felt pads on an ABS canoe, ripped off the remainder with 40 grit and a belt sander, and applied a new pad. Ugly or not, the boat sure does last longer. One bad thing: the kevlar pad imparts stiffness to the hull where it is applied, so flexes less, and right next to it the flex is greater, so a crack can develop right at the edge of the kevlar. Been there - patched that. Tom McCloud


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I have had friend that mixed graphite and epoxy and applied it just below the waterline


Canoe nut
I have applied a number of skid plates on Royalex canoes. I buy the felt fabric by the yard and the resin kits separately.
The cloth is thinner than the pre-cut one in kits, but sufficient.
If you are concerned with flexibility, use G/Flex instead of the resin, it works well.

I use the G/Flex and Kevlar cloth for hull repairs, I also use it to fill in and level voids under the skid plate area - tinting it to make it less noticeable.
This canoe had an 8" crack through the hull and a bent gunwale. It may not be pretty, but it's solid and the repair will last as long as the rest of the canoe.

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