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06/14/2017 08:13AM
We bought a used Northwind 17 over the winter. It is in great shape overall, but I believe some Kevlar fibers are showing on the bow and stern, as you might expect. Pictures are below.

I sent the pictures to Northstar and received two possible methods for repair: a) gel coat the area, or b) add skid plates. After reading several posts on this site and others, it seems like a completely mixed response toward skid plates. If I did add skid plates, I would likely go the route of using Dynel or S-glass. My other thought was just to epoxy the fabric back into place.

What recommendations do you have? Thanks!

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distinguished member (181)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/14/2017 09:29AM
Here is a third option. I have this on my canoe and it is durable in my opinion. Very easy to install.
distinguished member (285)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/14/2017 10:24AM
I would not add skid plates unless you plan to continue the same kind of abuse. Filling that area with epoxy resin would harden it up fine. I would start with straight epoxy so it is thin enough to penetrate down into the cloth. Then add some thickened with a silica filler like cabosil and cover it real well. The silica will make the coating harder. Mask off the area to make it neat. If you have a hard time getting the thickened epoxy smoothed out just get it as good as you can and smooth it with a rasp when it is hardened. Epoxy needs protection from UV so put a coat of varnish on the repair that has a UV inhibitor/filter.
distinguished member(1054)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/14/2017 03:59PM
I agree with sedges assessment and recommendation.
06/14/2017 07:18PM
Is the wear on the stern or bow? If the bow, the negative effects of a skid plate is negligible. In fact, I'd opt for the bow skid plate. The stern is a whole different animal. Avoid stern skid plates, but a bow skid plate is OK especially if you expect continued abrasion there.
distinguished member (137)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/14/2017 09:07PM
Repairing with S glass will make it more repairable in the future IMO, but I loathe skid plates unless they are cut down and as small as possible. Ya, I know no one knows me here on the boards, but have been in the industry for 25+ years.
06/16/2017 07:17AM
The wear in the picture is on the bow, but there is similar damage on the stern. Maybe a couple spots along the bottom.

If I try epoxy with varnish finish now and it doesn't work, will that preclude me from trying a different tactic next time?

Thinking of using this epoxy kit from West System:
West System fiberglass repair kit

Also, before I apply the epoxy, should I sand the area a bit?

Suggestions for varnish?

Thank you!
distinguished member(952)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/16/2017 08:02AM
Yes sand. You need topography/surface area for the epoxy/varnish to adhere otherwise it will flake. It needs to have a good bond/grab.

If you need to go back, you can always sand through the previous repair.

Note: when sanding, if you start to see more fuzz from the fabric, you may be going too far.

My MN II has lots of extra glass and epoxy. She's been sitting in the sun for about 15 years since I've had here and I bough her used. Not the prettiest canoe you will see but she gets the job done. Goes by the name "Bertha".

distinguished member (285)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/16/2017 11:46AM
If you are just filling the abraded coating and cloth and not adding cloth or skid plate I would sand with 80 grit about 1 inch beyond the damage. Sanding the actual damaged area should be minimal. Kevlar does not sand, it just fuzzes. Mask off the area with tape. Mix your epoxy and brush on to the areas with exposed cloth and let it soak in. Then mix some silica filler into the remaining epoxy in the cup. Get it to a consistency a little stiffer than mayonnaise. Work that into the damaged areas and add some more to cover. I find that old credit cards work good for small squeegees to spread and smooth.

After it hardens wipe it off with warm water to get the waxy blush off (it will clog up sand paper and interfere with the varnish). Shape and smooth it with a rasp and than 80 grit followed by 120 or 150 grit. Then apply varnish. Foam brush is fine.

Any spar varnish with a UV inhibitor is fine. This isn't fine furniture, I would not spend a lot on fancy varnish. The cheap Helmsman at Home Depot comes in 1/2 pints should be more than sufficient. I needs to say on the can that there is a UV inhibitor or filter.

You are basically just replacing the material that was abraded. Maybe with a heavier material. You can always go back and add skid plates or beef up the area with some fiberglass cloth if you find it necessary.
distinguished member (137)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/16/2017 08:08PM
aerosen, I'm in Stillwater and could help with repairs if need be. I'm cheap, like free for small stuff, but distance might be prohibitive.
06/17/2017 09:43AM
Thanks, Hex and sedges, for the helpful details and advice! And Arcola, if I feel overwhelmed, I will keep you in mind.
06/20/2017 05:21PM
This is so timely.

I have a Bell Northwind 17 that I also bought used. Pulled it out for a trip this past week and have come to the realization that I can't put off fixing the damages this boat received while being used as an outfitter boat.

Arcola, would you be open to working on my boat? I'm in St Paul.

I'm loaning it to Nola from this board in early August and would love to have it in good shape for that trip.
distinguished member (137)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/20/2017 07:05PM
You bet!! Message me. and I'll give you my number and address.

I'm guessing my email is "not properly installed" like yours. 651-472-2311 Kent
06/25/2017 02:09AM
Thanks Arcola!
I will message you Sunday.
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