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      50 Year Old Fiberglass Canoe     
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marrowoflife
member (9)member
 
05/22/2020 06:49PM
I recently took a canoe out that hasn't been used in a few years. It looks to be in relatively good condition while still being almost 50 years old. It is a 16 foot, 34'' beam fiberglass, 700 lb capacity. While paddling it we shifted weight towards the center of the boat and heard what sounded to be a cracking or crackling sound. As we took pressure off of the area it stopped, but it resumed with any pressure. After examining the boat out of water (attached pictures) there appears to be many small cracks. These mostly central areas of the boat also seemed to have considerably more give and flex to them. Any ideas on the problem and is this concerning? If so, is there a repair? Thank you for sharing any experience and advice!
 
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andym
distinguished member(4836)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
05/22/2020 08:02PM
Maybe I’m missing something but the things I see in your pictures are either scratches or cracks in a surface, maybe gel coat, layer. And so I don’t know if we are seeing the things that made the noise.

Also, just to be curious, what is the inspiration behind your name?
 
marrowoflife
member (9)member
 
05/23/2020 11:18AM
andym: "Maybe I’m missing something but the things I see in your pictures are either scratches or cracks in a surface, maybe gel coat, layer. And so I don’t know if we are seeing the things that made the noise.


Also, just to be curious, what is the inspiration behind your name?"


I was just hypothesizing that since there's a fair amoint of those hairline cracks crisscrossing, that the pressure maybe is causing them to contract and expand creating the noises, but I'm really at a lost, it might not be that.

Additionally it has a lot of meanings personally, but look into Henry Thoreau and "suck out all the marrow of life"
 
justpaddlin
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05/23/2020 11:40AM
I agree with Andy that we can't see anything unusual in your pictures. Some canoes "oil can" which means they flex in the middle since that's the weakest part of the boat. Canoes with flat bottoms are more prone to oil canning since the flat area likes to flex. It's often Royalex boats that have some oil canning but your fiberglass boat may do it since it has a flat bottom so maybe the fiberglass just makes a little noise as it flexes. I've never heard of oil canning causing any real problems other than bothering some people that would prefer that their canoe doesn't flex.
 
jwartman59
distinguished member(3149)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/23/2020 02:20PM
The spider web cracks are probably the result of the gel coat being brittle. Armor all or similar product may be helpful. I treat my 42 year old fiberglass canadienne twice a year and it is as good as new. A photo of the interior of the canoe would be helpful, based on the photos this appears to be a lower quality canoe, I wouldn’t put too much money into it. It is probably fine as is.
 
andym
distinguished member(4836)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
05/23/2020 02:57PM
It could be that the gel coat cracks are showing where there is more serious damage in the layers inside. But it is hard to tell. I can see why the noise has you concerned. Fiberglass can be patched if you find a crack but first you need to find it.

Thanks for the explanation on the name.
 
ppine
distinguished member (177)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/24/2020 08:50PM
andym: "It could be that the gel coat cracks are showing where there is more serious damage in the layers inside. But it is hard to tell. I can see why the noise has you concerned. Fiberglass can be patched if you find a crack but first you need to find it.

That boat with the keel does not look like an especially well made boat. Some of the early boats were made with roving or chopper guns. Fiberglass ages especially in UV light and becomes brittle. I had an early Sawyer kevlar boat that literally started to come apart while I was paddling it. The sounds you heard are not good. I would not trust that boat far from shore or overnight or on a river.
 
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