BWCA Kevlar canoe pitting? Boundary Waters Gear Forum
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senior member (72)senior membersenior member
05/08/2024 02:56PM  
My friend purchased a Souris River Tranquility Solo last fall. He purchased it from an elderly man who owned it for 10-15 years without using it, and it had been stored outside likely exposed to all elements. My friend got it for a steal.

I don't have pictures of the before unfortunately. It was not smooth, very faded, and had what looked like little black spots/divots sporadically. While re surfacing our 2p canoes, we threw this one in the mix. After washing, using acetone, lightly sanding, we coated using west system epoxy products. The small divots would not accept new coating without immense force and pressure, it was bizzare. We tried 3 coatings on the solo, and still having these divots or pits all around.

Can anyone educate us on what this may be, and if the actual kevlar material of this canoe appears to be compromised?

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distinguished member (394)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/08/2024 04:05PM  
Several possible factors, including room temp for curing, dust particles, poor prep of original surface, or inconsistent epoxy mixture.

My Souris River had some similar issues, and I would say at least half of the others I have seen out there show the same dimples. Adding more epoxy wont fix it because it's not going to self level on an uneven surface like a canoe hull.

With that said, these are wet-molded and soaked through with epoxy resin, so there is little danger that you caused any damage at all, and the outer layer is fiberglass. Go paddle it, and in 10 years give it another refinish. Use some 303 protectant on it if you plan on leaving it outside again, epoxy resin does not do well with UV rays.
distinguished member(902)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/08/2024 05:44PM  
I just epoxied my Quetico with West System's and had the same thing happen in some areas. From what I have been reading, it is due to dirt stuck in the fibers. The epoxy is not sticking to that little spec. I had washed, scrubbed, sanded, and wiped down with acetone prior to applying the epoxy, but I could not get the black specs to disappear. It's almost as if they imbedded in the fiber.

I am debating on giving the whole thing another light sand and coating with Varathane spar urethane, but I am unsure that will help.

Let me know if you find a solution!
05/08/2024 05:54PM  
Speed Dimples.
05/08/2024 10:01PM  
Your initial "light " sanding should have been more aggressive. The fg outer coat on SRs allow you to grind away pretty hard. I agree with the dirt speck idea that got down in the holes caused by UV and other elements. Possibly mold or other organic material, or, the fg just opened up so much its just causing little epoxy sucking craters that go deep. Going to be tough now with 3 skim coats of epoxy on it.
senior member (82)senior membersenior member
05/09/2024 04:51PM  
I’ve had uneven surface like this when refinishing and I’m not sure what causes it but I recommend just to ignore it. I doubt it has any effect on speed and I am confident it is just cosmetic.
distinguished member(1501)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/10/2024 12:46AM  
I had the same experience with my Souris River 2 years ago. Thought I had the prep down perfect. We stopped by the Souris River factory to show them and ask for advice as we were staying in Atikokan before a trip. The woman who works there doing refinishing of used canoes said that it was because the epoxy was too thick, keeping it from filling up the tiny pores, and she would thin it down and it worked much better. I'm not sure that would help as it seemed to be more of a fish eye sort of thing where the epoxy did not want to stick to those areas. That being said, the canoe is doing great and looks fine from a few feet away, lol. Prior to the refinish I was getting large white patches after having it in the water for several hours. They would eventually go away but would last for days. I was told it was water getting through the bottom layer of epoxy. It no longer does that, so at least that part is fixed. I will definitely try thinning it next time, who knows, she has done hundreds of them.
05/10/2024 05:48PM  
Fish-eye pattern is what the pros call it. Most often caused by some surface contamination. If the hull was very weathered, contamination could be pretty deep and not gotten cleaned out by the usual sanding and cleaning.

One product that I see used a lot on hulls is 303 protectant. I never recommend using it just because it can cause issues with refinishing. Also anything with silicone the same.

The fish-eye on that hull is so evenly distributed it makes me think that the initial washing got water deep into a weather hull and it didn't dry out before you coated it.
distinguished member(902)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
05/10/2024 10:18PM  
Here's a close up of mine after I epoxied. I lightly sanded again and applied Varathane Spar, no difference. I guess I'll just run with it as is. Still looks nice from a few feet away!

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