Please allow me to come here seeking knowledge. I recently purchased a 1979 Montgomery Wards Budweiser canoe. It's 17' long and made of plastic. I know it sounds a little silly but it's loads of fun. I canoe Missouri's rivers. I took it on the first trip this weekend and got a lot of attention. My wife isn't sure that she want's to be such a "spectacle". It got to the point that people were standing around taking pictures of us. People on the highway honked at us atleast 20 times on our way to the river.The boat is in pretty good shape aside from one thing. The issue I have is that it has cracked along the gunwales (I think that's what they're called.) I'm not much of a sailor so let me say that the cracks are along the top edge of the canoe at the base of the 90 degree bend. It has mainly cracked where the seats attach. I am considering either a fiberglass or epoxy type repair. I would like to do the entire top edge on both sides. I can cover the top edge with red duct tape to cover the repair (it has white tape on it now). I am collecting info on how to proceed. I've been reading but thought the experts here might have some ideas. So how do I repair plastic? What types of bondo/epoxy are available and what would you suggest? I am also moving to seats that are braced from the bottom of the canoe to keep this from reoccurring. Thanks a lot for the help.Here's a picture:
First thing to do is to figure out what type of plastic you have...it may be weldable, most tough to glue plastics can be put back together with "plexus" and fiberglass. Your canoe will be tough to fix permenantly because of the flexibility of the material. It can be done tho. Chief
I took the duct tape off and took some further pics of the damage today. It's mostly just cracked but as you can see, the worst spot has about an inch wide broken spot. It doesn't really look as bad in person as it does in the picture. What I think I need is to take a "fabric" that is coated in fiberglass or epoxy and rebuild the entire length of the gunwales on both sides. What is available for such an application? I don't have a clue. I will remove the red support bar so I can wrap the material around both sides and can go down about 3" on each side. I just don't know what materials I'm looking for. How do car and boat body shops do it?And, no, Anheuser Busch is not paying me....yet. I live in Soulard in St. Louis and can see the brewery and smell the hops from my house. I have been collecting accessories for the canoe and am now quite a spectacle. We have bud umbrellas, swimsuits, hats, shirts, and a flag..... I think I'll head over to AB with my rig and sit in front of corp hq and see who comes out to have a look. I'll keep you posted.Also, what kind of paint can I use to paint the red plastic supports while I have them off? Any help you guys can give me is much appreciated.Click on the pics to see them full-size.
The canoe looks bad in those last pictures so I wanted you to see what it looked like from a bit of a distance. It really is pretty cool....and it doesn't leak. The only problem is the broken/cracked edges.
OK, I've been reading a lot of posts on here about resins. You guys seem to know a lot. What kind of fabric and resin would I use to get strength and a little plyability? I'm not going to be able to get the red bracing off of the edges so will have to do the inside and outside of the canoe separately. Should I do several coats? I don't want to end up with something that is brittle and will crack again. I will buy good materials at a boat store. I'm seeing System Three, Raka, and West System mentioned a lot here. But exactly which product? Thanks for the help gang.
Basically you will want to do a glass layer on the inside and out. Raka, System3, West System are just brands of 2 part epoxy.Now epoxy is flexable within limits of course.I would get some fiberglass tape about an inch or 2 wider than the break. coat the edges of the break with epoxy then lay the glass tape over this. the come back and brush the weave inside the break do this on the outside first with the canoe on it side so the excess will drip out. then do the inside making sure you coat the area around the cut and the fabric you just layed in thats on the outside. This should fix it.The epoxy will need to be coved with a paint orsomething to be UV resistant or you will have the same issues again.Good Luck and keep us posted.