|Repairing my Old Town Discovery 16-9|
I bought my Old Town Discovery 16'9" twenty years ago, when it was the best affordable tripping canoe on the market. It served me well for many years, down many rocky rivers, until its floor cracked in several places.
This spring, I used a fabric mesh and epoxy method, and I'm confident it will stick.
Here's what it looked like starting out.
First I sanded along the crack thoroughly, removing the waste of previous attempts, and roughing up the surface. This should improve adhesion.
After sweeping away the grit from sanding, I laid down strips of mesh I got from a local fabric dealer (Advanced Fabrics of New Maryland) as scrap. I was not able to find Kevlar fabric, but this should do.
I then took a packet of epoxy I had left over from repairs on my Mad River canoe. It had white gunk in one end, black in the other, and you mix them in the pouch before use. You might choose your preferred brand of epoxy.
I squeezed the epoxy onto the mesh along the crack.
Then I took a painter's stir stick and smoothed out the epoxy evenly over the mesh, working it into the crack.
Next, I covered the length with wax paper, then gently ran my hand along it to work out the air bubbles and make a smooth surface. Cellophane film might have been better, but not as easy to work with.
As the epoxy was hardening, I set flat-faced stones on top of the wax paper to prevent the floor from puckering up at the edges of the crack. Hopefully, it should set level.
The next morning, I removed the stones and peeled off the wax paper. Some of the paper still stuck in spots, but with this old tub, I'm not concerned about looks. The floor is nicely level, thanks.
The final touch was cutting away the loose edges of the mesh and voilà!
Sure, it's not high-tech plastic welding, but I'm not going to bother painting it. Let's hope this job will succeed, and that the crack won't return as soon as the boat slides over the next rock. Think positive!
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