GIG HARBOR CANOE AND KAYAK RACING TEAM

DISCLAIMER 

--- I am no expert I have only learned through trial and error and what I have found that works best. If you have comments, concerns, questions or additions to expand my understanding then email me at [email protected]. If you are interested in helping the team with boat maintenance let Alyson or I know. ----

 

Chip Repair

 

When to fix a chip - 

  1. Firstly, check to make sure the chip is just a chip and not a hole in the boat, if it is a hole you may need to do a fiberglass cloth repair.

  2. If the chip is on a seam of the boat and it looks like it has formed a crack along the boat you may need to to a fiberglass repair

  3. If the chip does none of the above but has cracks along the side that aren't on a seam fill with bondo chip repair to fill in the small cracks, let it harden, then go in with the normal putty that is much thicker in consistency.

 

How to fix a chip - 

1. Prep

1. To prep the area make sure the boat is clean and dry.

2. Wet sand the area around the chip making sure to get rid of any debrief that falls off.

3. Finally, wipe down with acetone and let the boat air out. The surface must be dry

      

2. Mix the solution well. Depending on your product the pot life will vary so check the label. And follow it closely, once it begins to set it becomes unworkable and can ruin your work so far. 

 

3.  Making sure to fill in all the cracks, lay on your putty mix on the boat and let harden. Do not overwork the product once it begins to set as it will separate itself from the boat.

 

4. Once hardened completely, begin to sand down to blend in with the boat. You can use an electric sander but once it gets closer to the boat I would hand sand getting a finer and finer sand as you get closer to the boat. Once finished you should be able to run your finger of the repair area and feel no difference in texture.

 

5. At this point you can wipe down with acetone a final time and paint if desired. If dried but still slightly tacky refer to the video I’ve linked below. 


 

Video Help

https://youtu.be/uHmgkAS9AvI  - this video uses a similar product as the bondo fiberglass repair. 


 

Fiberglass Cloth Repair

 

When to use fiberglass cloth repair - 

  1. If there is hole in the boat, use fiberglass cloth to repair if possible on both sides. 

  2. If there is a seam on a boat that is separating repair on both sides. 

  3. Do not use fiberglass cloth if it is just a chip that does not go through the boat.

 

How to do a fiberglass cloth repair - 

1. Prep

1. To prep the area make sure the boat is clean and dry

2. Wet sand the area around the damage making sure to get rid of any debrief that falls off.

3. Finally wipe down with acetone and let it dry out

4. Identify where you are repairing. If there is a large hole you may want to do a chip repair first and then reinforce with fiberglass. This is especially important if you can not repair both sides of the boat. If you are repairing along a seam then check if there is separating in the boat. If you could in theory separate the boat at the seam then epoxy the layers shut, clamp them in place, let dry then do your fiberglass repair. 

    

2. Once the area is prepped, cleaned and secure grab a 24 hr cure non- blushing epoxy or bondo resin. The epoxy is preferred on nicer boats but the bondo resin works just fine. You could also use five minute epoxy but you will need to work fast and the finished product will be not as nice.

 

3. What you’ll need - 

  1.  Prep all of your tools before mixing the epoxy as you want to work fast and without mistake. 

  2. Pre - cut the square of fiberglass you will use. I use approximately five inches of cloth for one inch of damage

  3. You will also need a brush, cloth ready with acetone and your mixed epoxy or resin.

 

4. Applying the fiberglass - 

  1.  Once you've gotten everything you need apply your first layer of epoxy over the damaged area. Try to lay down the epoxy as evenly as possible while still being generous with application. Then on top of the epoxy, lay your fiberglass cloth. Use a brush or 3in” roller to saturate the cloth. Do not overwork epoxy as it can make it blush. 

  1. A note - if you want to try to color match add the color to the already mixed epoxy and incorporate fully.

  1. Once cloth is saturated and laying flat cover in epoxy again just as before making sure the cloth turns almost clear underneath. 

  2. Wipe away any excess or drip with acetone and let harden.

  3. Once dried completely, take a plane and make the surface smooth then sand down and wipe with acetone for the final time. At this point you can paint if desired.

 

Video Help - 

https://youtu.be/ioj1YBm6bJY - this video is great if you're unsure what type of fiberglass cloth you should use and the differences in application.

 

Varnish

When to revarnish - 

1. How I use varnish is to repair the protective layer on a boat. Oftentimes, boats left in the sun will start to peel and off from the boat. You can tell if this is happening by looking at the boat. If sun damage is severe it will be in flakes, peeling off. If the sun damage is not as severe you will be still able to see lighter spots on the bot, often yellowish and faded. 

2. If there is damage to the carbon fiber fix it using the chip repair I have listed and then proceed with varnish.

 

How to apply varnish - 

1. Prep

1. To prep the area make sure the boat is clean and dry

2. Wet sand the area around the damage making sure to get rid of any debrief that falls off. Anywhere the clear coat seams to be lifting must be sanded down to the carbon fiber and then blended into the undamaged area. Varnish can not be applied onto clear coat that is lifting. 

3. Finally wipe down with acetone and let it dry out

4. Tape of the section that you will be working with and put newspaper to block the rest off the boat from runaway varnish. 

 

3. What you’ll need - 

  1. Varnish - when choosing varnish be sure to get a marine varnish. You will have two choices of varnish; oil and water based. 

  1. Both have advantages, oil is thicker so I prefer it as I find it more manageable. The cure time is also different with usually having oil dry faster. This is important depending on how you plan on applying. 

  2. When applying you have another choice. You must apply multiple coats at least three to four. You must wait before applying each coat. On the can of varnish you are given a time window where you will be able to reapply before it dries which is usually 2-6 hours. If you do not reapply in that time frame you must wait until completely dry. Then you must sand down to get some tool, clean then reapply. It is a long process. If you are on a time crunch I would suggest reapplying at the beginning of that tacky window. When doing that you do not need to re-sand every time. Oil varnish is best for this as it usually is tacky before the water based varnish.

       2. You will also need foam brushes or a foam roller to apply the varnish.

 

4. Applying - 

  1. When you get your varnish do NOT shake or fold the product to mix it. Stir carefully so as to get no air bubbles. If there are bubbles you will have to sand them out and reapply 

  2. varnish. 

  3. Always work from a wet edge so as to not move the product in an unwanted way. Start from One end to the other starting where you previously applied and dragging outward, making sure to apply a thin and even coat. Be wary of the weather. Do not use varnish in high humidity as it will become cloudy and absorb the moisture. Be also wary of temperature. Too cold, the varnish won’t set. Too hot and it will set much quicker. 

  4. Be wary of overworking the product as it can become cloudy easily. If this happens let it dry then reapply or immediately wipe down with a paper towel and redo the section.

  5. Do not use acetone to clean once you have started applying the varnish.