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Note: The following information applies to Souris River KEVLAR®-epoxy canoes. It may not apply to our older Duralite or gel-coated models, or to canoes built by other manufacturers.

Basic Field Repair

Duct tape.  Seriously. Successfully applying an effective epoxy patch in the field is no easy trick. You'll likely end up grinding it off when you get home. Good epoxy also takes a while to cure. You don't want to waste your canoe trip waiting for resin to cure. Rarely will you damage your canoe on a canoe trip to the point where it will leak. Most of the time, if it does take a serious blow, you can punch it back into shape and be on your way. Then apply some home repair at the end of your trip. Still a good field repair kit will get you out of most jams.

A good field repair kit should include some basic hardware:

  1. 3/16" bolts of various lengths for seat, gunwale and thwart repair, ideally stainless steel. Include screwdrivers and wrenches as appropriate.

  2. A 3/8" wrench and Phillips screwdriver will remove any bolts on most Souris River Canoes. (Check your canoe, especially if it has wooden or bronze gunwales; it may use slightly different hardware).

  3. High quality duct tape or Gorilla Tape™.

  4. Wire.

Basic Home Repair

Note: Epoxy resin, until it cures, is a skin and eye irritant. Only work with epoxy in a well-vented area, and wear protective clothing, including safety glasses and gloves. 

Material you will need (see the end of this page for suppliers):

  1. Marine epoxy and hardener.

  2. Four or six-ounce fibreglass.

  3. Two-ounce fibreglass for exterior repairs.

The basics of effective home repair of structural damage to your canoe are:

  1. Use fibreglass cloth rather than KEVLAR®. While KEVLAR® does make an effective patch, most do-it-yourselfers will find it nearly impossible to cut. KEVLAR® also cannot be sanded, unlike fibreglass. Fibreglass is also stiffer, and will be virtually invisible, while KEVLAR® is yellow and more flexible.

    Please, do not use the fibreglass matt used for car repair. You will have a very ugly patch, and you won't forgive yourself. Also, don't use the epoxy resin sold for car repair. It sets far too quickly to allow you to make a quality patch.


  2. Where possible, use heavy four or six-ounce fibreglass on the inside of your canoe, and finer two-ounce glass on the outside (if needed) for a smooth finish. If the crack is not visible on the outside of the canoe, an external patch should not be necessary. (See "Refinishing your canoe" for tips on cleaning-up minor exterior issues).

  3. Use a high-quality two-part marine epoxy. Avoid five minute epoxy, as it is not waterproof. Generally, the slower the cure, the stronger and more flexible the end-result.

  4. Re-shaping your canoe is best accomplished with a heat gun. Carefully heat the area until it is too hot to touch with your bare hand. Then, with a heavily gloved hand, press the distortion back into position and hold it until the KEVLAR® cools down. Heat makes the Epoxy pliable, and cooling returns its stiff and resilient properties.

  5. Wipe the area to be repaired with acetone to remove any wax or UV protectant. Clean and sand the area to be repaired. On the outside of the canoe there is a layer of fibreglass, which will behave nicely when you sand it. The KEVLAR® on the inside will fuzz when you sand it, so don't sand an area larger than your patch will cover.

  6. Cut your patches. Use a minimum two inch wide patch on any crack. To limit fraying, cut a square or rectangle, following the threads in the fibreglass; do not cut circles. Avoid the temptation to pull stray fibres where you cut. That will just release more. Pull any fibres only afer the fibreglass has been wetted.

  7. If possible, patch the inside first. It doesn't have to look as good, so it'll give you a chance to practice. Cut two patches, using four or six-ounce glass. The patch against the canoe should be a little smaller than the second patch, to create a single, smoother edge.

  8. Lay both patches over the crack, and wet them out together, starting from the middle. Apply the epoxy resin, following the manufacturer's instructions. Small amounts may be applied using your (gloved) hand or a foam brush. Apply enough that the damaged area is filled and the fibreglass becomes clear, but not enough for it to drip. Excess epoxy that is not soaked-into the fibreglass only adds weight, not strength.

  9. The cut edges of any patch can be made to cure smooth by laying a clear plastic film along the edge. Remove the plastic once the epoxy has cured. Even Saran Wrap will work, but heavier plastic is best. If the patch is not smooth enough for your liking, you can sand it. An orbital hand-sander works well. Sand it to your liking, then apply a coat of marine varnish. Do not sand the KEVLAR® on the inside of the canoe, as it will fuzz. (If you do by accident, wipe epoxy resin into the area).

  10. If necessary, patch the outside of the canoe in a similar fashion. However, use only a single layer of lighter (two ounce) fibreglass, for a smooth finish. You may want to sand the entire hull and varnish or epoxy it, as described in "Refinishing your canoe".

  11. Now, go paddle.

Patch Kit Suppliers

We have found two suppliers who will sell effective and convenient repair kits for your Souris River Canoes. (If you are close to a retailer of East System or West System epoxies, both are very effective for marine repair).

Mas Epoxy makes a quality marine epoxy available in small quantities for home repair. They also sell small amounts of fibreglass cloth. They sell online and have dealers throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe:


Noah's Marine sells a variety of quality marine supplies. They will ship anywhere in Canada and the 48 states.

Rayplex Ltd., located in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, sells repair kits and marine supplies. The Rayplex website also includes instructional videos on working with epoxy and laminates.

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