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Thread: Working with Kevlar repairs/paint/etc.

  1. #1
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    Default Working with Kevlar repairs/paint/etc.

    So this thread is a spin-off from an earlier one in the canoe forum. I have all but decided to buy a Kevlar canoe, but, before I do, I wondered if anyone has any experience working with kevlar as a hull material. I have a lot of fiberglass repair experience, and I wonder if fiberglass cloth and resin can be used to repair a punctured kevlar hull-especially in the field. Has anyone ever used fiberglass to repair kevlar in the same manner they would repair fiberglass? Is there some sort of "easy" (1 or 2 part resin and structural, i.e. roven, cloth) method of repairing kevlar? If you do it in your garage, (as opposed to on the river bank) does it come out half way decent?

    The other question is painting and prepping for paint with kevlar. I already know that I need to paint the entire canoe I'm going to buy, so I'm wondeing if I can just sand the hull with 320 grit and spray on Dupont Imron and will that work, or is there a better paint for kevlar? I'm also going to a tougher paint for the bottom than for the inside.

    Any ideas or comments?

  2. #2

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    Call rpm composites,508-296-7313.brewster,ma. They work with carbon fiber,kevlar.

  3. #3
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    do a search at http://www.thehulltruth.com/index.php
    you may find the info you need.

  4. #4
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    You can repair kevlar damage with fiberglass, it just takes more layers of glass for the same strength as the original kevlar. We used to do this on helicopter parts when I was in the Air Force. Current Designs "kevlar" kayaks have fiberglass in them as well to beef up the bottoms. The main thing is you want a good epoxy resin. If its kevlar, you don't need a coating. Kevlar isn't damaged by UV like fiberglass is. If you are going to coat it, you want a gel coat that is flexible. I'm not sure how well Imron would hold up. Kevlar will soak up water unlike fiberglass. As far as repairing in the field, I would make it temporary and fix it permanently at home in a controlled environment, preferably under vacuum.

  5. #5
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    A couple of tips with working with Kevlar. As mentioned you have to use epoxy, you cannot use polyester or vinylester resin. The other thing with Kevlar is it's an absolute nightmare if you sand into the cloth and it starts to fuzz up as fibers are so tough. You'll need to soak the fuzzed up fibers with cyanoacrolate glue and then sand the fibers flush. Other than that you can patch with either kevlar or fiberglass. Many kevlar canoes will have a thin layer of fiberglass over the kevlar.

    I don't know why you'd want to paint a kevlar canoe. The benefit of kevlar is it's light weight, adding paint adds weight with no strength benefit. I would proceed with caution when considering a used kevlar canoe and inspect it very carefully. The canoes are a bit on the fragile side just because they are built to be so light.
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