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While going through some rapids, we slid across a jagged rock and it put a huge gouge in the bow of my fiberglass canoe. What method and process is best for repairing it, so that next time I hit some rocks they don't immediately break through and swamp the canoe?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

They sell fiberglass repair kits at most boating stores which are made for this exact sort of repair. It includes a fiber glass cloth which you put over the damaged area, as well as a resin / hardening agent to hold the patch in place. Any kit you buy should have instructions for applying the patch in it.

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During the trip: duct tape. It's strong and flexible and it's easy to carry 3 or 4 feet with you. I've used it to repair a yoke in the middle of nowhere.

Once you're home: a little fiberglass cloth and some epoxy resin. Or if it's more a deep scratch than a gouge, just the resin.

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Epoxy? Isn't most fiberglass resin polyester? Are these comparable? –  Mr.Wizard May 5 '12 at 2:51
    
I built my canoe using epoxy and that's what I would repair it with if it needed it. That was well over 20 years ago so perhaps materials have changed, but the makers of the resin I used say their stuff is better than polyester: westsystem.com/ss/polyester-over-epoxy –  Kate Gregory May 5 '12 at 13:44
    
"WEST SYSTEM® epoxy is a wonderful material for repairing polyester fiberglass boats." -- that answers my question. –  Mr.Wizard May 5 '12 at 17:36
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