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Popular canoe material

Why is ABS a popular canoe material?

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ABS, or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, has earned a reputation among canoeists for near indestructibility. It is one of the most damage-resistant canoe materials in use today. Badly dented hulls, even those that have literally been bent around a rock, have been restored to their original shape, without cracks or leaks, by the application of heat. Canoeists have dubbed ABS craft "rubber boats" and with good reason. Since the material tends to flex slightly, it is forgiving, tending to slide over rocks, or bounce off them, with little more than a surface scratch. Some of its limitations are marginal buoyancy - it will float when capsized but just barely, so don't expect to climb into a swamped ABS canoe to await rescue, or to hand-paddle it ashore. Also, when wet, the floor of an ABS canoe is slippery, which can prove troublesome in rapids. ABS canoes require little maintenance and can be left outdoors all year - although ones with wooden gunwales and peaks should be propped to avoid ground moisture. ABS canoes also require special epoxy resins for repairs.

Posted on Dec 01, 2008

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I have heard that ABS will no longer be manufactured in sheets for canoe building. Too bad, I have two and they are tough boats.

Posted on Sep 14, 2013

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In my experience, cracks in ABS boats are irreparable. Cracks bonded with a specialized epoxy open back up after some inevitable flexing during use. I have seen some successful, but ugly, repairs done by "sewing-in" a patch.

Posted on Jun 23, 2009

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