CARING FOR YOUR CANOE -
You have selected one of the finest canoes available, a Bell Canoe.We handcraft canoes
using the finest fabrics, resins and trim. A few simple steps will protect your investment for
years of enjoyable paddling.
The gel-coat surface on your Bell Canoe is a high gloss finish that protects the inner
lamination from incidental damage. A few scratches come with paddling as normal
wear and tear, but can be minimized.
1. When entering, loading or unloading your canoe place it parallel to the shore in ankle
deep water.You can load without scuffing the bottom of the hull. Don’t drag your canoe
over sandbars and riffles; lifting over obstacles prevents abrasion and scratching.
2. After paddling, clean your canoe with mild soapy water, preventing scum build up. If it
does, use a non-abrasive household cleaner to remove scum – scum slows your canoe.
3. Protect the hull with frequent applications of 303 Protectant. It slows UV damage, keeps
the hull clean, allows road oil and scum to be wiped off easily, and restores faded gel-coat.
4. To apply, spray the 303 Protectant on the hull, wiping the product on the gel coat with a
303 Protectant soaked rag. Then wipe off excess with a clean cloth. Reapply 303 Protectant
when water no longer beads on the hull. Do NOT wax your Bell canoe.Wax slows the hull
on-water, and encourages road oil build up.Wax can be removed with a mild concentration
of ammonia water. Flush ammonia off with water. It damages the wood finish.
5. Keep the interior clean with mild soap and water applied by a cloth, sponge or kitchen brush
depending on accumulation. Protect the interior from sunlight, and dirt with 303 Protectant.
6. Gel-Coat scratches may be sanded out with wet and dry paper from our Bell Wet Sand Kit.
Flush with water as progressing from 150 to 1500 grit paper. Polish with rubbing compound
and apply 303 Protectant. Deeper scratches may be filled, after cleaning and preparation,
with polyester automotive putty and re-painted to match. You may also use a color matched
Gel Coat Repair Kit.
7. Light scratches in Royalex
® occur from normal use of your canoe. Deep, wide scratches
and gouges may be filled with Super Bond. Clean the damaged area with a mild
solvent, i.e. rubbing alcohol, and apply Super Bond according to the enclosed instructions.
CARING FOR WOOD TRIM
Canoe’s hardwood trims have been shaped, sanded and finished with several coats of
Watco Exterior Wood Finish (what we simply call “Watco Oil”).Watco Oil replaces the natural
oils in the wood, keeping moisture out, preventing drying and resisting fungus. This fine oil
finish must be maintained. Frequent, routine maintenance is recommended.
1. It is time to re-oil the trim whenever the wood feels rough. Maintain trim finish by re-sanding
roughened spots and re-oiling with Watco Oil. Ideally, Watco Oil should be applied at
temperatures above 70°F.
2. To re-oil the trim, first be sure it is clean. Dirty or weathered woodwork can be cleaned
and restored by lightly sanding. Severely dirty or weathered woodwork can be cleaned and
restored with a wood cleaner.Wearing rubber gloves, use a kitchen pad or brush with the
cleaner, and scrub the woodwork thoroughly. Use water to flush the cleaner off trim and the
hull. Several applications may be required. Dry the trim completely and sand any raised wood
grain before re-oiling.
3. Apply Watco Oil with a brush, sponge or cloth, allowing 30 minutes for penetration. Reapply
oil to areas appearing dry, allowing another 30 minutes before wiping the excess off with a
cloth or paper towel.
4. Scuffs from roof racks and other localized marks may be removed with steel wool or synthetic
pads. If this raises wood grain, sand before applying Watco Oil.
5. Keep seat and thwart bolts snug with a Phillips screwdriver and 3/8” wrench and occasionally
snug the rail screws. This maintains the integrity and strength of your canoe.
WARNING: STEEL WOOL OR WASTE SOAKED WITH WATCO EXTERIOR WOOD FINISH
MAY SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST IF IMPROPERLY DISCARDED.
Immediately after each
use, place rags, steel wool or waste in a sealed water-filled metal container. For disposal of
rags and unused amounts of product, contact your local or state government environmental
STORING YOUR CANOE
1. Before storing your canoe for extended periods, place the canoe upright in a garage or
under a tarp for about a week to allow water to drain from under the capped gunwales.
Clean and apply 303 Protectant to the hull and Watco Oil to the trim.
2. DO NOT STORE YOUR CANOE ON THE GROUND. Store it upside down on a rack or saw
horses, in a dry place away from sunlight, heat, and extreme temperature changes. Protected
outside storage is fine but moisture must not be allowed to accumulate between the rails and
hull; cover the canoe, keeping the cover from touching the hull to prevent possible staining.
3. When bringing your canoe out of storage, re-apply Watco Oil to the trim and wipe the hull
with 303 Protectant.
*DO NOT STORE WOODTRIM ROYALEX
® CANOES BELOW 32° FAHRENHEIT*
® shrinks approximately 1” for every 100° drop in temperature. Because wood has
a significantly lower rate of contraction, wood trimmed Royalex canoes are especially
susceptible to a condition know as “cold cracking”. Cold cracking occurs when the hull
contracts significantly more than the trim. The hull will develop cracks at the points where
a fastener, i.e. a screw, affixes the rail to the hull.
The following will reduce the risk of cold cracking†:
1. Do not store your Royalex canoe in temperatures below 32°.
2. Store your canoe indoors.
3. Store the canoe upside-down to allow water to drain from the hull.
4. Remove the screws from the outwale 24” from the stems of the canoe.
† Cold Cracking is not normally covered by canoe manufacturers’ warranty.