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The Skinny on Used Sawbill Canoes

4/12/2019 – In order to keep our fleet of rental canoes new and in great condition, we regularly sell off our used stock. It has been a long standing Sawbill tradition to pass along our canoes in as good of condition as we can. We strive for them to have the most functionality, longest (after) life and beauty that we can. To that end, each time a canoe is rented we provide a comprehensive tutorial to our customers on canoe-care best practices while paddling the wilderness. We also complete timely and professional repairs as needed. We think these canoes are a great value and will provide many years of paddling joy…. and no stress about getting the first scratch. See current availability here.

Kevlar Canoes

Kevlar is a composite material manufactured as a woven fabric. It is lightweight and very durable. Using vinyl ester or epoxy resins, layers of kevlar are laminated together inside of the boat mold and hooked up to a vacuum bag system to evenly distribute the resin and remove any excess. This allows the canoes to be constructed using the minimal amount of materials necessary to achieve ultra lightweight and structural integrity.

We rent most of our kevlar canoes for three seasons before selling them. A few are kept for a fourth season if they end up getting stuck on the bottom of the stack and don’t get used as much – or if it’s a less popular model. Prior to sale, we install new external kevlar skid plates to the bow and stern. These skid plates are custom formed to match the lines of the boat in order to provide protection in the high wear spots without excess material.

Refurbished skid plates that match the lines of the canoe.

A fresh coat of resin is applied to the bottom of the canoe. This resin layer fills in all of the scratches and results in a smooth shiny finish. The areas above the fresh resin are finished with a layer of marine varnish to provide UV protection. Any other necessary repairs are also completed to return the canoe to full functionality. Any deviation from this procedure will be noted on the sale listing.

Fresh resin applied to the bottom of the canoe.

Canoes are priced based on age and condition. Price is typically reduced for older canoes and for any patches that may have been applied.


Royalex was a long standing go-to canoe construction material. It is durable, relatively light and paddles well in both rivers and lakes. The ABS plastic material was discontinued a few years ago, leaving a gap in the canoe market. After a few years of R&D, Equif Canoes developed a new ABS plastic laminate they have dubbed T-Formex. Sawbill will carry a handful of T-Formex constructed canoes, made by Wenonah in the 2019 season.

Due to the great durability of the these materials, we keep boats constructed of Royalex/T-Formex for a few years longer before selling them. Like their kevlar counterparts, we install external kevlar skid plates. We also touch up any scuffed paint and treat with 303 Protectant.

Refurbished Royalex canoe with repaired skid plates.