Skidplates (summer 2002)
(See photos below)
After paddling Georgian Bay for two weeks, I decided to add additional protection for the stems. I fabricated narrow skid-plates made of 1/8" nylon chord soaked in epoxy-graphite mixture. The chord was cut the length of the stem from the waterline to the end of the stem under the canoe. A thick epoxy-graphite-silica mix was used to fill in the gap between the flat stem and the curved sides of the chord. This resulted in a stem with a very sharp entry, as opposed to the flat surface of the uncovered stem.
These skidplates worked very well at protecting the stems from damage. Aside from some abrasive wear exposing the thread pattern of the chord, there were no chips or breaks for the length of these mini skid-plates.
Theoretically, the knife-edge stems would make the canoe track better, go faster, but be more difficult to turn. Those changes, if they have occurred, have been too minor to notice.
The photos below show the stem skidplates after two seasons of hard use: