Restoring vintage fibreglass kayak

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by Franklin, Jul 28, 2022.

  1. Franklin
    Joined: Jul 2022
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: Australia

    Franklin New Member

    New member here with a few inexperienced questions. Thanks in advance for any assistance. I recently acquired a vintage kayak (for little money) in need of a some TLC. A web search brings up a few hits for renovating old fibreglass things, but reading between the lines it doesn't seem that it would be wise spending too much effort/money on this as a project.

    Google pointed me to this forum by locating an old thread that seems to cover a similar project although the pics have aged away. Further reading on the forum found a more recent thread "when must a gelcoat be painted" which has lead me to ask for more help here. I'll state upfront my only experience using epoxy is filling knots in a timber table top using some Wests system. The thought of spraying or painting a new epoxy gelcoat fills me with dread.

    To put things in context, I recently moved to live on a lake and this will be my first foray into taking a craft to water. My experience in water sports and fibreglass is pretty much nil. Additionally, given my age (69) I'm guessing if the kayak floats I'll only be using it for a few years at most. If I get the bug I might try taking it for a paddle on one of the nearby creeks, but atm it will only be used on a sometimes tidal lake.

    Here are some pics of the shell.

    IMG_20220717_163258.jpg IMG_20220717_163344.jpg
    Questions:

    1. It needs a seat. Any suggestions on shape and/or cheap options? Any plans around for laminating and shaping one out of say recycled pallet wood? (I can do things in wood :) )

    2. The craft will most likely be stored out in the (sub tropical) elements (Queensland, Australia). Should I paint it? The current black design on the top is just some paint over the purple fibreglass top. The bottom is/was translucent/clear. I assume the bottom needs some more UV protection if I intend to store it upside down outside on a jetty.

    3. Other than the obvious cosmetic scrapes on the bottom, there are a couple of other fairly minor dings and over the body. Do these need to be sanded back and filled? I have a small amount of Wests epoxy (400ml ?) left over and also some epoxy builders bog.

    If I understand correctly the suggestions in the old thread I found, for a kayak of this age and design maybe simply painting it with an epoxy enamel paint would be the sensible renovation option. Sanding back, recoating and polishing is maybe wasted cost, time and energy.

    I haven't put it in the water yet. I guess I had better find out first that it actually floats and can carry my weight. [​IMG] The shell was only $25 from the local recycle yard. It was holding quite a bit of rain water when I picked it up, so I don't think it leaks. The lack of a seat is the main issue, somebody suggested simply lining the bottom with an exercise mat would do for starters.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Blueknarr
    Joined: Aug 2017
    Posts: 1,382
    Likes: 359, Points: 83
    Location: Colorado

    Blueknarr Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum.

    Cool little kayak.
    A lot of love could restore it to be a museum piece. But then you would never use it. And what a shame that would be.

    Wood seats are just fine.
    Until then a throwable life seat would probably work.

    Since you plan on outside storage, painting the bottom would be best.
    No need for expensive two part paints. My suggestion is the Aussy version of Rustoliem.
    Put just enough effort into it so that your not embarrassed to paddle it about.

    You will scratch it every beaching. So be prepared to repaint frequently.

    Enjoy the heck out of it.
     
    ondarvr likes this.
  3. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 6,757
    Likes: 1,381, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    2x, ditto
     
  4. alan craig
    Joined: Jul 2012
    Posts: 347
    Likes: 110, Points: 53, Legacy Rep: 14
    Location: s.e. england

    alan craig Senior Member

    Hi Franklin, 66 year old here. It looks very narrow and racy, you might fall out as soon as you get in! Make sure you can get your knees out of the small cockpit if you can't do an Eskimo roll/recovery thing. It looks to be in very good condition so maybe just some epoxy on the scratches and then paint. I have a moulded plastic kayak seat here without a kayak but I am in the UK!
     
  5. Franklin
    Joined: Jul 2022
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: Australia

    Franklin New Member

    Hi guys, Thanks for the welcome!

    First things first then. Make sure it floats and I don't have a propensity to fall out of it!
     
    fallguy likes this.

  6. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 6,757
    Likes: 1,381, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    If you do find out it is easy to tip; there are some remedies for that as well.
     
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