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Thread: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

  1. #1
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    Default Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    I bought a used Pygmy Coho a little while ago. The varnish on the hull was peeling and the previous owner had sanded some of it off. It has a couple of deep scratches along the bottom, but nothing that goes through to the glass. The problem is the bow. It's missing a couple square inch chunk of wood that I think needs to be replaced. It looks to me like the original owner had initially used some sort of putty to smooth out the bow, but I'm not sure. See pictures below.

    Bow



    Varnish on hull


    Stern


    I'm pretty sure that I can remove the varnish with a random orbital sander and 120 grit paper. Then either I can paint the hull (with Brightside?) or wetsand with 220 and varnish (I've never varnished anything before).

    I'm not so sure what to do about the bow. Any suggestions?

    Please keep in mind that I'm a complete novice at this.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    If that is what I think it is it looks as though someone has stuffed the stem into something unforgiving and then repaired it with boat in a can, covered with woven glass cloth. I would want to do the repair properly, then strip all of the patchy varnish and re do it from bare wood. Don't wet sand wood, it goes all fuzzy. You can wet sand between varnish coats though.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    How would I "do the repair properly"? Remember. I'm a novice.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    My idea of a "proper repair" would be an attempt to reproduce the construction, as in splice in small pieces of wood & ply, then fair it all in with sandpaper & varnish. Easy for me since I must have several square feet of assorted cut-off pieces of marine ply in a variety of thicknesses, but you may have to scrounge the bits. Post your general lcation and maybe a nearby forumite will step a bag of wood bits.

    To get on the water, a quick & dirty repair is mix WEST epoxy with sawdust or one of the WEST fillers mixed to putty consistancy and blob it in, grind & sand to shape.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    JDberger,

    The finish is easy. Sand to remove the flaking varnish, hope you do not have to remove the fiberglass. Wet the sanded glass surface to see what it will look like when you re-varnish. Or just put one coat of varnish on a see if you like it. If not, sand off the glass, or use a heat gun and a scraper to remove the glass, then lightly sand the wood, replace glass/ epoxy. That is another education in itself, but go to the Gougeons web site and download their book - "Gougeons on Boat Construction" and look at the instructions on line.

    Replace the wood by making a straight cut thru the deck - it looks like ~12" back from the nose - but cut enough to get all the damage. Don't cut down into the hull sides. Grind or use a rasp to cut edge of the wood of the deck you are removing, just going down to the side panel. The deck piece you are replacing should fall off. If not cut accross the deck piece you are removing to get a view of what is holding it on. Now glue a doubler accross the free edge of the deck (the underside) to make a ledge to set the new plywood on. Epoxy the underside of the new deck piece of plywood, fiberglass if you want, sealing the aft end of the piece. If you will be replacing the grommet for the rope seen above, do it now. Then glue doublers inside of the bow hull planks to get more gluing area since you will not be able to fiberglass the underside of the deck to the sides. Be sure and extend the doublers higher than the deck line. Use a file or rasp to take them down to the height of the deck. Epoxy all surfaces of the doublers since this is the last time you get to waterproof these pieces. The new deck piece should match tightly to the cut you made in the remaining deck and should be larger that the width of the bow. Epoxy down the new deck piece to the ledge at the back and the bow planks with doublers by wetting out the raw wood with unfilled epoxy first. Let it set 2-5 minutes and recoat if the epoxy does not look shinny. Now mix up some filled epoxy and liberally coat all edges you will be gluing to. Place the new deck insuring the straight cut is as tight as possible. Tape down with painters tape or packing tape (I like this better since it stretches). Clean up the excess glue dripping down the side of the boat and at the deck to deck joint. Allow to cure overnight.
    Using a saw or rasp, remove the new deck plywood which overhangs the hull. This leaves raw wood on the surface and edges of the new deck. Sand down into the glass on the hull and deck trying to taper the coating left - 1-2" of taper.
    Coat the deck, edges, and tapered hull area with unfilled resin and lay a piece of fiberglass over the area. Then use more epoxy to saturate the glass. Do not fill it so much that it has a completely smooth surface. Wait until the epoxy cures, then use more unfilled epoxy to fill the rough surface. This might need to be done again if you missed some roughness. Let it cure for a day at least.
    Sand to smooth out the surface as much as you want.
    Varnish.
    Go paddling.

    In case you did not like the job you did on your first fiberglass try, welcome to the club. Grind/ sand it off and try again. This is the school of hard knocks, no matter how much anyone tries to explain.

    Have faith that you can make this repair and return the boat to a useful state. The appearance has always been harder for me.

    I did forget on thing about the plywood. It is almost certainly 4mm Occume plywood which is a marine plywood and not generally available. Personally I would write CLCboats.com or Pygmyboats.com and beg for a scrap. The both make plywood stitch and glue kits and probably have scraps. Someone on the forum might also be generous. Otherwise just get whatever you can find and grind it to fit. 4mm is 0.160 thick, so you will grind a lot if you get 1/4" ply (0.25") and it will not look the same -guaranteed.

    Sorry if this was too simplistic, but you did say you were a novice.

    This is not as hard as it seems.
    Good Luck,

    Marc

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    That is a stitch n glue kayak. plain n simple . it is not a historic canoe.
    dry it , smoosh it with 403 and west.
    do not cut anymore wood away.
    do not scarph a dutchman,.
    that kayak stem remains the strongest part of the boat , even with the wee mosh up .
    use 80 grit on your RO.
    then , go out and smash it up s' more.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    JD,

    Since you just got the simplest of fixes, you might also just shape a piece of wood to fill in the damaged area and glue it in. Personally I would at least like to have wood instead of a solid plug of filled epoxy, but Wizbang's method will work just like the repair done before.
    Up to you what you want to see.
    Once you are done you could paint it so you will never notice the repairs. If so you can just lightly sand to eliminate the varnish flakes before you paint. Paint will be much less work.

    If you are going to refinish it I personally would fix it "right" but that's just a personal opinion. It is really not hard. If you had some experience you could complete the repair in a weekend.

    Look at this thread started by Wizbang http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...&highlight=and see if you think he would really just slap some epoxy on. His work looks too good for me to really believe it. But - lots of different choices - depends upon your mood.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    Thanks to all y'all for the information. Right now I'm considering my options.

    If I make an epoxy/putty plug, I'll paint the hull - or at least the forward part of it.

    In any event, I'll post my progress with pictures.

    Thanks!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    If you need a few scraps of 4mm 1088 plywood let me know....similarly I have plenty of fiberglass cloth in various weights. For small quantities of epoxy/filler, you can often get "trial packs" from places like Raka or www.bateu.com. I'll pay the postage on the 1088/glass if you make an equivalent donation of about $3-4 to Salvation Army or Goodwill or something.

    Let me know via PM if you want wood/fiberglass. Good Luck

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    Quote Originally Posted by JBreeze View Post
    If you need a few scraps of 4mm 1088 plywood let me know....similarly I have plenty of fiberglass cloth in various weights. For small quantities of epoxy/filler, you can often get "trial packs" from places like Raka or www.bateu.com. I'll pay the postage on the 1088/glass if you make an equivalent donation of about $3-4 to Salvation Army or Goodwill or something.

    Let me know via PM if you want wood/fiberglass. Good Luck
    Thank you so much for the offer. I think I have a solution. I'll keep y'all posted!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    Updates:

    The bow has been repaired. It ain't pretty, but it's functional. I'll paint the bow so you won't be able to see the repair.



    I sanded the boat. A lot. There were some serious low spots in the epoxy layer. I couldn't get the surface perfectly flat because I started to run into the fiberglass cloth, so I scuffed them up with a little 80 grit paper on my finger. I hope the epoxy bonds to it.



    There's a wierd white stain on the back deck that I couldn't really sand through. I'll paint the rear up to the hatch cover, too.



    There's also a nasty dent on the edge of the rear hatch opening. I wonder if someone was trying to pry up the hatch?



    I figured that with all the low spots, the boat could use another layer (or two) of epoxy. I used West Systems with the 207 hardener and rolled it out, tipping off the bubbles.

    Here's the boat after the first coat of epoxy.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    Another pic of the wierd white stain on the back deck (now covered with epoxy).



    And my assistant.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    So - some questions.

    1) I drilled a hole in the stern for a carrying toggle. I didn't realize it at the time, but there wasn't an epoxy plug back there so I essentially have a hole in the back of the boat. Is there an easy way to seal it off? I was thinking of rolling up a piece of paper and pouring a plug of thickened epoxy around it.

    2) How soon can I paint/varnish the boat? The temperature outside is around 80 degrees. Would it be too soon if I started sanding 24 hours after the last coat of epoxy?

    3) How soon after I I varnish/paint can I cartop the boat? I'm going to be using Interlux Brightsides over a primer for the paint and Interlux Schooner varnish

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    That looks like an original attempt at fairing using microbubbles. A good job and not to worry; paint 'er up and get 'er wet.

    BTW, most of us here would approve of your helper, you need a tandem.
    Steve Martinsen

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    Be sure to wash off any blush/greasy oil from the epoxy. water and soap, before sanding.
    personally, I would not use conventional varnish over epoxy.
    If the boat gets only a little sun, one can just leave it in resin. Of course, epoxy breaks down in the sun , but any future dings and scratches will be a bigger pita to fix , cuz you will have to sand / scrape varnish outta the way. The boat is already imperfect, which makes her perfect for real use.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    Quote Originally Posted by SMARTINSEN View Post
    That looks like an original attempt at fairing using microbubbles. A good job and not to worry; paint 'er up and get 'er wet.

    BTW, most of us here would approve of your helper, you need a tandem.
    That stupid dog is terrified of water. I can't even put Frontline on her without her wigging out. I made her turn in her Labrador card last year.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    Another update.

    SWMBO informs me that there will not be time to sand, paint and varnish the boat before we go on vacation. The boat is coming with us and will be used in the Bay.

    I understand that epoxy breaks down under sunlight, but how fast does it break down? Should I expect yellowing after a couple of weeks? How will salt water impact the epoxy?

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    My dingy "Resinante" gets nothing but resin on the outside, for the reasons I mentioned. It takes half an hour , twice a year, to sand her and squegee 8 pumps of new west back on . She lives in the Caribbean. salt water has no effect. Use it and enjoy it!! Check this old bomb out if you think I would put a boat together with just epoxy.
    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...val&highlight=
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 07-23-2012 at 05:36 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    Any comments on this?

    1) I drilled a hole in the stern for a carrying toggle. I didn't realize it at the time, but there wasn't an epoxy plug back there so I essentially have a hole in the back of the boat. Is there an easy way to seal it off? I was thinking of rolling up a piece of paper and pouring a plug of thickened epoxy around it.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    Your plan should work, but make sure the paper is stiff enough not to collapse. Alternatively, tape over the holes you have drilled, pour your plug, remove the tape, and re-drill another hole through the epoxy. If it were me, I would consider inserting a piece of scrap copper tubing instead of rolled-up paper, leaving it in place once the epoxy sets up, using a file and sandpaper to fair the tube to the surface of the hull.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    Poured the plug using a rolled up piece of paper to keep the hole open. The wife was thrilled with this part...



    Strapped the beast to the top of the family wagon in preparation for a trip to sunny San Diego.



    It felt like I was driving an ark.



    Two days later, prepped for launch.

    Last edited by jdberger; 09-06-2012 at 03:32 PM. Reason: Fixed pichers...

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    Towing eldest son out on San Deigo Bay. His little plastic boat wasn't fast enough to keep up with me.





    I need to get him his own boat.
    Last edited by jdberger; 09-06-2012 at 03:33 PM.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Repairs on a stitch and glue kayak

    Re: post 20 - Greg's idea on the copper pipe.

    That's pretty much how I made the hole for my bow toggle. Rough up a piece of copper pipe (60 or 80 grit), put it through the hole and tape any gaps, pour your epoxy plus around it and then trip the pipe to length when it's all cured.
    Last edited by AnalogKid; 09-06-2012 at 08:28 PM. Reason: thought I was at the end already
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