Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

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edessex
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Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by edessex » Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:03 pm

This is my first post, so 'Hi', I'm Ed, 29 from Essex/Hertfordshire area.

I went kayaking a couple of times as a kid, on lakes, and as I live next to a canal, I thought I'd try to take it up as a hobby and a good way of exercising.

I've been searching for weeks, possibly months, for a kayak on eBay. I couldn't find that many local, and those that were went for a fair amount. I don't want to throw loads of money at this, as it could end up short lived (although I hope not).

I've struggled trying to find out what kayak I need. It's only for canal use, but I'm heavy built, 6ft2 over 15st, size 14 feet.

What I really fancy is a sit-on kayak, but I have two issues:
-Price, they go for more than I want to spend
-Theft/vandalism, it will be stored at a lockup, but when I'm intending to use it, it will be on the roof of my car, parked in a town. So really an older tatty kayak is a safer bet.



Anyway, I finally bit the bullet and bought a couple of old kayaks on eBay, although I only want one, they came as a 'job lot' and were reasonably local.


This was the eBay description:

These our my old housemates canoes and I know nothing about them apart from his happy for me to sell or give away so please any offers welcome.

These were the eBay photos:

Image

Image



I thought it was worth a gamble. Won for £51


There is two on there, not the best angle photo...

Image


Image

Image


The one with the correct toggle handle things is the 'better' kayak... I'll refer to that as Kayak #1, and the damaged/repaired one as Kayak #2.


I tried a dry run getting in them, the Kayak #1 was a definite no, the cockpit is too narrow for my hips (my fat isn't an issue, its actually the bones that are stopping me!).

Kayak #2 has a bigger cockpit, but the seat narrows to the same width as the other kayak's cockpit.
So I can't get in that either.


I've roughly measured things.

Kayak #1:

Length: 13ft6 / 410cm; Width: 23" / 58cm

Cockpit (inside edges): Length: 24" / 61cm; Width: 14" / 35.5cm


Kayak #2:

Length: 13ft10 / 420cm; Width: 24" / 61cm

Cockpit (inside edges): Length: 27" / 68.5cm; Width: 15" / 38cm

...BUT, on this kayak the edges of the seat come in then down, rather than straight down. So the seat width is actually 13 1/2" / 34cm


I think if the seat on Kayak #2 didn't taper in, then I might be able to get in that one. If I can replace the seat, then I could have a winner.


These seem quite big kayaks compared to others I've bid on, so if I can't get in these, then I have doubts that I would fit in others...




So... Question/advice time.

I don't intend to mess with Kayak #1, apart from maybe painting it. I'll probably sell it on. Kayak #2 is a repair job anyway.


Would it be a realistic 'project' to cut out and replace the seat?

Can I fit a padded foam seat in there?


As I want to use it on a canal, that means getting in/out in 'deep' water. Can I cut the cockpit longer, so I can sit down and then fold my legs in? Again, this is for flat water use.

It looks like there has been a repair, but there is a large crack in it. Do I fill it with resin, or chip it off and do a fibreglass patch?

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by edessex » Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:32 pm

I'm currently searching around the internet for ideas, how about getting some foam like this, shave it to the shape of the bottom of the boat...

Image

http://www.aswatersports.co.uk/shop/pro ... 2784aecf48


...Then stick something more comfortable looking on top:

Image

http://www.aswatersports.co.uk/shop/pro ... ts_id=2728

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by edessex » Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:11 pm

Also, foam blocks for kayaks are 'minicell'. Are those yoga blocks minicell foam too?


Any advice from you guys would be appreciated.

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by muddy_duck » Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:13 pm

Hi

You could try a ready shaped foam seat from sea kayaking uk. Around £36

http://britishseakayaks.co.uk/price-list/

The mega kayak ones are similar
http://www.kayakingkit.com/product.php? ... 712&page=1


If you want to fit a back band for support, retain some to the original seat post, a couple of inches down from the top of the cockpit I'm to secure the back band to. Just remember to remove any sharp edges or corners

Peter

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by Rainshine » Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:28 am

I'm sure that there will be others who have far greater technical and construction knowledge than I do but you need to be incredibly careful that the kayak you think you can fit into doesn't become an instant death-trap when you try it out. You need to be absolutely 100% certain before you go anywhere near any water that you can very rapidly get yourself out of the cockpit in the extremely likely event that the kayak capsizes or leaks catastrophically from the repaired crack area (or a new crack). You must realise that these are old boats and with the greatest of respect, they are really not going to be suitable for a large and inexperienced person to use for paddling on a canal. They were offered cheap/free for a reason. Be careful you don't throw more money at something that isn't going to work out for you (and that nobody else wants to buy, especially if you have chopped bits out of it).

Your general size and particularly the size of your feet are going to be a huge problem - I know men with smaller feet than yours and they struggle to fit into modern, large volume sea kayaks which are much bigger than the kayaks you've bought. I honestly can't see how you will ever get your size 14 feet into that boat! Even if you can get the rest of you into the boat, I really doubt that you'll get your feet in there and its not going to be very comfortable if you can. If you do get in, you need to be absolutely certain that you can get them out very quickly when the boat capsizes and you need to get out when you are under the water. You can't risk getting them stuck inside the boat.

You may find that the seat design provides structural integrity for the kayak and removing it and effectively sitting on a bit of foam on the bottom of the boat may cause it to bend, crack or distort - it could be the last straw for what is an old and already damaged boat. I suspect the same goes for the cockpit coaming - your idea of cutting the cockpit to make it bigger is definitely not a good one. It will provide structural support for the kayak and will stop it bending and distorting right at the point where all the stress is put on the kayak by both your body and all the movements that your body makes when paddling/getting in and out. If you can't be absolutely certain that you can easily get in and out of the current cockpit without the risk of getting yourself stuck then please, please get rid of the boat as it may drown you.

Before the boat goes anywhere near water you need to ensure that it has sufficient buoyancy to prevent it and you sinking when it leaks or capsizes and fills with water (either in the form of inbuilt sealed bulkheads or by using added buoyancy bags). You also need a suitable buoyancy aid which will support your weight in the water when you capsize - can you swim and are you confident in the water? I ask because you will be swimming a lot!! If the boat has no buoyancy then even if you get out OK, it will sink to the bottom of the canal! Please also consider the safety implications of the canal you are planning to paddle in - you need to be sure that there are no nasty underwater hazards (common in many canals) and that you can get back out if there are high or straight-sided canal walls. I suspect you will find it near impossible to balance and get into that boat in deep water, especially given your size and the size of your feet.

If money is a problem and you really want to go kayaking then you'd be much better to join a local club. Most good clubs will have modern, safe and suitable kayaks, paddles, buoyancy aids etc you can borrow for free or for a very nominal charge (which will fit you properly). They will use water locations that they know are safe and they will teach you all the paddling skills and techniques that are essential for you to really enjoy the sport and be safe. Your fitness will come on much faster if you join a club and paddle using good equipment than it will spending hours falling out of the kayak you've bought. As you get to know people, you may well find that there are club members who have spare kayaks they you can borrow or that they would sell cheaply or even kayaks and other bits of kit they'd give away free to a good home.

I'm not trying to be Debbie-downer here or to be a total misery - I really admire your enthusiasm and willingness to give this a go. I just want you to be safe and I have a genuine worry that these kayaks will not be safe for you.

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by gosling » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:21 am

JUst a thought on the security side whilst on your roof rack. If you instead get a sit on top with scupper holes for drainage, you can pass a bike lock through the scupper holes and around the roof rack.

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by edessex » Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:19 am

Thanks for the replies!


@muddy_duck: Thanks for the links, would a backband be required on still water though?

@gosling: I did think about ways of locking it on, but didn't give a thought to those holes. Good call. Just the vandalism thing that would be the issue then.


@Rainshine: That is a very detailed reply, and I understand your concerns.

I was unsure of the idea of putting a foam seat on the floor of the kayak, for the same reasons. But looking online it doesn't seem that uncommon. I was thinking about adding a couple more layers of fibreglass to the floor around the cockpit area, but obviously that would add more weight.
I can't see how the seat itself adds anything strengthwise.

As far as cutting the cockpit bigger goes, I would be making a new fibreglass combing, as looking at the general structure of the kayak, without that combing it would just snap.


I would be getting buoyancy bags for it, if I've got the fibreglass stuff out I might even make a bulkhead behind the cockpit.
I've not been swimming for a few years, but was a reasonably good swimmer.


Foot size does concern me. I was intending to go barefoot, is that normal practice? If I can lengthen the cockpit to the point I can sit and then slip my legs in, I think it might work. This sitting on the back and slithering in malarkay is not likely to work out.

I looked at clubs, local one is a race canoe club. It looks like I'd have to go half hour away to find a kayak club. I usually work 6 days a week (Sundays of), often leaving at 07:00 and returning at 19:30. This makes it very difficult to do things through a club.

As far as the resale of these kayaks go, I paid £50 for two kayaks and two paddles, one kayak and one paddle look good to go (although need a paint). I would hope that I could sell that for £50. The one I'm thinking about cutting has limited resale value, if any.


Purely out of interest, is there any way to find a date and maker of these two kayaks?

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by edessex » Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:32 am

This is the bit that looking like a previous repair, and has cracked. Would the standard fix be to pump the cracks full of resin, or chip bits off, sand, and re-fibreglass?

Image

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by edessex » Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:35 am

I should just say... I'm trying to figure out the level of work before I start anything. I'm also thinking of finding somewhere sensible to test the kayak before going on the canal.


I am paranoid about the whole rolling thing...

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by morsey » Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:12 am

The crack will need repairing properly, or just put gaffa tape over it. There are videos on the internet for fibreglass repair, it's not difficult. For use on a canal, you could easily chop a bigger cockpit with an angle grinder, and then finish the cut with new fibreglass to make the edge smooth. Cost about £25 for resin and fabric from a boat store. That boat will likely be polyester resin. Cut the seat and glue foam in place. Sorted. Cutting, grinding and working with fibreglass is full respirator/goggles/gloves/overalls job, it's smelly and yucky, ideal needs a garage to ensure it stays dry whilst curing. I've done a lot of boat fixing/changing/modifying, for those boats I'd, not bother with the faff, just gaffa tape the split and use them.

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by edessex » Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:34 am

Thanks, but what is proper repair on that? Would it be cut a hole and patch, chip off, sand and patch, or inject resin?

I would happily tape it, but if I've got to mix up fibreglass stuff anyway I might as well slap a patch there too.

I'm going to ask a really stupid question now... Polyester resin, is there more than one type of resin to use with fibreglass then?

With the cockpit combing, am I best cutting the whole thing off and making a new (larger) one, or cut the front out, and tacking the new one onto the remaining part of the old one?

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by morsey » Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:02 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsoKAHU5xUw

Google search is your friend for all things fibreglass, the companies have lots of info and there are plenty of youtube videos. This group mostly use plastic boats, repair is completely different.

For that boat, for canal use, gaffa tape and paddle it. Do it before summer runs out and have fun :-)

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by edessex » Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:10 am

Is plastic considered better than fibreglass these days?

Got to make it fit me before I can paddle it though! Lol. So some faffing is required.

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by Chris Bolton » Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:12 pm

If your canal is the same as the ones round here, you can stand up in most of it, in which case provided you don't get stuck in the boat you should be safe. I would wear shoes if you can, as you don't know what's on the bottom!

Repairing the crack: the paint makes it harder - the usual "easy" repair would be to sand the glassfibre back to solid material and laminate a patch, inside and/or out depending on how stressed the area is. Where in the boat is the crack? It looks to me as if it may be the result of the whole boat flexing, rather than a local impact, in which case a bit of strength is needed to stop it re-occurring. Injecting (never tried but sounds hard) or just running resin into the cracks won't really last, as it won't bond properly.

Polyester resin is basically the same, and any will do, but some are easier to work with. They are usually sold with the accelerator (but not the catalyst) already in the resin, so the shelf life is limited. Old stock gets very thick and treacle like, and doesn't penetrate well. Vinylester (sometime sold as 'Derekane') is comparable with polyester and more expensive but much better. A handy hint on using resin; provided you catch it before it sets, you can clean hands and brushes using washing machine detergent, rub it in without water and then rinse it off (disposable gloves are good too).

The cockpit coaming will add to the strength - the usual way to add a customised coming is by fixing a loop of plastic hosepipe on the deck, with the contact point on the cut edge, applying release agent and laminating glassfibre over it.
I am paranoid about the whole rolling thing...
Terminology is important here - rolling is capsizing and then righting the boat using the paddle, without getting out. You don't need to learn it for the canal. Capsizing on it's own is just that, followed by swimming - to get out, grip the sides of the coaming and 'forward roll' so that your legs come out; don't try to twist round to get your head out of the water until your legs are out, or your toes will turn towards the bottom of the boat and your feet will get stuck.

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by edessex » Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:53 pm

Thanks, from what I've read online lots of people say you should be able to roll before going out solo. If its easy enough to flip out then that works for me! How easy would these things capsize?

I was thinking barefoot as I only own big steel toe boots. As I'd have to purchase suitable footwear, am I better with trainers or something like plimsolls?

The crack is a couple of door from the end of the kayak, I can't remember which end. I has assumed it had been dropped on something, or had been run into by another kayak. These were owned by some youngish lads, possibly college students.

With the combing, thanks for the hosepipe idea! I was going to buy some foam and shape it for a mould, but hosepipe sounds much simpler.


Where would you recommend getting the fibreglass gear from? I'm assuming its easier to buy online these days?

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by Chris Bolton » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:19 pm

lots of people say you should be able to roll before going out solo
You need a way to self rescue if you capsize. If you're in a whitewater river, a big lake, or at sea, the roll is the best self rescue, but if you're on a canal, you only need to be confident you can get out and get to the bank.
am I better with trainers or something like plimsolls
I would suggest plimsols - given the size of your feet, you want something with as little extra bulk as possible.
Where would you recommend getting the fibreglass gear from
I've always bought it locally, I think the resin and almost certainly the catalyst are treated as dangerous good by couriers. Assuming you live somewhere in the area suggested by your username, I'm 200 miles away so can't suggest a local supplier. If you can't find a retailer, try boatyards etc who use it.

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by edessex » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:51 pm

Thanks, I'm probably going to have loads more question.

There must be some boat shops about, will have a search.


I've got to hunt out the dremel drill thing, as I'm thinking the cutting discs on that would be better than using the little angle grinder?

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by goatboy » Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:39 pm

Sorry, edessex, but I agree 100% with rainshine. Given how you describe yourself, & what these boats look like, I think they would be absolute deathtraps for you. Just from their shape, they don't look that stable either.

An alternative suggestion: you seem happy to take on DIY projects, so why not repair & patch the crack inside & out, do up the paintwork, then try to sell them on for around 50 or so each? I recently saw some old SOTs for sale for 130 each, so this puts you in the general area.

What you could do with is either trying out an SOT, or being guided through a wet exit - is there anyone on the forum who could help?

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by morsey » Tue Jul 26, 2016 12:56 am

Calm down, those boats are not death traps, they are the wrong size/type.

Yes you can modify the seat and cockpit, yes an angle grinder is the tool for the job. No it's not worth bothering with (it's the equivalent of buying a 1980 Austin allegro saloon car and converting it to soft top). Punt them back on ebay/gumtree and get something that fits better.

When buying a boat, sit in it, if you can't sit in it, don't buy it.

The type of boat to look for: Open cockpit or sit on top.

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by edessex » Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:27 am

The problem is the price and lack of second hand SOTs, and so far about 90% of the other kayaks I've looked at on eBay also have ocean cockpits.

I'm still looking for a SOT, but think my chances are slim.


Realistically my choices are:

-modify one of these kayaks
-give up on the kayaking idea

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by Jim » Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:27 pm

I don't think they are ocean cockpits, probably old fashioned keyhole cockpits which were the biggest size until about the 1980's - in themselves they are no more hazardous today than they were then, the difference is that most of us have got used to cockpits that we can easily step in and out of. Now this is an important safety consideration on hard whitewater where we might need to jump out quickly above a rock or fallen tree or something, but not on a canal where the consequence of falling in whilst trying to get out is that you get wet.

Wider fibreglass seats (more likely carbon kevlar) are available for slalom kayaks and polo kayaks and possibly sea kayaks, but ideally you will want to sit in one and check it is going to fit you well first - all the distibutors and manufacturers I can think of right now are around Stafford or N Wales, but do a search I may have overlooked someone. The problem is the flanges on the seats might not match the flanges on the boats.... Fitting a modern composite seat to an old boat may well prove to be an engineering challenge despite the fact that you can just bolt them in theory! Existing seats are moulded into the rim not flanged, but if you cut 2" below the rim that will leave a flange you can bolt a new seat to.

Getting out of a boat upside down is a lot easier than getting in and out of them the right way up ONCE YOU KNOW THE TECHNIQUE. It is well worth finding a club or some local paddlers you can go out with to learn how to exit these boats properly, if you panic and do it wrong you can get quite stuck and end up hurting yourself trying to wriggle free. Once you get stuck you really need to calm down and go back under water to tuck forward and get yourself out but that is extremely counter-intuitive so I strongly suggest some kind of training, however informal. With a more modern large cockpit it is much easier to fall out of the boat without getting your exit technique right.

Backstraps depend on what kind of seat you end up fitting, some composite seats offer plenty of support without a back strap - I don't use one in ether my polo kayak or my slalom kayak - I can't even remember if my WWR kayak has one, but both my sea kayaks do If you need a backstrap, fix it to the flange you leave to mount the new seat on.

Foam seats are an option. People have mentioned that a moulded in seat might be providing some structural rigidity, depends how well they are attached to the floor, if they are just hanging they are probably not providing much at all. There are ways around this depending on how much you want to spend and what technology you can employ and whether you plan to enjoy a nice little project or just want to get out paddling.

Personally my approach would be to take the seats out, use epoxy resin (the most expensve, it will stick to polyester, but polyester won't stick to it so future repairs would need to be in epoxy) and some sheets of carbon/kevlar cloth to fit a new inner layer in the cockpit area extending about 6" past the end of the cockpit each way. I would do the hull and deck separately and use peel ply to help smooth the edges down and remove the amine costing after curing so I can overlap the other sheet a little bit. I would probably also add some carbon tape as ring stiffeners right around the hull and deck (internally). probably 2 in the cockpit and 1 either end of the cockpit. Because the deck just aft of the cockpit will get sat on getting in and out of the boat I might fit a double width of tape there to stiffen it even more, or I might glue some foam or softwood to the deck and then laminate the tape over that to form a sort of beam stiffener (you might find longitudinal stiffeners like that under the deck already, some boats were built with them). When cured I may also cut a block of minicell foam (like the one you linked to) to use as a pillar behind the cockpit sprading the load from the deck to the hull when you sit on it getting in and out (I made one for my WWR kayak recently because it is quite a light construction and I am a bit heavy to be putting much weight in that area if I slip getting in or out). Minicell foam - possibly the same sort of stuff as used in yoga mats but it comes in different densities with different compressive strength / softness. I'd have to check with the OC1 guys which densities are available, I think 30kg/m^3 is the stronger stuff we use for the base of saddles and some people like to go down to 15kg/m^3 for the top layer that they actually sit on - that block is probably 15kg/m^3 (or heavier), yoga mat is probably lighter and softer stll. It does carve well, but making concave butt shapes could be difficult, I use mostly convex shapes when outfitting my OC1s.

Of course if you are going to the extent of adding all that internal reinforcement you could well open up the cockpit a bit first (extending the reinforcement past the ends of the new hole). If you do that I would reccommend doing some research into modern cockpit sizes/shapes so you can add a spray deck in the future once you are happy with your capsize and exit - that said, an adjustable nylon spraydeck will be more than adequate on the canal and will fit a huge range of cockpit sizes. The issue there is that you will then want to add thigh braces - with the small cockpit you can tuck your knees/thighs under the deck for stability, if you open it up you will need to add thigh braces at the sides OR you could ignore the original design intent (they were river runners in the 1970's. possibly slalom kayaks!) and use them as open cockpit kayaks where you keep your knees free in the middle and balance in the boat - if your most local club is a race club this is how they will paddle so it might be worth popping along to find out more.
Don't be put off by their being a racing club, most are very friendly and open to beginners of all ages and probably won't require you to actually train hard and race for them if you just want to join in the beginners sessions and easier sessions. You will also find people there familiar with working on composite boats, which you may not find in a regular canoe club since most recreational paddlers use polythene boats now. In fact give them a call, they might have a stable boat you can try at a club session which might give you more ideas for converting your boat(s) for canal use - you should see that there marathon race boats are much more flimsy than what you have, and all this talk of beefing the boat up might be irrelevant - we are mostly river runners who need our boats to be able to take some knocks so might have totally over specified the whole problem!
In fact as an open cockpit boat the seat issue goes away, you could use a race seat mounted on the floor (usually moveable) and forget all about the width issues and backbands, Marsport in Reading will have seats for race boats, or the club may have spare ones. It is a slightly different way of paddling than most of us are used to but it is entirely appropriate for the canal!

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by edessex » Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:32 pm

Thank you for the very detailed reply!

I had another look over them today, Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the cockpit opening close up. but I'm thinking that if I had a foam seat in the same position as the current seat, if I sat off the back of the seat when getting in, I might be able to unfold my legs into the kayak with the existing opening, then slide forwards onto the seat properly. In the kapsize situation, I think I could roll out without major issues. I'm fine under water, as long as I have an action plan in my head in advance.

I've taken some photos of the damage and repairs to the seat. The seat hangs, and does not seem to touch or attach to the floor. If I cut the seat off, I wouldn't be able to leave part of the drop for bolting a seat onto, as it tapers in about an inch down. This is why I can't get in.

Image

Image

Image


I also took a couple of photos inside, one has come out blurred though. The damage repair / cracked bit looks to be at the end of the wood support for the foot brace. Light patches aren't holes, it's where the blue paint has flaked off the outside.

Image

Image

Image



Hopefully this illustrates why I am tempted to 'customise' this kayak, as I think retail value is seriously low.

Slightly unrelated here, but this one has a mottled surface, but the other one is smooth. Any likely reason?

Image

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by edessex » Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:40 pm

Jim wrote:...whether you plan to enjoy a nice little project or just want to get out paddling.
A bit of both. Really I want to just get out and have a paddle around. But I might only get a chance to use it once or twice a fortnight, so would be happy doing repairs and tweeks in between use.



I'm going to list Kayak #1 on eBay, its not worth cutting that about. I'd rather try it with the worse condition one.

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by Jim » Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:58 am

Ah yes, the end of the footrest supports will cause a stress concentration so that is a likely spot for a crack to start.

Lucky you can't get in that seat, it will flex a bit and is likely to pinch your butt cheek which could be painful :)
If the seat is just hanging there without any foam wedged between it and the hull it is likely to sway side to side a bit and may well be gradually tearing the coaming off.
Seems like a bottom mounted seat will be best for you - either foam or the racing kayak type.

Difficult to see from the photo, the bottling could be osmosis blisters. Osmosis is rarely a structural issue so I wouldn't worry about it. It is probably just between the gel coat and the laminate. When not all the chemicals in the resin system get fully reacted there can be pockets of them left in the cured laminate (common issue with polyester, almost impossible with epoxy, either it all cures or none of it does). The chemicals are water soluble and make a strong solution, water is attracted through the slightly permeable polyester resin to weaken the solution, but this causes much bigger pockets of water to form in the laminate or more usually between laminate snd gel coat, which cause it bulge out in blisters to make room for the watered down solutions. If it is really serious you can cut out the blisters and leave the boat to dry for a couple of weeks before filling them and repainting or flowcoating the boat. If it is serious and in the laminate, you will probably need to cut some mashed laminate out and build up with a similar thickness of fireglass clot or tape - finger crossed for you not needing to do that

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by DaveBland » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:05 am

My vote would be to cut the seat out the worst condition boat, tape up the rough bits and just see if you can get in and out okay without a seat in it. Maybe fold a couple of towels or something to sit on for now.

Remember when getting out to roll forward as mentioned earlier. I was told it's like ''taking your trousers off" which describes the action well.

Then if you are okay with getting out without hacking the cockpit hole around, I'd do the same to the better boat, stick a foam seat in and go have fun.

However if it's a pain to get in and out of, I'd call it a day, flog the good one on ebay and look for a better alternative.

Personally, some Gorilla tape would be every bit as good as epoxy and glass matting for fixing it. The tape will probably be stronger than the boat.

Good luck...
dave

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by edessex » Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:09 am

The better boat has a narrower cockpit, so I wouldn't get in that without cutting the coaming.

I'll try cutting the seat out the worst one, and see if I can fit.

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by edessex » Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:33 pm

Just a quick question...

I'm assuming I need woven roving fibreglass 'cloth', instead of chopped fibreglass matting?

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by Chris Bolton » Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:30 am

I'm assuming I need woven roving fibreglass 'cloth', instead of chopped fibreglass matting?
Chopped strand matt (CSM) should be fine - it's what the boat is made from in the first place. Woven rovings are harder to wet out, if you're new to laminating. CSM is held together with a glue that dissolves in resin - after a minute or so, it's just a layer of separate fibres and you can push it around a bit to lay it flat. The downside is that any strands that stick up are sharp - so when it's properly cured, sandpaper it. In places where you might rub on it (feet, knees) you paint another layer of resin on after sanding to make it properly smooth and stop water getting into the ends of the strands.

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by MikeVeal » Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:55 am

Ed,
You can use either. Chopped strand mat is easier to form around complex shapes, eg when something curves in two dimensions. Woven mat is easier to apply to large flat(tish) surfaces.
The finished product will have different properties, but for what you want, don't worry about that.

Try Cornish Fibre Glass supplies. As well as delivering to your door, they also have a great product guide that explains how to use the materials they sell.

Personally I'd advise binning (or reselling) those boats. They are pretty knackered. You could repair them, sure. But when you add up the cost of the repairs, new seat, fibre glass, good dust mask for cutting and a good organic mask for re-applying the fibreglass, bouyancy, you're going to be knocking on the door of £100 all in. For that money you should be able to pick up a large polyethylene (plastic) boat from the early 90's. That type of boat will be more comfortable, safer,will last longer and you won't have to spend hours working on it.

Some things that haven't been mentioned.

1/ The fumes given off as fibre glass resin cures are cancerous. Work in the open air, not indoors. Wear a good face mask with an organic filter to MINIMISE the risk.

2/ The first time you try to use fibreglass (especially chopped strand mat) you will emerge from the process looking like a white teddy bear. Your hands, clothing and shoes will be covered in the stuff. Expect to write off whatever you wear and get a box of disposable gloves. The gloves will be dissolved by the chemicals used, but this happens slowly.

3/ Cutting and sanding fibreglass. This releases small short strands of stiff glass. Working with the bare mat is fine as the glass is soft and flexible, but once the resin is applied the stuff becomes nasty. The glass embeds itself in your skin causing an uncomfortable itch which lasts about a day. I'd hate to think what these strands would do to your lungs. Wear a mask.

4/ Don't forget to budget for tools. You'll need a selection of disposable paint brushes and a good pair of shears / scissors to cut the mat. A can of acetone (also fairly nasty) is needed to clean tools.

5/ When you've finished, you need to add buoyancy to that boat. When you capsize, it will fill with water and sink. You'll be abandoning it at the bottom of the canal. Ideally it should have enough buoyancy to support both you and the boat. You will need to fix what ever you choose to use, so that it can't float out. Coke bottles are great, but you need to find a way of securing them.

I really don't think this boat is worth the effort, but you'll learn a lot from the experience and that alone is pretty valuable.
Good luck if you decide to keep going.

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Re: Newbie wants to repair & modify a Kayak...

Post by Jim » Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:47 am

MikeVeal wrote:
Some things that haven't been mentioned.

1/ The fumes given off as fibre glass resin cures are cancerous. Work in the open air, not indoors. Wear a good face mask with an organic filter to MINIMISE the risk.
Really?
When was this discovered?

When I used to build boats for a living H&S Exec gave us a visit and told the boss to install extractor fans for when we were working with polyester gelcoat (the rest was epoxy). When we asked them why, what the effects were, they told us that there were no long term effects but the styrene can make you dizzy and nauseaous in the short term (like we didn't know that part working with it daily) so it has to be extracted. So then we asked them about the filler powders we used to make up filler and bonding pastes, all of which are almost certainly going to cause respiratory trouble, and what about dust from cutting cured laminates - they told us there was no problem with those and we only needed to use the fans for the 15 minutes each day when we were gelling up (after that we took a break to let the gel cure enough to start laminating over the top and the fumes were down by the time we went back in).

I completely believe it, almost everything can be carcinogenic, it is just at odds with the not very reliable view of HSE 18 years ago :)

As for the debate about CSM vs woven cloth - CSM leaves a rough finish that many people find itchy, cloth generally doesn't. A lot of people like to put a final layer of cloth over CSM to make it nicer to be in the boat.
I only ever use cloth, but I have a lot of experience of draping it to correct shapes and wetting it out.

I'm still intrigued by the way people think these boats are going to fall apart imminently - they have survived from the 70's already and are much eaiser to repair than polythene boats.
The designs are outdated, the cockpit rims, seats and footrests don't meet modern WW expectations but are perfectly fine for canal use. Saying that, I bet the cockpit rim on my river racer (which I think is standard size) is no bigger than those, I certainly use an old ocean sea kayak spraydeck or old C1 spray deck on it quite happily.

Oh yes, wear marigolds over the disposable gloves, industrial/chemical ones if you can find them but washing up ones work too - they won't dissolve in acetone or styrene and I find doubling up protection to be a good idea.

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