Fiberglass Rebuild

Situation: I recently came into possession of an old 6ft fiberglass sit inside that a bloke found floating (sort of) down a creek behind his house. He then had it sitting in a shed for a number of years. The kayak is in bad shape, cracks down the keel, the keel beam has also dis-bonded from the skin in places. There are a number of lengthy cracks along the seam between the deck and hull. The hull also has some large patches which look like previous repairs done poorly that have partially separated. See Photos.

Position I’m looking for repair advice on what I imagine is going to be a total rebuild. I’m an aircraft technician, although I haven’t been on tools for a while, and I have some basic experience in composite repair wet layups. I have a garage workspace to carry out the following.

Method (This where I want you to tell me if it’s the best approach) - I’m going to recipro saw the seam and split the hull and deck. With better access ill clean out the inside, sand the gelcoat off down to bare glass, and remove the old repair patches. I’ll grind the cracks out and patch the holes with wet layups, re bond the keel, then install a new internal and external seam. followed with a paintjob.

Am I too ambitious thinking I can do this in my shed over a winter?

6’ ? Send it to the dump and find one in a little better shape to work on.


Are you sure it is only 6’?

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Nice planter sorry to say.

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I suppose it depends upon what you hope to do with the kayak afterwards. Hard to tell from one photo, but from your description I suspect you can’t help but change the original layup which may affect the handling.

If indeed it is only 6’, then the cost will likely be more than a replacement, but if it’s a project you would enjoy, who cares?

You might seek some advice from Joey at Turning Point Boatworks ( before you get too involved.

Im only a newbie to the forum so i can only post 1 image at a time.

As many have said yes my guess was 16’ not 6, but i just measured it and its closer to 13’

From the responses im getting it may not be possible. Or more work than its worth. Thankyou for the input.

I am going to attempt it anyways as i have no other projects and i think it will be a learning experience that will help with other (smaller) repairs in future.

Ill post progress as i go along


My advice: Start with a pressure washer. Use it hard to see if the boat has delaminated. If big holes blow out of it, then it has delaminated.

Older boats were built with polyester resin which was not really waterproof. The damage you show, and it probably being put up wet, would cause the damage to spread.

If it doesn’t fall apart; start on the inside and lay at least one layer of 6oz. fibreglass cloth in it. Use epoxy, not polyester. Epoxy is waterproof, but not UV proof, so if it comes together paint it.

It does not seem to have a defined keel line, so make the outside be what you want; if it gets that far.

I have doubts that it is salvageable, but you do have to try.

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The repair materials will cost you more than another used boat will cost and you will still have a boat noone wants.


yep, youre probably correct, but kayaks arent super easy to come by where i live, and certainly not retro sit insides like this. if it doesnt pan out, ill have gained some experience, so be it.

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You’ll put literally hundreds and hundreds of dollars in materials, tools, and parts into it. It’s something that will perform poorly, and be dangerous. You must live in the Sahara Desert or the moon. Have at it if you must.

I paid 700 for that kayak above. I compounded it and a few very small gel repairs. Few hours tops of work in it.
I could put that much into you hull with no exaggeration.

The first one I bought like the one in the picture I paid 300 for it. It had no cracks and was structurally sound few spider cracks. I put 600 in parts and materials only in it to restore it to my standards. Yes I learned a lot no clue how many hours I spent some not so happy. That was 14 years ago I’m guessing. Still have the kayak and it’s still great. Parts and materials are way more expensive now. Unless you’re super talented with composite repairs it will be much heavier when you’re done. Splitting / cutting the hull and deck and then glassing it back together properly :flushed::scream:.

Good luck if you must.


I think if one of your main goals is to develop and/or hone fiberglassing skills with a manageable size project, it’ll be worthwhile. Of course materials will cost money and you won’t be able to sell it for what it cost but so what. If you do a proper job it would be nearly indistinguishable from original. Good luck.


It depends on whether or not the fiberglass still has any life left in it. If it is old and brittle, pass on the boat. If it has been stored outside pass on the boat. If the glass is okay, you can defintiely repair it, for say $100 or so worth of materials. Maybe a little more. Then just paint it.

This is a good way to learn to use fiberglass. My first canoe cost $25 and had been wrapped. I repaired it and used it for years and sold it 25 years ago for $400.

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I agree with String’s assessment, and that of PaddleDog. From the full-hull photo, I’m guessing this boat would be difficult to paddle (even in perfect shape) unless you are an experienced kayaker. Putting out that much money and that much work to end up with a pain in the a$$ is no bargain, I think.

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It’s split on the bottom he’s going to cut it in half at the seam he’ll be nowhere near 100 dollars. No perimeter lines, fittings, footrest or seat? Seat and pedals 200+.

Paint 2 quarts probably, blades, fiberglass cloth, epoxy thickeners, sanding materials, thinners, rollers, brushes?

Great points above about brittle fiberglass and even paddling it.

My guess it’s 45+ years old and had rough life ride hard and put away wet as they say.

If you make it look like much of anything Turning Point Boat Works has competition.

Easier for you to repair the B-25 that hit the Empire State Building.

I’m fascinated by the deck design personally! Anyone have any ideas about the kayak’s origins? I’d love to know how old it is.

The only fiberglass work I’ve done was building a Pygmy wood kayak, but boy! did I have fun learning about kayak construction. I might recommend watching a couple of Joey’s videos about how he builds fiberglass boats to get a sense of how things are put together.

Turning Points refurbished my 2002 17’ Necky Tesla in 2019. The cost was probably 2/3 the way to a new kayak, at that time. But as Joey told me, there is nothing on the market that could replace her. Expedition kayaks are simply not built that way any more. And it’s fun when someone paddles up and says “old Necky, right?” That duckbill bow is a dead giveaway.

Joey stripped the old gel coat and repainted, had to manufacture new hatch covers and replace the foam bulkheads with fiberglass ones. Cost about $2200, if I recall correctly. Worth every penny. I seriously doubt I could recoup that cost by selling the kayak.

I could have bought a new SUV for what I spent on refurbishing my ‘92 full size Blazer. No regrets about the expense. The restoration shop that did the work made it absolutely clear from the beginning that I’d never recoup the cost of having it done.

In both cases, selling was never part of the equation. It was about the joy of returning something old to working order.

Looking forward to those progress reports and some in-progress photos!


That is a great goal, the learning experience rather than the finished product. The experience is semi-forever and will serve you well in the future. We’ll await your progress reports. Then we’ll all learn.


~13’ gives about 4 meters which is (I think) slalom spec. It looks somewhat similar to one I know of that was built by Old Town long ago , I think as a recreational verson. The one that I know of requires some skill/attention to paddle on calm water and is (to me) rather uncomfortable.

Just saw this on Facebook. Reminded me of this thread. Wonder if it’s same model.

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