help to identify and refurb an old kayak

-- Last Updated: May-30-14 5:29 PM EST --

Hello :)
I have an old 10' open top fiberglass kayak that was stored hull up on top of a shed in a mostly shaded area. It is likely two pieces, top and hull, bonded together with some possible foam inside. I also stored it hull side up in a shaded area, and when I was bringing it up to clean it had water inside. I found it has a drain plug in the hull, just below the top, and think the bonding has some cracks that allowed rainwater to get inside(I'm thinking of maybe running a bead of silicone around the seam to re-seal it).
The top is a one piece with a "tub" like center to set in. The bottom of the "tub" has some cracking that I would like to re-coat some way.
There is an old, badly scuffed label that might be recognizable to someone already familiar with it, and might help to identify and find some specs on it.
Thank you beforehand, for any help to identify it, and any suggestions on re-coating the cracks.
I have virtually no experience in such a craft, but am planning to test my skills in shallow, non moving waters at a small ox-bow "lake", wearing floatation and having the paddle attached to the boat. I'd like to be able to fish from it, and wonder if sitting on a cooler would make it too top heavy, but I'll find that out soon enough ;)

You can get the specs yourself by
simply measuring and weighing it. Is it light enough that you’ll be OK toting it around? Have you tried the tub seat and determined that you would be comfortable?

Thing is, there are some pretty nice, cheap, poly fishing kayaks available, that have hull design, seat, outfitting, and extras for holding fishing gear, all pretty well optimized. Your kayak isn’t going to be like that.

To do the fixes you describe, you’ll need some FG cloth and some epoxy, and that could be $50 or so right there.

sit low
No, you don’t want to be sitting on the cooler. You need to be seated inside the hull, below the cockpit rim.

Are you absolutely positive it’s fiberglass? It looks like plastic in the photos. May be tricky to try to re-glass that staggered seam.

Odd little boat. It looks pretty wide and flat bottomed, not really very kayak-like.

I’ve looked at most measurements already
Mere displacement wasn’t really what I had in mind, at least not all of it. Ideas for some minor info and repair type stuff was more in line with what I’d hoped to find, but thanks though.

Still trying to get familiar with the format here, it’s seldom what I expected.

Even though I try to note the post I’m replying to, there’s no copy of it here, and try as I might, can’t recall all the points I might like to respond to, anyway,

Thanks for your responses, especially the seating height, but it really isn’t very comfortable sitting so low, as I’m going to be looking to fish from it, so I might best try different seating heights in shallow water at a sandy beach :wink: It isn’t simple flat bottom, but has a full length keel. I’m hoping it won’t be so top heavy, or so easily tipped.

If I could afford to buy another one maybe I’d just go for a jonboat or something, but this one’s sitting in my yard, and I recall something about a bird in hand :slight_smile:

I haven’t done a thorough test or inspection but I guessed it to be fiberglass, I’m not familiar with the similarities or differences in that and poly.

I actually had hoped also that someone might recognize enough of the label to know what the brand name would be

first things first
If your craft is fiberglass, or some other composite, do not use silicone to try to seal the hull and deck. The better choice would be to either use epoxy, or whatever type of resin the manufacturer used if that can be determined. If there is access to the interior and the area of the seam crack can be reached, it might be possible to use 3M 5200 sealer to fix it. If you have a Home Depot store in your area, the 5200 sealer is about half the price as it would be at other stores.

In any case, your first step is to try to find out what the boat is made of. I would tend to doubt that it is polyethylene, because it would probably be about shot if it had been stored for very long the way you described. I guess it could be ABS plastic, but that would be a very long shot.

Using a cooler for a seat seems like a … well, there must be something to keep your center of gravity lower.

Look for an HIN
HIN = hull identification number.

This could possibly be on a small aluminum plate, or it might be scratched or molded into the hull somewhere. Sometimes they are not obvious, so look carefully.

If you find an HIN the first three letters will be a manufacturers identification code. You can find sites on line to use the code to identify the maker. If you are successful, don’t be surprised if you find that the manufacturer went out of business years ago. But you could still probably find out information about the boat through a web search, at least what it is made of.

To me, the boat looks as much like a pack canoe as a kayak, but that distinction has become blurred. I agree that it looks more like a molded plastic boat than a fiberglass composite boat but I can’t be certain.

Most molded plastic boats are polyethylene. I disagree that polyethylene boats inevitably fall apart with prolonged sun exposure. This sometimes occurred with poly boats years ago but molded polyethylene boats now have UV stabilizers and I have seen polyethylene canoes and kayaks that have been stored on racks exposed to the elements for years that are still sound. ABS is actually much more sensitive to UV degradation that polyethylene, unless it is protected with a layer of vinyl (as it is in Royalex) or painted, or covered with a layer of pigmented acrylic.

If the boat is fiberglass, polyethylene, or ABS you can probably use West System G Flex epoxy to seal holes or cracks. Polyethylene would first require pretreating by passing the flame of a propane torch over the surface before bonding, but that is easily done. You can get a kit containing a small amount of G Flex and some thickening agent for around $25-30. Quite honestly, I think that is the maximum I would invest in the boat.

As for a seat, you could use a small self-inflating pad like a Thermarest stadium seat. If you want something with a back or something a little higher, there are many vendors that sell folding canoe seats with backs that might serve your purpose.

Thanks too, magooch, and pblanc
I’ve photographed the seam and some cracks, I guess this could be plastic instead, or maybe poly?(I hope) I have some old Minwax Polyurethane that I used to re-coat an old wood paddle. It’s actually for inside floors, but I’m hoping it’ll fare ok on the paddle, and even hoping it might be suitable to close some of the cracks in the seam. A few coats could at least help keep it from getting through as bad.

I looked around the upper portion of the hull for anything resembling numbers but saw no sign of it there.

I’ll keep looking for something more suitable to cover up some of the weathering in the seam, and will use your suggestions to guide me, in hopes I’ll find something closer.

Until it’s well tested and I’m sure of its safety I’ll stay no further from the bank than I can safely swim with a life jacket. And also I’ll use a shorter seat to lower the COG, hopefully it’ll allow bending my legs and sitting up a little bit.

Thank you all very much for your very helpful advice and suggestions :slight_smile:

In the meantime I might dig up a trailer

– Last Updated: Jun-01-14 5:58 PM EST –

There once was one down in here somewhere

Might have a little bit of hope left in it

No ideas on the boat,
but the trailer…

isnt really that old. The hitch looks like it is a newer (70’s) style that with some grease should work. Before you move it any farther than you have, pull the hubs and check the bearings. You might get away with just repacking them. Repacking bearing takes a little time, a lot of grease and old clothes but will save you heartache.

Work the hitch with light oil, Ballistol, wd-40 for a bit, then grease the crap out of it. When towing, cross your chains and always grease your balls. Crossed chains gives you a tad more control when you jump the ball and grease keeps the hitch lubed.

A few light bulbs, a 5/16ths pin for the hole in the hitch, replace the old hooks on the sway chains with ones that have a closer, and you are on your way.

Thanks Varm
It’s probably more like a 60’s, but I’m not really positive. It belonged to my father, and was parked there full of junk when I moved home about 7 years ago. I’m not sure who parked it there, or who filled it up with junk, but they had been cleaning up around the place, and mowing the grass here before I got home.

Dad was a craftsman, and built a wooden flat bottom fishing boat in his cabinet shop in the mid 60’s. It had seats fore and aft, each with storage under a hinged seat top, and the middle seat was a built in live well for fish(and at least one snake, who got in through the open plug that allowed lake/river water in when fishing) It was heavy as hek, but a great boat. I have the old oars hanging on the wall of my living room, and remember many many fishing trips on lakes and rivers, in the early days with nothing but oars. Overnight float fishing trips down the river, getting caught in the middle of Eagle Mountain lake in a fast moving storm and being helped out by two men in a cabin cruiser who towed us through it, the list goes on :slight_smile: Dad built that frame onto it to, and I plan to leave it in place.

I understand about the bearings, and will certainly check them out and re-pack them. I’m hoping the tires aren’t completely dry rotted, but one still had air in it after all these years. The other was flat but I aired it up soon as I realized it. I brush hogged a spot with a push mower to park it for now, until it’s ready to use.

That hole in the coupler handle I usually plug with a sturdy lock that will be there hitched or not. My utility trailer also has a roll up jack that gets the safety chains wrapped around the handle when parked, and another lock put on there. This one doesn’t have a jack, but I’ll find some way to put a lock there on this one too.

Thanks for your helpful suggestions and reminders. I’ll be putting them to use, and hoping to put this trailer and kayak to use on some fishing trips soon.

No reason to “hope” the tires are OK

– Last Updated: Jun-01-14 11:29 PM EST –

You can buy new trailer tires so easily, and at so many places, that there's no excuse to push your luck with the old ones. In fact, it will probably be easier to find new wheels (with tires already included) than tires alone, and the cost isn't much. I myself prefer to install tubes inside tubeless trailer tires, because as often as not, once a tire goes flat, the seal against the rim fails and it becomes impossible to re-inflate it at all (not with the amount of flow you can get with the valve still in place anyway).

Completely separated
From the second set of pictures is looks like the deck and the hull are completely separated?

And the entire inside is filled with styrofoam?

Quite frankly, this boat looks past the useful end of it’s life. It probably floats, and might server your purpose for a year or two, but in all likelihood new cracks will form as you use it.

I wouldn’t recommend spending a whole lot of money trying to “restore” this thing.

Get a can of the low-expansion “Great Stuff” from your local Home Depot. Squirt a bead around the perimeter, and below the tub and press the top and bottom together and hope for the best.

“Great Stuff” ??
Hello MJ, and thank you for the suggestions, although

I haven’t a clue where you got your first and second assessments. There are definitely two separate pieces, but they are definitely not separated :wink:

As far as what exactly is inside, I suppose you’ve missed a good bit of the conversation there too.

I did consider the individual spray can fillers once upon a time, but found that even to fill a craft of this size, one would be ahead by far, both in quality and in economics, to go with the gallon size mix route.

But I’m not intending to restore it, just possibly a few minor refurbs, if they can be done simply, economically, and prove necessary, either before, during, or after, a very soon to be occurring fishing trip :smiley:

So easy to go buy
Thank you GBG, I had almost forgotten how easy it is to just go to the store and pick one up. In fact, while I’m there, and they’re so cheap and easy, I might just get a dozen or two :wink:

Problem there is my easy money printing press broke down a while back, so I’m having to sketch them out manually these days.

Thanks too for the reminder about the bead seal leaking, so while I’m in the checking stages I’ll pull both wheels down and make sure they’re both clean, and brush up the rims real good. I think it has tubes already in it, and also think I’ve seen a spare, or similar wheel around here somewhere.

What I meant was that…
… trailer tires which have been out in the sun for decades, even worse when the sidewall of a flat tire has been kinked under the rim for most of that time, will probably not last long in normal use. Replacing decades-old tires IS cheap compared to the inconvenience of a breakdown, but that’s your call. I myself would get the tires alone if possible and put them on the rims myself, but not many other people would do that. They’d rather get new trailer tires by changing wheels, so that’s why I mentioned that option.