Repairing damaged Kayak

Hello I recently received a damaged kayak for free. Took a Nose dive off of a vehicle and took some damage on the bow. I have no Idea what kind it is as the person I got if from also got it damaged and same with that person so Years of neglect in a damaged state. I have a few problems and questions.

Damage Assessment

Ugly pain job put over a failed attempt to refinish kayak (fiberglass missing in areas) needs to be removed and new fiberglass put on.

Stern Damage is mild its just some surface rot at the very back on the deck where a rudder would be mounted that NEEDS to be replaced as some of the wood has already broken off and the rest is puckered. Stupid plywood.

The bow damage is the most sever the front 6 inches broke clean off (I have the part that got broken off still) and another 4-6 inches of the bow deck are also missing. The sides half way down the missing area are splintered but fiberglass and some waterproof wood glue and clamps will fix that up and you’d never notice it.


1.) How do I remove the Marine Enamel Paint with out sanding it for the next 5 months and risk going though the hull (paint stripper if so what kind is best and where from).

2.) Just replace the damaged wood with more Kayak Grade plywood or its equivalent.

3.) How do I reattach the broken bow piece and do I just fit in a substitute piece of deck for the rest of the missing deck on the bow.

4.) Since the boat has no bulkheads or hatches should I install some since I’ll be removing and adding parts of my kayaks deck and will have plenty of plywood left over to do so.

Any help anyone can provide me would be most helpful and appreciated.

Is this a plywood boat, skinned with
glass, you are describing? Sounds like a lot of work for you, and as a general strategy, I would suggest not doing TOO much to rehabilitate this boat, or you could end up spending almost as much money, and more time than if you built a kit kayak.

I haven’t had personal experience using paint stripper over glass and resin, but I think it’s worth trying. Maybe someone will notice this thread and recommend a stripper.

If you had a way to post 2 or 3 pictures, it would be easier to suggest solutions to issues such as that broken-off bow piece.

Finally, I suggest making the boat sound for paddling, but not trying to make it beautiful. Beauty costs many bucks and much time.

Sorry about not adding any pictures with the original post I had to upload them first.

View from above of damaged bow

View from right side

View from Left side

View from above of Rot at stern

As for making it pretty taking time and money I have a plastic kayak to use once the ice comes off of the lakes around here in 5-8 weeks so I’ll still get my paddling time. Where as this boat if it’s worth fixing can take all summer to finish so it does look nice. The money part might be a problem but if it takes all summer the funds should be no problem as long as it doesn’t cost as much as a new kayak kit like you said. but I’ve only spent some money on sanding paper so far.

For the bow, my approach might be to get
some styrofoam, work it inside, glued in place, and then carve and sand it down until its contours are just 1/2 plywood thickness inside the original contour of the bow. Then I would use E-glass and epoxy over the styrofoam and overlapping the surrounding plywood. Epoxy can be used with styrafoam…it does not dissolve the foam and will stick to it. The glass should be cut “on the bias” or diagonally relative to the thread axis, so it will conform better to irregular shapes. You will have to sand to get all or nearly all the painty-ness out of the existing plywood. You should perhaps allow almost an extra layer of repair fiberglass, because once the whole mess has hardened and set, there will be a good bit of sanding to be done.

For the rot on the stern, perhaps you will not need to remove any plywood, if it is dry and has at least some integrity. Two to three layers of glass may suffice. I hope you don’t have to do inside work, as it will be difficult or impossible to get at that area without splitting the seam and separating the deck and hull.

I suggest you go to the Gougeon Brothers/West Epoxy site and read some of their documents on repairing and reglassing wooden boats. It will cost you about $65 to get a quart of resin, a little can of 206 hardener (slow to give you plenty of time), and the metering pumps.

If you’re lucky, some others may notice this thread, and some may have experience building and/or repairing plywood touring kayaks. I have mostly worked with “fiberglass” whitewater boats, except for one cedar sculling shell.

repairing Bow damage
Thanks for your advice g2d.

About the Bow are you talking about using the broken bow piece with the Styrofoam inside providing the structural integrity then glass it over or using the Styrofoam in place of the broken piece and glassing that in place. I’m a little confused about that. Either would work I’m thinking but I know next to nothing about fixing a wood boat despite my knowledge of wood working

Sadly it is a wet rot it was stored half covered over the winter and is extremely spongy to the touch. Before I started sanding it there were pieces of paint missing and wood splitting apart along the top layers grain. Since then some pieces have broken off showing the grain running 90 degrees to the rest of the wood grain on top so sadly I’m thinking I will have to replace 18 inches of my stern deck.

the dry rot
will keep spreading.

I repaired a wooden rowboat with a heat gun, zink nap and marine epoxy, and the dry rot ate it like cancer.

The materials add up fast.

epoxy $65

acitone $15

trow away brushs $15

throw away gloves $10

sand paper $30

stir sticks $5

paint, primer, $75

mixing cups $10

foam $35

plywood $45

fg cloth $70

brushes for paint $30

brush pot $5

$450 ??

then you need tools if you don’t have them and blades for the tools.

to build a new one you would only need to add a sheet of plywood and another gallon of epoxy

This company sells the plans in full size

i almost got one but went with a used composite

good luck, it may work out for you

A fun project

– Last Updated: Mar-19-08 9:31 AM EST –

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for some epoxy. Get the 1 1/2 quart kit. $38. and get some 6 oz cloth.

That boat is well used with some bow damage. The only repair that will take a little time is the bow. Get some 1/8 Luan plywood. Epoxy the "V" shape pieces to make the sides of the bow to the insides with a 3 inch overlap on to the sides of the kayak. Then epoxy the outside pieces to that. You can use spring clamps to squeeze the parts together while the epoxy hardens. Then you epoxy on some struts to glue the bow deck end. Where it meets the existing deck, you epoxy a strut under the deck so the new patch rests on it. Glass everything, overbuild it, sand it smooth etc and it's done. The longest chore is waiting for epoxy to harden for each step.

Go on to:

Post your location and ask for help. You might find a person in your area that would help you and show you the basics of epoxy use and more. They may even donate some scraps of glass and 1/8 marine ply - you need so little. It will be a fun project and you'll enjoy it and get a nice kayak. As far as the finish - 1 hour of wet sanding will clean if off enough for fresh paint.

Dry rot - add a little alcohol into some mixed epoxy and saturate it - done. You probably have every tool you need at home already. A random orbital sander is a nice / almost necessity for the job but you can hand sand anything too.

Get the epoxy - you need that and start in and don't obsess over it.