Sanding Plastic Boats?

I bought a used Tempest 170 and I’m having a hard time cleaning it up. The kayak was stored outside in the sun and apparently the color from the straps fused with the boat.

I have tried Goof Off and even Acetone… and it seems that no matter how hard I scrub, I can’t get the black off the boat.

I then resorted to sanding the hull. Granted I only used 230 Grit and 600 Grit sandpaper, but the area I sanded is now lighter in color. It removed the black marks okay, but is there a way I can restore the color of the kayak? I thought maybe I could use finer sandpaper to smooth out the fuzzy area’s I created.

Any ideas on how I should proceed?

I don’t care if the bottom of the boat is scratched, but I want the sides to look a little nicer.

Forget the looks look to function
Stripes across the beam repel sharks. Forget it be happy! Do not compormise your hull for cosmetics.

Tiger stripes
Just do the rest of the boat with tiger stripes and it will look way cool.

try this
Once you remove the black stains, sweep the area CAREFULLY with a propane torch. That was a tip from Prijon. It works great.

Prozac and other SSRIs may help
with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

If all else fails.
There are members here who have posted that they’ve had success painting their kayaks with paint that is designed to bond with plastic. I’ve never done this myself, but I’ve seen this paint in stores. You might search the archives here at to see if you can find those threads.

I can’t help being a little concerned about wiping that kayak with acetone, and the possibility that it could’ve compromised the intergrity of the plastic in some way. I definitely wouldn’t consider painting it until I was certain that that acetone contaminated plastic won’t be an issue with adhesion.

Good luck.


Next time … In this order
Try some good old fashion Comet and a 3M scrubby pad.

Scrape with a new utility blade held perpendicular to surface. … this is as far as you need to go and will not gouge up the surface. If it is not coming off, try a little more … if not still then plastic was burned in by a flame or intense heat.

Anyone reading this who is compelled to sand plastic for what ever reason make sure that as you move to finer grits you sand perpindicular to the previous grit …

Thanks Guys…

– Last Updated: Oct-05-06 10:14 AM EST –

Thanks to everyone that gave valid tips.

G2D - I don't have OCD... Even though the boat is used, it still cost what is to me a lot of money (as a college student). So I want to take pride in my new boat.

Tony - I only used the acetone on a small area. I'm pretty sure that I read that it's safe to use it on this forum. I might be wrong though.

Onno - I tried Comet and a Scrub pad already, to no avail.

I think I'll just have to leave the marks then.

Plastic Paint
That plastic-bond spray paint is called “Fusion” and it’s made by Krylon. WalMart has it and so does Michaels. There’s a cheaper version available at Lowes and Home Depot, but don’t mess with those (if you actually decide to go this route). I’m probably going to paint my Ocean Kayak Scrambler with this stuff this winter. I bought it used from a kayak rental place and it’s pretty banged up (still leaks less than my friend’s brand new SOT though ). It also has the rental company’s name written on the bow in black Sharpie marker. It’s lovely. :wink:

Anyway, I’ve used Krylon Fusion on my remote control off-road truck and it seems to hold up okay. If you want to go this route, clean the plastic well (sounds like you’ve already done that), then put on a thin layer of Fusion. Let it dry for 24 hours or more, then put on another coat. Three thin coats seems to work best. It’ll still come off if it’s banged hard/sharply, but it’s amazingly resilient otherwise.

Pride goeth before a swim.
A long swim.

Thanks dog_party
If you don’t mind, please let us know how that boat painting project turn out, holds up, etc…

Pure acetone won’t hurt the plastic
Acetone squirt bottles are made from the same material.

Glad to
I’d be glad to keep everyone posted on the outcome. I don’t have a lot to lose on the project. My “Banged Blue” color is almost as ugly as my neighbor’s Scrambler, which is some unknown sun-faded purple/pink lipstick color. Some of the neighbors call his the Mabeline Boat. :slight_smile:

I need color suggestions. I was thinking about going with black 'cause that’s the color of my helmet, but my PDF is black/red. Maybe I’ll do a deck stripe! Nah. I tried taping sections off with this Fusion paint and it bleeds under masking and painting tape pretty bad.

Or I could re-do the blue. Maybe mix some orange in there in tribute to my favorite football team??? :slight_smile:

Anyway, I’ll take picts when I do it.