Triple Pygmy kayak restoration questions

I built a Murrelet 2PD a few years back, before the Pygmy closed up shop. To the best of my knowledge John wasn’t able to find a buyer so the company is no more.

The inside shouldn’t have been varnished. The fiberglass would have been wetted out and then had one fill coat of epoxy applied. Since you can clearly see the cloth texture in your photos, I would be very careful about how much sanding you do. You don’t want to break the fabric. Just make sure it’s clean and apply another fill coat of epoxy. If you see anyplace that’s showing abraded fabric, I’d probably put a patch on.

There’s no need to varnish the interior, in fact it will make it rather slick. The purpose of varnish is to protect the epoxy from UV degradation which isn’t a major issue for the inside. If you store the kayak outside I’d definitely get cockpit covers.

Seeing daylight through the seams isn’t that unusual, as mentioned by @willowleaf. The stitch and glue seams don’t always close as tightly as you want. They are supposed to be filled with epoxy thickened with wood flour but sometimes there’s gaps. The glass holds everything together.

Adding foam bulkheads will help create dry hatches. My old Necky had foam bulkheads that lasted for a long time but eventually they will shrink and need to be replaced. My Murrelet has wood ones that also help strengthen the hull. Just in case you’re interested, the wood Pygmy used is Okoume marine plywood.

The dent in the bow was most likely in the area that is filled with epoxy and wouldn’t have created a problem other than esthetics. The kayak is stood on end in a bucket of cold water and a batch of epoxy is poured in to fill the bow and stern in turn as those are the most vulnerable seams.

And lastly, I put a strip of carbon fiber on the keel to help with abrasions. I will never put products like KeelEazy on anther kayak! It’s nice stuff until you have to take it off. Chesapeake Light Craft in Maryland has the carbon tape. (Carbon Fiber Tape - 3"). They also are great for boat building supplies, have some cool kits and are very helpful.

Welcome to the wonderful world of wooden kayaks!

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Each of my 3 Feathercraft folders came with a custom sea sock, as did my Greenland SOF (a homemade one.) . And I did use them off and on over the first 10 years I was paddling touring kayaks, especially in rough waters or colder conditions. But I encountered the problems I mentioned in their use especially when I started practicing wet exits. One factor could be that I am fairly short so perhaps the excess bulk at the foot end contributed to the entanglement problem. i considered sewing some sort of stiffening stays or flexible hoop in the foot to keep it open and in place and replacing the cockpit casing with thinner fabric and smaller gauge elastic so it was not as apt to interfere with the sprayskirt grip, but never got around to that.

i still have the SOF one and one of the FCs, but the latter shows sign of the same ripstop cordura coating failure that has occured in some other FC accessories made of that material so it is likely toast. I am more apt to carry the other one on backcountry hiking trips as a emergency bivouac bag than paddling.

There are probably tricks to using them that I never learned. Appreciate you sharing another perspective, though, honestly. Certainly helpful for others contemplating that solution to open hulls.


You speak from experience which is really important.
My experience was different.

I had a similar experience when using sea socks.

During a 3-day GL class to polish paddle technique we were offered the opportunity to paddle SOF kayaks, harpoon “hunt” from a kayak and had to do exits and rescues with SOF kayaks. It was a great immersion in the whole culture of GL kayaking.

I have the opposite issue as you, I’m tall and hippy and getting my long legs out from under the masik then clearing the small cockpit with that sea sock around my legs was challenging. My kayak looked like a sea cucumber defending itself as that sock came out with my legs!

The SOF rescue technique came in handy on another paddle though. One of our group had a new kayak without any perimeter lines and she flipped.

KayakerBee, i seem to recall you are based in WV (but travel and paddle widely). Was your SOF experience at Delmarva or another Greenland skills camp? just wondered since I’ve gone to a few, the Michigan QTCs and last year’s Delmarva (hope to do so again this year).

I was taking a private class on Chincoteague Island, but the instructor is a very well known Delmarva and Qajaq USA instructor. The Delmarva Gathering keeps eluding me. Something seems to come up every time I decide to go.

I’m not that big into SOF kayaks, although building one would be interesting. My husband, like so many other non-kayaking spouses, just doesn’t understand the need to have more than one boat!

But after building my wooden GL-style Pygmy I felt I owed the ‘yak a wood GL paddle and never went back to a euro blade. The feel of a GL paddle in the water is like nothing else.


Delmarva is fantastic, and more than half the boats there last year were NOT SOFs. In fact since my own is in need of a new skin and a small frame repair I brought a Greenland style composite instead (vintage Perception Avatar).

Hope you are eventually able to make it. I definitely plan to go again this year. The venue and facilities are perfect and the instruction and camaraderie were wonderful.