Trying to restore a

I have a 1979 Phoenix Savage…in great shape, no cracks, etc…but it is itchy…and there is no color to these kayaks… I have been advised by the manufacturer to use a polyester resin…but now I am not sure if I should use a laminating resin with wax or a finishing resin(The person at the company who has been very helpful will not return until next week)…opinions with the resin companies seem to vary…if anyone could give me more advice, I would appreciate it. I believe I want to put multiple coats on it because I want to add different pigments…thinking an opaque white first coat followed by something more interesting.


Phoenix boats generally did not have
gelcoat. You can use epoxy resin if you want to. Get instructions from West on using foam rollers to apply layers. I did this on a Phoenix “Fiberlastic” layup, and the West Epoxy adhered very well.

Are you sure about the itchiness? Phoenix often used Nylon on the outside, and it will fuzz, but will not cause itching. The inside layer would be Nylon also.

Consider just using paint for some highlights on the deck. By adding layers of resin, you are just making a light boat heavier.

Laminating resin and gelcoat…
…are both polyester resin products. The difference is that gelcoat has pigment mixed in already. There are laminating gelcoats and finish gelcoats, with the difference being that finish gelcoat has the wax additive mixed in.

If it was my boat, I probably wouldn’t use either one if I was just trying to make the boat look better and smooth out a few scratches. It’s far easier to apply high build primer, sand it smooth, then paint it with a good marine paint such as Interlux Britesides.

Applying gelcoat to an entire boat is a major pain that will require multiple coats and LOTS of sanding, followed by a LOTS of buffing. If you think it’s worth the hassle, it certainly can be done. I have some gelocoat repair and restoration pics and instructions on Webshots at:

The same basic techniques would be used for doing an entire boat.

Thanks for the help/ the webpictures
are very helpful! I plan to build one of those kayak racks! Thank you!

As far as I can tell from talking to the tech people at polymer manufacturers the polyester laminating resin and finishing resin are different than a gel coat…I think I will end up with a big mess if I try to gel coat the whole boat…ha! may end up with a big mess anyway…

but I don’t have a lot to lose…and wow, yes…it is ITCHY! I guess that is why I want to make sure I seal it with layers if need be…will wet sand first to try to smooth the fibers… it is amazingly strong for a boat with this many years…it was their cross between a whitewater and a touring kayak. I will only be using it here around the Daytona area and in the keys…as long as it no longer itches! :slight_smile:

I would be careful about sanding it
That may actually make the problem worse if the fabric fuzzes when sanded. Also, Phoenix hulls are very thin and you don’t want to damage a structural layer.

When dealing with fuzzy surfaces, I prefer to apply a layer of epoxy (or whatever coating material) first, let it cure, then sand and/or scrape that surface to smooth it. The new coating stiffens any exposed fibers, which makes them easier to sand or scrape off. It also insures that I’m only removing non-structural material during the smoothing process.

BTW, when it comes to smoothing fabrics that tend to fuzz, nothing works better than a carbide scraper. You can get Bahco carbide scrapers at Home Depot for $10-$20, depending on size. They work when sandpaper won’t and the edges holds up really well.

I’m puzzled by your report of itchiness.
Is it possible that you are getting itchy from the pure fiberglass cockpit area? This was done in pure FG so that it would break open if the boat pinned. Also see if the seam is FG or poly something. You can do this by attacking a small area with a rasp. Poly will fuzz, glass will not.

Another place to check is the seat, which may be pure FG. FG fibers might be coming off the underside of the seat.

I think it UNLIKELY that the bottom, the deck, or much of the inside have exposed FG, except for the areas I have mentioned. Phoenix used a little glass and a lot of Nylon in most of their layups of that era.

I would hate to see you rolling resin over huge areas of the boat when the problem may be coming from just a few local areas.

I am also puzzled?
Is it possible that you are having an allergic reaction? If so…you might want to be cautious a to what you use in repairing your boat as your use of the chemicals may create an acute reaction, and/or not solve the problem.


Itchy cont’d…
Well, everytime I touch this kayak any exposed area of my skin itches…last week when I gave it a good cleaning, I could actually see the fibers in my forearm in the sunlight…so I don’t think it could be an allergic reaction…

I will try to rub my arm along the outside and see if perhaps it is only the inside doing this to me…

Some folks have suggested just paint to seal it and I am anticipating that reaching all the insides with the polyester is going to be difficult…I am thinking of trying paint on the inside first…people have been very kind trying to help me with this…This website and another where people make their own kayaks has been very helpful.

Thanks, and I will keep everyone posted as to my progress…

I would strongly advise against…
…trying to coat everything with polyester resin. It’s noxious to use and you’ll need to mix a wax additive into it if you want it to cure properly. Spend a bit more and get marine epoxy, or use paint. A good source for high quality, but inexpensive epoxy is Raka.