Unknown folding double kayak

I have a 17ft x 30" double. Has three holes. I believe it was built in New England. I’ve had it 7 or 8 years. Very light. Not bad assembly. Does anyone know the name?

Looks like an old Feathercraft to me, but I couldn’t tell you what model.

Triton in St. Petersburg also makes boats similar in design. They are marketed in Europe under the Nortik brand name, but not sold in the US, so that possibility seems unlikely.

Yes, it is a feathercraft, one of the first folding kayaks in USA. Should be a quality boat. The “holes” are cockpits. Should be efficient to paddle and weigh about 35 Lbs. when packed. Do you plan to sell it?

I don’t believe it is a Feathercraft. You’re the second person to say that. I’ve only had one Feathercraft and it was no where near like this. This is not a “tough” folder but it’s light, fast, and easily loaded. It’s 47 lbs as is. Zippers are recent…after 2000? Those large plastic zippers everyone switched to. The cockpit combing is 1/2" 25psi poly pipe. How cheap can you get? But they work. Velcro and straps hold it together. Still editing…it’s not Feathercraft. I’d have known a Feathercraft when I got it. Found it on Ebay, $500 maybe less

I’ve got more than six double folders here. I only need one.

Tim … treeh2o@earthlink.com

These are not Feathercraft.
UFO… unidentified floating object

I agree (having owned 4 Feathercrafts) that the boat isn’t one, unless it was some oddball prototype they experimented with. They did not ever make any triple cockpit models, for one thing. Though that exposed frame in the bow looks an awful lot like the dogleg bow and stern ends of the skeletal stiffeners in the FC Java .

It might be one of the Asian or Eastern European folders that have often been mishmash combinations of design aspects of Feathercrafts and Folbots. Or maybe something homemade, considering the materials and somewhat crude design, and using cannabalized parts, like the aforementioned Java frame. I’ve modified and sewed folder skins myself and there are quite a few people who have built skin on frame folders using Yostwerks designs as a basis.

Here’s a thought: is it possible that this IS an owner modified Java? Does it have the four full length sponson tubes? It would make sense that somebody could rig those odd square ribs to support a deck and fabricate a deck for it. In that case they might leave the bottom hull pair of sponsons deflated… That frame just looks so familiar to me, especially where the longeron exits from the sleeve along the gunwale. Do you have more photos and maybe exact length and beam? Shot below of my Java. I’ll take and post some closeups of the stern end later (it’s still set up as a solo in my garage from use last summer). Though since you say you have multiple tandems, maybe you have a Java yourself.

Not clear to me from your posts – are you trying to ID this boat to buy it or do you already have it and are looking to sell it so you want to add origin to the description? Or something else?

Really a bummer that foldingkayaks.org folded. It was such a great source of information and chat on folders and I really miss it. But I know maintaining a free forum like that is a tremendous burden for the administrator and can’t blame him for bowing out.

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Had a further thought, since you mention it may have been made in New England. Contact PakBoat (in Ensfield, NH) and see if this may have been a prototype for their short-lived XT 17 folder. PakBoat tends to go through a lot of experimental beta testing and design changes, with models that vanished or became obsolete within short time frames. These frequent design changes and quick discontinuation of models ahs been my major complaint about a company whose products I do otherwise like. Very frustrating to be unable to get parts when every year the model changes or goes extinct. In contrast, Ally’s folding canoes have not changed substantially in over 30 years. I helped somebody trying to sell a 28 year old Ally 18 one from an estate a few years ago and we were able to source replacement seats and frame fittings from Ally that still fit it.

I briefly co-owned the shorter Pakboat XT-15 which had semi-rectangular ribs that snapped into ladder type side walls and I think at one time you could get a 3 cockpit deck for it . Other aspects of the frame, skin and coaming also suggest Pakboat. They also are known for selling their prototypes and test models through their New Hampshire HQ. I got my (now discontinued) Pakboat Quest 135 that way – it was a first round beta version demo I got for 40% off list, but needed some modifications as they corrected some design problems, like too high of a seat position. Somebody at Pakboat might recognize it if you contact them.

Thanks. I have the boat in the shop. Suns out and I’ll go paddling. Not really sure what I’ll do with it. I’m making an inventory of my folders. I think I have over ten complete and another five or ten incomplete. I’m not even into the Kleppers and I know I have two or three square back sail boats. I am down sizing. I’ve a Folbot Kodiak on ebay and I’m giving away a Folbot Pisces. You are correct. I’m sure this isn’t a Feathercraft. I’ll try Pakboat. Sounds good. Thanks.

I’m a victim of folder “collecting” as well. Have 2 FCs and 4 Pakboats (two of those in states of partial restoration) at the moment, having sold off 3 prior boats. On top of two fixed SOFs, 3 hardshell kayaks and a solo canoe crowding my 2 car garage, that’s a fleet of an even dozen. So far I have managed to resist buying a very clean bPakboat Puffin and a vintage but very cheap early Feathercraft (K-lite?) that have been languishing on my local Facebook marketplace for most of the winter.

I’ll be interested in hearing what you find out about this one you’ve posted.

Given the cheap construction and lack of identifying markings, I’d guess it’s a prototype, or a custom re-skin of some old boat the internet forgot about.

The crossribs don’t look like anything like a Feathercraft, but the FC Klondike is the only folding tandem I know of in that length with a single keel bar. And like yours, it has two longitudinal members on each side, one on the top of the cockpit and one on the bottom. The coaming looks sort of similar too. That’s why I guessed FC. Note the three hole deck at the end of this video:

I will keep working on this a few days. I’d like to keep this boat. I’m not a whitewater kayaker, not even close. I like going places in calm water. The weight and stowage space favor this kayak.
I am getting rid of all the would be projects. I’ve likely four or five incomplete Klepper and Folbot Supers. I see folder parts on Ebay but very pricey. I just want rid of them but don’t want to burn them. I’ve got a free Old Town and Peterborough canoes on the WCHA site.

Regrets over the lost folder site. I’ve a 1950 or so Folbot Super. I also have a 1980 Super. The old one is all wood, three sided with ladders. I’m trying to get the old Folbot in the newer skin. Does anyone know if they are interchangable?

I’m not at all familiar with Folbots, but I seem to remember from exchanges on the foldingkayaks forum that the models changed enough over time to NOT be at all interchangeable regarding frame components and skins. I understand that the models got a bit sleeker and less beamy as time went on. I do know that there were often reports that the older skins shrank quite a bit over time when stored unassembled and became almost impossible to stretch over the frames, also that they became brittle. One of the Eastern European makers (Longhaul maybe? or Pouch?) was making replacement skins to order at one time for some of the old folders by other manufacturers, but that was years ago. Doesn’t sound like you want to invest that sort of cost in these old craft anyway.

Have you tried soaking the skin thoroughly, maybe with some liquid fabric softener dissolved in the water (to make the threads in the fabric more apt to stretch) before trying to insert the frame? I’d leave it soaking overnight to make sure it had absorbed as much as possible.

Another option would be to just use the wooden frame as the skeleton for a sewn on and epoxy coated skin on frame. Wouldn’t be foldable any more but at least you would have a functioning boat for under $200 worth of materials and a couple of days work.

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I’ll probably assemble the newer frame and compare. It’s not the frabric that’s the problem. It’s the waterproof lower part of the hull. It’s become stiff as plastic. It barely bends or unfolds. I’ve been able to stretch 30 year old hulls on by setting them in direct sunlight. Obviusly, you need the right weather. This is a 75 year old hull. This is an early all wood folder. No metal tubes and no composit bulkheads.
Answering my own question. The newer super is different. The #2 bulkhead is nearly 8 inches further back from the bow. I’m uncertain yet if the newer boat is actually longer. But there’s no way a newer skin will go on the all wood fifties frame.
There’s no where else to post this. Examined the early Folbot Super all wood frame. Similiar to Klepper. Side ladders. All wood. Bulkheads are in different spots. Later Super with the tubing is an inch or two wider. Cockpit is obviously the big difference. Ladders are thinner. Boats are the same length, 17’ 2". Back rests mount on the washboards.

The formula for softening rubber products that have stiffened with age is to soak them in a solution of 3 parts isopropyl alcohol and 1 part methyl salicylate (also called wintergreen oil.) If I was going to try that with a kayak skin, I’d get a galvanized trash can and mix the solution in that, roll up the skin loosely and stuff it inside the can, then pull a large trash bag over the top to create a better seal before pushing the lid on (to control evaporation).

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First time I’ve heard that. Worth a try. Thanks. It’ll be few weeks. But better than buying a new hull.

Will that work on old wetsuits where the neoprene cells have “locked up” in storage?

Don’t know. I’d be cautious about that since most neoprene isn’t 100% latex rubber.

I did find this via Google from a wetsuit dealer; looks like a good soak in fabric softener might help:

"What If My Suit is Stiff?

It’s not at all uncommon for your suit to feel stiff if you have put it away for the winter. What you should do is give it a bath in a tub of water and fabric softener. This will help soften up the material but will not hurt the neoprene. So if your suit is a little stiff, try this tip. Once it is loosened up, go ahead and try it on for size and make sure it fits."

Full link here:

Diving Tips | Did My Wetsuit Shrink? | Atlantic Aquasport.

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Thanks. Because they are basically useless so you have nothing to lose.

I took the 1950’s hull, stiff as it was, I put it in a 55 gal barrel full of water. I could only push in a few inches each day the hull was so stiff. After a week I had it all under water and I added a gallon of fabric softener.
Just today I dumped the water and hung the hull to drain/dry. It was still wet when I began the assembly process. I was encouraged but that last bit can break frames and ladders. Years ago I broke Sporty ladder by trying to force it. This time I used clamps and six 1 x 6 x44 inch wood. It took 22 clamps to fasten everything to reinforce the ladders. Two hundered pounds of weight. An auto scissors jack to spread the side ladders. I got it done. Four hours.