Looking for some tips on how to repair my fibreglass kayak hull

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Erica, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Erica

    Erica New Member

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    Hello everyone, I'm seeking some advice about a fiberglass kayak repair. Made the mistake of tying my 2006 P&H Capella kayak too tight to my roof racks and leaving it in the hot sun for a few hours. I had no clue fibreglass could do this but I noticed that the hull has "oil-canned" just in front of the seat, leaving two indentations that protrude into the cockpit. Tried emailing P&H with no response, and I really don't have a clue on how this can be fixed. I'm reaching out to ask about any tips or advice to go about repairing this, any ideas would be much appreciated! Thanks :)

    Tried taking a couple photos as well, you can kind of see the damage and what's happened. hull1.jpg Hull2.jpg Hull2.jpg
     
  2. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Erica-
    Welcome to WCP forum!
    It's hard for me to tell how severe/large the problem is.
    Can you take pics with a straightedge (straight stick or ruler) on the hull to show the 'depth' of the indent, or measure it?

    Does the area around the indents feel 'softer' than the rest of the hull?

    What sort of roof rack system are you using?

    My guess is that it's probably in the 'don't worry about it' category.
    BTW, it's nice to see a kayak that is being used (a few scratches)! I hate to see a 10-15 y.o. boat that still looks 'mint'.

    Anybody- Does that P&H boat have foam core in the hull?
     
  3. Erica

    Erica New Member

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    Hi John, I don't have a ruler but with my phone I was able to measure each indent, with the length being about 4cm and depth about 1/4 inch or so. I can try taking more specific photos of the area, and I just noticed that there is a shallow crack running along the length of the indent. Looking closely inside the cockpit the area definitely feels softer around the indent, but the crack doesn't appear to have compromised the fiberglass into the hull.

    As for my roof rack system, I have yakima saddles as well as foam racks to accommodate a second kayak. The foam racks are what I used for carrying the kayak this time around.

    Yes haha, I picked it up used a couple years back and definitely guiding with it has put more than a couple scratches in it!

    Thanks for your response too, appreciate the advice.
     
  4. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Erica, I saw an early Kevlar/epoxy kayak that had suffered similar damage from an overeager owner who overtightened the bow and stern lines, first time they loaded their new boats onto their Yakima cradles. Superficial cracks in the gelcoat which the dealer regarded as not significant. But the owners insisted on trading them in for new replacements. Cost the dealer a lot of money.

    I agree with John, although I am suspicious of those cracks.
     
  5. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    If that's a permanent indent or an indent that can now be easily made by light/moderate finger pressure - I'd say that it's odd enought to warrant a patch on the inside. That first photo with the corrugation or wrinkling just below the indent [I think] looks weird also.
     
  6. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I agree- I'd definitely put a patch on the inside if the area is soft.
    With an appropriate caul (covered in Contac or Tek tape, and waxed), pushed in place on the inside (arrange a prop/strut up to the deck) over the patch, you might have a chance to push the area flush again.
    Nimbus kayaks is on Quadra Is now, I think - contacting them might be useful.
     
  7. Jasper

    Jasper Paddler

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    If there is delamination, and the wrinkling sure looks like it. I would -- especially since I expect as a guide boat your boat leads a rough life -- not mess around with "patches on the inside". Grind the damaged material out at a 10:1 scarf angle and build up a new laminate. Then put a reinforcement on the inside.
     
  8. Roy222

    Roy222 Paddler

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    Jasper is spot on. Don't mess around with 1/2 a repair. Grind the whole area down and re-glass with 2 layers of 4 oz glass cloth. Fill and feather the edges and spot paint.
    You probably did not crack or warp the hull. I think the hull has been cracked and warped for a long time. Note the black dirt in the crack.
    You might be better off doing nothing because these kind of repairs have a way of getting out of control. Once you start it will be hard to stop. Even if you repair the local damage that Kayak is probably not safe to take into dangerous waters. Use that boat on quiet waters to be safe.
    Roy
     
  9. Jasper

    Jasper Paddler

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    There is no reason why a properly done fiberglass repair would be unsafe or any weaker than the original hull. Some of my boats have several holes patched and I still happily guide, surf, rock-garden, cave, whatever in them.

    Figure about an afternoon work to fix the hull, then after curing anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 days on fairing and gel coat repair, depending on how fussy you are.. it's no big deal, a good skill to have, and your boat will be functionally as good as new.
     
  10. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Perhaps some more detailed instructions would be useful?
    "Grinding out the whole area" - to leave a hole?
    "2 layers of 4oz" - better than nothing, but just. I hope the original laminate was tougher than that!
     
  11. designer

    designer Paddler

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    I'm thinking that Roy222 means with this problem it looks like "longevity" is involved. There might be other issues with the boat that you don't know about. Like if you have an old car and something goes out. You can fix that one thing, but the whole rest of the car is also ... vintage. Economically in might be best to use something until it is completely kaput. Problem is, what situation/scenario will you be in when the next problem appears.

    So if the boat was new-ish, and the injury was clearly only because of a current event, I'd fix it and continue. But if the problem is related to age of materials, I'd give my intended activities more consideration. Guess that "age of materials" applies to me too.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  12. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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    The owner of Nimbus Kayaks recently told me a fiberglass kayak should last 40 years easy ... and he thought 60 to 70 years was possible. But you'd need new deck rigging occasionally ;-)
     
  13. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    I agree, but...
    That's part of the reason that kayak companies aren't producing many glass boats these days - there are 'too many' good used boats still going strong.
    The same thing happened to the sailboat business- after 30+ years of producing glass boats, the demand for new boats dropped.

    I guess that the 'good news' is that some of the new glass boats are built light and fragile to keep the weight low, so they won't last as long! :) :(
     
  14. Roy222

    Roy222 Paddler

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    After more though:
    That crack could be just a crack in the gelcoat or could extend down into the glass/resin matrix. The only way to find out is to remove the gelcoat around the crack. What will follow will depend on your nature. If you are a perfectionist the project will only get bigger and bigger and bigger. If you are not a perfectionist. you might want to just slap a temporary repair over the crack and use the boat all summer. Then if you like the boat, repair the whole boat over the winter. You will get plenty of help on this form once you start.
    Once you start grinding on the gelcoat there is no going back until the whole job is done. If you start now, you might not use the boat all summer. It is like pulling a thread on a sweater.

    Roy
     
  15. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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    I must be doing it wrong ... because I remove damaged fiberglass, put 2 patches on the inside, put 1 patch on the outside, fair the patches, and gelcoat the outside. Not that difficult, doesn't take that long. Kayk looks good, and surfing at Surge Narrows doesn't faze it a bit.
     
  16. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    It's a bit easier with a 'white' hull, though even then some colour matching can be useful/needed/optional.
    I would do just about anything to avoid matching orange/red gelcoat.
    Even if I was going to grind into the gelcoat, I'd still probably patch (with a caul) the inside first, to make sure that the shape is re-established. It does depend on the location - whether access from the inside is easy or not can determine the repair sequence, for me.
    BTW, if it's a core laminate, it's more important for the inner (vs outer) skin to be strong - so I've been told.
     
  17. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Color me Nootka. I'm not good with matching the gel coat hue. Otherwise, Nootka's effort is pretty close to mine. Some boats, 20 years at it.
     
  18. Jasper

    Jasper Paddler

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    I tend to scarf my repairs in instead of surface patches, somewhat like this: https://netcomposites.com/guide-tools/guide/repair/scarfing/ except I tend to build the patch up biggest patch first, my teacher seemed to think that would give a better bond. Like Nootka and Astoriadave, I don't bother much with color matching. I don't mind seeing the patches, each one has a memory attached to it!