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Covering A Kayak.

Discussion in 'Wood and Canvas' started by Kenneth J Whelan, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. Kenneth J Whelan

    Kenneth J Whelan New Member

    My 16 year old son has spent the last year and a half building a kayak from the plans published in a 1940's magazine. This will be a fabric covered kayak. The boat is an open cockpit, probably about 11' long. The decks are covered at each end. He has used cedar to build the frame.

    My grandfather had built one from the same plans when my Dad was a kid. When I turned 15 or so, my dad helped me recover it with ceconite (aircraft fabric.). That seemed to work fine.

    The original was accidentally destroyed while I was a young adult and my mother had it in her possession, so when she found the original plans my son decided he wanted to build a new one.

    My question is this, is ceconite a recommended fabric and are there any other alternatives, he is almost ready to cover it and I am helping him decide what kind of fabric to put on it.

    Are there any suggestions to help ease the process in putting the fabric on the boat.

  2. Rob Stevens

    Rob Stevens Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Options include; skin, ceconite (vinyl or PVC coated fabric), nylon or polyester cloth/Dacron, , canvas,..

    Several reference books;
    The Aleutian Kayak: Origins, Construction, and Use of the Traditional Seagoing Baidarka, by Wolfgang Brinck

    Fuselage Frame Boats; A Guide to Building Skin Kayaks and Canoes by S. Jeff Horton

    Building the Greenland Kayak; A Manual for Its Construction and Use by Christopher Cunningham
  3. mccloud

    mccloud Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I haven't built a skin over frame kayak, so can't help you there. Ceconite is a form of Dacron (polyethylene terphthalate) used on aircraft, so it must be strong and good stuff. I don't know how much a square foot of it weighs, but I do know that the Dacron fabric we use to cover canoes only adds 2+ pounds of weight to a 16 foot canoe. Now days the fabric is typically spot-glued to the frame with one of two adhesives which were not available in the 1950s: either Heat n Bond, which is hot gun glue in ribbon form, or Ecobond, a liquid you paint on and let dry before setting the fabric into the glue using a hot iron. We did a demonstration on applying Dacron to a canoe at Assembly, 2017, and some of that technique will apply to your kayak. Read the information on the web site And remember that all Dacrons are UV sensitive, so at least the final coat over the top must have a good UV inhibitor in it. Tom McCloud
  4. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

  5. samb

    samb LOVES Wooden Canoes

    A long discussion here about re covering vintage folding and frame kayaks.

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