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Spray HPK: Painting

Posted By Dan Caouette

With the deck joined to the hull, project completion was in sight.  Now it was time to complete the most obvious part of the project: the finish.

This kayak was going to be painted with an automotive urethane system from DuPont.  I used to do all of my own painting.  For commercial customers I have my local autobody shop, Pete Gagne owner of Pete’s Autobody and Restoration in Berlin, NH, handle my finish work.   Pete has the proper shop, the spray and safety equipment and most importantly, the experience to spray modern two component urethanes.  He asks that the kayak be ready for paint.  It must be primed and sanded.

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A painted finish requires very good preparation.  Any imperfection in the underlying surface will show through the paint.  Clear coated boats are actually slightly easier in this regard.  The random wood grain actually hides imperfections..

You need a fairly rough surface for primer.  I sanded the entire exterior to P180 (with a ROS followed by a longboard).  I started with P80 and worked my way up through the grits.

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Now to prime the exterior.  First I masked off all the openings.

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I sprayed three coats of automotive epoxy primer on the exterior.  I ran some wire through the forward and aft deck fittings and hung it off my deck.  The weather really cooperated that weekend.  It was almost 70F.

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The next morning, Monday, I loaded the Spray on top of the truck and brought it down to Pete.

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I checked back with Pete on Friday.  He was going on vacation and wanted to finish it before he left.  He sprayed a sealer coat, a black base coat (which became the accents), the red color coats and three coats of clear.  He had just sprayed the clear earlier that morning so it wasn’t quite ready to travel.

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Impulse Red Pearl.  The picture doesn’t do it justice…

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Saturday morning I picked up the Spray from Pete and took it back to the shop for final outfitting.  Thanks, Pete!

(Yes, the final color is very similar to my truck…)

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