Compared with most wooden boats, wood-core, fiberglass strip-built kayaks and canoes don’t need much maintenance. You can do the work yourself or we can quote you a price for us to do it. If you have a boat that has been inadvertently damaged, please contact us, since we may be able to repair it for a reasonable fee.
Due to the hi-tech modern coatings used on most of our boats, they require virtually no maintenance. Simply rinse them with fresh water. You can apply an automobile or marine wax to keep the shine. Do not use any wax that contains silicone. It can cause problems if you ever want the boat repainted.
Scratches on the surface can usually be polished out with automotive rubbing compounds. As long as deep scratches don’t let water get to the wood, they don’t need immediate attention. When you get a chance, you can apply some clear varnish/paint onto the scratch to protect the epoxy. If at some point the finish has worn off let us know and we’ll walk you steps to refinish.
Some customers prefer the look of layers of a traditional marine spar varnish. These boats require additional maintenance. We typically do no more than put on a new coat of varnish before each season.
Yearly: Abrasion from pulling the boat up the beach will eventually sand off all the varnish. It should be renewed about once a year. Wash the boat off and sand the area to be varnished with 220 grit paper then apply any good marine varnish with UV blockers. We use like Pettit’s Z-Spar Captain or Epifane’s Gloss. Other good varnishes are Interlux Goldspar and Awlspar Varnish. Two-component varnishes such as Interlux Perfection Varnish should not be used as the thinners will soften the underlying single-component varnish. Follow the manufacture’s recommendations for application. Don’t worry about getting a perfect finish on the bottom. The bottom will be scratched again before you know it.
Every two years the whole boat will need to be revarnished. Remove all the hardware and lines mounted on the deck, and sand the boat until the gloss is gone everywhere. You will notice a change in tone of the surface as you sand through the varnish into the epoxy, and this is useful because you should avoid sanding too far into the epoxy. There is no need to remove all the varnish. Revarnish by following the manufacture’s recommendations for application, sanding between coats. The results will probably look like new.
Some of the worst scratches will gouge through the varnish/paint into the epoxy and fiberglass, but they are not of immediate concern. As long as they don’t let water get to the wood, they don’t need immediate attention. When you get a chance, you can apply some varnish/paint onto the scratch to protect the epoxy. Rinse off the boat and scrub the scratch clean before varnishing/painting. If it looks as though the fibers of the glass are separated from the epoxy, you may need to clean a little deeper. Wet down the scratch with a solvent such as lacquer thinner or acetone and scrub it clean, then varnish.
The boat is strong and will survive a lot of abuse with nothing more than cosmetic damage, but worse things happen sometimes. For example, misjudge the timing of a wave as you pass over a rock and so, instead of passing over it, you’re left teetering on the rock. Or worse, You misjudged a wave and got dropped on top of a sharp rock, (or you drop it while taking it off the roof rack…) and now you have a hole in the boat. If this is enough to cause a bruise that goes into the wood, you should do a little extra work to prevent water damage.
For a bruise, a quick fix is to slap some varnish/paint over it to keep the water out for awhile. Eventually you will need to do something more permanent. Repairing holes and permanent fixes to bruises requires replacing any damaged fiberglass and wood. With a little care and matching wood, you will be the only one able to see the damage.
Today’s finest pressure sensitive graphics have been professionally applied to your kayak or canoe. The graphics require little maintenance and should be treated similarly to a painted surface.
– DO wash your graphics with soap and water or any vehicle soap.
– DO keep high pressure water nozzles at least 1-1/2 feet away from the edge of the graphics.
– DO test any cleaning solution on a small section of the decal before cleaning.
– DON’T use any aromatic solvents such as gasoline, diesel, acetone, MEK, toluene, paint thinner, or lacquer thinner on your graphics. Any solvent may soften or smear colors.
– DON’T overcoat the graphics with paint, clear or otherwise.
– DON’T wax over graphics if the wax contains any petroleum distillates. Wax that has dried between stripes can be removed by softening with rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs. Be sure to rinse the area after cleaning.
– DON’T use waxes that are colored. They contain DYES.
– DON’T use wax or Armoral on decals that are not glossy.