Source for Rib Replacement Materials?

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Source for Rib Replacement Materials?

Post by Rob »

Are there any good sources for reasonably priced, or discounted materials for rib replacements for Feathercraft kayaks, e.g. UHMW, HDPE, or marine grade plywood?

I may need to go with the plywood, or HDPE, since reading up on the UHMW material, it sounds like it may be impossible to effectively sand, file, or grind to shape. Not sure about the cutting process either, but from the bit I've read, it is very resistant to abrasion, and the plastic fibers have a tendency to wrap around, or clog grinding tools.

I need to double-check with Doug at FC, but according to his site, he's not offering parts for the year and model I need it/them for, e.g. a 2000 K-Light. I've read that the Kahuna/Big Kahuna ribs are interchangeable with the K-Light too, but don't know that for sure.

I'm wondering if all of the various years of the K-Light have the same ribs, and tubing e.g. 1990s, 2000, and 2010+. I would think so, but don't really know for sure.

I do know the hull and deck materials changed over time, as well as the way the cockpits were designed, but don't recall reading about any changes to the ribs, or hull frame - ribs and aluminum tubing. It would be good to know if the parts from various years for the frames are interchangeable, and the same size, in case replacement skins or frames are needed, and those on offer don't exactly match.

The large, front rib broke, and I suspect given that has occurred the others may be prone to breakage, or may already have stress fractures in them too, I'm guessing due to U/V exposure, so I may need to replace all of them.

Of the few sites I've checked for the various materials, pricing seems to be quite high, and not everyone is offering the 5/8" thick material needed. Perhaps 1/2" will work too. Some sites also only list 4' x 8' sheets which is an issue for shipping too. It'd be nice if smaller pieces could be stacked upon one another so as not to incur the shipping surcharge for dimensions of boxes over 24" in diameter. Of course, with the larger ribs, I may need to exceed that anyway, if I can't cut them on the diagonal from the blank stock.

Not sure if the smaller ribs are the same thickness as the larger ones, since the frame is frozen, and I can't currently get in far enough to check those. Confirmation of that would be appreciated too.

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Re: Source for Rib Replacement Materials?

Post by mje »

UHMW is another variety of polyethylene, like HDPE. There’s a PE material called “StarBoard” sold for boat use that may be suitable. You can find it at most boat supply places. This one turned up in a search: ... IgQAvD_BwE

Most decent sized lumber yards have, or can get, marine plywood. Another option is Baltic Birch, a very high quality plywood with more and thinner layers than typical plywood and zero voids.
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Re: Source for Rib Replacement Materials?

Post by GrnMtns »

Starboard is available in Florida, and perhaps other southern states, at Home Depot in various sizes and shapes. It is easy to shape and very dense.
I always throw a chunk in the truck on our way north because it is so handy.

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