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Repairing/Replacing/Recovering brittle UV damaged Feathercraft deck

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:49 pm
by wizzzzzzard
I inherited a Feathercraft K-Lite that was left out in the sun for what I am guessing was many years. The hull is in excellent shape but the deck has faded from deep purple to white and the Cordura fabric is brittle. A finger pressed on any spot on the deck goes through easily. There are a few existing tears and holes but overall the deck is intact, though structurally fragile.

I would like to repair the deck with something that gives it strength and waterproofness. I don't care if it affects the foldability of the deck; I am okay with this becoming a rigid boat! I have searched this forum for solutions and there are suggestions for repairing the waterproofing of the Cordura but none that address degradation of the fabric when it has become brittle. I wonder about options like a liquid rubber of some kind, or even applying a fibreglass resin and cloth on top of the existing cloth. Lots of problems with those solutions, no doubt.

So...ladies and gentlemen....I would love to hear your suggestions!

Thanks very much

Wilf from Vancouver.

Re: Repairing/Replacing/Recovering brittle UV damaged Feathercraft deck

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 5:02 pm
by mje
Once the Nylon fabric has become brittle, it’s gone, and there’s no way to restore it, unfortunately. You’ll have to find someone who can cut a replacement panel and sew it in, or find a used skin.

Re: Repairing/Replacing/Recovering brittle UV damaged Feathercraft deck

Posted: Sat Aug 15, 2020 8:35 am
by JohnSand
Welcome aboard!
That is a tough challenge. I'm sure the best answer is to stitch a new deck on it. I wonder if a local canvas shop might be able to do it in SurLast or Sunbrella. Fiberglass is chancy. I think you could lay cloth and resin on the existing deck, but it would be heavy and brittle. Before that I would try gluing a second deck on it right over the old one. Waterproof fabric glued only to the hull and coaming might work. Don't rush any of this, over time a good solution may come to you.
Good luck, keep us posted.

Re: Repairing/Replacing/Recovering brittle UV damaged Feathercraft deck

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:14 pm
by KerryOnKayaks
I would not recommend Sunbrella or other awning and upholstery fabrics for this. They are too loosely woven and not a tight denier that would have the necessary controlled stretch for a Feathercraft frame. Also not possible to make these waterproof. That requires a coated fabric (I have worked with all these kinds of fabrics).

I'd consider making a new deck or finding someone who can sew who would be willing to take it on. If you carefully cut the damaged part off the skin you can use it for a template to cut new sections. You can get coated nylon oxford cloth from diypackraft.com by the yard, which he sells for people to make their own inflatable pack rafts. This is heat-sealable so you can overlap seams, stitch them for strength and then seal the edges together with a craft iron like the Black Beauty. It would require somebody who was comfortable and creative enough with sewing outdoor gear type stuff and who had a sewing machine capable of handling large pieces and thicknesses.

https://www.diypackraft.com/shop/mercha ... le-fabric/

Another option would be to keep the frame set up and create a non-folding skin-on-frame skin for it using 9 ounce ballistic nylon coated with 2-part epoxy. The Skin Boat Store in Anacortes, WA, sells kits with the fabric and the coating. There are numerous books on doing this ("Building the Greenland Kayak") and a lot of tips on the qajaqusa.org forums.