Re-Dyeing Feathercraft Cordura-Nylon Decks?

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Re-Dyeing Feathercraft Cordura-Nylon Decks?

Post by Rob »

I suspect I may already know the answer to this, but thought I'd inquire anyway, just in case.

Is it possible to re-color, and/or re-dye the Feathercraft, cordura-nylon decks when they are badly sun-faded?

It'd be nice to be able to refurbish one to make it look better, if not new again.

From the bit of research I've done on-line, it doesn't look very promising, due to the water-proof coatings added to the underside of the deck.

However, I was wondering if it gets to the point where that might break down and need to be reapplied after 20 - 30 years or so, then perhaps it could be brushed or scraped off, re-dyed, and then resealed afterwards.

Anyone tried it?

Also, since the coating is on the underside, any chance applying the dye to the top would work without removing that?

I don't want to go the painting route, which I've read is an option, since I suspect that wouldn't remain flexible enough after drying. Might work for a rigid kayak, but probably not for one that needs to be folded up regularly.

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Re: Re-Dyeing Feathercraft Cordura-Nylon Decks?

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

Nylon does take dye pretty well using aniline "acid" fabric craft dyes. But I think you would be hard pressed to get an even recoloration coat unless you used a compressor spray air brush (my commercial artist Mom spray-dyed an area rug that way when I was a kid.) And I would be concerned about how the fabric might interact with chemicals in the dye to damage the bond with the waterproof coating on the underside.

But you could buy a small bottle of it (Blick art supply stores sells several brands of dye for synthetic fabrics) and test a small area. But you may end up with something looking more like red "camo" than the original homogenous color.

My rigid skin-on-frame kayak is skinned in what was originally white 9 ounce nylon ballistic cloth that was dyed green efore it got its waterproof urethane outer coating. It has a mottled natural effect, like a leaf or piece of jade, rather than a consistent coloration.

Fading is sort of a badge of experience with fabric kayaks but I understand your impulse to spruce it up. I was very happy to be able to replace the faded yellow deck on my smallest folder with a new cherry red one a few years ago. Unfortunately, it is well known that red pigments are the most unstable in the dye spectrum and more apt to fade. Some of the most vivid red pigments (like cadmium) are toxic and problematic to use.
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Re: Re-Dyeing Feathercraft Cordura-Nylon Decks?

Post by yuen » ... 50-ml.html

Mix with diluente gommoflex

I painted my old K1 with it. Watertight and protected against UV light and it folds. Recomended.

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Re: Re-Dyeing Feathercraft Cordura-Nylon Decks?

Post by Rob »

Thanks for the replies and info. I really appreciate it.

That paint looks like it would perhaps be the easier and possibly better option, for a more consistent deck color, with the double bonus of sealing the deck too.

A lot more expensive, but I imagine painting that on beats dealing with 200+ degree boiling water with red dye in it.

I will have to ponder both options a bit, and give one or both a go. Certainly couldn't hurt I suspect, and might improve the longevity of the kayak as well a bit more.

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Re: Re-Dyeing Feathercraft Cordura-Nylon Decks?

Post by JohnSand »

I read somewhere that regular Rit Dye could be brushed on hot. I tried, but with minimal effect. It occurred to me afterward that I have several kettles for homebrewing that might be big enough to dip the boat, one half at a time.
Keep us posted on your efforts.

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Re: Re-Dyeing Feathercraft Cordura-Nylon Decks?

Post by Rob »

Thanks for the suggestions and tips.

Yea, from what I've read, the dye should be added to near boiling water, and then the fabric immersed into the water/dye mix and permitted to soak for 30 minutes or so, in order to get the best results.

That means, I imagine, that you might be able to get some success out of brushing the dye on, especially probably with badly faded hulls, but I suspect less so than using the soaking method. One person mentioned brushing on two "coats" of the dye, in order to try to restore the color.

Apparently, that did work some, but I don't know to what degree, and since he's sold the kayak, it is unclear how long or if the new dye application endured as one would hope.

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