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Klepper Shrinking Skin?

Posted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:21 pm
by ds7771
Hello all. I am new to folding kayaks!

I recently acquired a vintage Klepper Aerius II from the 1950s. It belonged to my father-in-law's dad who purchased it in London, and sailed often on the Thames. He also purchased a Klepper T6 single from the same era. Among the boat accessories was a fantastic laminated boating license issue by the Thames conservatory in 1961.

The boats are both in very good condition given their age. The frames are perfect and complete. The Aerius II is quite decked out with a sail and mast, rudder, lines, and motor mount, too. The boats have been in storage for decades, in their original army green canvas bags.

The 2-seater's hull is in surprisingly good condition. It still fits like a glove and floats perfectly. The blue canvas deck looks practically new. Cant want to turn some heads on the Charles River here in Boston.

Unfortunately, the T6 hull does not seem to fit any more. While I can push both halves of the frame all the way into the each end of the hull, there is not enough slack remaining to snap the gunwales together. They overlap by a good 6 inches. Its almost as if the hull has shrunk over time. There is a stiff crease where the hull was folded up, but its not enough of a crease to make up 6 inches.

Im wondering if anyone has experienced a similar issue with vintage Klepper hypalon hulls? Is there any recommended method for restoring the ability for the frame to snap together inside the hull again?

I would really like to get the T6 in service again. All advice is much appreciated!


Re: Klepper Shrinking Skin?

Posted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:39 pm
by mje
If it's from the 1950s, it's natural rubber, not Hypalon, and rubber will shrink with exposure to heat. There's not a lot you can do once that happens other than having a new hull sewn on to the deck.

Re: Klepper Shrinking Skin?

Posted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:07 pm
by ds7771
Thanks for your advice. To be honest I am not sure the exact year of manufacture, but I do know the boats are from that approx era.

I've attached some photos of the T6 single. Can you tell from the picture when it was made and whether the hull is natural rubber or hypalon?

Re: Klepper Shrinking Skin?

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:31 am
by idc
It is definitely natural rubber if it is from that era. Nice looking frame.

Re: Klepper Shrinking Skin?

Posted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:54 am
by mje
The T6 was from before Klepper used Hypalon.