I built a Chesapeake Light Craft, Chesapeake 17LT sea kayak back in March of 2007. I use it every year, though mostly on lakes, so it doesn’t get much abuse. The intense Colorado sun probably takes its toll more than anything else. Periodically, these wooden boats need to be refinished because the sun will break down the epoxy covering the boat and the varnish offers UV protection.
I sanded down the entire hull and deck with a random orbit sander and some 80 grit paper, and then followed it up with some 150 grip paper. When I built this boat I didn’t have a shop vac or adapter for my sander resulting in a garage covered with epoxy sanding dust. My respirator worked hard back in those days, but since then I’ve made an adapter and connect the sander to a vacuum and the air stays quite clean.
Before varnishing I added the hip braces which came with the boat but I delayed installing year-after-year. Now was a good time and also a good time to add some under-deck knee padding, as every time I’m out in rough weather I’m wishing I’d have done this, oh, my knees! The varnishing went well, though much to my frustration the hull came out much better than the deck. Arrrrrgh………Oh well, for now it’ll just have to protect the epoxy until one day when I get better at using the HVLP sprayer.
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