staining a surf kayak

I went to Lowe's (probably a sissy store to you avid boatbuilders) to find a water base stain.  They have a very small selection of water-base MinWax.  I will keep looking at the paint stores.  However, on Tips for Boatbuilders, under the staining section, it talks about mixing powders yourself and using gradually-increasing drops to make your stain the way you want it. ??? Lowe's mixes it for you.  Does anyone know where to find the powder dye/stain or the concentrated drops? 


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RE: staining a surf kayak


Do some google searching.  I found an alcohol-based liquid dye to color the top of a maple guitar red... maple doesn't take powder based stains very well.  I mixed this concentrate with denatured alcohol (from Lowes or Hm Depot) until I got the density of color I wanted, then rubbed it in with a rag, rubbed it off.  Easy.

That red dye looked awesome!  Found it online, and a small bottle (the size of nose-spray) would've dyed 20 or more guitars, would easily do an entire kayak.

Good luck,


RE: staining a surf kayak

Not to promote one supplier over another but.... I've used woodworkers supply ( for colorants. You can start there to see what is available to aid you in further web searches. There are two different ways to do this. There are pigment stains (They stay on top of the wood and lodge in the pores of the wood) and dye stains (They actually penetrate into the fibers of the wood). There are three suspension methods. Oil soluable, water soluable and alcohol soluable.  If you use water soluable you must first wet down the whole project and lightly sand the whole surface. Water raises the grain of the wood. If you wet and sand first and then stain the raised grain is already nocked down. There are specific rules for using stain/dye types under specific top coat choices, but I don't think that will be a problem because your stain/topcoat barrier will be epoxy. But whatever stain/dye choice you make, make sure you test out the whole finishing sequence on some scrap prior to your actual job. It would stink to see that your stain spreads and smears once you start your finish process. 

RE: staining a surf kayak

Ricks suggestions are great with one exception.  You cannot use oil based stains under epoxy. If you do your fiberglass will simple peal off.  

RE: staining a surf kayak

I plan on trying behlens solar lux dye.

RE: staining a surf kayak

Our local Rockler had water-based stain in powder and liquid. If you are very particular about the color, make sure you not only test the stain, bust also epoxy and varnish your test pieces.

 I chose black stain which is a bit of an extrmeme example, but it was charcoal black on okoume, green under epoxy and dark brown aftercaptain's varnish.


RE: staining a surf kayak

Thank you, all, for the response.  I will visit Rockler in Concord this weekend.  I went to Home Depot tonight and found a bigger selection of stains, water based.  Behr brand.   The colors vary from pink to dark mahogany.   I like the idea of testing out the density of the colors suggested by Ricks.  I went online, also, and looked up Behlen stains.  Interesting, that.  I see I have some more choices to make.  Behr suggests using a pre-conditioner on the wood in order to get the better effects.  We should be cutting the wood on Saturday. 

RE: staining a surf kayak

We went to Rockler's and bought some very nice stains.  No mixing.  I am doing some tests in my kitchen right now, where it is warm, and the colors are looking very nice.  The longer I leave it on, the better it looks.  Which means that I can let it dry out there in the cold temperatures and not worry about timing.  It will leave lap lines, however, if I quit and then come back to stainng.  Water-based, General Finish brand. 

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