need advice- overlay item on deck

I am contemplating adding actual dried leaves to the deck of my 16 for decoration.  They are obviously paper thin, but also very brittle.   I assume I can lay the leaf on top of the wet epoxy, let it dry, than epoxy over the leaf with a brush, let it dry and than varnish over this several times?  Will I be risking the leaf since I still have to sand after epoxy and varnish? Any recommendations?  Thanks

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RE: need advice- overlay item on deck

Sounds like a cool idea but risky.  I would think that the veins in the leaves would be too substantial and not allow for a flat finish...they would definitely impede sanding.   If you're set on using a leaf motif, which I think would be impressive, maybe you could scan your choice of natural leaves then print the images on to dress pattern paper or rice paper and continue with the proven method of adding custom decal type designs to your kayak.  If you have photo imaging software like Photoshop, you can also enhance your images for greatest effect.  You've got me thinking!  Good luck.


Chris

RE: need advice- overlay item on deck

It sounds neat if it works--it also sounds like it would be a mess if it does not work.. I would strongly recommend a test leaf on a test board please publish your results...Thanks

RE: need advice- overlay item on deck

I've done a bit of veneer work as overlays on boats and the leaf idea might just work. First thing I'd do would be to dry them in a leaf press to get them as flat as possible and dry. I'd place them directly on the deck before glassing and use white glue to hold them in place. After it's dry place the cloth over them and the deck and epoxy all. After your fill coats you can sand the leaf areas and smooth out the epoxy. You should end up with a fairly smooth deck.

Here's my Sea Island Sport with veneer leaves made from quilted cherry.

George K

RE: need advice- overlay item on deck

George, that is beautiful.  You sure got my mind busy.

RE: need advice- overlay item on deck

Thanks for the ideas.  I've had my leaves drying in a book so they are pretty flat.  I wasn't planning on glassing the deck, would that be a big problem?  Just curious, why the white glue to hold them in place, wouldn't the drying epoxy accomplish the same?  I assume the idea it to get the rest of the deck at the same level as the leaves so it can all be sanded smooth?  Is there any way to get around this? (Before you say anything, my mom always said there was no dumb questions!)  :) I am willing to have some "rises" around the leaves after varnishing to get the look I am after.  Maybe extra coats of varnish or expoxy? Keep the ideas coming.

RE: need advice- overlay item on deck

Randy,

Thanks for the comment.

Kiz,

The reason for glueing down the leaves with white glue is the glue will set up much quicker, 5 minutes or so, than the epoxy. You can put saran wrap over them and tape them flat or put sandbags over them while the glue sets. You can do the same with the epoxy, of course. I just like the glue for the fast set. You don't need to fiberglass the deck but there are a few advantages if you do. The main reason would be to prevent wear and tear on the deck. A layer of 4oz cloth doesn't add that much weight but offers a strong barrier against whacks with a paddle, climbing in during a wet entry, straps marring it during transportation, to name a few. And if you do the leaves you'll definitely want to put cloth over them for protection.

Whatever you do pics will have to be posted.

George K

RE: need advice- overlay item on deck

Thanks George for the feedback!  By the way, very nice job on your sport.  Were did you get the leaves from? 

RE: need advice- overlay item on deck

http://www.kayakforum.com/cgi-bin/Building/index.cgi/page/1/md/read/id/184103/sbj/s-g-nh-update-making-good-progress-almost-there-pic/

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Ogata, eric

RE: need advice- overlay item on deck

Thanks Eric, I really appreciate the link.  This gives me some confidence it can be done.  Is anyone else familiar with this?

RE: need advice- overlay item on deck

I buy veneer in sheets from B&B Rare Woods. Each leaf is made from 6 individually cut pieces of quilted cherry and the stems are bubinga. There are 20 leaves on the deck. My West River has 5 different types of wood, over 130 pieces total, and the design added about 30 hours to the build.

Here's a detail shot:

Some people think of these boats as furniture. With the cloth over the veneers they're more durable than furniture and paddle a whole lot better than my recliner.

George K

RE: need advice- overlay item on deck

George,  very impressive. 

RE: need advice- overlay item on deck

Both boats are amazing George. But I  especially like the subtlety of the SIS, and the way the leaves blend in with the figuring of the grain.

FWIW, Woodcraft has a pretty wide selection of veneers, hardwood, exotic and figured. If they have a store in your area, you can probably just wander in and pick out the ones you like. Or you can order from them online. I used some ebony I got there for an onlay. Boy was that a PITA to cut without splintering all to hell. Had to use double-sided tape to attach it to some sacrificial 1/4 inch ply backing  to cut out the onlay.

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Ogata, eric

RE: need advice- overlay item on deck

George,

So you are using standard paper-backed veneer?  I used to build audiophile quality stereo and home theater speakers as a hobby.  I've done lots of veneer work and have been wondering if I could use some of my leftover veneer on my kayak.  I have some ribbon striped mahogany that I'd like to use on this boat.  I always used yellow wood glue and a hot iron to apply my veneer.  However, that was over an MDF cabinet.

RE: need advice- overlay item on deck

Great post guys, I have been trying to think of  something unique for my first boat and like it was stated this does get the creative side of my mind going as well..

RE: need advice- overlay item on deck

I don't use paper backed veneers. However I do cover the entire front side (i.e. the side that will be showing) with 2" blue painter's tape and draw the design on the back side in reverse. The tape keeps the veneers from splitting/splintering while cutting and protects them from damage while glueing. After the glue is dry I peel off the tape and feather the edges as much as possible. The veneers are about 1/64" thick on average and with careful sanding, a few fill coats of epoxy over the cloth, sanding to level out the high spots and 7 coats of varnish it looks and feels like an inlay rather than the onlay that it is.

George K

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