making it seaworthy

I bought a West River 16 1/2 foot kayak that needs some work.  I want to sand down the deck, repair some of the wood (yikes) and save the rest of the work for a project this winter.  It is partially painted, the deck being stained and varnished.  It was left out in the elements, and some of the wood has separated.  Okoume plywood.  I have sanded down some of it, and there is one spot in particular that will need some filler, either a good cover of fiberglass and epoxy or some wood filler, depending on how I want to finish it in the end.  There is no fiberglass on the deck; never was any.

 I think, given this damage, it would be best to paint it. 

My question is do I use a wood filler or just load up the fiberglass and epoxy?  And if I use a wood filler, what brand works well with MAS epoxy? 

I think I can get by for right now with just the filler, glassing, epoxy and some varnish.  Then I can paint over it this winter.  I want to take it out next month, see how I like it.  It is well built, sturdy, has a rudder, seat, backrest.  It had a compass, but there was damage around it, and I took it off.  It was glued on.  The plywood was sun-damaged and lifting in that spot.  Now I wish I had left it on!  Too late. 

The hull is fiberglassed and strong.  Just needs some TLC there and new paint.   


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RE: making it seaworthy

Here's my rule of thumb: For small structural dings, use wood flour and epoxy. For large structural patches, use glass. For cosmetic dings which are going to be painted anyway, use a fairing compound, such as phenolic microballoons.

In your case, I'd be tempted to use wood flour & epoxy to fill the hole, then put a layer of 4 oz glass over the entire deck to bind it together and to provide abrasion resistance and finally fill the weave with microballoon mix.

Have fun,



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