Painting Folbot Decks

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kaizoku
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Painting Folbot Decks

Post by kaizoku »

Two years ago my two Folbots looked so depressingly drab I was embarrassed to display them. The 1997 blue Aleut had seen service from the Atlantic Ocean to the Sea of Japan and many points between and showed it; no amount of 303 could even hint at its original color. When I was transferred to Kyoto Prefecture’s Tango Peninsula in September, 2014, I took the 2008 yellow Cooper with me and left it assembled on top of my van while living in hotels for the first four months. The sun and the rain and finally the snow left it not only faded but badly discolored as well. I remembered seeing skins advertised on the Folbot website in the $600 range, and decided that before I parted with that much money I would try to paint both decks and if that failed then face buying new skins.

Online research led me to the Dharma Trading Co. (http://www.dharmatrading.com) and its fabric dyes and paints. I chose the light body metallic acrylic “Lumiere by Jacquard” and ordered 547 Indigo for the Aleut and 550 True Gold for the Cooper. I cleaned the decks thoroughly and applied two coats with a Purdy nylon/polyester sash brush, allowing a day’s drying time between coats. The Dharma website describes using a special oven, press, or iron to heat treat fabric paint; not having such unusual items in my living room where I did the job, I just painted the decks and let them dry for several days before taking them outside and allowing the sun to do the heat treating.

Anyone who has ever applied metallic paint with a brush knows you can’t eliminate the brush marks. An ideal method would feature brushing on the first coat for penetration and applying the second coat with an HVLP or conventional air sprayer – that would enable a professional finish. But since all I had was my Purdy sash brush, that’s what I used for both coats. The finish still looks great, the brush marks are unnoticeable unless you are looking for them, and the water repellency was restored as well.

The kayaks have now survived two full years usage in both fresh and saltwater environments. They have been disassembled, the decks folded and stored, and reassembled. The coatings have not chipped, cracked, peeled, or faded. I also used the Pure Gold on the tips of a Northern Light carbon Aleut paddle obtained through Folbot and am surprised at its excellent adhesion even to that nonporous surface.

The cost of this project? The Lumiere is about $12 for 8 ounces. I purchased 16 ounces of each color, two quality paintbrushes, and a couple rolls of masking tape. For less than $100 I now have a True Gold Cooper and an Indigo Aleut that I’m proud to display anywhere.

And I’m very grateful it worked because now there aren’t replacement skins at any price!

---------------
Brian D
Folbot Indigo Aleut
Folbot True Gold Cooper
Necky Arluk III
BDS Batwing 32
Kayaksailor Rig

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KerryOnKayaks
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Re: Painting Folbot Decks

Post by KerryOnKayaks »

Thanks for the advice on your experience with competent fabric paints. This is very useful information to know.
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HoosierPaddler
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Re: Painting Folbot Decks

Post by HoosierPaddler »

Hello. Any update as to how the painted decks have held up the last few years?

HoosierPaddler
GIIx2, Kodiak x2, Edisto, and Citibot

kaizoku
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Re: Painting Folbot Decks

Post by kaizoku »

HoosierPaddler,

The fabric paint on both Folbots is still like new - no chipping, peeling, fading. Everybody gets lucky sometimes.

Brian D
Folbot Indigo Aleut
Folbot True Gold Cooper
Necky Arluk III
BDS Batwing 32
Kayaksailor Rig

HoosierPaddler
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Re: Painting Folbot Decks

Post by HoosierPaddler »

And it folds up for storage just fine?

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