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9a. Signage - adding lettering to your kayak or canoe

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Giving your kayak a name or personalizing it with a drawing can be a very nice finishing touch. Here is how you can imbed your mark permanently under the fiberglass skin.

The material I am using is a semi transparent cotton vellum (get it at any art supply store). It doesn't wet out completely clear but it is hardly noticeable. Unlike transparent plastic film, it bonds with epoxy. I sent it through a normal inkjet printer, but you can also use any color ink for a hand drawn picture.
The raw wood is painted with epoxy first and the lettering is imbedded into it next.
This job needs to be done together with fiberglassing. This is what it looks like from a distance.
The dry fiberglass is draped over the signage and wetted out.

Since the vellum is quite stiff it wants to peel of the wood, even under the fiberglass. This causes air bubbles to be drawn under the glass which is not what you want. The best way to stick the film flush to the wood and exclude the bubbles at the same time is by covering the area with a patch of relatively thick polyethylene plastic. The whole thing is then squeegeed smooth and the epoxy surface tension takes care of the rest.

Peel the plastic off the next day. All that is needed is a bit of sanding and, viola...
The end product, sanded and varnished.


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Vaclav Stejskal
58 Wood Ln.
Acton, MA 01720
Tel:  781-481-9261


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Last page update: 9 May 2024