How to skin a kayak quickly

This page shows my method for covering a skin on frame kayak.  This may not be the best or even the most attractive way but it is cetainly the quickest.  I have used many systems and have more or less settled on this one as the most simple and reliable.  I cover alot of boats and for me the joy is in the paddling so I don't fuss over details.  That said,  the product is still very clean and attractive.

8:45 AM  A clean workspace and a kayak ready to be covered, the fabric is 8oz nylon, folded and creased, I'm working inside where it's cool and the nylon will be most relaxed.

Tools of the trade, fabric cutter, needles, unwaxed dental floss, scissors, push pins, propane torch

9AM  I start by draping the fabric over the kayak and using a plain running stitch to sew a pocket over the bow.

9:10AM    I unhook the pocket and slide it back no more than 4 inches (3 is plenty), and pin the fabric.

9:20AM   Meanwhile at the stern this stem is too steep so I pinned the fabric and slid a scissors down the stem, melted theedges with the torch and finsh the seam with a whip stitch.  I switch to a running stich to sew another pocket here, then remove the pins.  Any stem steeper than 20 degrees will benefit from this treatment.

9:30AM    To stretch the skin tight I return to the bow and lay on floor with both hands on the fabric and my feet on the first deck beam and pull until the pocket is hooked.  Then I pin the keel every 8 inches or so.

9:40AM   To cut the skin I clamp a 1/2 by 1/2 batten down the middle of the kayak,  it doesn't have to be 1/2, better 1/4 I think but that tends to move to much for me.  I pull the fabric toward me while I slice the fabric along the batten with a fabric cutter,  heated knife or soldering iron.  The key to a clean stitch is a clean cut.

10AM   I go back over the edges with a torch to make sure they're melted so I can really pull on my stitches later.

10:10AM  Using #9 seine twine I lace up the kayak from the end to the cockpit.  I don't measure but my lacing is about 2" off the seam, 4" apart.  I take 1/4" bites of fabric.  When finished I tighten the lacing and tie it off.  How tight?  Until it starts to open a hole in the fabric so pretty tight but don't tear it out.

11:00AM   I sew up the kayak from the ends to the cockpit with a whip stitch

11:10AM   An easy way to do the coaming,  cinch it on with a cam strap and then cut out the hole.

11:30AM    Using the same seine twine I lace on the coaming, folding the fabric under as I go.

Done skinning!  Notice the weird shape of my Ginnyak design,  kinda ugly, but it paddles!

11:40AM   Mixing up the color, 1 pint vinegar, 1 pint water, Jacquard Acid Dye to the desired color.

 11:50AM    Dying the kayak,  tape off the coaming, work from the bottom up as fast as you possibly can, do not go back to even out a spot otherwise you have to do the whole boat again and darker.  Finish by scrubbing the color even with a rag.  Let dry.  If you must shrink out wrinkles do not iron, carefully use a heat gun while the boat is wet.

Lunch time

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