Daily Maintenance Tips
After each use, using liberal amounts of water, wipe off the outside of your kayak with a clean damp rag or sponge to remove dirt,
scum and grit. Do it gently so you do not scratch the varnish. When finished the outside, clean the inside of the cockpit in the same
manner being especially careful to collect all the sand and dirt which you have "tracked" inside. If you carry out these simple
steps your kayak will look great for many years.
Wooden kayaks shouldn't be stored in direct sunlight or where water can collect inside them or anyplace that gets really hot and dry. Remove the hatch covers while in storage so moist air can escape and not collect in the watertight compartments.
When placing your kayak on your vehicle for transporting always check the rack and straps for dirt and grit particles. Grit under a strap is just like placing a piece of sandpaper against your fine kayak.
A cedar strip/epoxy kayak is not like a wooden boat in that the "wood" - in this case cedar, never gets wet. The "wood" is not only sandwiched between two layers of fibreglass and epoxy but the "wood" actually absorbs some of the epoxy during the construction process. So scrapping, sanding and painting are not part of the wood strip kayak maintenance process.
In normal use the varnish on the hull and to a lesser extend the deck will get scratched as the kayak is beached or pulled up on shore. This will not
affect the kayaks performance, though some theorists may argue this will increase drag in the water because of increased friction.
This may be true on an airplane wing travelling at 800 kilometres per hour but I suspect you will not notice this additional drag while
padding at five or six kilometres per hour.
My wooden kayaks are constructed with fibreglass cloth saturated by an epoxy resin. Epoxy is very tough, waterproof, and durable. Its only drawback is low UV resistance. So on an annual basis after a light sanding with 220 sand papaer varnishing with a quality marine-grade spar varnish (available at most hardware stores) is all that is needed to protect the boat from UV damage, fill any minor dings or scratch marks and give your kayak that "brand new" look.
If you have scratched your kayak to the extent that you have actually cut into the epoxy it is not a major problem unless you have entered the wood core. In most cases all that is needed is a thorough washing of the scratch, then cleaning with a lacquer thinner or acetone finally a few coats of varnish. In some cases it may be better to fill the scratch or gouge with epoxy resin, then sand and varnish. Done properly the gouge will competely disappear.
If you have damaged the kayak to the extent that the wood core is cracked or broken or worse yet you have actually punched a hole all the way through to the interior it can still be repaired. This is probably not something you would want to tackle on your own so I will not describe the repair process here but should you need help either in the form of advice or assistance please get in touch. All is not lost, a repair is possible and if done properly only you will know where the damage occurred. Again this is the beauty of a wood strip kayak.