Something I posted on foldingkayak.org:
A quick note on our shrinking skins; this is something that happens on a regular basis due mostly to the material in the L-strip and to a small extent the hull fabric itself. When wetted and dried repeatedly the core fabric expands and contracts; when you leave you boat rolled up over the winter they will in some examples contract as much as 2″. This is a bigger problem in longer boats (K1!!) as there is more L-strip and hull length to shrink!
We don’t think this is a major problem, or one we are willing to correct. Hear me out, there are a few reasons: The solution to the “problem” is simple and our weldable fabric is bar none the best in the industry (the company who makes it for us is constantly approached by many kayak companies and asked for “Feathercraft’s fabric”, quote, unquote).
If your boat is hard to assemble/ extend, its probably not you. Fill your bathtub with water and submerse the boat over night (24 hours+). It is best to turn the skin completely inside out through the cockpit. When you pull your boat out of the water immediately assemble it (wear a swimsuit!!!). A couple hours after you have stretched the skin out, try and extend it an extra hole or two.
What we do (in short):
Turn the skin inside out, except for the very ends. Close sponson valves.Totally submerse the skin in a tank or bathtub full of water, overnight or for two days.
What happens: water gets into the fabric itself, from the inside. The inside has less coating than the outside. Water is able to seep in between the coating and the fabric. The nylon fabric expands when wet.
– Assemble the boat while the skin is still wet, and extend.
Let the skin dry on the frame. This should help you guys out, hope it does.
Happy paddling all.