Contact Matt or Mary Hohlbein
Klepper folding kayaks date back to 1907. Read some of the history published on Klepper's website: History -- Museum
An American family visiting Cologne, Germany, purchased a 1939 T-6 Klepper in 1951 and shipped it home where it enjoyed a long and active life in Michigan. By 2013 it was in rough shape and in need of extensive restoration.
Phase One- Refurbish the Wooden Frame
The Klepper Project
Enter Glen McCune, of Yellow Dog Gallery. An artist woodworker with extensive boatbuilding experience, Glen set to refurbishing the Klepper. Disassembling and refinishing all of the wood in the frame took place over the winter of 2014/15. But what to do about the skin? Attempts were made to identify the correct model number so that a proper skin could be purchased from the factory in Europe. As the Klepper was disassembled, markings revealed on the woodwork helped in this research. An order was placed, but upon its arrival to Glen's shop, the European skin was found to be a poor fit. It was decided, then, to persue a local canvas shop. At that time, Matt was doing work for Harbor Canvas and Design, in Harbor Springs, MI, which is who Glen contacted in his search for a new skin. Matt and Pat Murphy researched materials and decided on hypalon for the hull and acrylic Sunbrella Plus for the top.
The Second Phase- A New Skin
At the time that Glen was searching for a canvas shop, Matt was doing work for Harbor Canvas and Design, in Harbor Springs, MI, which is who Glen contacted in his search for a new skin. Matt and Pat Murphy researched materials and decided on hypalon for the hull and acrylic Sunbrella Plus for the top. Matt added red welt to the top perimeter of the skin, as an accent such as this was still present on the original skin but greatly faded. The skin was replaced and the Klepper was now ready for the lakes of Northern Michigan.
The Final Phase- Replacing the Sail
The next summer, 2016, it was decided to tackle the Klepper sail. The original sail, although crumbling, allowed Matt to see the full detailsfor construction. The original material was slightly baffling. It simply seemed to be made of cotton, much like a typical high quality egyptian cotton bedsheet.
After assessing other materials, however, it was decided to forgo the bedsheet in favor of the more modern 3/4 oz ripstop spinnaker sail material. It wasn't long until the sail was catching the winds of Northern Michigan.