Continued Hatch Work, and Some Other Stuff

The inside hull received a thorough sanding to knock down any high spots and stray bits in the surface. Afterwards it was vacuumed and wiped down to remove the dust. A final coat of epoxy was applied to the entire inside of the hull. It will still need a light sanding before final finish (varnish) is applied, but otherwise is essentially done surface wise. I’m not too worried if it remains a bit “rough” as this texture will be better for foot grip than a smooth slick surface.

Moving on to the front hatch that was cut last time, I finished up the lip and fit it to the inside. The mounting ring of the hatch was also cut to size and laid out. I used some round plastic spacers to work out positioning of the magnets.

With everything worked out the lip was glued (with epoxy) to the underside of the deck.

A few days later when the epoxy dried, the pieces of the hatch ring were placed again and a small hole drilled where each magnet would go. I removed the pieces and then using the hole as a guide drilled the larger hole sized for the magnet with a forstner bit. I stacked the two magnets and using a metal tool (a scraper from before) to hold them I test fit the magnet to ensure it would be fully recessed. When needed I drilled the hole a bit deeper until it fit as I wanted.

The magnets were then epoxied into the holes in each board being careful to keep the orientation correct. Installing one backwards would result in repulsion which would not be good. With everything epoxied in I wrapped the lip with fiberglass strips and soaked it with epoxy. On the underside I used more epoxy thickened with silica and microfibers to make a paste which was applied to the hard edges of the lip and then this too was covered over with fiberglass. A final flood of epoxy was used to wet out the cloth.

This process was pretty much the same as the previous hatch.

A few days later, again after everything was dried, I relayed out the hatch ring on the lip and used hot glue on it and the pressed the hatch on top. I had hoped this would allow me to raise the hatch when the glue cooled and have the pieces perfectly aligned. Unfortunately the magnets were too strong and this didn’t work.

So plan B. I taped the hatch in place, flipped it over and laid out tape to mark where the pieces would go. I then removed the hatch, used the tape to align the ring pieces and epoxied each piece into place and clamped them all to dry.

Finally, after some inquiries on line I found out that the hull “shrinking” and no longer being in alignment with the deck is fairly common. Once they’re aligned and epoxied together they would stay, in the mean time it was suggested to drop in some spreader boards to help flex it back into the shape/position that it should be. So I measured the deck edges, subtracted the hull width on each side and slipped some boards into place. I’ll leave them there for a few days and see if it helps get the hull back to the correct dimensions.

Hatch Prep and Hatch Pulls

The 3/8″ spacers were epoxied in so I started building up the lip from the small pieces I cut last time. Tape was applied to the underside so the pieces would stick to each other but not yet to the boat. They will need clean up before I’m ready to attach them. I’ll also need a bump out on the bottom of the hatch so I glued up a couple of scrap pieces to get a section wide enough to hold the magnets.

While these were drying I thought of an idea for a hatch pull. A few more scraps arranged in a somewhat decorative pattern and I had a glue up drying.

Later, after the first hatch side lip was dried I removed the clamps, and the lip and glued up the second side.

The hatch pulls were dried so I started sanding them. I probably could have pulled out the power sander and got them done quicker but hand sanding worked well and didn’t take that long. I shaped one until I was happy with it and then used it as a template for the other one. A piece of sand paper was taped to the hatch in the approximate location for the pull and I sanded the bottom of the pull to match the curvature of the hatch.

Mounting is planned to be done with a single screw from underneath and then fiberglass and epoxy coating all of the pull (and onto the deck) and at least a layer of epoxy to protect the screw head on the bottom.

Finally got back to work on it.

After a long winter, a cool spring and a bunch of misc projects including re-arranging the garage for a better shop experience I’m finally back to working on the kayak.

To get back in the grove I did a bit of sanding. A quick sand over the entire deck top, initially to hit the drips and other high spots but mostly focusing on the coaming area.

As promised I agreed to share not only the successes but also the mistakes. So first off I noticed that the deck and the hull did not align as they did on the forms. I’m guessing the fiberglassing and epoxying pulled the sides in. Not sure if I’m going to try to stretch them out when I attach the two together or if I’ll trim off the overhang on the deck to get them to align again. Either way it’ll take some research to figure out the best approach.

Mistake number two. Yeah, this one kind of hurts. I decided to do a front hatch instead of a bulkhead hatch and I found one of my templates from last year and laid it out. I’m actually going to use the inner area so it’ll be cut smaller than the template BUT after laying it out equal distance from the sides I noticed a big problem. It does not look centered. Upon further review and triple checking my measurements I noticed the two front detail panels do not follow the same curve. One has a more gentle curve, the other curves out more quickly. Unless you pay attention this really isn’t obvious but with the hatch it becomes more apparent when the sides don’t look “equal”.

I noticed this actually last weekend and was obsessing over it this week. I kept wracking by brain trying to come up with an option and failing that was even considering redoing the entire deck. Then while listening to a podcast (Fine Woodworking) one of the topics happened to be essentially
how to stop obsessing over perfection.” I took it to heart and realized that unless I point out the “mistake” most people will never noticed and if this is the worst “problem” I have with my first kayak build then I need to be happy with it.

So I’m not going to sweat this and just accept it as is. Visually it might be a little off and I’ve decided I’m OK with that.

With that crisis averted I moved on to finishing the layout and cutting the hatch. Just like the last one I did it by hand and it worked just fine. Without the fear of a power tool going awry the stress of making the cut is really pretty low.

With the tape removed I started to layout out the support structure for the hatch. Last time I used 1/4″ plywood spacers and then built up the lip, but the hatch is sitting proud and will need some sanding to bring it down. So this time I went with 3/8″ spacers. It’ll be easier to build up a layer than to try to bring the surface down. The pieces were cut and epoxied into place. I’m going to use the basswood strips to make the lip so I cut a bunch of small pieces in preparation for the next step. A few shots including one from the inside of the epoxied on spacers shows that I still have some inside sanding and clean up to do.

It felt good to get back into the build. Originally I was hoping to start in April and be done by Memorial weekend, not first start at the end of May but I still believe I’ll be done and have it on the water before the end of summer.

Oh, and I’m going to try enabling comments again in case of questions. Let’s hope the spammers don’t start filling the queue again.