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.

Comments off

At this time I have turned of the ability to submit comments. I’m getting upwards of 10 spam comments submitted each day and frankly I’m tired of the email notifications and the efforts (every so often) to go wholesale mark as spam and delete. So for now no more commenting will be allowed. When I start back up in the spring I may or may not turn them on again.

Done… for the year.

The weather has stopped cooperating and while I might get a day or two yet that are decent enough to head out to the (unheated) garage I figure it’s probably best to just put everything away and spend the last guaranteed nice day cleaning up. It will be good to get my car back in the garage again especially since I already had to scrape frost off the windows once so far in the past week.

For my last session, before cleaning up, I did a thorough sanding with the random orbit around the cockpit blending the rim fiberglass/epoxy into the deck so there was no longer a bump or a ridge. No pics as it was just sanding.

I also looked over the magnetic hatch and it’s working really well but even after a lot of sanding of the lip and a bit of the hatch itself to take down the fiberglass high spots, it still sits proud of the deck. The pics make it look worse than it is, at most there’s about an 1/8th inch sticking up. I’ll have to decide how to address this in the spring. Perhaps leave as is or more likely sand the hatch to blend it into the deck and then re-fiberglass the area where I had to sand it down.

So I set the hull in the driveway, put the top on that and finally got a pic of (almost) what the finished kayak will look like. I sat in it and tested the leg room, entry/exit and overall feel and I’ve very pleased with the elongated cockpit. It was definitely, for me, the right call. I put tape where my heels are and where my toes would naturally lie (in preparation for the foot pegs) and then added a little bit and marked for the forward bulkhead. I tested and I will be able to reach it, but it won’t be anywhere near as easy as the rear so I’m going to have to give this serious thought over the winter if I want to do another deck hatch or still consider the bulkhead hatch I was leaning towards.

While I had it down I grabbed a scale and put it on there. Right now it’s coming in about 40 pounds. I figure with some sanding I’m going to take some of that current weight off, but with another coat (or two) of epoxy and then seat, foot pegs, end pours and varnishing it’s going to bulk out to hopefully no more than 50 pounds. That’s a number I can definitely live with, if I stay at/under it. especially for my first try.

With the gratuitous pics done I strapped it in and raised it up for a second winter. If all goes well next year I’ll have on the water by late spring.

Hatch Part 5+

This posting covers a handful of days of additional hatch work.

With the lip completed and the strips for the cover cut and drilled I turned to the mounting process. After coming up with a handful of ways I finally settled on hot glue and tape to get them where they need to be, then remove, clean the hot glue and epoxy on for the final bonding. Unfortunately the strips did not want to curve so well and I had some breaks at the thin points. Once epoxied on this will not affect the operation, the epoxy will hold them on properly and unless you know to look for them the appearance will be fine too.

So I started by fine tuning all the pieces and cleaning the opening of any glue and epoxy squeeze out. Bunch of scraping and sanding, mostly, to clean it up. Once cleaned, and the strips sanded and planed for a good fit, I put the strips in place and dabbed on a few hot glue spots. The hatch cover was put in place and held down for a few moments for the glue to setup. I tried it with one piece but it wasn’t sticking so well so I went back, used more glue and did all four at once. It worked fine the second time. Keep in mind this is only temporary for placement purposes.

I then removed the hatch and carefully placed tape on the inside of each piece before removing them and scraping the hot glue off. Thickened epoxy was mixed up and slathered on. The tape, besides allowing for placement, also kept the inside of the hatch cover protected. Each piece was carefully aligned and then thoroughly clamped and give a few days to dry.

During the drying days I took the opportunity to start on some of the sanding around the cockpit. The goal was to blend in the second layer of fiberglass with the underlying layer resulting in a smooth transition instead of the bump between layers that I currently feel.

With the hatch cover now dry I removed the tape… Well I tried to. I should have cut it with a knife and peeled it away a few hours after applying the epoxy, not a few days later. End result, lots more time with a scraper to get the edges of the tape removed.

Next up was installation of the magnets. After testing a few I found the holes were no longer deep enough in some cases. Probably due to the epoxy from underneath. But whatever it was I chucked the forstner bit in a cordless drill and with a very low speed drilled each hole a bit deeper. Once all the magnets were fitting flush or even a bit recessed I was ready to install. To ensure that I didn’t install them the wrong way (and thus have them repelling) I labeled the pairs of holes (on top and bottom) and ensured that every magnet was labeled on the outside and always put the outside part in the holes. This way the faces that were attracting will still be oriented towards each other. Thankfully I got them all correct.

After a few more days of drying I did a quick test and was happy to see the lid fit and was held in place with the magnets quite well. I was able to easy lift the deck by the lid alone (without it popping out) and even trying whacking it pretty hard a number of times before I got it to open. I feel my hits were harder than any gear would impact it on a roll over so I considered this a big success.

The last step was to cut fiberglass pieces and fiberglass over the magnets. This will prevent them from potentially rusting and keep them in place if the epoxy ever fails. On the lip I went from the outer wall to the inner edge, wrapped around and then along the underside, over the epoxy filet and on to the underside of the deck. For the hatch I barely wrapped around the outer edge (and most of this will end up sanded off later), over the magnet lip, over another filet (that I did at the same time) and on to the underside of the hatch. You can barely see the fiberglass in the pictures.

Everything was left to dry for a few days. Hopefully mid week I can get a bit more time in. However while this weekend was really nice weather (70s and even touching into the low 80s) the next one, at least, doesn’t look to be as good. It’s going to be week by week and even day by day to see what, if anything else, I can get done this year.