a kayak: Finish
This part of the boat building comprises cockpit
coaming, hatches, deck fittings etc. plus joining deck and
hull. Subsequently comes the priming & varnishing. It
is perhaps the most time consuming, but the most rewarding
part, in my opinion.
coaming is composed of a vertical strip (drawing
1), over which several layers of fibre cloth
are laid (drawing 2).
The strip (blue) is placed inside the cockpit opening butting
to the deck (grey). With thickened epoxy (greenish) a fillet
is formed between strip and deck, fixing the deck vertically
to the deck. The still wet resin is covered with a fibre
glass band (purple).
And here the same as graphs:Around the clear cut opening
a thin strip of ash (ca. 3 x 26 mm x 2 m) is placed. Clamps
press the strip tightly to the deck. Then the fillet is
added and covered with a glass band.
curing of the resin, the strip is trimmed back to 2 cm above
deck, and flush with the deck on the inside.
Next is the coaming overhang.
It is fashioned from at least 5 layers of fibre cloth (purple),
which are shaped over a construction aid (bluish).
To do that, cover the area surrounding the opening generously
with glad wrap, tape it well. Bits of foam pad (as construction
aid) are fitted exactly around the vertical strip (dark
grey). Make sure the foam is thoroughly covered with glad
wrap, which stops the epoxy bonding fibre cloth and foam
The hip supports, which provide
the paddler with a hold within the boat, can be inserted
together with forming the coaming, see 3 boxes further down.
Here you can see the 5 layers of fibre cloth 163 g/m2 material,
consisting of narrow strips cut from leftover of various
length.The strips are cut diagonally to the direction of
the fibres, this way they mould best. Even though, in stronger
curvatures, you need to use shorter lengths.
curing, remove the foam and wrap. Shorten the the overhang
to an even width and sand. To help marking the cutting line,
this simple tool is used.
The ready coaming can, if you dislike the pale ‚colour’,
be dyed. Very classy looks a coaming fashioned from carbon
The position of the hip plates (blue) is adjusted according
to the position where the seat is going to go. The middle
of the plates should be just forward of the lowest point
of the seat. The plates are attached later to the hull.
On the picture, the deck is upside down.
Adding the supports occurs either together with the coaming,
see drawing, or afterwards.
A belt for the back rest can be attached to the hip support.
The necessary openings are best cut before inserting the
As for hatches, I’ve chosen the watertight ones from
Kajak-Sport in Finnland. Made of rubber, they come in different
diameters (20 cm front, 24 cm back).
Alternativly the hatches can be made from scratch. To do
so, prepare the hatch cover from the piece you cut of in
the deck, and insert some sealing around the opening.
The hatch ring (black), which is flat, should sit horizontally
in the curved deck. To do that, you need to insert a recess
(blue). This spans the difference in elevation of the deck
and lowers hatches a bit.
This looks worse than
it actually is !!
- Cut 2 plywood rings, into which the hatch ring is inserted.
Fix with Sikaflex and V2A screws (seawater resistent metal)·
- Cut hole into the deck
- Glue little wooden blocks or strip bits right around
- Sand, fill gaps, glass over
- Insert hatch ring-plywood construction, glue and glass
The difference in elevation is more for the frontal hatch
(right picture) than for the rear one (left picture). That’s
why the different style for each insert.
are the ultimate requirement to attach deck lines, but at
thte same time they should not be so bulky and protrude
above the decks surface (danger of getting hurt).
solution: an oval-shaped hole in the deck is covered with
a patch of fibre cloth. Through this, a slightly bend metal
rod (blue) is fiddled (metal needs to be seawater resisant).
Step by step:
drilled holes (tough going & wearing on the drill due
to the fibre glass cover of the deck)
the hole is sanded and the edge shaped at an angle
Patches of fibre cloth placed over the holes, press a little
For the rods, poke small holes, fiddle the rods in. Then,
embed rods in thickened epoxy and glass a second layer of
fibre cloth from below – finished.
Guide, the skeg toggle and the recess housing the toggle
within the deck
skeg is operated with a plastic wine cork, which is glued
onto the skeg wire.
The picture shows the recess, looking from the outside
of the deck, bow to the left. The little box is glued from
the inside to the deck, into which a hole the inside-size
of the little box is cut. Insert and glue tube endings.
Stopper the bow-ward tube ending with a little cork, leaving
enough length for the wire to be moved back and forth.
Kompass mould & opening
for a pump
A depression to house a compass could also be build now.
To do so, proceed similarly to the hatch-depression-building.
Furthermore, an outlet for a bilge pump could be made.....
Now the deck
extras are finished, Deck and hull can be joined
deck and hull
Glue from the inside:
In the rear and front area of the compartments, 15 x15 mm
lengths of wood is glued to the inside of the upper hull.
It should be protruding above the edge. It is then fitted
to the deck angle by rasping off the excess wood, see right
Deck and hull should fit together without gaps along this
central seam. You also see a massive wooden block at the
bow & aft tip. It is used as reenforcement, where later
the toggle lines will go through.
cover the shaped 15 x 15 mm lengths well with thickened
epoxy. Join deck and hull neatly, and strap with plenty
of belts. IF nothing has warped, the edges should fit snug
together, otherwise use strong strapping and some wedges
to get a good fit.
Directly afterwards, the inner seams along the cockpit
are glass with 25 or 50 mm fibre glass band. Let the resin
Gluing the outside:
Once you’ve taken off the belts, sand off the squeezed-out
epoxy. Fill in any chinks. The seam is covered with a 25
mm fibre glass band around the whole of the boat.
The upper edges of the bulkheads are sealed with the deck,
either with thickened epoxy or Sikaflex. For the frontal
bulkhead, you need to dive deeply into the cockpit, take
care with the fumes.
Holes for the toggles
Drill holes into bow and stern, where the wooden blocks
sit (if you miss the blocks, the compartments will leak
– speaking from experience...).
Prime & varnish
The sanded and dusted boat is covered with several layers
of primer and varnish each. Between each layer, the surface
needs to cure to be sanded afterwards. And because you can
do only deck or hull at any one time, this work towards
the end takes quite some time – don’t get impatient.
most important thing is cleanliness. Every little speck
of dust will show as a ‘pimple’ on the surface.
To mix a 2-component primer or varnish, use tin cans or
glass. Some plastics dissolve!
Take 2 handy bits off an old broom stick, drill holes and
varnish. Ready are the toggles.
Then, fiddle the deck lines through the deck fittings and
attach rubber bungies.
Take a mould from a well-fitting seat. To do that, cover
the chosen seat with glad wrap and glass a single layer
of fibre cloth over it. After curing, take carefull off
and spread plaster on the bottom side for stabilisation
Now glass several more layers of cloth over this first
one, maybe add some colour to the resin. Cut and sand. The
seat is screwed to the hip supports, as well as the back