Building Your Boat Part 2: Prep for Assembly

Last week, we described how we make all the parts for your kayak. At this point, like raw gemstones, they are rough. Next, we prepare each part to get it ready to go into your kayak: prep for assembly. Depending on the part, there are different steps to be done before we can build it into your kayak. Each part has excess fiberglass from the laminating process that we cut off, we then sand the resulting edges. We cut and sand seats, coaming, and bulkheads right after we pull them from the mold. The decks and hulls are a bit more complicated.

Seat and ring ready for install

Cut and Sand

We cut all fiberglass parts with an oscillating saw, which vibrates really fast. If you’ve ever had a plaster cast removed, they probably used a similar saw. It will cut through hard materials, but won’t slice through your skin – making it the perfect cutting tool for trimming fiberglass. We sand every part we make to remove sharp edges and smooth any rough areas from the laminating process. Depending on the part, we might use a disc sander or barrel sander, in addition to sanding every part by hand.

The Hull

The tools to laminate in the bulkheads

Before we de-mold the hull, we install the bulkheads by laminating them directly to the hull. Once we pull the hull, the next step is to install the foot braces, which is a multiple-step process. First, we measure and mark the hull to set the foot brace location. We then use a Methyl Methacrylate adhesive to tack in the studs that hold the foot brace rails. Then we laminate in the studs.

Once that has cured, we sand the cockpit area and apply a skin coat to the core. Skin coating is resin with wax in it, and we apply it to keep water out and make sure the core is sealed. Finally, we add a polyurethane seal to the bulkheads and install the foot braces. The hull is now ready for assembly.

The Deck

A brand new deck

The decks need to have the holes for the cockpit and hatches cut out. We also sand the deck to remove any sharp or rough sections of fiberglass. We then drill the deck so we can install the deck line fittings and carry handle tubes. Once the fittings and carry handle tubes are installed, we sand the cockpit opening to fit the coaming. Next, we install the hatches. After all of that is installed, we apply sealant around the backside of the deck line fittings, around the carry handle tubes, and on the inside of the hatches where they meet the deck.

At this point, we have done all we can to prep for assembly. Now, it’s time to build your kayak… but I’ll talk about that in part 3.



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