Ken's Kayak Pages

Deck Construction

Here is where I try to get creative . . .

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The hull exterior has been finished with the original glassing, plus 3 fill coats.  It is in a state where all that should be needed is some sanding and then 4-5 coats of Spar Varnish when I get back to it.  We begin where the hull is being removed from the strongback, and I feel as if an entire stage of my life is ending . . .


deck01.jpg (70917 bytes) I spent this afternoon, 04-09-00, building the new home for my soon to be detached hull.  I was at a friend's house a few weeks ago, helping him build the forms for the foundation of his new workshop.  Afterwards we were enjoying a beer and he asked "Hey Ken, do you have any use for these clothing display racks I'm getting rid of?"  Well, I asked him to get his Saws-All so we could cut off the bottom 31" of them, and here they are in my garage.  Oh yes . . . Check out the last epoxy coat on the hull . . . <G>
deck03.jpg (72431 bytes) Sigh . . . The hull is free from the strongback for all times.  Seems like the end of an epic saga . . .  Hey, the deck is waiting for me now!  A new saga begins!
deck05.jpg (50018 bytes) I really thought the inside of the hull would be a disaster after flipping and getting a good look at it.  It turns out that it looks pretty decent, it should not take a whole lot of effort to make it look OK and ready to accept the inside fiberglass treatment.  Whew!
deck06.jpg (64116 bytes) The slight concave curve at the bow has been a problem to maintain from the onset with just hot glue.  The hull has moved away from the form yet again.  The sure fix is to glue a strap across the hull to hold it together.  That is what I'm doing here.  It will be removed at some point, not exactly sure when.
deck07.jpg (68540 bytes) Here are the first two half-strips being applied to the deck.  The bevels are awesome, it took a bit of time to fit this up, but it should be downhill from this point forward.
deck08.jpg (54740 bytes) A close-up of the use of the spring clamps and plywood jigs that hold the strip against the form, and press it against the adjoining strip at the same time.  I built 18 of those little plywood thingies, and use them for everything.
deck09.jpg (59487 bytes) I needed to cut some of my 3/4" wide strips in half, in order to make some of the severe bends that my deck design calls for.   The radial arm saw was just not meant to rip thin, narrow strips, as I've said before - It prefers to shatter them.  Then I got the idea to build a table for my radial saw, turning it into a kind of upside-down table saw.  This picture shows a 16" length of 1x3 screwed into the rip fence, 1/4" above the normal table.   I turned on the saw and slowly lowered it through the 1x3, until it contacted the original table.  It was able to rip my 3/4" x 1/4" strips smoothly and safely.  
deck10.jpg (69998 bytes) I've installed some stringers between stations 1 and 2, to help fair the strips I have to lay from sheer to sheer. I will have to do this at the stern, as well.  It remains to be seen if I can pull this off, as the black walnut just does not like to bend, even when only 3/8" wide x 0.230" thick - - These stringers should be easily removeable when the deck is finished.
deck11.jpg (66622 bytes) Here's the first thin walnut strip layed in place - It simply follows the first deck strip, and IT had to be steamed into place!   Hot glue is not great for holding these first strips to the forms, I could see a real use for staples about now . . . These first strips are rather tenuously anchored to the hull at this point, but things will improve as more strips are added.
deck13.jpg (31561 bytes) The first cedar sheer-to-sheer strip has been layed, and it traces a fair contour about the forms and stringers.  All I have to do is fill in the now enclosed deck area, and insure that the rest of the walnut strips behave likewise.
deck15.jpg (53987 bytes) Some walnut strips have been laid in place,   showing the "swooping" lines that are developing.
deck16.jpg (62562 bytes) Here's where the swoop begins, I like this appearance quite a bit . . .
deck17.jpg (71953 bytes) Walnut strips at the bow are completed, a swooping and widening cedar spacer is added, and the first spruce strip is in place.   Note also the second cedar strip clamped in place 15" or so back, it defines the contours and end of the spruce layup.
deck18.jpg (64563 bytes) View from the other side.
deck19.jpg (55606 bytes) Almost an overhead view of the bow.
deck20.jpg (62380 bytes) Stripping is proceeding slowly because of all the shaping, fitting, twisting and curving that must be done for each narrow (< 3/8") strip.
deck21.jpg (57294 bytes) Here's the kind of clamping and taping that must be done for each strip.
deck22.jpg (28627 bytes) The front swoops are now completely stripped in place, and after rough planing and sanding to shape, I wet it down and took this pic.  The spruce strips are very unforgiving and very white, meaning every last glue line is absolutely visible.
deck25.jpg (40797 bytes) An Overhead view (This is for you, Jerry) of the completed bow design.  The swoops from one sheer to the other look great, but I do not recommend this to anyone who values his time.  It takes forever.  A simpler way out would have been to strip these areas parallel to the centerline.  It would not look as finished, but the deck would have been done by now!
deck24.jpg (55790 bytes) Now I am doing the same thing at the stern.   In order to be consistent with the technique started at the bow, here goes more tedious fitting.  When it is done it will surely be a unique deck pattern, as no other idiot would ever waste this much time stripping . . .  (?)
deck26.jpg (39656 bytes) Oh, but it does look nice . . .
deck27.jpg (37524 bytes) This is another attempt at a composite picture - - The scale is way off because the bow and stern photos are taken at an angle & artificially adjusted to fit together, & hence they are severely foreshortened.    It gives a better idea of how much (little?) bow & stern stripping exist in the grand scheme.
Test Delay - A week or two was lost at this point in preparing for, and taking, some State Tests that I had to endure. We resume from where we left off . . .
deck28.jpg (62557 bytes) FINALLY! The rear deck swoops are completed. It took longer to strip these sheer-to-sheer areas than it probably would have to strip 2 normal decks.  They look very nice but I will never do this again.   Tonight I started back on "normal" stripping, and the area represented by those 3 taped and clamped strips is likely greater than the bow and stern decks combined!
deck29.jpg (65368 bytes) Here's a view toward the stern, as I'm now stripping in the conventional fashion - - Filling in the area between the bow and stern.
deck30.jpg (63738 bytes) Filling in the deck strips.
deck31.jpg (71989 bytes) I've started stripping from the centerline, after stripping up 6" from the sheer lines.  The strips end after entering what will become the cockpit area.
deck32.jpg (54951 bytes) Here's a close-up showing the joinery being done without the use of fasteners, only duct tape to hold the strips while the glue sets up.   There are no gaps, seams, or even visible glue lines as yet . . .
deck33.jpg (66339 bytes) View from the stern, showing the fill in from the center line down.
deck34.jpg (69743 bytes) Deck has been fully stripped, awaiting cockpit trimming and cutouts for balance of deck design.
deck35.jpg (61975 bytes) Stern view.  Deck has been planed to rough shape at this point.

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