Fair Inside (4 Hours)
After the kayak is lifted off the forms, it’s time to fair the inside. This kayak is mainly flat on the inside, so fair is easily accomplished using a block plane, hobbyist plane, and a flat surform tool. A Convex surform can be used on the concave sections of the hull. The key point to watch for while using these tools, is use them only to take of the high edges of the strips. After the edges are taken off, change over to sand paper. A rough grit like 40 or 60 will quickly smooth the surface. This can be finished off up to 80 grit before fiberglassing. The inside doesn’t need to be smoothed to 120 before glassing.
Glass Inside (2 Hours)
To glass the inside, I like to lay-up the glass in strips that run perpendicular to the centerline of the kayak. I use a full width of glass strip and overlap the edges by three or four inches. Doing this also helps to create a rib structure.
For this kayak, I used 5 ounce tight weave glass for the inside. The tight weave soaks up less epoxy and gives a higher glass/resin ratio. This generally leaves a stronger lay-up for the same weight of glass.
Inside Forms (2 Hours)
Using the same forms from the hull, now cut out the deck shape and glue these into the kayak using hot glue. The Ken Taylor kayak has pinch in the end, so the hull will need to be securely fixed to the forms or the pinch will slowly pull away. There are two ways to do this depending on how much force the hull is exerting. The first is to simply staple the forms into the hull at the sheer. If the force is greater than that, screwing the hull to the forms may also work. In some places, the hull my want to bulge out between the forms resulting in an unfair gunwale line. If this is the case, use packing tape between the forms to pull the gunwales inward.
After the forms are attached to the hull, use masking tape to cover the edges of the forms and also cover the entire sheerline with masking tape. The masking tape will prevent glue and epoxy from sticking the hull to the deck prematurely.
Strip Deck (7 Hours)
Stripping the deck is relatively straight forward. One of the difficult parts for this kayak is if the deck is stripped parallel to the keel of the kayak. If striped this way, the knee bump-outs will create problems. To solve this problem use a butt joint on the station at the knee bump outs.
I actually recommend stripping this hull by starting at a sheer strip that follows the sheer and working inward with the ends of each strip joining flush with the sides of the strip on the opposite side, but any pattern can be made to work with the only real difficulty at the knee bumps.
A second difficulty may occur at the stern. The Stern stem rises quickly from a flat rear deck. The strips may possibly have to be steamed to make this turn. I was able to force the turn and hold it using two finish nails pounded into the center of each of the two strips and then into the form below. I set these in deep, filled above them, and glassed over them. They will be removed before the inside deck is sanded.
Coaming Recess (4 Hours)
Coaming recesses made from cedar strips can be very time consuming, and this one definitely followed that pattern. I wanted this recess to drop the rear coaming height down to, at least, 7.5″, which is about even with the rear deck in the same location. To do this, I cut out a recess based on a pattern derived from the style of cockpit opening that I like. These templates are included in the plans. To use both of these template, glue the cockpit opening template to a piece of particle board and cut it out. Then cut an opening in the deck using the recess template. Mount the cockpit form into the boat so the rear of the form is as low as you need it. Around 6 or 6.5″ is low enough for a 7.5″ rear coaming. The front of the cockpit form sits just below the lip of the front deck.
After the form is set up, strip from the recess cut-out to the cockpit form. It’s slow going and fiddly, but the result is worthwhile.
The cockpit and recess is based around the boats center of buoyancy. A good location to put the back of the cockpit is 14″ back from the center of buoyancy. You can vary this slightly, but the deck is designed for a 14″ difference.
Block Plane (1 Hour), Sand Deck (2 Hours), Raise Grain (:30 Hour), Dye (1 Hour), Glass (2:45 Hours)
These steps are exactly the same as for the hull. Before glassing it is helpful to tape an apron of plastic along both sides of the kayak to help prevent drips of epoxy from the deck from dripping down the hull.
Sand Deck Inside (1.5 Hours), Glass Inside (2 Hours)
The inside of the deck is slightly harder than the outside to sand and glass. Use a convex surform to quickly knock down the edges of the strips, then sand with 40 grit to quickly shape the strips and make the surface smooth. You can go to 80 grit if desired, but the glass will quickly cover the surface and no one will ever see the imperfect sanding job.
Glassing the inside is accomplished the same as glassing the hull’s inside. An additional layer of 6 ounce glass in front of the cockpit adds additional strength to the kayak for performing rescues. Some rescues will require this strength, especially if a kayak has to be repaired on the water using a deck as a working platform.
Sand Hull (1.5 Hours), Glass Football (1.5 Hours), Fill Coat (0.5 Hour)
At this point, if you didn’t add an extra layer of glass to the bottom of the kayak to act as an abrasion patch, it can be done now. Quickly sand the outside of the hull, and fiberglass a layer between the chines and over the keel.
Composite Hatch Recesses (7 Hours)
Installing commercially designed rubber hatches is a commitment in building, but the rewards are worthwhile. Commercial hatches, if installed correctly, are watertight, easy to put on and take off, and just look great contrasting the wood.
For this boat, two large round 9.5″ (24) KajakSport hatches and one 8″ (20) KajakSport hatch are used. This can be purchased from The Newfound Woodworks or from Seda. I bought the 24s from Newfound, and because they were out of the 20, I bought that from Seda along with some fittings for the decklines.
The first step of this process is to print out the circle template for hatches and glue this to a piece of particle board and cut out the larger radius circle first. Level this in the location that you want to place the hatch openings. After it is leveled, draw plumb down from the sides onto the deck of the kayak the outline from the template. With a curved deck it is especially important to make sure the pen is plumb or the circle will end up distorted and make fitting the foam hatch plugs more difficult.
After the two larger holes have been cut, use the template to cut out foam plugs the same size as the template. The same type of foam that is used to insulate houses is the best value for ease of working and cost. Then cut the smaller template out and use this to cut the opening for the day hatch. On my kayak, I overlapped this cut-out with the coaming recess. This allows a deeper recess while still allowing the hatch cover to be easily removed. Plus it get the hatch cover closer to the paddler, so it is easier to open on the water. A smaller foam plug can be now drawn on the foam and cut out.
Note: A forth hatch may be built into the hull in front of the paddler. This will opening into a knee tube that will need to be fabricated.
Dry fit the foam plugs into the holes in the deck of the kayak to make sure the fit is perfect. Now is the time to correct any fit problems. During this process, transfer the height of the hatch cover to the foam plug. By doing this, you’ll be able to see how deep you want the recess to be. The day hatch and the front hatch can be set almost even with the deck and still be able to be accessed because of curvature in the decks. The rear hatch will have to be set slightly higher to allow fingers to reach the cover for removal.
When you’re happy with the fit of the foam plugs, sand them smooth and sand a slight radius about the size of a pen into the bottom of the plug, then cover the plug with a layer of packing tape, which will act as a mold release. If you’re feeling motivated, you could paste wax and PVA the plugs. This would provide you with a better surface and less sanding time later in the project.
Insert the taped plugs into the holes and affix them in the location you want them with tape on the outside of the deck. Rough up the glass on the inside, and start glassing over the plugs. I used 3 layers of 6 ounce glass, and 1 layer of 5.7 ounce carbonfiber, and 3 layers of 5 ounce tight weave. First, I laid in a full sheet of 6 ounce and worked it smooth around the foam plug and the deck making sure that all air bubbles were out, then pieces of carbon fiber where laid on, then one layer of 6 ounce glass. And 5 layers of 5 ounce. All these layers of glass were wet out on a table covered with plastic and then applied to the plug and hull wet. This was done to avoid knocking the foam plugs out of position. A final layer of 6 ounce is added after the plug is pulled. This covers the exposed wood and builds depth to help make the carbonfiber look sharp.
Allow the layup to harden and then draw a opening of the hatch rim to set down into. Rough up the glass recess, the plastic hatch rim, and then glue the rim to the recess using thickened epoxy.