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Mounting the hatches

Measuring and marking the cut must be one of the most nerve testing operations of the entire project. How to translate the inner measures precisely to the exterior? To mark the cross lines (perpendicular to the kayak axis), I used a large piece of paper with the right angle.

I then constructed these plywood 'calipers' with enough opening to clear the deck curve, and with the center and extremes marked. Note that with this system, marking the inside size on the outside, the opening will be about 2-3mm too narrow on each side because of the inclination of the jigsaw blade.

I rounded the hatch panel's borders, to be able to follow the line with one jigsaw cut. Here, the handsaw is already in place for the initial cut (new blade).

Close up of the initial cut. The handsaw blade is slightly thinner than the jigsaw blade. I used the handsaw till I just cut through the lower glass.

Then, continuing with the jigsaw (also a new blade), I advanced very carefully and slowly, cutting on the inside of the marked line. Regularly I stopped and used masking tape to avoid sagging of the panel - particularly important near the end.

Done! One traumatic event of the construction out of the way. It resulted better than expected, and looked a lot easier, probably because of all the worrying.

I mounted the hatch to the deck using two vertical 'walls', made out of 10 mm timbo wood (12 mm would have been better). On one side, I used the router to cut out the form to accept the hatch base panel. The other side was formed to fit the deck as exactly as possible.

The bottom border of the 'walls' was rounded to facilitate applying glass cloth. The ends of the side were filled with putty to be able to apply the cloth. Next hatch, I'll putty the sides completely first, with wood dust-epoxy. I think that'll be easier.

Bottom view (the kayak is upside down). To apply pressure I improvised this system.

Note that the vertical 'wall' passes the opening about 5 mm. This is where the closing lid will rest.

The aft side of the hatch, with the glass applied.

I filled in the space between sides of the hatch panels and the deck with wood dust-epoxy putty, and pushed on a couple of glass strips before the putty was hard. I'll saturate them with epoxy later.

Ready - one hatch on deck!

I glued two padeyes to to hatch cover,

and three to the deck part of the hatch: two for connecting the cover, and one as a safety for the neoprene cover.

A closeup of the padeyes.

At the lowest point, on each side, I sanded and outlet for the water.

Now that this one worked, I'll repeat the process at the stern.

Here's the border of the lid, slightly sanded and with the first layer of epoxy protection. Note the beautiful fit of the strips using the cove and bead.

The fore hatch, with the padeyes mounted on the deck, and with the mounts for the hatch straps. The construction of the padeyes is described with the construction of the other kaya.

Idem, on the aft deck. It's necessary to enlarge the image to be able to see the border of the hatches! The actual construction of the strap points is described on the next page. The only difficulty is that the rounded deck made it necessary to sand the lower side of the mounts to fit the form.

Continues with varnishing.


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