Kayak Construction: All that work and it looks exactly the same

Last weekend I ran into trouble trying to epoxy when it was too hot. So on Tuesday night I went down to the local distributor for System 3 Epoxy and picked up some “slow” (aka “hot weather”) epoxy hardener. I also bought a box of Nitrile gloves, because the cheap-ass no-name rubber gloves let some epoxy through and leave my hands sticky afterwards.

This week I finished up gluing the seams on the outside of the deck, and sanding and scraping it to smooth it out a bit.

Then I took the deck off (and parked the hull in the driveway) and worked on the inside of the deck.

First I glued the inside seams. I used a half-and-half mix of the regular hardener and the slow, and that helped a lot.

I then mixed some epoxy with a ton of wood flour to build up some fillets. The instructions said “mix … until it is the consistency drier than peanut butter”. Unfortunately I was thinking “natural foods peanut butter” rather than “Kraft Smoothy”, so I ended up with something that was almost impossible to work. The fillets ended up being uneven and horrible looking.

Today I applied fibreglass tape to the deck reinforcement blocks, and all the deck seams. I used the “slow” hardener only, which is great because it allowed me to mix up 6 ounces of epoxy at a time and have it still flowing well at the end of the pour, even though it’s nearly 90 degrees out. First I put two layers of tape on the seams in the deck reinforcement. Then I painted a stripe of epoxy along each full length seam, and then used that epoxy to hold down the tape while I wetted it out. On the first seam, I put down the whole tape then wetted it out, but on later seams I applied the tape and wetted it out in small sections at a time. I thought that would help with the problems with stretching and shifting problems I had with the first seam, and maybe it did. It wasn’t in the instructions, but I also put a layer of tape along the horrible messy fillets on the cockpit deck reinforcement in order to smooth in out a bit so I wouldn’t scratch myself on them every time I get in and out of the kayak.

Then I waited an hour and a half for the epoxy to get tacky, and put the deck back on the hull to dry. So now the deck is sitting on top of the hull again, just like it did at the beginning of the week.