John's Cedar Kayak

Page Eleven: Finishing

(Click photos for a larger image)

Topping off the End-pours
The boat looks bigger inside the house.Don't want to spill epoxy here!It was really cold during the week I wanted to finish the end-pours, so I did it in the living room.  The ceiling was only about 14 feet high, so the boat was tilted on the corner.  

Most of the end pour was already completed before the deck and hull were joined, so this just needed am ounce or two of an epoxy/microballoon slurry at each end to help join the deck and hull  

After fiberglassing the external hull/deck seam and sanding the entire boat, I added a skim coat of epoxy over the boat to cover the weave in a few spots where I sanded into the cloth, and to fill and smooth a few other places. 

Deck Fittings
Mahogany, 2 1/4" pieces laminated.
My wood deck fittings were almost finished when I read an interesting internet message about making deck fittings from loops of webbing.  The webbing loops fit through slits in the deck and provide a place to thread shock cord to anchor them without protruding from the deck.  The wood fittings look nice, but their higher profile is more likely to catch on something and break.  

The wood fittings in this photo have a strip of fiberglass added for strength.  They still need another fill coat of epoxy to finish them. 

Scrap 4mm marine plywood $ 3/4" webbingThe web fittings are simply a 4.5" piece of 3/4" webbing epoxied to the underside of a small plywood base.  The base is attached to the underside of the deck with silicon bathroom sealer.


Installing Bulkheads
The deck holes are for web fittings
Caulking the bulkheads into position was an awkward task, requiring me to squeeze into the hatches and cockpit with the caulk gun.    I injected a marine sealant between the foam and wood.  

When I first installed the bulkheads, I made a little rounded fillet from the sealant, and realized I must be adding at least half a pound of caulking to the boat!  Well, I went back to the Kayak Building Bulletin board to search messages on this and learned that the fillet was not needed.  So back into the garage I went, in my pajamas, to scrape the fillets off.  It made a little mess, but I feel better about the weight now.The label is under tape.

An identification label was added to the boat with my name and contact information.  It reads "Built by John Caldeira.  If found adrift or to verify ownership, contact....".

I made a tent when buildign my Chesapeake, and it worked well.The cradles are underneath, just in case....!
Dust doesn't look very attractive when embedded in a coat of varnish.  It would be incredibly hard for me to get the garage relatively dust free, so I built a "clean room" tent instead.

After blowing as much dust as I could out of the garage, sweeping and mopping the floor, I hung ropes and draped plastic painter's tarps to form a clean room around the boat.

The boat was hung from the ceiling so I could varnish the deck and hull at the same time.  This accelerates the time required to varnish, but it's harder to keep a wet edge all around the boat. 
[post-building comment:  On my next boat, I will hang the boat to apply varnish to the whole boat at one time, just like I did here, except for the final coat.  To get a better quality finish, I will do the final coat in two stages: hull first and then deck when the hull is cured enough]     

Good lighting is important when applying varnish, so I gathered a few lights from around the house and placed them to light the boat from all angles.  This helped me avoid missing very places with each coat.  

Varnishing can't be good for one's lungs.  To prevent dust from blowing around, I varnished without any ventilation.  The smell wasn't  very noticeable while I was varnishing, but when I went in the house and them back into the garage, the smell was really strong.

Between varnish coats, I wet-sanded with 320 and 400 grit paper.  The wet sanding hardly creates any dust because it stays in the water and is wiped clean.  I brushed with 3" foam brushes.   

Four coats of varnish was all I could stand.  I want to get this boat in the water!  Judy Lewis followed me around the boat as my quality control manager during while I applied the final varnish coat, pointing out dry "holidays" that I missed.  Even with her help, we missed a few small spots.

Gear Box
The gear box was finished with a few coats of varnish, so it's done now!

Strong enough to sit on!    A divider to hold the small stuff and water bottle.

Next Steps

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Created:  March 15, 2003