Wood Duck 12 - bow not fitting

So a few boys and I are attempting to assemble a WD 12 - and we're running into a real problem.

We've epoxied the inside of the hull and deck both, and now that we're ready to reassemble and tack weld the deck to hull, nothing is fitting!

From best that we can tell, the hull seems almost to have "shrunk in" and tightened up a bit.  

The deck is overhanging over the hull by a good bit, close to 1/2 inch on both sides of the bow for the first 2 feet, measuring back towards the stern.

Not sure what to do now; nothing we've tried 'force' the hull out long enough to allow for the tack weld, but nothing that we've tried has held long enough to even mix epoxy!  

What I'm thinking of doing is re-installing the foreward hull form, even filleting and epoxying it in place.  Has anyone ever tried this?  It's well forward into the hull, so I don't think anyone's legs would ever reach it.  We'd have to drill a hole as the base of the form to allow for captured water to drain, as well.  I'm concerned what that would do as far as flotation; don't we eventually need to add air bags in both the bow and stern?  That would be out if we re-install the form.

Anyone have any ideas on this?  We're really frustrated and stumped.  Feel like we're spinning our wheels...and losing valuable time.

I'd love to hear from you all on this - 


12 replies:

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RE: Wood Duck 12 - bow not fitting

This may not be direct help but my experience may help you see the problem in a new way that may help...

I am building a wherry and at one point everything was fitting perfectly except the small bulkhead in the front and the only problem was a half inch gap at the bottom. I tried "everything" to get the bottom up to the bulkhead or the bulkhead down to the strakes.

Some very helpful suggestions from this forum were:

- change the position of the saw horses.

- push the sides down and the bottom will come up.

- add more stiches to hold it in place.

Combining all these with some additional ideas got it into position and it fits really well now. The key is to realise that these boats are extremely flexible and you just have it in a position currently that is not optimal:-)

 I am sure a kayak builder will come along soon with more specific advice!

RE: Wood Duck 12 - bow not fitting

I had a similiar problem, but was able to resolve it. Please refer to post "progress on wood duck 12 hybrid" dated February 27th 2010. Hope this helps.


RE: Wood Duck 12 - bow not fitting


Do NOT glue the form backinto place. You won't be able to attach the deck if you do. Follow Barry's link, instead. It's exactly the same problem you are running into.



RE: Wood Duck 12 - bow not fitting


 If you do not yet have any epoxy in the joints, you should be able to encourage the hull and deck to meet up properly either by wiring the deck on or by using stretch wrap to tape it in place. 

the natural tendancy of the deck is to open up and spread out, the natural tendency of the hull is to be narrower.  Even the tack welded shell will tend to spring back this way.

In our class this past week, we used strech wrap tape to hold the deck in place.  We applied epoxy tack welds a half hour operation, then immediately taped the deck in place.  we put a band of tape around the bow and another around the stern.  we aligned the bow for a good fit, the stern was short.  We then started stretch wrapping from the bow to the stern giving a good solid wrap (several turns) every foot or so of length.  Using a thin putty knife, we forced the hull out and deck in until they mated.  It works best if you tape first then force the alignment or force it then hold it with your thumb as you tape.  two people are very helpful. 

Stretch tape should be available from Staples, Uhaul, and Home Depot and the like.  get two rolls.

You will need to tape the deck to the hull twice, the first time is immediately after the tack welds, the secon immediately after the fillets and tapes.  we put a bead of epoxy on the edge of the hull when we taped the deck to it after the fillets.  if you want to sand ordo other work inside the hull after the fillets and before joining the deck perminantly, you should be able to wait for the fillets to cure and do some work before the final joining.

I hope this helps

RE: Wood Duck 12 - bow not fitting

That is how it should work, If you have already epoxied things are more difficult...

 the same general theory should still work up to a point the forces will be larger.  here are several systems I have used over the years in order of force.

first try: use wire to hold it in place instead of the strech tape

second try: prop the sides of the hull apart with sticks cut to length and tacked with a finish nail through the side if needed (and if they work) the props can be left in place or removed later.

With each of these, abit of heat applied with a hairdrier or heat gun (with care) will soften the epoxy slightly and may be enough to ease things into shape.

if these techniques just will not work, you can use a backless japanese saw to make a cut though the fillet and any wires right down the bow.  this is likely the thing that is holding the sides of the hull too close.  Now using some of the above techniques should work along with re-wiring the bow.  then re-fillet the bow or just do a good end pour

You can do surgery like that any where you need to.  the cut should be made right down the joint between the plywood panels and though the epoxy fillet and fiberglas as well as any remaining wires.  Work slowly and carfuly and try to follow the line of the joint.  the thin bladed japanese saws make a very narrow cut which will be nearly invisible when you have glued the boat back together.

 I have sawn open bows like yours and the final repair was invisible. 

 by the way, this works if you have misaligned panels too.


RE: Wood Duck 12 - bow not fitting

So Barry - you just re-installed all the forms, tacked the deck in place, then removed all the forms?  That sounds reasonable enough...but when we tried just re-wiring the forward most form last night, we got no love from the bow.  The form was 'cupping' badly and not offereing tons of rigidity at the time, though, so we were planning on trying to recreate the form from 3/8" plywood to stiffen it up.

Eric - I have 2 rolls of stretch tape and we'll definitely try that as well.  It's interesting that you mention it, because we DID notice that we could get the deck to mate up nicely, but since it won't stay mated, we never even got to the tape idea, thinking that the hull would just spring right back in on itself.  We can also consider trying the nailed-in support pieces and warming the hull with a heat gun.  That would offer some additional flexibility, I'm sure.  I'm hoping that we don't have to cut the hull fillets, though, as that's going to put me in over my head in a hurry!  I'm already nervous enough about just taping the deck, much less cutting her open!

We will add more stitches if need be, and will reposition her on the sawhorses to just give her a fresh perspective - thanks for those ideas as well.

It's stressful, building a kayak!  Thought things would come together a little more seamlessly...but when I asked a local boat builder, he said, "Hey - that's boat bulding!"  We'll get there, but we're taking the LONG way around!

Thanks for all the suggestions.  We're taking another run at it today after school...


RE: Wood Duck 12 - bow not fitting

Hi Tucker,

Yes. I reinstalled the forms in there exact location and tacked it with hot glue. The deck then fit properly with the original 1/8" overlap as built. I also tacked the deck to the hull at the same time it was strapped and taped. Extreamly pleased with the results. The hull to deck seam is consistent and tight all the way around. I would be glad to talk with you on the phone if you wish.

Good luck, 


RE: Wood Duck 12 - bow not fitting

I think we may be in business!

After a combintion of all your suggestions, we were able to get her really close...close enough to tack weld and move on.

We made a series of "spacing braces" and tacked them in place, then added the deck and did the shrink wrap/wire combination in just the right combinations that she came around and is now actually starting to look like a kayak.

I am really getting excited at this point!  Now we're making some progress, my friends!

RE: Wood Duck 12 - bow not fitting

So anyway...imagine an amazing picture of a WD12 in progress posted here...

RE: Wood Duck 12 - bow not fitting

Sometimes all it takes is a little imagination...

RE: Wood Duck 12 - bow not fitting

How do you keep doing that, Laszlo?!

What's your secret?

I'm using a hosting site (photobucket), but how do I get it from there to here?


I love this place!

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