Shop Tips » Stitch & Glue Boatbuilding Tips
Sanding Cockpit Coamings
All stitch-and-glue style kayak cockpits look about the same right after they've been glued together: an uneven, rough assemblage more likely to maul the crew than accommodate them comfortably while paddling. A good deal of clean-up work is necessary, but the reward is a smooth and beautiful coaming with concentric mahogany plywood rings that glow under varnish. Here's how we get to that stage at CLC:
- Trim the excess deck with a saber saw. Check the base of your saber saw for sharp burrs or imperfections, and make sure it won't scratch the top of the coaming while you trim.
- A Bonsai Saw is just about as fast, and easier to control.
- Using coarse sandpaper and a disk sander, even up the spacers on the inside of the coaming. A soft pad on the sander is best; it will easily follow the contours of the coaming.
- To address the tight curve at the front of the coaming, use sandpaper on a wooden block cut to the same curve.
- Alternatively, use a drill with a sanding drum, or a farrier's rasp will work too.
- Rounding over the top inside edge of the coaming looks and feels good while getting into the boat. Note that we don't bother to clean up the spacers on the underside of the coaming. You can't see them, and you'll likely scratch up the deck trying to get them straight.