Fitting Hatch Covers

Posted by Mac on Mar 9, 2007

I've worried over posting this, but here goes:

If anyone has hatch covers that turned out not to have curves that match their decks', try what I have just very successfully done on my Sea Island Sport build.

I stole this idea a while back from another poster here who mentioned cutting kerfs. (I also got the correct spelling of kerfs from George Krewson - who teaches me more than just kit building).

I figure this trick will work whether your covers are too convex or too concave.

Using a pull saw, cut your hatch stiffeners down to and slightly into the fillets. I cut kerfs about every 1/2" leaving about 1 1/2" uncut at the stiffener ends. The covers will now flex easily. Try a dry fit to see if the covers now easily fit the deck's curve when lightly pressed.

Cut strips of scrap fiberglass cloth about 3" wide and almost as long as the stiffeners. You can use left over Fiberglass Tape as well.

Using unthickened epoxy, wet out the stifferers and strips, and cover the kerfs.

Now the IMPORTANT part. Place waxed paper across you hatch openings - COMPLETELY cover the openings.

Now install your hatch covers and weigh them down so that the rims match the deck exactly. It shouldn't take much weight if you cut enough kerfs. Don't put on more weight than necessary or the deck itself may distort.

As it cures, the epoxy will sag down a bit and collect on the waxed paper, completely filling the kerfs - whether they have been splayed or compressed.

Next day, your hatch covers should very closely match your deck curves. I put a second coat of epoxy on the cloth just to fill the weave and add even more strength. That's up to you.

I hope this makes sense.

Don't forget to use lots of waxed paper.

Let me rest easily and promise you won't epoxy your hatch covers to your decks!