Can't align hull and deck..please help.

Hi folks,

 First time boat builder here, and I've hit quite the road bump.  My current project is a strip built Guillemot kayak (regular size).

 Apparently I didn't take as much care as I should have when glassing the deck and it came out about 1/2" flared on each side of the hull about 2/3rds the length of the boat (centered around the cockpit).

 To battle this and to increase flexibility, I sanded off some of the fiberglass on the inside of the boat  which helped as the boat is now able to flex the required amount.  

 Problems arise, however, when I actually try to flex the deck while it's over the hull.  I don't have any clamps with a throat wide enough to accomodate the girth of the deck, so I can never manage to "squeeze" the deck to match girth of the hull.

 I've tried ratchet straps, but that just squashes them together before it squeezes down the girth.  I've also tried using two long boards and using a top and bottom clamp to squeeze the deck, but it twists all over the place and becomes difficult to work with.

 With that being said, I feel like my options are to:

1) keep messing with trying to squeeze the deck to match the hull and fiberglass it.  I'm worried about this route because of all the internal stress that would be built up in the boat.

2) remove a lot of fiberglass from the inside and outside of the deck and reglass it while conforming it.  This could be a problem because my strongback has seen better days, and it's falling apart in multiple places and I would basically have to recreate a new one (plus multiple new forms that have fallen apart).

 3) bevel an edge similar to the pictures below, and sand the overhang flush with the new beleved edge o nthe hull.  This is positive in that I don't have to worry about internal stresses being locked up when I glass the seams as the boat would be "as is".  The downside is that there might be a slight hard edge where the deck/hull meet as opposed to the previous expected smooth edge.



 Lip overhangFlush



3 replies:

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RE: Can't align hull and deck..please help.

Here's a method that I used on the deck of my Merganser hybrid: With the deck upside down and off the hull, pull it to shape with strap clamps until the measured width is the same as the hull. Then hold it there with heavy duty two-inch wide strapping tape in as many places as needed. With the tape in place, spot glue the deck to the hull. When the glue cures, pull the tape out through the seam. It's actually easier than it sounds. If you have severely reduced the amount of cloth inside the deck, you might want to add another layer while the deck is taped to shape and before you attach it to the hull. -Wes

RE: Can't align hull and deck..please help.

I believe that most boat builders run into a similar situation to what you describe - the deck and hull don't quite line up width-wise when you put them back together (happened on my stitch and glue Shearwater).  I'm sure you'll get other opintions but here's what I did and it worked fine.  Note that I had applied a thin saturation coat to the top of my deck prior to doing this so the tape I used did not pull up any of the wood grain when I removed it.  

I aligned the deck and hull as best as I could and then used clear packing tape (the wide type) to tape the deck and hull together.  I ran the tape perpendicular to the seam which allowed me to put quite a bit of pressure on the seam to get it to line up just right.  I taped the bow and stern first, then worked my way to the middle of the boat, putting tape about every 12 inches at first to get things in line.  In places where the deck overhung the hull (or visa versa) I used a thin putty knife to slide in the seam and pry the appropriate part out to make them line up.  I ended up with tape about every 6 inches when I was done, with a few extra pieces in tricky parts.  Then I taped and glassed the interior seam (prior to this I also ran a piece of blue tape lengthwise down the seam in case there were any small gaps so resin didn't run out and make a mess). After the interior seams cured, I removed all the tape, sanded, and finished the exterior seam.

P.S. I wouldn't bevel your deck; the angle on the existing wood should line up perfectly once you pry/tape it back into shape.  If you bevel it as shown in the photo it won't line up and will tend to slip off the hull even more as you're trying to line them up.  

Hope this helps,

RE: Can't align hull and deck..please help.

Okay, so it looks like I'm going to try to remove the inside fiberglass from the troubled areas and use my clamps/ratchet straps to squeeze the deck until it fits just about perfectly with the hull, then reglass the inside (thank goodness I bought plenty of glass and epoxy).  Once it cures, I'm hoping it's held in place nicely which leaves the assembling easy.

 It's more work than I wanted, especially since I was trying to have it done by this upcoming weekend, but I'd rather slow down and do the job right considering how much time I've invested in this project.  

 Thanks for the advice, and I'll let you folks know how it goes in about 24 hours or so.

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