Thinking Outside The Box

Here's a crazy idea: has anyone here ever converted a completed stitch-and-glue kayak to a hybrid? This is what I'm contemplating:

1. Remove deck from side panels & bulkheads

2. Add shear clamps

3. Purchase cedar strips, new cockpit coaming, deck forms.

4. Adjust old bulkheads to match contour of deck forms & accomodate shear clamps. I suspect that the old bulkheads would be too tall.

5. Build the strip deck & install according to instruction manual.

Think it would work? Am I missing anything obvious?

7 replies:

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RE: Thinking Outside The Box

Should work fine. Skip the sheer clamps, though. They just add weight and fiberglass tape is stronger. Read Nick Shade's books before you start.

RE: Thinking Outside The Box

This is a common question, enough so that a few years ago we made up a shop tip so folks could make the conversion:

Hybrid Decks - How to Build a Kayak With a Cedar Strip Deck


RE: Thinking Outside The Box

Well I've pre-built the S&G panels out of cedar strips instead of plywood. Which is my next kayak (#6) a cedar strip chesapeake 16.. 

RE: Thinking Outside The Box

Ty for responses. I'm trying to sell my S&G Shearwater, to pay for a Shearwater Hybrid kit, but no "bites" either here or on Craiglist.  I figure if it doesn't sell by winter, plan B is to reftofit a strip deck.

RE: Thinking Outside The Box

I was thinking of something similar.  My plan was to wrap the boat in saran or some such to keep epoxy from sticking and then start stripping right on the deck using the existing deck as a form.  Staple right though into the old deck since it will get tossed anyway. Then seperate the new deck from the old,  cut the old deck off very carefully along the sheer line with a thin blade parallel to the underside of the deck, and glue the new deck down to the existing sheer strips (Mine is a chesapeak with sheer strips)  then fiberglass the deck and down the side an inch, varnish and go. 

Details, have to cut the comming off first I think.  Then re glue existing coming or make something prettier.



RE: Thinking Outside The Box

I've been in the process of doing just that with my Northbay for the better part of 2 years now.  I will hopefully get back to it before the cold really sets in and have a usable boat again come spring time. 

I removed the original panel deck first but I like EdBru's idea better.  Much simpler to get the same curves and a more consistent form for the new deck than individual stations are.

I'm not a fan of staple holes so I did staple-less on my new deck but I'm sure it would go faster with staples.

Here are some threads with pics of the project:


RE: Thinking Outside The Box

@ Jim777  No bites on your Shearwater?  Think about this:  I have a West River 180 kit (from 2003) in its last stages of construction.  I already have 3 kayaks and don't need another.  I'm giving mine away to Washington Water Trails Association for their fall auction.  

I'll take a deduction on my tax return, someone gets a nice kayak, and WWTA gets some dinero for projects.  And I get to play with the construction doing things like making flush (or nearly flush) hatches, bigger hatches than original, etc.

And @ everyone else.  Love the creative juices!


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