First-time builder with a few questions

Hey all,

I'm planning to order and build a Wood Duck 12 with my Dad early this summer. He's a very talented woodworker, so I'm confident I'm in good hands on that front. I did have a few questions about best practices, though.

I've read suggestions that we should fiberglass the underside of the deck and inside of the hull to aid in water-tightness. Is that the case? If so, what weight of fiberglass and how much will we need to add to our order?

On the hatch, does the flush hatch have any disadvantages compared to a raised hatch assembly in regards to ease of construction, ease of opening, or water-tightness? Is it possible/wise to order a raised hatch kit and use that with the Wood Duck kit, or would we need other parts? If the flush hatch is the way to go, what opening method do y'all suggest -- a "fingertip" groove seems frustrating to use to me (though beautiful to look at), so I'm wondering if any of y'all have used a metal eye or pull cord on top of the hatch instead.


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RE: First-time builder with a few questions

I used 4 oz glass inside and out for my WD12. Since the standard build calls for the entire outside to be glassed and only the cockpit floor glassed on the inside, doubling the amount of glass will take care of both the entire inside and out and leave you with a bunch of spare for repairs in the future. Again, though, completely glassing the inside is a personal preference that is not part of the standard build instructions. I'm glad I did it and would do it again, but others have built plenty of boats without it, boats that haven't broken up or sunk.

There is no raised hatch option for the Wood Duck series. They're all flush hatches. What's different is whether you use toggles or an invisible hold-down system. In either case you have to very carefully cut the hatch cover from the deck so that the shape, size and grain orientation will be correct. As long as you are patient and go slowly, it's actually not a big deal.

I'm firmly in the fingertip groove camp with invisible hold-downs, not just because I like the looks, but because there's nothing to catch on during a wet re-entry. But if you're not concerned about that, any of the alternatives that you mention are fine. From an esthetic point of view, shiny metal eyes from Home despot are probably the worst. If you do want metal, a bronze or brass pad-eye, or even a small fairlead, would look very nautical and go well with the wooden deck. Or you could use a nice wooden knob. Some kind of cordage or webbing would have the advantage of being soft to rub against during a wet re-entry.

Have fun,




RE: First-time builder with a few questions

Congratulations on your first build.  My first was also with the assistance of my elderly father and it was a great experience. 

My first suggestion is that as a first-time builder, you should stick as closely to the manual as you can.  Once you have a couple of builds under your belt, you will have the experience necessary to deviate from the manual.  That being said, it is YOUR boat so do as YOU wish.

 Unless you have a very specific reason to do otherwise, I would not add glass on the inside to areas other than called for in the manual.  Adding extra glass will make the boat heavier and more expensive without adding any real value.  It is very common for good designers like Eric Schade to save weight/expense by not adding glass to areas where it is not structurally needed.  Those areas not glassed will be coated with 2-3 coats of epoxy, so water tightness is not an issue.  Of the ten kayaks that I have built, four do not have glass under the decks/inside the bow/stern compartments and they have held up just fine.

As Laszlo points out, the Wood Ducks do not have a raised hatch option, so to do that you would have to design it yourself (see my first suggestion above).  I have used toggles to secure the hatch covers on all my boats.  I suspect this approach is more watertight than the invisible hold down systems, and that is important because I paddle in a lot of rough water.  I prefer the black Delrin toggles sold by CLC because they look nice with the other black deck rigging.  I do side saddle remounts, so they do not interfere for me.  If you do cowboy remount, I can see how they might.

Regarding removal of the hatch covers, on most of my boats the covers are easy enough to remove by pushing down on one side, no pull needed.  On boats where the covers do not come off easily, I attach a small zip tie to a fitting on the underside of the hatch cover.  With the cover in place, the end of the zip tie sticks up and provides a place to grab and pull the cover off.  In the picture below, you can see the zip tie on the aft side of the hatch.  Also note the Delrin toggles.    


RE: First-time builder with a few questions

Thanks for the suggestions, y'all. All very helpful info. I like that zip-tie solution, Mark - very clever.

RE: First-time builder with a few questions


I'm a fan of the loop through the hatch cover. I drill, fill, drill 2 holes, then run some cord through them. The holes are drilled small so the cord seals it. The cord is long and attached inside the hatch and acts as a tether

RE: First-time builder with a few questions

  That is a great idea Dan, I will definately use that in my next build.  Question: What is the light colored wood on that Sport?  I can't find Alaskan Yellow Cedar in my area and am looking for alternatives.  Ever use poplar?  It is readily available here and about the same weight as AYC.  

RE: First-time builder with a few questions


It's some AYC I had left over from a previous build. When I bought lumber a few months back there was none to be had and WRC was $17 a board foot. I used Philipine mahagony for the hull which was relatively affordable and nice to work with.


RE: First-time builder with a few questions

Hi upapaddlewithoutacreek, 

in reading your post, i wanted to ask if you were building with a strip deck or all stitch and glue (marine plywood)?

while i generally agree that you don't need to glass all of the underside of plywood decks/hulls, if its strip construction, you really need to glass both sides to have the proper strength.

strip material is relatively fragile until it is sheathed in glass on both sides.

only other comment i would make is the water-tightness of the hatches held in place with toggles (as shown by Mark N's picture) is very very good.  i have a number of kayaks under my belt and my boats that are most water-tight use that hatch technique.  it is also a very clear visually that your hatch is actually secured (e.g., you can easily see that the hatch is closed/locked in place).


RE: First-time builder with a few questions

Hi h,

We're doing stitch-and-glue for this build, so we're leaning towards skipping the extra glass to reduce build time and final weight. We ordered some of the black toggles CLC offers to secure the hatch.

RE: First-time builder with a few questions

Thanxx sharing the ideas you provided.

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