Guillemot Bulkhead installation

Hi folks. I am a new member who is also new to the sport. I just purchased a completed 17ft Guillemot strip planked boat on Craigslist and had an experienced kayaker friend come along on my first paddle. He pointed out a major concern. It appears that the boat was completed without a forward or aft bulkhead installed and therfore has no internal floatation. He loaned me a couple of air filled floatation bags for the time being, and as a beginner, we are paddling inland waterways only, but I need to make this right. To compound the problem, it has no access ports in the deck. I have none of the plans or the book and don't know how well installation of the bulkheads and/or access ports are addressed. My friend tells me that a sculptable closed cell foam may be used and glued in place. It seems a shame to cut into that beautiful deck to install access ports though. Please help with any suggestions and details about what materials to use, where to buy them, and how to properly shape a bulkhead outside of the boat which will fit inside to tight tolerances. Thanks, Rich

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RE: Guillemot Bulkhead installation

You need to buy ( The Strip - Built Sea Kayak ) by Nick Schade.  It goes into great detail about building the Guillemot.

With this book you can install your bulkheads and make your hatches in less than 8 hours of work.

I am building a Guillemot now with this book alone. No plans, just the book.


RE: Guillemot Bulkhead installation

You don't need to cut hatches unless you are planning some long trips with a lot of gear. My daughter's Ganymede (also designed by Nick Schade) was designed as an open boat like yours, but I wanted some positive flotation so I installed plywood bulkheads with deck plates in them. The deck plates can be removed to air out and dry out the ends, and small items like lunch and water can be stowed through them. I attached the bulkheads with marine silicone caulk, so they can be removed if I ever need to repair a puncture in the hull or deck. You can see photos toward the end of my blog at


RE: Guillemot Bulkhead installation

Looking good Lou. Is that a P38 hanging from your ceiling?


RE: Guillemot Bulkhead installation


Your idea about a bulkhead with a deck plate works great.  I did that with a forward bulkhead on my wood duck. No need to cut a hatch in the deck.


Thanks.  And yes that is a P38.  Built from Nick Ziroli plans. 114" wingspan and two 7.5 HP. engines.


RE: Guillemot Bulkhead installation

The easiest way I have found to shape bulkheads in a completed boat is to do them in halves.  First use cardboard to shape an upper (or lower) half using the empty space to get the peice in and out.  Then do the other half, then fit the two halves together in the boat and use tape to hold them in alignment.  Use that pattern to cut out foam, plywood, whatever to make the bhd.  It is probably easiest to do with the boat upside down, raised up at about shoulder level.  The stern one is easy, the forward one is a challenge.

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