how to start a hybrid deck

Alright, so I have had the okoume hull complete on my CH16 since late 2009. 

 The machined cedar strips arrived from CLC months ago.

Work and life has got in the way and everything has sat undisturbed until last weekend.  The fog has now lifted and I have my station forms in and am ready to start placing strips.

I have two questions.

1. How do I start?  Seems like the best way might be to nail a sacrificial strip to the sheer, bead side out and overhanging the edge of the sides.  That would give a firm base to clamp the strips to.  Once several strips had been placed, the sacrificial edge strip could be carefully removed and replaced with a permanent strip.  Is this the best way to do it?

2. I think it is called a king strip.  It goes from the bow to the cockpit and from the stern to the cockpit along the centerline on top.  My question on this has to do with the positioning of the bead and cove on these strips.  I think it would be best to have a cove on each side of the king strip as it would be easier to sand a bead into the ends of any mating strips to fit the cove on the king strip rather than trying to sand a cove to fit a bead on a king strip.

In summary, should a king strip have a cove or a bead on the outside? 

Can I just rip whichever feature is unneeded from each strip and glue the flat surfaces together?

Thanks for any advice.

Paul in Phoenix 



10 replies:

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RE: how to start a hybrid deck

You have it right on both counts, but there is no need to remove the first strip, just attach it with the cove up and the bead overhanging the sheer. And instead of ripping the cove of the king strips, plane them to the proper bevel. If your deck pattern calls for cutting the ends of strips into the king strips, fit them with the cove out and start them at the sheers; if the intermediate strips will be parallel to the king strip, fit them with the bead out and start the intermediate strips at the king strip. -Wes

RE: how to start a hybrid deck

Thanks for the info - I understand what you are saying about bevels vs coves on the king strip. 

I have since learned that the strips at the sheer are called cover strips..  How are they temporarily attached?  With C clamps?

In general, are the coves always kept intact?  I was reading Kayak Craft by Ted Moores and it seemed to suggest that that was not always the case.  It would seem to be easier to cut a strip and butt it up against the flat side of a plank rather than having to sand a bead into it.

RE: how to start a hybrid deck

Another way to do the king strip:

Rip the coves off of 2 strips and glue them together beforehand. You'll end up with a double-wide strip with beads on both sides. This way, as you work outward from the center, all of your sharp tapers at the bow and stern will be on the bead side of the strip, which is much easier to shape than the cove side of the strip.

I did the outer strips first (2 of them), then the king strips, then filled in the space between with my pattern. This was pretty much straight from the CLC instruction manual for my Shearwater hybrid.

Cheers, Pat

RE: how to start a hybrid deck

Thanks Pat.  What you describe is what I want to do.

My boat was not designed originally as a hybrid and I am winging it after reading an article in "Tips for Boatbuilders" on this site that says it is possible and describes the process in VERY general terms. 

I have books on stitch and glue boats and others on building with strips.  None seems to address starting a hybrid deck. 

My problem at this point is how to secure the first strips on the sides.  Any specifics on how to do this?

Thank you. 


RE: how to start a hybrid deck

You could epoxy and clamp them to the sheer clamp, or tack them in place with copper nails. The polished heads would look neat under varnish. -Wes

RE: how to start a hybrid deck

First, you'll need to make strips long enough to span the length of the boat (plus a little extra). Glue up multiple strips using a scarf joint with thickened epoxy. Your scarf joint should be about 5:1 (about 3.75" long). Let the glue cure at least overnight.

Lay the strip along the edge with at least 1/8" overhang (bead side out)and staple it to the sheer clamp. Trim the ends at the bow and stern with a Japanese saw.

Look at the Construction Gallery for the Shearwater Hybrid for pictures of the process.

RE: how to start a hybrid deck

Oops! I just realized how dumb my earlier idea was. Duh - you do have to lift the finished deck from the forms! TwoRivers gives good advice. -Wes

RE: how to start a hybrid deck


Maybe you could get a hybrid kit instruction manual from CLC.  The one that came with my Wood Duck 12 hybrid last month explains the process pretty well.  I am still in the hull making stage and have not started the deck, but I have read over the instruction manual several times and the deck instuctions seem pretty straight forward.   Good luck and I'll keep you posted how good the instructions really are!!


RE: how to start a hybrid deck

Thanks for the advice.  The cover strips and king strips are now installed.  This is what I did.

I wanted to build without piercing the deck with staples or nails.

I scarfed one long strip for each side using a 60 degree miter saw and thickened epoxy.  I know longer scarfs are recommended, but in the end, this worked (two strips failed at the joing because I mixed the epoxy too thick and dry).  I then used spring clamps (padded with little pieces of okoume) to hold the strip down on the line that I had drawn on the sheer.  I then took an 8' strip and glued it across the scarf, using the recommended "C" shaped pieces of wood to hold it flush with the station forms and tight against the scarfed piece.  I cut shorter peices and butted them against the 8 footer and made sure that they extended past the ends of the boat.  It all held.  I measured a centerline and cut the fore and aft ends.

Wondering how I was going to continue to add strips when they exceed the size of the spring clamps, I broke down and used a nailer and nailed down the first strip.  I then used the nailer to nail down the cover strip on the other side and that side was infinately easier.

Prior to nailing, I did a couple of tests.  I put two thin peices of plywood on top of a test strip and nailed it to the sheer and made sure I could get it out without damaging the strip.  Took a little experimenting with air pressure and plywood thickness. but I got it right in the end.

King strips were glued in this morning.

I am quite pleased.

Paul in Phoenix


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