Break in Side Panel on Chesapeake 17

I am building the Chesapeake 17 from the kit and was making good progress until today.  The panels were all together and I was getting ready to attach the sheer clamps.  I had to turn around the side panels by taking them out of the garage.  I stupidly tried to do this on my own and when turning in the driveway, a gust caught the panels.  As a result, one of the panels broke in half with a nice clean break next to the scarf joint.  Is it possible to put it back together as a butt joint?  Do I need to add fiberglass cloth/epoxy?  If so, do add fiber/epoxy in one step before proceeding to attaching the sheer clamps?  If butt joint isn't advisable what are my options?




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RE: Break in Side Panel on Chesapeake 17

Bad luck, Mark – but there is good news as well as bad here.   The good news is that you have proved, as told so often in these and other pages, that a well-made scarf joint can be stronger than the surrounding ply!   (BTW - I thought the kits came with puzzle joints).  


Given that it’s a kit, I assume it’s out of the question for you to cut out another panel – the point being that however strongly you repair it, you will always have a nagging doubt as to the integrity of that joint, especially when you are ‘out there’ and maybe hit a large wave or rough patch of water.   (Been there, done that!).

 Otherwise, I’d reckon that a glass-and-epoxy butt joint (on the inside face, of course) would be the way to go.   My newly-acquired Shearwater instructions on this topic advise (I’ll abbreviate) “apply 2 x layers 4oz f/g fabric over the joint, the first 6” wide, second 3” wide: apply unthickened epoxy and wet out as normal.   (Optional) - press a sheet of poly plastic onto the joint and draw a plastic spreader over it to give a beautifully smooth joint.   Leave plastic in place until cured”. You will have to lightly trim the sheer clamp when attaching it so it fits smoothly over the added thickness of the new joint, of course.   Also, if you have already bevelled the edges of the ply panels, don’t forget to bevel the end of the new 'glass joint to ensure a good panel-to-panel fit there.  I’d also think that a critical final point is to ensure that you line up the hull panel EXACTLY to its original lines when re-doing the joint, as even a mill or two gap at top or bottom of the break will lead to the 17’ long panel being out by an unacceptable amount at the ends after re-jointing.   To achieve this, lay out the damaged panel on top of the other matching panel (separated by plastic, of course) so that they are exactly aligned, then fix as above. 

Good luck!   I’m enjoying my newly-completed Chesapeake 17 LT, and so will you.    


RE: Break in Side Panel on Chesapeake 17

Wordsmith, the "non-CLC" kits are puzzle jointed. The original CLC kits are scarf joints. The Shearwater is not a CLC designed/built boat. These are boats designed by Nick or Eric Schade. There is also Guillemot kayaks. A 3 company merger type thing has expanded the reach of available kits to us all, giving us many more choices, which is much appreciated.

Here ya go....


RE: Break in Side Panel on Chesapeake 17


Another option is to call CLC and order a replacement panel, though the procedure described by  Wordsmith should work just fine.



RE: Break in Side Panel on Chesapeake 17

Yes of course, Laszlo, that's by far the best solution (assuming that Mark is willing and able to go down that road).   From my admittedly limited dealings with CLC they seem ready to run the extra kilometre or so in pursuit of customer satisfaction (now that's putting them under a bit of pressure!).



RE: Break in Side Panel on Chesapeake 17

You are welcome for the education wordsmith. Glad I was able to clear up your confusion about the kits! :-)

RE: Break in Side Panel on Chesapeake 17

A good butt joint as Wordsmith suggests would work.

I had a similar issue with my Mill Creek.  I scarfed the joints myself, but wasn't convinced it would be as strong the surrounding ply. I thought long and hard about using ply to reinforce the joint and concluded that I would rather have a strong joint than worry about a potential weak joint or worry that the panel wouldn't bend properly.

Also, the panel will have a shear clamp glued to it also. This should add to its strength.


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