Work from 11/11/2010 – 11/20/2010
To date all of the kayaks that have left the shop have had one type of deck fitting for the entire boat. They either have wood fittings, fiberglass “Maroske” tubes, or recessed carbon fiber ones. This project has two types of deck fittings.
We originally started with just a couple of deck lines in recessed carbon fiber cups with stainless steel rods. The CF deck fittings would be a great accent to the other carbon fiber parts of the kayak (the sides, cockpit and deck trim). They were used very successfully on the “Azure” Njord project of 2008 (those were painted along with the deck). They are watertight and just about bulletproof. They are labor intensive though but you can run a lot of cord through those suckers.
They’re fairly easy to make if one is comfortable with fiberglass work. You just make a male mold, wax the heck out of it and start casting the cups. It’s standard fiberglass work so I won’t go into all the details of making the molds. I cast them by first brushing on a gel-coat of plain epoxy to the cups and part of the surrounding mold. When the epoxy starts to get firm I then laminate the layers of carbon fiber. I made my own prepeg of 6 layers of the same 5.7 oz twill cloth by wetting them out in a stack on a piece of PVC. The pieces were all cut on a bias to help conform to the sharp radii. The stack was then laid on top and pressed down. The tacky gel-coat helps hold the show layer tight to the mold and helps eliminate most of the air bubbles. To reduce the amount of resin in the final part and make sure all the layers are tight to each other I vacuum-bagged them. It’s actually pretty severe CF work.
After they had fully cured I popped them off the molds and trimmed off some of the extra material. I needed 10 of them so to make sure I had enough, I cast an extra. To my surprise they were all usable. I must be getting better at this stuff! Some point this winter I’ll start offering the cups for sale for other home builders.
They’re easy to install. From the outside, cut a rectangular hole in the deck that’s about 1/8″ smaller than the final size and slowly trim the opening with rasps and files until the fitting fits tight in the opening. It just takes patience. When the fit is good, secure the fitting in place with a piece of masking tape so you don’t lose the alignment or the fitting itself while working on the others. Next flip the deck over and drill 1/4″ holes through the fittings to accept the rods. Cut the rods to size, making sure at least 1/8″ of rod is bearing on the deck’s inner surface, and press them into the holes. A fillet of thickened epoxy bonds everything to the deck and waterproofs the assembly. When the fillet has cured, flip the deck back over and trim the carbon fiber cups flush with the deck using files and sandpaper. Round over any sharp edges. Done!
Originally there was no perimeter line. My customer decided to add them at an early point in the build. At first we were going to use the same CF cups. The big cups would have looked a bit silly with only one a 3/16″ perimeter line running them though. I could have made them smaller but, in the end, we decided to use the solid fiberglass “maroske” tube fittings made popular by a home builder named Gerald Maroske. We’ve used them on all of the Black Pearls and the “Nereida” Njord. For each fitting, all you see on the outside is a pair of holes. They are literally solid tubes of fiberglass using a piece of clear PVC tubing as a mold. They are 100% waterproof but you only run one line through them. Perfect for a perimeter line.
Tomorrow I’ll write about how I made the coaming.