This weekend I am doing what I believe is one of the most stressful parts of building a hybrid stitch & glue kayak glassing the strip deck. There are many parts of the process that are simple, that allow for change or adjustment particularly when you are constructing a one off or the first of any design, most of the time what I am building is a prototype with generally only small changes that most would not notice being made to the final product as a result of this first build. These things are expected and don’t cause too much stress, you just make the modification and move on.
The changes are usually as mentioned simple, and may not even have anything to do with the boat as it will be seen. An example is the Aulavik 18 which is the boat nearing completion in the shop and is having its deck covered in fiberglass today up until this point in the construction process things have gone along well with the boat coming together pretty much as expected. The changes that are being made are to the building method in order to help ensure a consistent final product no matter who it is that is building the boat. The change is that we will add more forms to be used when constructing the hull to give more control over its shape until the time comes to install the deck.
Getting back to where I was headed when I began to write this, this is the point in the construction process where what you will see as the final product will be locked in under a coat of resin and glass cloth, any spots missed in the preparation of the deck will now quickly become apparent. Not only will they be in all likelihood glaringly apparent but they will also be difficult to remedy, this does not change whether the boat is a prototype or a later version built from the plans or a kit. If you have problems and decide to paint in order to hide any flaws that are driving you crazy many people will guess why the deck is painted not many would take the time to install a strip deck so they could hide their work under a coat of paint. If it where a hull built of plywood that was painted no one would ever guess that you had not planned to paint it in the first place.
Time to head back into the shop and see how the epoxy is curing and if it needs one last coat before we let it cure then move on with getting the boat finished and on the water. It does look like it will turn out alright in spite of today’s other stressing factors heat and humidity.