how to build a seakayak /PART SIX

How to build a seakayak /PART 6

Sixth part of our tutorial on how to build a seakayak Bette 500 HV, using plywood and epoxy resin , with the so called “stitch and glue” system

Working on the deck

time required:

  •  gluing the deck’s panels: 1 hour
  • sanding the outer side : 1-2 hours
  • epoxy painting and glass’ fabric laminating : 4 hours
  • cutting and building the hatches doors and cockipt and hatches frames: 5 hours

Gluing the deck panels

we ended the last post of this blog with our deck panels tied on the hull and among them with cable ties; now the first thing to do is to glue the deck panels together and NOT glue them to the hull ; we’ll work with thickened epoxy and a smooth small putty knife , we’ll push the resin into the joints among panels and we’ll remove the excess of resin out of the joints with care using the putty knife; once the resin has set we can cut all the cable ties ( the ones that tied the deck to the hull too) and move the deck on two scaffolds to keep on working on it


gluing the panels, and avoiding to glue the cable ties



the deck is in one piece now, we can detach it from the hull and work on two scaffolds on our seakayak halves



we can remove all the cable ties


laminating the inner side of deck

now, with our seakayak deck comfortably placed on a scaffold, we’ll turn it upside down and start to work on the inner side, with a layer of liquid epoxy and immediately with the glass fabric strips to stiffen all the panel joints ; we’ll cut the strips form the fabric clippings, we need a good amount of strips about 50 cm x 5 ; we’ll work spreading carefully the liquid resin with our small roller and then placing the glass strips on the joints and pushing them with the roller to soak them with resin (the fabric will became completely transparent), if you need it, just let drop some resin on the strips and roll it until the glass is soaked; don’t put more resin than is strictly needed, if you note an excess of resin in an area, spread it to the surrounding areas with the roll ; work with gloves as always and try to do this operation in the cleanest way, resin works tends to transform each simple operation in a total mess if you don’t pay attention

the glass fabric strips completely soaked with liquid resin



the joint between deck panels seen from the inside



several glass fabric strips prepared to be laminated on the seakayak deck inner side




fairing the deck’s outer side

we’ll fair the deck on the outer side with our sander; basically it’s the same work that we’ve done with the hull, protect yourself form the dust and remove the resin drops that eventually leaked from the previous operation


the seakayak  deck is now faired, ready to be coated with epoxy and stiffened with glass tape on the joints



laminating the outer side of deck

basically it’s a similar work to what we’ve done in the inner side: soak the plywwod with liquid resin, roll it well to spread it and then apply the galss tape and soak it properly it resin and pushing the roller with energy; I prefer to use glass tape instead of glass’ fabric clipping just for aesthetic purposes , the tape is la little bit harder to soak than the fabric , you’ll have to push the resin on it a little bit harder.




Cutting the seakayak hatches doors and building the hatches and cockpit frames

we can now cut theopenings on the deck that will become the hatches doors; simply mark them precisely with a pencil and start cutting with a small circular blade on your drill or any other tool that provides you an intial neat cut where you’ll insert tha jigsaw blade to complete the cut itself; same old story: cut slow and precisely the two doors.

Once you’ve cut them, built with plywood clippings the internal frames that will give the edge to close the hatches, glue them keeping them in position with several clamps , remove the resin that squeezes out of the frame ; pictures are quite self explaining.

For the cockpit frame we’ll laminate three layer of plywood; use plywood clippings here too, built one layer after the other, gluing them and using clamps to keep pieces pressed on the hull; the upper layer with a slightly larger edge, will be done with a single plywood piece ; after the assembly we’ll sand carefully the inner edge with our sander.











final fairing and last layer of liquid resin

we now have to sand the deck for a final fairing and the provide the last layer of epoxy; fair the deck to smooth all the “small spikes” which give the first layer of resin a kind of “crispy” aspect, just give a quick fairing by hand with 80-100 sandpaper, fair the glass tape edges too; we can decide to apply all the deck accessories after or before the final liquid resin layer, it’s about the same.

Avoid to waste time and resin coating the lower zone that will be the hull deck joint, since it will be faired , laminated and coated when we’ll join hull and deck.


Now we have the deck ready to be joined to the hull  !!