Day 21


The boat is nearing completion.  Time to pay attention to some of the details.

The stock Wood Duck comes with 4 wooden hatch toggles that are screwed into the deck to hold the hatch down.  As previously covered with the footbrace installation, I want to avoid putting any more holes in my boat than necessary.  Also, while the stock hatch toggles look ok, I think that having a flush hatch with no visible hardware makes for a much sleeker finish.

There are a number of options for accomplishing invisible hatch closures, I chose what I think to be the simplest method which are internal bungee cords lopped over hooks attached to the hatch cover.  CLC sells an invisible hatch hold down kit, but I decided to borrow the design from László Mórocz and build my own.

I used a hole saw and a 1"x4" piece of pine to make the bungee loops, and I used the mouth of a jar as the pattern to cut the hooks out of the same piece of 1"x4" with a jig saw.  Then I used sand paper and a Dremel tool with a mandrel attachment for the final shaping of all of the pieces.  I then used sandpaper to flatten one side of the bungee loops so they would attach to the walls of the cargo hold.

I still need a way to remove the hatch cover, but since it is going completely flush with the deck and held in place from below this could be difficult.  Once again borrowing from László, I used the Dremel too with the mandrel attachment to carve a finger grab hole into the edge of the hatch opening.  

Note the bare spot in the hatch cover above.  When the deck was glassed I also applied glass to the hatch cover, however when it dried I somehow ended up with a huge dark ugly stain in the middle of the cover.  It looked like a drip of some kind, but I swear it was not as obvious before I glassed the hatch.  I tried to ignore it for days but just couldn't stand it any longer, so I sanded back down to the bare wood, cleaned up the drip, and later I will patch it with glass cloth and sand it out again.

The bungee loops were glued into the hold with epoxy thickened with silica powder and held in place with masking tape, and the bungee hooks were glued to the underside of the hatch cover using the same method.  They will get a full coating of unthickened epoxy later when the hatch gets it's final coat.

Next it was time to give the hull it's final coat.  The bottom coating for the boat consists epoxy mixed with graphite.  The graphite epoxy mixture is not harder than epoxy alone, but what it does do is create a very slippery surface so things like rocks, stumps, and oyster shells can't gain a purchase on the hull and therefore can't gouge large scratches in the hull.  Plus the black just looks really cool with the bright finish on the deck.

I used 3M fine line tape to mask off the bottom of the boat.  I used the stitch holes as the guide for the tape.  After the fine line tape I also applied a strip of poly sheeting and regular masking tape.  

Epoxy resin and hardener were mixed together then combined with graphite powder to a 50:50 ratio by volume.

Then this thick slurry was rolled onto the hull.

A second coat was applied after a few hours and then the tape was removed before the epoxy has the chance to fully cure.  The end result was a clean crisp line down the sides of the boat.