Hatch lips epoxied in place.

This evening when I got home from work I was able to give the hatch lips their final adjustments and epoxy them in place. All that remains to do on the hatch lips is to laminate a little fiberglass cloth at each seam to make them one solid piece. This is a HUGE milestone, as it is the last fiberglass that I have to apply to the Ronan.

EDIT: I’m going to have to wait a couple of days to finish the hatches. The weather is pretty good for the next couple of days, so I am going to have to mow the property after work instead of working on the Ronan.

Then a little cleanup with fine sandpaper and a light coat of epoxy over all to make them pretty. That’s it! Well, almost it. After the finish work, the hatch lips get a foam strip all the way around to create a watertight seal between the lip and the lid. But I am going to wait until I have finished sanding and varnishing the entire kayak before I do that. The foam will happen at the same time as the deck rigging. The only construction steps that remain are the “end pours.” I am not sure when I will be able to do those, as they are weather dependent. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I need two dry, warm (over 55 degrees F) days to do the end pours, because the kayak must be taken outside to stand on end (probably strapped to a ladder) until the epoxy cures, in order to create a solid epoxy plug in each end of the kayak so that I can drill 1/2″ holes for the hand toggles and perimeter lines and not have any leaks.

Bow hatch above, stern hatch below.

Hatch lip spacers epoxied in place and half-round pieces for the hatch lids cut to size and finish sanded.

Hatch lid spacers installed. I also cut the half-round pieces that will live on the hatch covers to provide a elevated surface for the tie down straps to ride on. These will allow the straps to provide enough pressure on the hatch lids to create a good seal against the foam that will eventually go on the hatch lip. The next step will be to install the hatch lips themselves, and to glue the half-round pieces onto the hatch covers.

Forward hatch above, aft hatch below.
A wad of clamps.
Another angle on the wad of clamps.
I can’t wait to sand that line out of the hull and give the whole kayak one more fill coat of epoxy. Then a ton of sanding, and finally, varnish. This thing really is getting pretty close to finished. Still a lot of work to do, but from the perspective of the entire build, I’m definitely in the home stretch!
These are the half-round pieces that will go on the hatch covers. The two pieces in the upper right are beveled to be a bit wider at the top, to make them easier to grab if there is suction on the inside of the hatch lid caused by a temperature/pressure difference between the inside of the cargo hold and the ambient air temp/pressure.

Progress on the hatch lips.

Today I got the spacers for the hatch lips fitted, and the hatch lips themselves cut to size and ready to get their final fit. I will glue up the spacers tomorrow and should have the hatch lips finished by the middle of next week.

Forward hatch lips and spacers (above). The hatch lips have been fiberglassed on both sides earlier, and the spacers have gotten a coat of epoxy on all surfaces, with special attention be paid to the open grain on the edges.
Half of the hatch lip and spacer for the aft hatch, in place and ready for final dry fit. The spacers are all ready for epoxy. It is just the lips that need their final adjustments.

Hip braces done. Cockpit essentially finished.

I finally had time after work to get the hip braces finished. IMHO they look good. I also sanded the hull inside the cockpit as far forward as I could easily reach, and gave the whole thing a light coat of epoxy since I had to feather in around the braces anyway. It covered a multitude of sins. I still need to mount the back band and glue the Velcro patches on the hull that will hold the seat pad, but I will do that after I have sanded and varnished the outside of the kayak so that I don’t coat them in sanding dust, etc. Otherwise, the inside of the kayak is complete!

Starboard above, port below.

Hip braces sanded and given first fill coat. Final sanding tomorrow and one more light coat of epoxy.

One fill coat of epoxy didn’t get these smooth enough for me to call them done so they will get sanded again and one more light coat of epoxy. Also, I didn’t get a tiny patch of glass cloth behind both braces sanded quite enough. I could show you what I missed, but it’s small, so I’ll just fix it tomorrow and move on.


Port side above, starboard below.
The whitish patches you see on the cockpit coaming above, were voids in the plywood lamination. Unfortunately, I didn’t fill them with epoxy thickened with wood flour before I started saturating the coaming pieces with straight epoxy, way back in November when I first started building the kayak. I thought that the resin would be clear in the voids. It didn’t turn out that way, so I will have to live with it. One of those things, I guess.

Hip braces glassed.

This morning I made the small fillets and got the fiberglass cloth on the the hip braces. After this cures, I’ll sand it smooth and give it a light coat of epoxy and then the hip braces will be done. Only a couple of steps left to go. After the hip braces are finished, I’ll do the hatch lips and finish the hatch covers. Then come the end pours. The end pours may actually be the steps that delay me more than any other so far, because they are completely weather dependent. I will need two dry, warmish, weekend days to take the kayak outside and stand it on end. It will then have to stand on end all day (probably strapped to a ladder) until the end pours cure enough that they won’t slump when I lay the kayak back into the horizontal position. But that’s it for the construction. After that, the entire kayak gets sanded. Then at least one more fill coat of epoxy to make things smooth. More sanding. Then spar varnish. After the kayak is varnished the deck rigging goes on, and the Ronan will be ready to paddle.

Port hip brace above. Starboard below.