Cheek Plate Help



I am building a Great Auk and it's finally nearing completion.  I am asking for your help with a question about the cheek plates.


I laid out the positioning for the cheek plates on the underside of the deck. Just before epoxying them to the deck, I decided to make a fore/aft adjustment, not thinking about how that would impact the alignment to the hull.  


The result is that the back edge touches the hull and the leading edge has about a 1/2" gap (see picture below). In fact, the plate has to be pulled inboard slightly to fit the deck to the hull.  I could live with the quirky gap because they'll be hidden by the hip pads, but I still have a question.


My concern is over that back edge touching the hull.  My original plan was to epoxy and glass the plates to the hull, creating a rock solid connection.  I've seen it done this way and I've seen Nick's recommendation in his book to leave them hanging free.  As I see it I have three options:


1. Leave them as is, hanging free, with the back edge touching the boat. This is my least preferred option as I am concerned about the back edge digging into the hull as the boat flexes. 

2. Cut the plates shorter, epoxy over the exposed edge, and leave them hanging free.

3. Pull the plate inboard when attaching the deck, fill the big gap with thickened epoxy, glass it all over, securing the plates to the hull.


I'm leaning toward option #2 but I would like to learn from the collective wisdom of this group.


Thanks in advance for your help!

3 replies:

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RE: Cheek Plate Help

#1 is definitely the worst. That's a perfect recipe for a stress concentrator.

I'd say go with WWND - What Would Nick Do? - and do option #2. I've not built an Auk, but I've never gotten bad advice from either of the Schade Bros, and if Nick says to let it hang free, that's what I'd do.

Have fun,



RE: Cheek Plate Help

nick definitely endorses option 2.

a video of his process is on the link below.

fwiw...its important that if you have it hanging free that you properly re-inforce the cheekplate attachment to the underside of the deck (described in the video).

in a lot of boats, the recommendation would be option 3.  i think nick gives a good explanation of why he likes option 2 over three (and fwiw...he does not dismiss option 3)...but you can see how he compensates with strong reinforcing carbon and glass layers in attaching the cheek plate.

the cheek plate takes some important/high loads and distributes them to the broader hull structure.  this includes the back-band (which creates a force that pulls the cheek plate aft) and a potentially a downward load when somebody braces on the coaming to enter the cockpit.

if you are not going to tie it into the bottom of the hull,,,,it needs to be more strongly attached to the deck to take these loads.  so you may still want to consider 3 given your paddling style/body type relative to the hull. 




RE: Cheek Plate Help

Hi all:


Laszlo and Howard, thank you for the help.

For everyone's reference I went with option 2.  I added several layers of glass where the plates meet the underside of the deck and it turned out very nice.

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