Kayak Re-Deck Problems

I have an older CLC kayak (Cape Charles) that I built from plans. When I built the boat, my lumberyard was out of 3mm Okoume, but they did have plywood in which the outermost ply was teak. The boat looked good with the teak deck, but over time I couldn't get any finish to stick to the teak. I tried a few things, but nothing worked. So I decided to replace the deck with standard 3mm Okoume and will do that this Winter. I have a question for the group though.

The original deck was never quite comfortable due to my size 13+ feet. When I install a new deck, it needs to be high enough to allow me to wiggle my toes a bit. I'm considering three options to fix this:

A) Make it a hybrid boat and put a cedar strip deck on it, or
B) Put a deck on with "multiple chines" like the Petrel SG, or
C) Just make the deck higher/rounder by replacing the sheer clamps to allow a steeper pitch to the deck.

I await the collective wisdom of the group.

6 replies:

« Previous Post       List of Posts       Next Post »

RE: Kayak Re-Deck Problems

i would suggest A or C but not B.

doing a strip deck will give you the most control to make the deck exactly as you want it without needing expensive tools/calculations.  i think it also gives you the most flexibility to adapt to the minutae of how you end up removing the old deck.

if you want to keep it with its more traditional look.....go for C.  but with respect to C, you are really just increasing the curvature and recarving the sheer clamp for the new shape.  that said, you need to ensure your ability to get the foot room you need, the deck arch that gives that to you....and that the wood will actually accept being bent that much without breaking.   so i am just not sure how much more arch you need vs the standard plan and if that is a big deal or not a big deal (e.g., so much arch you can't make the wood bend).

i would avoid B becuase i think you need tools/calculations beyond what most people have available to make a multi-part deck like the Petrel S&G.   these panels are designed and refined with computer models and cut by CNC machines to make them work perfectly.  so while they look simple...and are simple to assemble.... they are really rather complex to model and get the right shape.   if they are not just right, they really don't look right in my opinion.  or if you make it so simple that you can do it by hand, the look may be very unrefined compared to what you are used to seeing (re pretrel S&G).

that's my 2 cents.

good luck



RE: Kayak Re-Deck Problems

   If you want to make sure you have toe room a strip deck would be best.

I moved the cockpit of a Pax 20 forward a foot and put a strip deck on it to make leg and toe space further down the hull. (Worked great by the way. It was about a half of a mile an hour faster and turned better too).

Trying to torture plywood to do the same thing didn't work. It would not meet the bow properly.

RE: Kayak Re-Deck Problems

Beg to differ about option B needing expensive tools and calculations. That may be the case when designung a mass-produced kit, but for a one-off home build all you need are the usual hand tools (saw, plane, rasp, light hammer, screw driver and sanding stuff), a bevel gauge, good compass, pencil and paper.

The technique is the same as spiling planks for a traditional boat, It can produce any desired shape.

It's not difficult, just slow, so it's best suited for a home-builder that doesn't pay for labor, For a commercial mass-production enterprise, the CNC and computers replace the manual labor which they do have to pay for.

So skip B for aesthetics or other reasons, but not for expense and difficulty.

Good luck,



RE: Kayak Re-Deck Problems

   I agree with Lazlo, all three options are good ways to go.

Since you have the hull already, you can mock up what ever method you chose using cardboard, poster board, whatever... and tape (such as duct tape, packing tape...). A mock up will allow you to atleast sit in the boat on a carpeted floor and see how you fit in her, and how the 'new' high deck feels as far as paddle/paddling clearence. The mockup will also allow you to work out some of the construction issues before you are cutting out expensive wood. You might even change which method you decide to use after biulding a mockup.

Good luck and Happy Holidays,


RE: Kayak Re-Deck Problems


i think the point i was trying to make....is that in working with panels, computer simulation work really well in sorting it out.  and definitely, with the addition of computer driven routers....ensures the parts match the design idea.

when dealing with multiple panels and without cadcam, to get a sophisticated shape takes a lot of time (as lazlo said) and when you do finally make the cut.....the best you can do is get it right....and everything short of right is wrong....and the technique is not particularly tolerant of wrong and still looking good....and if its wrong, then the whole piece is either now a waste....or you will be using a lot of fillers and paint to hide your mistake.

so i was not suggesting that B was 'expensive or required a bunch of fancy math' but a technique that for the average person, absent the tools that most professional designers use....was rather complex and time-consuming....and hard to get a good result with ....imho.

lets look at it this way, there is a reason most sellers of multi-panneled boats provide pre-cut panels or patterns to use to cut panels.   if it was easy and simple to sort it out for the average person, they would provide just a plan and say cut the panels yourself....its fun!

now, to contrast that, lets look at strip built boats.  all the different shapes of hulls....and other than the forms.....everybody gets the same box of strips.  the same strips -- regardless of the hull design.  so in this technique....as long as you get the forms the way you want them....getting the skin right...is pretty straight forward and tolerant of mistakes on any individual strip.   and in the worst case...if you really mess up....just toss the bad strip and use a new one.....its only a couple dollars a strip. 

anyway, i am just not sure how you square....'it's not difficult.....its just slow'. if it was 'not difficult'....in my way of thinking....wouldn't it be fast?

all that said, other than playing around with hatches, i have tended not to mess around with deck designs of multi-paneled decked boats for the reasons i have mentioend above.  i have, comfortably and without a lot of hassle, substantially modifed the deck of strip built boats to suit my needs or put a custom strip deck on an old stitch and glue hull with good results.

all of these are options (A, B and C).....but they do have substantially different advantages and build challenges.   if you want a multi-panneled deck..i agree with lazlo....it's doable.    but i don't particularly agree with the characterization that it's 'not difficult'.


RE: Kayak Re-Deck Problems

>>anyway, i am just not sure how you square....'it's not difficult.....its just slow'. if it was 'not difficult'....in my way of thinking....wouldn't it be fast?

Not necessarily. Walking a mile to the store is not difficult - you just take about 1800 steps in the correct direction. But it's slow compared to taking a taxi. A taxi, though, requires a person who has been trained and licensed to operate a car. They also have to own the car, maintain the car, pay for fuel, insurance, etc. It's fast and easy for the passenger, but more expensive than walking.

Substitute CLC for the taxi company and building a boat for getting to the store and you've got the complete analogy.

>> if it was easy and simple to sort it out for the average person, they would provide just a plan and say cut the panels yourself....its fun!

It is and they do. But there's more money in it if CLC can expand their market share to the folks who don't have the time or inclination to do all the work for themselves. Again, just like the trip to the store - most people can easily do it, it's good exercise, less polluting, keeps you more in touch with the world around you, etc. to walk, but sometimes you're in a hurry or it's raining.

Another thought -  the mockup is just an analog computer model instead of a digital one.

Anyway, have fun all,




« Previous Post     List of Posts     Next Post »

Please login or register to post a reply.