Neat way to seal hatch edges

Just like drill-fill-drill to prevent water intrusion between fiberglass and wood, wouldn't it be good if the edges of the hatch cover and the hatch opening could each be protected by a perfect 1/8-inch band of hardened, thickened epoxy? Here's how I did it: As the instructions say, use the hatch spacer ring to scribe the shape of the hatch in the deck. But do not cut on this line! Instead, scribe another line 5/32-inch outside the first line, and cut on that instead. Your hatch opening and cover will initially be larger than called for in the instructions. When the oversize hatch is free of the deck, cut 5/16 off the edge of that oversize hatch, makiing it smaller than the hatch cover described in the manual.. Then, wrap the hatch sill ring completely in package sealing tape so that it is fully protected. Temporarily install the protected sill ring to the underside of the deck, assuring proper placement by using the predrilled copper wire holes. (If you are nervoius about using the real sill for this, use the sill as a pattern to make a copy out of cheap 1/8-inch door skin plywood, and use that instead, but be sure to protect it with packing tape.) Snug it up to the underside of the deck by drilling pilot holes where you were going to drill them later anyway for the hatch hold-down toggles, and use sheetrock screws with small plywood pads, screwed down through the deck and into the protected sill to draw it tight to the underside of the deck.   Using double sided tape or a glue gun, temporarily fasten the reduced-sized hatch cover, centered in the over-sized deck opening. Fill the resulting 5/16-inch gap with thickened epoxy and let it cure. Then, remove the protected sill -- it should pop right off one you remove the temporary screws and copper wire used to position it.  Rescribe that opening to the proper size, using the inside of the spacer ring, as instructed by the manual, and cut along that line with a saber (jig) saw. the 1/16-inch kerf will leave a perfect 1/8-inch epoxy seal along the edges of both the hatch cover and thge deck opening. Lightly sand both edges smooth and slightly rounded over, they they are not sharp. I did this on a Wood Duck Hybrid 10. It looks really great, and I am confident it is far bertter protected from water intrusion than it would have been.

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RE: Neat way to seal hatch edges

Jim! You can't do this to us! Describing something that sounds this cool and not posting a single picture? Oh, the humanity!




RE: Neat way to seal hatch edges

Pix to come. Dealing with a bi8t of a family emergency today...   

RE: Neat way to seal hatch edges

Here are the pix, as promised, for anyone interested.

First, scribe the lines on the deck -- center as instructed by the manual; outside to cut an enlarged opening; inside to cut reduced cover:

Next, cover the deck sill (or a sacrificial deck sill patterened on nthe original) with package sealing tape to protect it from epoxy and snug it up to the underside of the enlarged hatch opening. Use the copper wires to position it, and use the places on the deck where you intend to install the hatch hold-down toggles to drive sheetrock screws as temporary clamps to pull the sill up and lock it into place:

Then, use double sided tape opr hot glue to temporarily fasten the undersize hatch cover, centered in the oversized opening, to the sill, leaving a 5/16-inch gap

Then fill the gap with thickened eopoxy and after it cures, remove the clamping screws and wires and sand it flush to the surface of the deck and hatch cover:

Then, if you have done all this on the deck before permanently fastening it to the hull, flip the deck over and pop the protected sill loose, then scribe a new line using the spacer ring as a template (as in the manual) and cut the hatch cover, leaving a perfect 1/8-inch epoxy lip on both the cover and the opening. If you do this aftrer permanently attaching the deck to the hull, as I did, saw through the hardened epoxy and the sacrificial deck sill, then when you have access, pop the sill pieces loose. If you are going to do it the way I did it, be sure to lay a piece of plastic sheet into the bottom of the boat, so any squeeze-out will not bond to the inside of the boat

Then follow the manual, gluing the spacer into place, followed by the actual sill

This shows what the epoxy lip looks like, before finishing

Tomorrow, I'll add pix of the finished area.

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