Step 14: Attaching the Deck
After much preparation, it was finally time to install the deck. Before proceeding though I had to attach a small section to the bow of the deck using a scarf joint and then coat the inside of both deck pieces with unthickened epoxy to seal it.
Then it was really time to attach the deck. First I laid the two deck panels (forward and aft) down on top of the boat to get some idea of placement. I marked on the sheer clamps where the bottom panel needed to go:
I attached the aft deck panel first. I applied unthickened epoxy to the bottom of the deck and thickened epoxy to the sheer clamps, bulkhead, and top edge of the hull. Next I positioned the deck panel on the boat and clamped it down using both spring clamps and a webbing strap clamp that came in very useful throughout the process:
The deck does not want to curve by itself so it has to be nailed into position so that the epoxy has time to dry. The brass nails came with the kit:
The instructions didn't say to do so but I decided to drill pilot holes for the nails to go into. I felt that I would have an easier job nailing them all in nice straight line and that there would be less chance of the sheer clamp splitting (which would have been a disaster at this stage in the game). I cut out a template that allowed me to consistently find the middle of the sheer clamp and used that when figuring out where to drill each hole.
So, I worked my way back from the bulkhead, alternating sides and doing about two or three nails at a time. I readjusted my strap clamp every few nails so that the part I was working on was always squeezed in tightly. After I had finished the aft panel I did the forward one, starting at the deck beam and moving forward and then back toward the cockpit.
I left some overlap between the two panels in the middle where they met so that I could make a butt joint there. Here is what it looked like before I made the butt joint.
To make the two fit perfectly together I just cut through the plywood of the forward panel right along the line of the aft panel using a shop knife. It took quite a few passes but eventually cut a nice line that fit into the aft panel perfectly:
Next, I glued 2" by 3" pieces of plywood on the inside of the butt joints to brace them and clamped them in place:
Then, I flipped the boat over so that any drips would not run down the hull. As you can see below the deck panels are cut about an inch too big all around. This allows for some error when attaching the deck. After the glue is dry I will cut it off with a saber saw and plane or sand it flush. After I flipped the boat I saw that because my planing as not absolutely perfect, there were some gaps between the top edge of the side panels and the deck. To correct this I mixed up some thickened epoxy and spread it into any gaps before leaving it to dry.
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