Having gotten the decks in place, I set about building hatch coamings and hatch covers. This took much longer than planned and you’d never realize it by looking at the results.
ISSUE NO. 1 – The plans show split aft decks with hatch openings extending to the nearest bulkheads, the aft hatch also extending to the transom. However, the pictures in Michalak’s book also show one-piece decks that include decking near the bulkheads. “Hmmm,” me thinks, “a one-piece deck would require another sheet of plywood. I’ll stick with the plans.” I proceeded to install the decks shown in a prior post.
ISSUE NO. 2 – The wording in the book is not real prescriptive as to the whether the decks should go on before or after the decks are installed. Blogs show it either way, although the photos in the book show an example of coamings that went on before the decks were installed. I elected for decks first, coamings later.
ISSUE NO. 3 – The plans show an internally-cleated hatch design. “Simple is good”, I first thought. After getting the decks on, however, I noted an essay on hatches that called for a heavier-duty design for “green water”. I took this to mean that if you want to actually sail this thing in waves, build better hatches. This caused some re-engineering on the fly. I settled on full internal coamings and fully framed hatch covers with weatherstripping, no external coaming, kayak-style straps and buckles to hold it all together. This configuration required fabricating a filler piece for the aft deck over the rear bulkhead, and additions to the bottom of the hatch frames over the transom. Now the deck has seams in it. Not sure how fine this is gonna look.
ISSUE NO. 4: I elected to use my Japanese pull saw to fabricate coaming pieces because I did not want to drag out the heavy table saw, forgetting that my joinery skills are marginal. Measure, measure, measure . . . cut cut . . trial fit, measure again, re-cut, trial fit . . . repeat, pre-assemble, align, measure, align, repeat . . . pre-drill, disassemble, drill drill drill . . . glue with PL-1 (wipe PL-1 off boat, self, tools), align, screw, screw, screw. I don’t even wanna say how many hours this took. No wonder I got a B- in high school wood shop class.
In the end, it all went together, and I made covers from my remaining 1/4″ ACX stock. All the coaming pieces were made from chine and gunwale leftovers.
- One-piece decks, pre-aassembled with inner hatch coaming for the heavier design, would have been best.
- Splurging on an extra sheet of plywood to make that happen would also be wise.
- Use a table saw for consistent cuts.
- Most importantly, decide on the hatch design early.
Here’s some pix: