Category Archives: Modifying and Customizing

Kayak Lessons Learned

By Captain James R. Watson

Kayaks are versatile craft. I’m a lucky guy who has had decades of pleasure cruising, exploring, fishing and simply relaxing on many different streams and lakes throughout Michigan and Canada in my stripper. Comparing the investment dollar per pleasure derived, my kayak wins hands down over all the other water craft I’ve owned. In her wake I’ve been taught many lessons, albeit some the hard way. Here are a few I thought worth sharing. Continue reading

D-Ring Pads and G/flex Epoxy

By Tom Pawlak

NEW POSSIBILITIES FOR HDPE BOATS

D-ring pads are often attached to flexible surfaces with urethane adhesives to gain load carrying capacity where there otherwise wouldn’t be any. They are used on waterproof fabric cargo bags, heavy tarpaulins and inflatable boats. They are also sometimes used on the decks of canoes and kayaks to hold cargo in place on long trips. D-rings are not typically used on polyethylene canoes and kayaks because the urethane glues are not recommended for use on HDPE (high density polyethylene) plastic. We decided to experiment gluing D-ring pads with G/flex 655 to HDPE plastic with that end-use in mind. Continue reading

Depth Sounder Installation

Jim Costello of Dallas, Texas, recently asked the Tech Staff about mounting a transducer to the hull of his 1983 Bayliner Capri Classic.  

“The user manual for my new Hummingbird fish finder says that the transducer can be installed in the hull with a slow curing epoxy. It says to try to eliminate all bubbles. I have105, 206, 404, and 406 on hand. What if I just mix up some peanut butter thick paste and use that? Or do you have any other suggestions? I can mount the transducer on a part of the hull that is thin enough for the application, according to Hummingbird. Thanks.” Continue reading

Installing a Removable Hatch

By Tom Pawlak

Meade Gougeon installed the original hatches on his Gougmaran, but he wasn’t convinced he had selected the ideal locations. Prior to installation he thought about how difficult it would be to remove and relocate them if he used one of the flexible adhesive/ sealants made for this purpose. There had to be a better way, one that would allow hardware to be easily removed yet seal out water. Continue reading

Repairing Machined Holes in Fiberglass

Technical Staff Report

First, we will classify the types of holes we are discussing as ones that are round and have been machined, probably with a drill, as opposed to punctures and cracks incurred from damage. The reasons they may need to be repaired are numerous: refitting, resizing, removing obsolete equipment, or mistakes. When repairing fiberglass boats, the challenge is to determine an appropriate repair strategy. You want a repair that is safe and adequate, but also realistic. You want to ensure that the repair is strong enough for the anticipated worst-case load and err on the side of being conservative. Continue reading

Installing a Bow Thruster

Island Heights, New Jersey architect, John B. Wilson, installed a bow thruster in his 26′ Albermarle sport fisherman, using WEST SYSTEM® products. The toughest part of the job was cutting through the 1″ solid hull laminate. After trying several tools, he had success with a Roto Zip™ with a ½” carbide bit by making two ½” deep passes. The only other difficult job was cutting away a portion of the floor in the storage area under the V-berth to make room for the 5″ diameter thrust tube. Continue reading

Building an Efficient Ice Box

By J.R. Watson

For maximum enjoyment when cruising on small craft, you need to carry food and beverages and keep them cold for the duration of the trip. While you can purchase good icebox/coolers in many shapes and sizes, these may not quite fit where you want or keep food cold long enough on extended cruises. Building a custom icebox with WEST SYSTEM® epoxy is neither difficult nor expensive. Continue reading

Wood/Epoxy Composite Tank Guidelines

By Patrick Ropp

Builders have successfully constructed tanks for potable water, sewage, gray water, ballast and diesel fuel tanks and a limited number of gasoline tanks using WEST SYSTEM® epoxy since the early 1970’s. The regulatory environment has evolved within the last thirty years and has placed safety restrictions on various aspects of tank building, specifically potable water and gasoline. Continue reading

Building a Leeboard Bracket

By Robert Monroe

Dave Hatton and I had a January trip planned to the Everglades and the Florida Keys. We decided to use a Feathercraft™ double folding kayak with a sailing rig, but were not very happy with its sailing performance to weather. It has a simple reaching/downwind sail and no effective lateral resistance to give it any bite in the water. It’s a neat boat, but we decided we could improve its performance without too much effort. We would start with a leeboard and look at the rig later. Continue reading