Seat and Bulkheads

To  me, and perhaps others, the measurements for the placement of the seat braces are slightly ambiguous. For example, I’m not sure I put the bulkhead behind the seat at exactly the designer’s intended location. I finally settled, for the Tern, on setting the leading edge of the braces 9″ aft of the bottom hull panel joint.

using a square across the coaming

Setting the Brace Vertical

Setting the braces at the right(?) angle was also a small challenge, since nothing is square. I settled on setting them vertical by reference to a horizontal line across the coaming. The braces were trimmed to fit tight up under the coaming and chamfered slight so that the bottom fit tight to the hull. Marking the hull at the bottom was sufficient for placing the brace for taping. The tape, the viscosity of the resin in the wood flour glue, and friction held it in place long enough to cure. Wetting out the tape at the backside of the top and bottom was a pain, as well as trimming it smooth later. You pretty much need to wet the tape before you lay it in.

the tape at the top is visible

Installed Brace

I taped both sides of both ends. The instructions omit taping of the inner side of the upper end, but I found that I could use the scraper to taper the edges of the tape and fair them into the coaming. With a small amount of sanding this became a smooth joint and it completely disappeared with the application of varnish.

The bulkheads require, at least in my kayaks, a lot of trial and error to get a good fit. I decided that a “good” fit was having less than 1/4″ gap between the panels and bulkhead. You can trim the bulkheads with a sabre saw, but a band saw is huge improvement. It’s especially difficult to estimate when the bulkhead is at the proper angle, both left-right and up-down. Esthetically they need to be 90 degrees across the keel, but they don’t necessarially need to be vertical. After some frustration in getting them in position, I glued 4 small 1/4″ square dowels in the hull and deck at 90 degrees to the keel. Then, when I got the bulkheads trimmed to fit, I could push a bulkhead against these and the position was right and easy to maintain as I taped the bulkhead in.

I was was able to tape both sides of both bulkheads. The job of wetting out the tape was messy and had a few drips, but most of these could be wiped up and none of it is visible. My only concern was that I didn’t want any sharp edges or wisps of cloth that could hook or scratch items in the compartments, nor did I want to find myself reaching behind the seat for a pump and catching my suit on a snag. So I was careful afterwards to scrape all the edges–they’re not smooth by any means, but there are no snags. 

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