Today, I trimmed each hatch opening and then tried to make a rim around each one, only to discover that fiber-glass does not like to wrap 180 degrees around a thin section. Try as I might (using all sorts of tape and clothes pins) I could not get the ‘glass to conform to that tight of a bend and I ended up removing it. On further thought, I decided that a rim was unnecessary. I did, however, coat the existing ‘glass with more resin.
I also began making the seat back and the “cheek plates” which are two plates that will mount inside the cockpit rim on either side of my butt cheeks to hold me centered in the kayak and also to provide a mounting point for the seat back. For the seat back, I wanted it to be slightly curved, so I made a quick form (essentially two 3/8″ thick pieces of wood 10 inches apart) to bend them over. I hot-glued the pieces in the center of the span to hold them bent in place. I glued up eight of my remaining 3/4″ x 3/16″ strips to make a 6×10″ curved rectangle (see photo.) For the cheek plates, I just glued some strips together flat – enough to make two 6×6″ squares.
Once the glue had dried, I faired them out with coarse (40 grit) sand paper and then sanded them smooth with some 80 grit paper. I then ‘glassed one side of each of them with some 4 oz cloth. I decided to try some “peel ply” that I had recently purchased from Chesapeake Light Craft which is supposed to give you a nearly perfect finish in one go. After wetting out the ‘glass with epoxy as usual, you lay down a sheet of this fine-weave fabric on the wet surface and then smooth it out with a squeegee. Once cured, you peel off the fabric for a (supposedly) really nice surface ready for final sanding with no filler coats required. The drawback is that the peel ply fabric doesn’t stretch like fiber-glass, so you can only use it on flat surfaces or surfaces that curve in only one direction (like my seat back.) It is also pretty expensive, so I will use it sparingly.