Stage 6 -
Fitting the Decks and Finishing
Hazelnut has decking which forms an enclosed compartment with the
bulkheads at each end for stowage or as flotation/buoyancy. Some designs
do not have this but have a simple triangular shaped piece of plywood at
the ends called a breasthook - the fitting of either is much the same.
The decking or
breathook can simply be glued and nailed to the top of the inwales but l
prefer to sink the plywood down buy cutting a parallel strip off the top
of the gunwale equal in width to the the thickness of the deck ply. If
the deck/breasthook is then fitted before the outwale, the outwale will
cover up and hide the end grain of the deck/breathook.
If the wood for the inwales or outwales is under length,
join with a scarf joint—the length of the scarf is around 8 times the
wood thickness—mark it on both pieces, clamp them side by side and cut
I am going to sink the decks down so that their top is flush with the
top of the gunwale which
means that the edge of the ply deck will be covered when l fit the
outwale in place. Start by marking the depth of gunwale to be removed
(thickness of the ply deck), make a saw cut and use a chisel to start
pairing the waste material away.
Most of the waste material can be removed with a jig-saw.
Cut and fit the deck beams at the top of the bulkheads.
Cut pieces of ply for the decking over-size, mark
with a pencil, remove, trim and cut the round shape into the back of the
deck where it overhangs the bulkhead.
Cut and glue wood blocks under the deck to take the fastenings for the
Glue and nail the decks in place and finally trim with a block plane
completed all the woodwork, we can now finish the canoe with paint and
varnish - my standard finish is varnish on the inside of the canoe
including inwales and outwales and deck and paint for the outside of the
hull. Unless the canoe is destined for a Show, I use exterior household
start, make sure the epoxies are fully cured - this may mean leaving
them for week or more - if you do not do this, the varnish and paints
you apply will not dry.
I start by using
the mouse sander with the heaviest grit paper l can buy and use this to
grind the inside chine tapes so that the hard bump on the edges of the
tape is removed. I then go over everything with a medium sandpaper
followed by a fine finishing paper. Everything is cleaned and all dust
carefully removed and I then apply the varnish. In the Uk you can get
International Yacht Varnish at places like B&Q and this is an
excellent tough product - l use 5 coats, snading lightly between each
After 5 coats of yacht varnish - if the first coat of varnish does not
go off (because the epoxy is not fully cured) leave for 24hours, wash
with white spirit, dry and lightly sand and apply another coat.
Although not coated overall with epoxy on the inside, the epoxy resin
stains more or less disappear with several coats of a good varnish.
comes the preparation and painting of the outside of the hull - if the
outside chine seams have been taped, it will look a mess to start with
but can be made very smooth so that the tape disappears with the
following process :-
a. Grind the tapes with a heavy grit paper on the mouse sander and belt
b. Apply epoxy mixed with a lightweight filler (I used WEST 407) using a wide knife along
the edges of the tape - allow to cure properly and then sand.
c. After the epoxy filler etc is well and truly cured, paint with an
exterior household wood primer.
d. When dry, use a good quality household filler (see below) applied
with a wide knife.
e. Sand and paint a first coat of under coat - repeat stages d and e 2-3
f. Sand and apply 2 coats of gloss.
Having dealt with the worst of the bumps with the lightweight epoxy
filler and given the hull a coat of primer/undercoat I use a good
quality exterior household filler applied with a wide knife. Most of the
popular and well known fillers available are much too soft and disappear
when sanded - I found "Ever Build" All Purpose Ready Mixed
Filler (www.everbuild.co.uk) at my local store (Leakes) which is
excellent and is as close as l can get to some of the fillers we used to
use in the Boat Yards.
Make sure that the bow and stern curves are nice and fair before you
start finishing - next stop, the water!