Kajak Hatch Installation
It’s a tense moment as you cut the holes in your deck for the hatches. The front hatch will be recessed to keep it flat and low to the lines of the deck. Start by cutting out a ring out of pine or cedar 11 1/8” wide with an opening of 10 1/4”. Stock should be 1" thick. I use a saber saw for this. You can glue a blank up to get the stock width you need.

NOTE: Do not make a paper tracing of the 11 1/8" circle and place that on the deck and cut it out. You will get an oval! Take your ring form and rock it from center to each side and trace that to get your opening. Under-cut a bit and refine the opening to fit your ring form to the deck. With sanding, you'll get a good fit.

Sand it fair with a slight taper toward the bottom on the outside. The taper allows it to fit tightly into your deck hole cut-out which is 11 1/8" diameter.
You want the ring form to fit in the opening and flush to the highest rise of your deck. Go around the ring form with a pencil and mark a line where the deck meets the ring form.
You now cut away the surplus material with a jig saw. I use my vice and cut and rotate it as I travel with the saw. Cut a bit proud of your line so you have material to fine tune it with final shaping.

Sand your ring and opening so it fits snug in position. Now you can epoxy the cut ring in place. I coat my sides of the ring and opening edges and push it in place. Then gently turn the deck over and run a filet between the deck and ring.

Sand and shape the ring so it is flush with the deck and curves down with a smooth rounded surface. Coat it with epoxy.

Now make an 11 1/8 circle out of 1/4 plywood with an opening of 7 5/8. Clamp your Kajak hatch on top of that with epoxy. Roughen up the plastic surfaces of the hatch real good where the bond will be made. It easier to clamp the hatch to the plywood first.

Clamp the hatch with the plywood base to the bottom of the shaped ring form with epoxy. Then to finish it, I mix some epoxy with graphite and flood the plywood on top so it looks like the hatch is molded into the kayak. Clean up any epoxy off your shaped ring form with Q-tips and alcohol.

Finished hatch installed.

You can use this method with VCP hatches or any other type where you want to inset a flat hatch on a curved deck.

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