Sunday, March 20, 2016

Gluing the deck panels together

The way the Utility deck is designed, and the way I've most often seen it built, is to have a center strip of wood that covers the seam between the port panel and the starboard panel.

That's not the way I wanted mine.

I wanted the deck surface to be completely continuous, interrupted only by whatever hardware I opt to install on it. (In my case, that will be one cleat in the center of the deck, and two chocks for the dock line.) I want it to look, as much as possible, like it is made from one continuous piece of plywood.

That is why I chose the most complementary grain patterns as I could. I also intentionally used the plywood panel's own straight edge as the centerline of the deck, so that the seam would be as straight and invisible as possible.

To attach them together, I simply used epoxy thickened with #2 silica from Glen-L to coat the inner surfaces of the seam. I placed the panels over waxed paper to avoid gluing them to my work surface. After coating the inner surfaces, I simply pressed the panels together and scraped away the epoxy squeeze out. To hold the panels in position, I used my Raptor compression stapler to drive their plastic staples, straddling the seam. 

After the epoxy cured, I simply snipped away the exposed parts of the staples. The rest will easily sand away to near-invisibility. I've used these staples on several parts of my boat, to hold plywood parts together while epoxy cures... most notably on the transom. These staples fulfill their role beautifully and are almost impossible to see in the finished brightwork.

Deck Panels epoxied together.

Plastic Raptor staples holding two deck panels in position while epoxy cures
Raptor staples, straddling the deck seam to hold the panels in position.

Here are my two blocks of flotation foam from the previous post.

If you MUST know.... Yes. I did staple the deck panels onto my 3/4" plywood work surface. Of course I did. Still, it was easy enough to remove. I just gently worked my fingers under the free ends of the panels so that I could lift the deck while putting minimal strain on the seam, and it easily popped right out.

Thank God for the waxed paper.

No comments:

Post a Comment