Boat Building Forum

Find advice on all aspects of building your own kayak, canoe or any lightweight boats

Re: Where and how to install skeg

: Thanks for the advice to everyone.. I think I understand how to use
: the thicken epoxy/fillet on the inside of the hull. I am concern
: on the external hull; How do I handle this situation with a
: plastic skeg box? Do I mask off the skeg opening and
: fiberglass/epoxy round it. Maybe I need to first make the
: plastic box extend out and grind it flush to the external hull,
: or just make the slot opening big enough for the skeg blade?
: ie.. the box is pretty thin...

: Kevin

Hi Kevin,

In case you haven't already done the deed, here is what I chose to do on my installation:

1. Position is not that important for performance; the amount of skeg you expose will allow you to control the degree of skeg effect that you want under specific water and wind conditions. The important thing, I think, is to make it easy to position just as much skeg outside the hull as you want. As others mentioned, access for maintenance is important. The compromise I settled for was to place the forward edge of the box just aft of the rear hatch opening. This gives you decent access with reasonably little interference with storage.

2. I initially installed my skeg box flush to the outside surface of the hull, but I found that the edges of the slot seemed vulnerable to damage. They were somewhat sharp, and the skeg box did not permit rounding without causing other problems. So, after the box was glassed into the hull, I cut out a recess all around the skeg slot, maybe four or five millimeters square, and filled it with a mixture of epoxy, milled glass fiber, and colloidal silica. When it set up, I rounded and smoothed it, and put a couple layers of glass over it, wrapping the glass over the radius into the slot opening. This left me with what amounts to a solid glass edge to the slot which is, I suspect, pretty much bomb proof, and all cedar is completely encased and sealed. If I were you, I would mount your box flush to the inside of the hull, and once it is all glassed in place with a filet and some cloth, do the same thing I did to finish the edge of the slot. I didn't tint my glass mix, but you could make it any color you like with some pigment compatible with epoxy.

This may be a dumb question, but are you certain that the plastic used for the box you have is capable of being structurally bonded by epoxy?

Good luck,

Best regards,

Allan Edie