Attaching wood kayak bulkheads with silicone caulk?

Welcome to the new Bear Mountain Builders Forum - an interactive internet service we provide to encourage communication between canoe and kayak builders
Post Reply
canoecrafter
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:22 am
Location: Rice Lake, WI

Attaching wood kayak bulkheads with silicone caulk?

Post by canoecrafter » Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:02 pm

I've seen videos from boatbuilders installing wooden bulkheads in stripper kayaks using only silicone caulk as the attachment mechanism. This seems too simple to be true, but the times I've had to remove old silicone caulk during DYI projects, I've been impressed with the stuff's flexible strength and tenacity. Has anyone had experience with just using silicone to set bulkheads in a strip kayak?
When people figure out what's important in Life, there's gonna be a big shortage of canoes.

KenC
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:42 pm
Location: Oakville, ON

Re: Attaching wood kayak bulkheads with silicone caulk?

Post by KenC » Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:08 am

Gary;
I've used silicone on the rear bulkhead, as there is never any force or pressure on that one. I trimmed the bulkhead panel (stripped) so there was about 1/8" clearance all around, then tacked it in place with a few beads of caulking, then when those were cured, filled in the remaining gap. I left the 1/8" clearance so that the hull would still be able to flex slightly at the bulkhead.

I glassed in my forward bulkhead ... I use it as my footbrace (I am 6'5" so it is unlikely anyone with longer legs will ever paddle the boat), so there is some forward pressure on that bulkhead from time to time. I again left a 1/8" clearance, for ease of installation, but obviously it allows much less flexibility than the silicone.

Cheers;
Ken

canoecrafter
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:22 am
Location: Rice Lake, WI

Re: Attaching wood kayak bulkheads with silicone caulk?

Post by canoecrafter » Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:46 am

Ken,
Your reasoning makes sense, and unless I hear dissenting opinions from others about using silicone to secure bulkheads, I'm going your route. I plan to silicone the bulkhead behind the cockpit leaving some flexibility, and securely epoxy and glass in the forward one which will see more force from my feet. I've planed down a couple white cedar boards to 3/8" and glued them up into bulkhead-size panels.

As I don't plan to have a forward hatch on the deck, I'm searching for a round 8"-10" screw-in transparent hatch I can mount in the forward bulkhead, both for ventilation and so I can stash an 8' fly rod in the boat without breaking it down.
I've used those screw-in hatches in canoe bulkheads behind the rear seat and they make a dandy access to the built-in watertight beer cooler under the long rear deck. If I can only remember where I ordered them from...
When people figure out what's important in Life, there's gonna be a big shortage of canoes.

KenC
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:42 pm
Location: Oakville, ON

Re: Attaching wood kayak bulkheads with silicone caulk?

Post by KenC » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:51 pm

I don't know about the transparent part, but Beckson, Viking, and West Marine all make/carry the round threaded deck plates.

Post Reply