Installing Cheek Plates in the Kayak Cockpit

While many people mount these hip-braces or as I call them "cheek plates" so they extend from the deck and are attached to the hull at the bottom as well. I prefer to just have them attached to the deck. In this way I don't get a hard spot in the hull that might cause cracks as the boat flexes. I prefer to just cantilever them straight down and glass them in with a good fillet on each side.

On the visible side I chose to use a solid wood fillet. I used the same maple fillet I milled for the coaming at the thighbraces. While a fillet is needed to help distribute the load on the corner and make the joint stronger, the use of the wood for the fillet is purely cosmetic, I could just use epoxy thickened with wood flour like I am using on the hidden side.

I start by tacking the pre-made cheek plates in place with cyanoacrylate (CA) glue. I put a bead of CA glue along the whole bottom edge of the plate and then position it in place before spritzing with the accelerant spray. This almost instantly clamps the plate in place. I then installed the wood fillet by spraying the fillet piece first, then running a bead of CA glue down in the corner. I then carefully press the fillet piece in place. Because the fillet already has some accelerant on it, it tends to stick down pretty quickly.

With the wood fillet in place and sanded a bit, I heat up the area to help epoxy flow into any remaining cracks, depending on capilary action to suck in the resin. I put three layers of glass over the outside. The inside gets a beefy fillet of epoxy thickened to peanut butter consistencey with wood flour. This fillet is covered with one layer of Carbon Fiber and a layer of fiberglass.