Minicell foam for rear bulkhead, or a panel of strips, or a piece of plywood?
Minicell is easy & flexes so avoids creating a rigid spot in the hull. Minicell is expensive and the stuff I have on hand could perhaps be put to better use elsewhere. A panel of strips would look good to match the rest of the kayak, but needs to be glued up from leftover strips & glassed both sides then cut to just the right size & shape to install. Plywood (1/8" birch is what I have on hand) would look OK, matching the coaming and the front portion of the boat, but would have the same issues of getting a good fit (maybe not a big deal) and should probably be glassed on at least one side. Either of the wood options would provide extra support for when sitting on the deck. The front bulkhead will be plywood and will epoxied in place because I intend to use the front bulkhead as the support for a minicell foam footbrace (adjustable with spacers). Right now, I think I'm leaning towards the plywood option. A very low priority bonus of the birch ply is that it would give a nice light background upon which I could add a signature (built by me, 2005-2007, etc.). I also have to decide whether to glass both bulkheads in, or use silicone to install them as Vaclav describes.
Cheek plates (hip braces, butt plates) or not?
Cheek plates are pieces of wood installed vertically beside the seat in the cockpit. They serve to take up the slack which is helpful for getting a good fit in the boat and helps with rolling. They also serve as an attachment point for the backband. In his book, Nick recommends them. However, it's pretty tight in there already and a little minicell foam could probably serve the bracing function well. The backband could in turn be supported by a couple of padeyes located under the deck beside the coaming. Last night I decided that I was going to omit the cheek plates but now I'm thinking of putting them in, mainly for the purpose of backband attachment. Like the bulkheads, these can be made of a panel of glass-reinforced strips or a piece of glass-reinforced birch plywood. Oh what to do, what to do.
Paddle park or not?
I had originally planned on installing a paddle park beside the cockpit but am now considering leaving it off in the name of simplicity. The paddle park is a hook and bungee that provides a place to put the paddle without having it float away (see Pedro's version here). I'm thinking now a loop of bungee running between a couple of the padeyes on the bow would serve a similar function. I have already carved a hook out of mahogany so to install the paddle park I need to epoxy that hook onto the hull and also drill a couple of holes for the bungees (which actually involves drilling an over-sized hole, filling with thickened epoxy, then re-drilling a hole through the cured epoxy for the bungee to pass through with a tight fit).
If you have any insight or comments, please let me know! (Use the post a comment link below.)
I am hoping to do some epoxy work this weekend (I hope the weather warms some more). I need to epoxy the mobies into place under the hatch covers and epoxy a mahogany padeye onto each hatch lid. Depending on the decisions I make regarding the above, I need to glass one or two pieces of birch for the bulkheads, and a couple of pieces for the cheek plates, then epoxy each into place. If I use the paddle park (and after reading some of the comments regarding Glen's & Pedro's paddle parks linked above, I think maybe I should), then I should drill the holes for the bungee cords and fill with thickened epoxy and epoxy the hook in place.