How I make a Neoprene Sprayskirt, con't

I.                   Gluing.

 

a.      Glue the grippy strip to the deck.  Apply glue to the sides, but not to the ends of the grippy strip.  Stretch the grippy strip slightly as you attach it to the deck.  I’ve never actually measured how much I stretch it, but I think the sides and back of the cockpit, I might stretch it to add about 1/8 of an inch every inch, and around the front of the cockpit, stretch it to add perhaps 1/4 of an inch per inch (I should actually measure this sometime).  This stretch is accomplished by stretching the strip before you contact it to the deck.  As you get about 8-10 inches from where you started, look ahead to carefully determine how much length is needed to get back where you started and trim off any excess length from the grippy strip.  Apply glue to the ends and attach the ends to each other.

 

b.      Fold over the grippy strip to form the bungee casing.  When I fold this over, I apply the glue so that it has a glueless section in the center.  This will create a glue free tube in the center of the bungee casing into which the bungee will be pulled.   The width of the glue free stripe depends on the diameter of the bungee that will be used.  This width should be just slightly larger than the bungee circumference.  I’ve used the following glue/no-glue width for these bungee sizes:

 

            for 1/4" bungee -- 1 1/4" glue / 1" no glue / 1 1/4" glue;

 

            for 5/16" bungee -- 1 1/8" glue / 1 1/4 " no glue / 1 1/8" glue;

 

            for 3/8" bungee -- 1" glue / 1 1/2" no-glue /1" glue.

 

      As shown in the diagram, the glued section overlaps the grippy strip to deck seam by ½”.  The nylon face of the fabric really soaks up the glue.  I recommend putting on 3 coats of glue for this step (or be especially generous in your first application).  It is worth taking care to get a clean distinct edge to the glue, especially on the edge that is on the underside of the sprayskirt deck as this edge serves as the guide for locating the outer edge of the grippy strip when gluing the foldover.

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c.      Cut out hole in deck for attaching tunnel.  This should obviously be placed according to the position you sit in your cockpit.

 

d.      Glue the tunnel to be a tube.  This edge to edge seam is remarkable strong, but just to provide a little additional reinforcement I hand-sew a couple stitches at the top of the tunnel seam.  

 

e.      Glue the tunnel to the deck with a 1/2 inch overlap.  The outside of the tunnel is glued to the underside of the deck.  Place the deck on the table bottom side up. Apply 1/2 inch wide strip of glue to the bottom side of the deck around the tunnel hole, and to a 1/2 inch wide strip around the bottom of the tunnel on the outside of the tunnel.  Turn the tunnel inside out and attach to deck.  I prefer to glue it so the tunnel seam is at the back of the deck.

 

f.        Glue down the edges of the neoprene wherever you did an overlap seam.  This is a neat way to dress up the edges of the overlapped seams and it also improves the durability of the seam.

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g.      Cut hole in front/center of the bungee casing and pull the bungee into the bungee casing.

 

h.      Test on kayak to make sure you have the right tension in your bungee.  Clamp bungee with two stainless steel hog clips to desired tension, leaving enough material on either end to pull back together to make a grab loop with a third hog clip.  The tension should be set so that the sprayskirt can be easily be installed on the cockpit combing, hold firmly in use, and most importantly easily release when pulling forward on the grab loop.  I have temporarily tied off the bungee with a plastic zip-tie and used the sprayskirt a few times to test the bungee tension before installing the hog clips.  I also have had good results in covering the hog clips on the bungee loop with shrink wrap tubing (available from the electrical supplies aisle of your local hardware store).

 

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                                  Material Suppliers

 

Neoprene – Seattle Fabrics, Foamorder.com, Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics - owfinc.com/ , John R. Sweet – sweetcomposites.com, Aleeda Wetsuits -- www.aleeda.com

 

Glue – Local Dive Shops, John R. Sweet

 

SS. Clips -- John R. Sweet, Marine Supply Shops

 

Bungee – Local Hardware Store, John R. Sweet, Neocorp

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