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15. Carbon fiber coaming construction

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There are many ways to build a coaming, such as lamination of thin strips, steaming and bending wood around the rim or making the whole thing out of one piece of plywood.

From the outset I decided on a composite coaming because it looks great, is virtually unbreakable, and has very low profile. Among other things it is also far less labor intensive to build.
The best material for composite coaming is carbon (graphite) cloth in combination with fiberglass. Even though the price of graphite is a bit steep, little is needed (about $25 worth) and the results are quite spectacular. The piece in the photo is bias cut (45°) to conform to the sharp compound curvatures of the coaming.

Note: You cannot buy bias cloth (unless it is of the uni-directional variety). You make 'bias' by cutting a normal plain (square) weave cloth (or twill) at 45 degrees (along the diagonal) to the direction of the fibers. Apply it so the fibers are also oriented 45 degrees to the rest of the lay-up.
Fiberglass alone can be used successfully as well.

Layers of glass and carbon are laid over the mold.

The Manual included in the Plans package covers the coaming construction and the the One Ocean Kayaks Builders' Pages show more high quality photos of step by step construction.
Next day the coaming 'blank' is pulled off the mold.
The jagged edges are trimmed for safety's sake and also for the coaming to slip over the cockpit rim with ease.

The final trimming is done before inside fiberglassing.
The next step is to trim off the edges of the flange. Since this is the final cut, I use a jig to scribe a trim line evenly around the whole perimeter. In this instance 11/8".

A jig saw with a fine toothed blade (for metal) is the ideal trimming tool.


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Last page update: 9 May 2024