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11. Wiring deck plates

Click on any image to see the full size version
The deck plates are wired one by one from the sheerline (the boundary between the hull and deck) towards the top of the deck. Both the right and left mirror image plates are wired to the lower plates before adding more pieces.
Unlike the hull plates which are wired to the hull cradles and internal stations, the deck plates only rest or "float" on top of the stations. The deck plates are only wired to each other and when the last "top" plates are joined across the deck centerline the deck will assume the correct shape.
This setup has the advantage of not having additional drill holes and the seams between the plates can be nicely adjusted. Even if some plates are not cut perfectly, any error is distributed (and absorbed) by the other seams. Let's say, for example, that plates #2 are cut slightly undersized in width. If the plates were to be rigidly attached to the stations, it would leave a noticeable gap between one or both adjoining plates. Floating plates can absorb this error since the gap will be divided among all the seams. To be more specific, I am talking about a 1-3mm gap not a 1/2" gash! I doubt that anyone would make such mistake in the first place.

The pictures below show the sequence of plate mounting.
Plates # 2 done.
Wiring in aft deck plates # 3.
Foredeck plates # 3.
Different view.
Here is a detail of the top deck plate tips. There is no easy way to wire or hold these fragile ends in position. If the tip becomes bent and wedged under the plates as you tighten the wires, the only practical way to retrieve it is by prying it out with a knife blade. Needless to say, this may break the plate tip. In order to prevent the tips from slipping inside the kayak in the first place, strap a fiberglass reinforced tape loosely over the deck at the ends right before placing the plates. The tips will go only as deep as you let them by adjusting the tension of the tape.
The sharper and narrower the tips the more helpful this method becomes. I have left some of the "pointier" tips intentionally wider to prevent premature breakage during handling. A minor sanding of the "internal edges" just prior to installation will give the tips a slight taper so that the tips will seat into position nicely. You can also shave off the outer plates instead of messing with the tips. In the picture on the left, the shaving would be done right where the tape goes over the lighter plate. Sandpaper on a narrow stick, a file or a dremel tool, all work well.
After the epoxy stitching, slice through the tape deep in the plate seam and remove it. When you work on the inside deck, remove the rest of the tape then. If a small piece becomes permanently stuck - no one will know ;)
Wiring itself will not always align the plate edges along the entire seam perfectly. As you tighten the wires, the plate edges stay in position by friction between the edges. Align the plates by inserting a sharp blade and adjusting the relative height of the edges. If there is a small gap between the edges, the plates will generally self align. One way or another it is important to maintain some small open gap or "V" gap between the plates to inject the epoxy putty.
This is an illustration of misalignment. You can clearly see the left plate being lower than the other. Bring them to the same height.
The completed deck with first round of epoxy stitching finished. Since there is no further manipulation of the deck after you wire it (which might knock things out of alignment), you can skip the hot glue "pre-stitching" and do the epoxy stitches directly.
View from behind. The deck wiring takes about two short work sessions or one full day.

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Last page update: 11 January 2020