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Building a KARA Hummer Layout Duck Boat

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Blog series by DustyMark updated 10-15-2015 02:23 AM 27 parts 152916 reads 44 comments total

Part 1: Building the Lower Frame

05-11-2015 07:00 PM by DustyMark | 6 comments »

The Requirement I moved back to MN in June 2014, after nearly 30 years away, and my brother quickly introduced me to duck hunting. We’re not on any of the major flyways here, so we need to put everything in our favor possible. We read about the advantages of layout boats in providing maximum concealment from wary ducks and talked about it in the duck blind all last season. Our hunting party consists of my brother, my nephew, and me and we decided to build three one-man layout boat...

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Part 2: Assembling the Upper Frame

05-12-2015 04:56 AM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Strategy I let the epoxy cure on the lower frame for about 12 hours before proceeding with the upper frame. I dry assembled the parts with screws before gluing to ensure everything fit. I continue to use epoxy, thickened with colloidal silica to a mayonnaise consistency, to glue each joint in the boat. I never figured out how the designer fastened the plywood to the gunnels. In the boats I’ve built in the past, the gunnels are planed to an angle that gives the deck or hull ply...

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Part 3: Planing the Gunnels

05-12-2015 10:03 PM by DustyMark | 2 comments »

Tools for the Job Planing the gunnels requires a sharp hand plane, a straight edge and a flexible stick. I use a 10” smoothing plane for this task since it is easier to handle than a longer plane and much of the work is on a curve. On larger boats, I’ve used a hand-held power planer to good effect. I started with that and it seemed like overkill for 3/4” gunnels. Rib Transitions The angle that the plywood skin will land on the gunnel changes throughout the length...

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Part 4: Installing Anchor Pole Through-Hull Brackets

05-14-2015 12:22 PM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Requirement An option during the build is to install anchor pole through-hull brackets. Anchor poles are pushed through the hull and into the marsh bottom to hold the layout boat in place in shallow water. I figured that if one was good, two would be even better to hold the bow and stern in place during crosswind set-ups of a decoy spread. Anchor poles are quicker and won’t get snagged in decoy lines like a regular anchor and line could. I installed braces of 8/4 stock, leftove...

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Part 5: Fitting the Plywood Hull Panels

05-18-2015 03:25 AM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Overview The frame is complete and it’s time to apply the 1/4” Marine Douglas Fir plywood hull panels. The plan accounts for nailing these panels in place without glue and sealing them with epoxy later. My plan is to apply 2.3 ounce fiberglass cloth to the inside surface with a coat of epoxy before applying the panels. The potential advantage is a very durable/waterproof inside hull surface. The disadvantage is that I must fit the panels prior to final application and I h...

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Part 6: Applying the Plywood Hull Panels

05-19-2015 08:37 PM by DustyMark | 4 comments »

Fiberglass Experiment I applied a layer of fiberglass cloth to the plywood hull panels before work, betting they would be “green” cured in the afternoon upon my return. Using Raka 127 Resin and Raka 350 hardener at 72 degrees and 48% humidity the fiberglass was set perfectly in about 8 hours. It was bonded, yet flexible enough to not restrict the plywood from curving around the hull ribs. The epoxy is wet into the fiberglass cloth with a foam roller. I never pay...

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Part 7: Sealing the Hull Interior

05-20-2015 01:28 AM by DustyMark | 4 comments »

Objective This boat is going to get wet and stay wet for days at a time. I plan to seal the interior with epoxy to give it at least some protection from the elements. My main concern was with the plywood. That is sealed well with the fiberglass cloth. The keel, gunnels, and ribs will be sealed by caulking the seams where they meet the plywood with thickened epoxy and coating the rest with unthickened epoxy. Caulking I imagine a builder could use silicone caulk to seal the joints,...

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Part 8: Anchor Pole Through-Hull Hole and Collar

05-25-2015 03:50 AM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Overview We mostly hunt shallow water and the anchor pole sleeve will simplify maintaining position in the decoys with an anchor pole. I opted to install one in the bow and the stern. These go through the hull and I was concerned about water leaking through the sleeve into the hull. Instead of making the sleeve flush with the exterior bottom of the hull, I decided to make the sleeve fit flush on the inside bottom of the hull, surround it with a collar, and seal it in a bed of marine cau...

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Part 9: Applying the Plywood Deck Panels

05-25-2015 03:17 PM by DustyMark | 2 comments »

Overview This is the stage where it really starts to look like a boat! With the the interior sealed and the final fitting of the anchor pole hole, collar, and sleeve complete, the deck can be installed. The sequence is similar to installing the hull panels with the added step of lining up the the through-deck hole for the anchor pole sleeve. Fitting the Bow and Stern Deck Panels The bow and stern deck panels are fastened around a curved rib and this causes the seams along the cockp...

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Part 10: Fiberglassing the Hull

05-28-2015 12:30 PM by DustyMark | 4 comments »

Overview Fiberglassing the hull involves prep work, fitting the fiberglass cloth, applying several coats of epoxy, and sanding. Prep Work Whatever condition the hull is when you fiberglass it, is the condition it will stay, since you don’t want to sand through the fiberglass. All the corners of the boat must be rounded to a minimum of 1/4” radius because fiberglass won’t lay well across a corner that it is tighter. Outside corners can be routered or filed. Inside...

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Part 11: Fiberglassing the Deck

06-01-2015 03:09 PM by DustyMark | 3 comments »

Overview Fiberglassing the deck is more complicated than the hull since the cockpit meets the deck at such a sharp angle. I completed the prep work for the deck at the same time I worked on the hull. The remaining steps to fiberglass the deck include fitting the cloth, applying epoxy, sanding, and fixing mistakes. Fitting the Cloth I chose to fiberglass the deck using only four pieces of cloth. I’m not sure I will use this technique on the next two boats. It was a challenge...

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Part 12: Attaching the Runners

06-16-2015 01:50 PM by DustyMark | 3 comments »

Overview The plan calls for solid wood runners with a layer of metal applied so that the boat tracks better and also is protected for the inevitable dragging that will occur. I used white oak and 1/8” thick by 1” wide aluminum. Making the Runner My runners are 59 1/2” long, 1” wide, and 1 1/4” tall. White oak is incredibly tough and rot resistant. There is a 6” long taper cut at each end so they don’t get hung up. The plan calls for 1/4&#...

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Part 13: Installing the Floor

06-16-2015 08:09 PM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Overview Floor installation is pretty simple. Considerations include waterproofing, support, and water drainage. Waterproofing I previously fiberglassed the bottom side of the floor with 2.3 ounce fiberglass cloth and two light coats of epoxy. I used 6 ounce cloth for the side you step on with two coats of epoxy also. The top side of the floor will also be painted with flat green paint. Support The span between each rib is about two feet and 1/4” plywood would break wh...

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Part 14: Fitting Out the Boat

06-17-2015 02:10 PM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Overview The basic boat is complete and only needs to be painted. However, there are a lot of little things to be made to fit the boat out to my purposes. The two functions of the boat are transportation and layout platform. Each function requires careful consideration during the fitting out process. The plan doesn’t give many details on these steps, so a builder must do their own research and design. My goal in this blog entry is to show some of the thought process and trial and erro...

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Part 15: Painting the Boat

06-25-2015 05:38 PM by DustyMark | 2 comments »

Overview Construction is complete and I moved the boat to the garage in preparation for painting. Oil-based paints put off some nasty fumes, so the garage was the safest location. I painted the bottom with some extra paint I had left from some annual kayak repairs/maintenance. I painted the top with primer and flat duck boat paint. Bottom Paint The ducks don’t see the bottom, so I used Interlux Brightsides paint (Sea Green) to provide a smoother coat against the water. I ha...

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Part 16: Building a Set of Oars

06-26-2015 05:12 AM by DustyMark | 3 comments »

Overview Even with the boat painted, there are lots of little projects to complete to make it “operational.” One of those is to build a custom set of oars. I could buy a set for $46 at Gander Mountain, but that wouldn’t do! I purchased very helpful oar plans from Chesapeake Light Craft. The smallest length for which the plans provided measurements was 6’. I determined that 5’ oars were plenty for this low boat and decided to modify their plans to suit my ...

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Part 17: Launch Day!

07-08-2015 12:19 AM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Launch It was enjoyable to launch the boat today! I loaded it with both of my decoy bags full (35 pounds each) and a bag with 50 pounds of weight to simulate Copper. I didn’t feel like dealing with him during my first outing in the boat… Here I am rowing out from the dock. With my typical hunting load, the boat was a little stern heavy like I hoped. This should help clear waves without being too bow high. It rowed well. I wrapped the oars in leather and...

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Part 18: Building a Cart and Modifying a Utility Trailer

08-20-2015 10:18 PM by DustyMark | 3 comments »

Overview It’s been great to put the boat to use and discover how versatile it is in MN. It makes a great two-person fishing boat for small lakes. Here’s Mary with her first catch from the boat…a 20” Northern Pike. Here’s me with our catch from another trip…a 5 pound and a 3 1/4 pound largemouth bass. We plan to modify the boat by installing adjustable pedestal columns, bass boat seats, and flush bases to mount them. This will require con...

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Part 19: Upholstering the Layout Board

08-23-2015 01:41 PM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Overview I’ve had my layout board dry assembled for quite some time, but put it on pause during construction of the second and third layout boats. Those boats are nearing completion (about to fiberglass the decks), so we needed to keep prototyping the fitting out of my boat. The two major steps of upholstering the layout board are fastening the foam and fitting the cover. Fastening the Foam I used five layers of foam while building up the ergonomic shape of the layout b...

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Part 20: Fishing Boat Conversion

08-27-2015 01:09 AM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Overview We wanted to have more comfort while using the layout boat for fishing, so we bought two pedestal bases and adjustable height pedestals to mount Wise fishing seats. This required replacing the 1/4” plywood floor with a 3/4” plywood floor to take the stress of a 9” diameter base. Floor Replacement We bought Springfield Taper-Lock pedestal bases and their 13”-21” adjustable height pedestals. A view of the base under the floor. The a...

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Part 21: Fabricating the Flip Blind Door Frames

08-27-2015 01:55 AM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Overview I’ve enjoyed using the layout boat for fishing, but duck season is only a month away and it’s time to finish the final stages of making this boat “disappear” from wary ducks in the marsh. That involves fabricating flip blind doors, a dog blind, and brushing out the entire boat. Fabricating the flip blind door frames requires head brackets, foot brackets, and tubular framing. Head Brackets Both aluminum crossbars attach to brackets screwed to the...

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Part 22: Triple-Stack Trailer Modification

09-08-2015 02:25 AM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Overview The three layout boats are done and we modified my brother’s trailer to haul all three of them in a stacked configuration. Our set-up requires a frame to hold three boats, a set of ramps, and a cart. Frame The frame is constructed with pressure treated 2×4’s held together with bolts and lag screws. Each bunk has a strip of wood that mates with the outside edge of the runners of the layout boat. This helps keep the boat aligned on the bunks. The frame i...

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Part 23: Sewing the Flip Blind Doors

09-15-2015 03:59 AM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Overview With all the framework complete for the flip blind doors, it was time to sew Cordura nylon to the frames. I made the plunge and bought a heavy duty sewing machine that I’d considered for many years. This is the Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1 sewing machine. I considered this a major tool purchase and it will definitely make it easier to outfit these three layout boats. Here's a link to Sailrite Kits for more information on the machine. Material Selection We chose 1...

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Part 24: Sewing the Bow and Stern Brushing Panels

09-15-2015 01:27 PM by DustyMark | 2 comments »

Overview The entire boat will be covered in Avery Killer Weed blind grass. The flip blind doors accommodate attachment via the brushing straps. I chose a heavy duty mesh material for the bow and stern of the boat. Small zip ties easily push through the mesh to fasten the grass anywhere on the surface. Brushing Panels My main objective is that the entire blind system be easy to install in the dark. These panels are each fastened with three buckles. One buckle at the bow. N...

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Part 25: Fabricating the Dog Blind Frame

09-16-2015 10:12 PM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Overview The only portion of the boat remaining to be covered is the dog blind area in the stern of the cockpit. Copper is pretty small, so I didn’t leave him a whole lot of room to “nest.” The height is just enough for my head to clear when I sit up. Copper can lay down or sit with his head lowered. Allowing him full seated head clearance would defeat the purpose of a layout boat. Construction I built the frame from 3/4” aluminum tubing and bimini fit...

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Part 26: Sewing the Dog Blind

09-18-2015 02:12 AM by DustyMark | 6 comments »

Overview I’ve only sewn for a week now and getting this dog blind right was quite the challenge for a rookie like me. However, I eventually prevailed! My goal was to establish a good profile that would hold even after adding the Avery Killerweed. Modeling The blind has a complex shape, so I did some modeling to establish a pattern. I began with the actual material draped over the frame, but this wasn’t very helpful. Copper wasn’t too excited about getting ...

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Part 27: Brushing the Boat

10-15-2015 02:23 AM by DustyMark | 0 comments »

Overview All of the sewing is done and I included brushing straps on the flip blind doors to insert brushing material. I planned to use zip ties on the mesh panels at the bow and stern and on the dog blind. The original plan was to use Avery Killer Weed, a Rafia grass product, over the whole boat. That didn’t work out as well as planned… First Attempt = Failure I blended Avery Killer Weed’s All-Terrain and Cattail Slough together thinking it would be an effective...

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