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Viewing Hatch bottom on the build?


New Member
Mar 8, 2011
I'm building a CLC kayak (WoodDuck) and looking to put a viewing hatch on the bottom (Plexi or something similar) for when the kids are out in it.

Does anyone have any builds they did this on to share some tips on? Specifically any pictures to get any suggestions on the best way to mount or where to place it?
Just duplicate the top hatch. Use 3/16 or thicker Plexi and seal it in with a flexible caulk. Make sure to glass the back up ring in real good. The static pressure will be small, but if you hit a wake it could be more than you can calculate.
Read Tootsall's recent adventure under where did you paddle. He notes the clear plastic on the bottom of a kayak doesn't last long for visibility.
Well, I didn't want to say that directly in response to normacc's o.p. but: I suppose if one could find a really hard, scratch-resistant plastic and if one took REALLY good care not to slide it over sand and rocks or to let things get set on or in it (paddles, shoes, cabin "things"), it might be OK. Perhaps the "company boats" we had were abused but I will note that they were on a coral island and that coral sand (sand being a size designation rather than a material designation), having a hardness quite a bit softer than rock (indeed, even softer than the enamel on your teeth...as demonstrated to us by a geology professor), was still able to make a mess of them. You could see light and dark through the bottoms but that was about all. Personally I'd rather keep a lexan-bottomed bucket in the boat and just use that when I wanted to see over the side.
Kathy - thanks I saw that earlier but it doesn't really answer how I practically need to seal it in. I don't think I can epoxy lexan/polycarbonate it into the wood so I think I need to build a metal frame which is epoxied in, and then screw/calk it into the frame to seal it in.

As for abrasion resistance, I was thinking of using MR10 lexan or similar, if I can get a scrap somewhere (it seems pretty pricey to get a full sheet). The only thing is not sure I can bend it to fit the keel bend.

No coral where it will be used, but lots of barnacles, so pretty much the same thing.
You can bend Plexi or Lexan with heat, but it is ticky.
Sealing choice:
Use silicone if you think you will not need to replace the lens.
Use a gasket, screws, and sealed nuts if you plan on replacing the lens.
To avoid the lens abrasion and hull shape issues build an inverted box into the hull; recess the lens into the hull. It might cause the boat to pull to one side, if you don't build a view port on each side. These recessed view ports might slow the boat a bit.
The lens will probably see more abrasion from the inside of the boat from sand & dirt. Build simple inside covers for the lens. Minor abrasion on the outside might not affect the view much.
I think this is a fun project. To bad, I have no place to store another boat.

Recessing the glass will probably help with abrasion, but you might consider some type of setup where you have an easily replaceable lens cover - or else a sacrificial outer lens that's easily replaceable. Kind of like the screen protector idea for touch screen devices. Use it for a year or so then put on a new protector. I haven't thought this through of course, just brainstorming. Sound like a fun idea; let us know what you come up with.
you probably already checked the CLC builders forum? Lot of adventuresome builders on there.

Roy222 said:
Sealing choice:
Use silicone if you think you will not need to replace the lens.

From my experiance with powerboats, NEVER use silicon as a sealant. If you use silicon, you need to make sure all of the cured silicon is removed to make a good new seal when you replace the item. New silicon will not adhere to cured silicon.

There are marine sealants available like 3M's 4200 if you need to remove the part in the future of 5200 if you want it permanent. If you're looking for a water clear sealant take a look at Lexcel, not sure of the manufacturer.