What's smart way: bulkhead templates

I’m intending to add bulkheads to my Kanoe Latvija kayak. Can anyone recommend a smart way to create a template for the bulkhead wall? Especially the bow, way in the cockpit in front of the foot well. Gonna be tight in there.

Unless there’s a better way, I guess I’ll stick my head in there and be cutting, bending, and cursing cardboard.

Appreciate a tip if there’s a better way.


Here’s one way. I think…
Hi Chip,

Perhaps you can get some semi-stiff wire, and shape it around the outside of the hull and deck where you want the bulkhead, then take a bit off for the thickness of the hull. This, I’m thinking, can give you at least the rough shape you want, then you just have to do a bit of crawling in, shaving, and cursing. Can you also reach the area inside through the forward hatch opening? (if there is one).


Better than wire,
strip lead.

I made up a new bulkhead for my boat using a cardboard template. Just make the cardboard as close as possible to the shape and size you want and keep inserting it in,trim a little more until you have it right. In some areas where I removed too much cardboard I built it back up with masking tape or by masking in a small piece of cardboard to refill the gap. Sounds tedious but as long as you’re patient it really doesn’t take long to get it right.


solder wire
then cardboard. then fine tune fit…then foam. bandsaws work great.


Deck of cards
Or business cards.

Put two together, side by side, and staple together. Add the next, and staple. Keep going until you have the perfect template.

this technique works great.

Carbon and/or Glass

– Last Updated: Aug-21-09 11:33 AM EST –

This is the way I created one for my Nelo ICF-k1:

1) wax (mold wax) around the outside area where the bulkhead is going to be (around the deck and hull)

2) 2-inch carbon tape around that area with epoxy (hate working with glass -too ichy for me :)

3) let it dry for 24hrs and you have a perfect mold from the outside.

4) Cut minicel accordingly. The outside measurement is pretty good because you want to minicel bulkhead to be a bit bigger for a tight fit.

5) Glue using 3M 5200

It is easier than it sounds!

I call this the “Brazil” method

– Last Updated: Aug-21-09 12:08 PM EST –

1.Cut boat in half

2.Trace shape of opening onto cardboard

3.Glass boat back together

You will get it right the first time.


The winter method:

1.Stand boat on bow

2.Fill with Jello to bulkhead location

3.Sit boat on end outside for 2 hrs.

4.Flip boat over and presto!


Scribe method
Tape in a cardboard template. This doesn’t need to be perfect, just a close fit. Gaps up to an inch or so are just fine.

Cut a few inches off a broom handle. Tape a marker to this.

Hold the broom handle/marker against the inside of the hull so that the marker is directly opposite where the broom handle touches the hull. Run it all the way around. This will trace the outline of the hull minus the diameter of the broom handle and the radius of the pen.

Take out the temporary template and cut around the line. Tape this to your foam.

Take your pen and dowel and now holding the dowel against the template draw all the way around.

Perfect fit.

Contour Tool

– Last Updated: Aug-21-09 3:20 PM EST –

If you have a friend who does tile work or woodworking borrow his contour transfer tool. A 10 or 12 incher should be good for your purpose.



Cheap, Easy, Contour Template

– Last Updated: Aug-21-09 4:22 PM EST –

Courtesy of Brian, posted to the Kayak Building Bulletin Board....
Go here...

Hit Search. Then select Last 16 Weeks

Search "gauge"

See Tools - Quick Cheap Contour Gauge

There ya go -

Wow! Great bag of tricks!
I’m going to use a combination of several of these ideas. I’ll scribe the outside first, cut a draft template, try it out and adjust as needed.

Quite a cool contour gauge idea. Here is the link to the picture in case you don’t want to go to that other site (with its robust search feature).


So, p-netters, thanks for the bucketful of ideas and the belly laugh (krouseman)!

I was dreading this but now I’m excited and will get started on this soon.