Wood hatch cover for dry storage/floatation chamber

Rob Learmont

Curious about Wooden Canoes
I am currently building my first cedar strip boat, a 17' Northwest Cruiser and am trying to think ahead. I am currently sanding the outer hull getting ready for the fiberglass.
I plan on installing bulkheads in the bow and stern to use as dry storage/floatation chambers. I have seen several pictures of the round plastic hatch covers. While this concept is what I am looking for, I really don't want to add plastic anything to my wooden creation.
I was curious as to anyone else that made or purchased watertight wooden hatch covers.
I am a decent woodworker and a creative builder so I'm sure I will eventually figure it out, but don't want to waste time reinventing the wheel if anyone has already come up with a solution.


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Just a few thoughts ! Beings this is a tandem, be sure to consider leg room for a bow paddler. If your chamber is very big, it could hinder the bow paddler
I would try and make the hatch as flush as possible, and the cover attached, so I didn't loose it going down the road !
Maybe check this Kayak building sites.

I'm totally all for flotation chambers !

Thanks Jim

The bow paddler leg room shouldn't be an issue. Right now the only plan for the bow seat will be me sitting in it facing back while soloing.
The only tandom will be when my wife joins me and she doesn't paddle, she sits in the bow seat facing back on the reclining seat back, doing her best Cleoptra impression! I will have to say I enjoy our canoeing arrangement as I enjoy the face to face time and doing all of the paddle work myself, more than the view of her back.
The vast majority of our time is spent casually cruising on small lakes and the occasional lazy river cruise.
A lot of replies but few answers.
I've installed flotation/storage compartments on a few of my canoes. My approach is to use scrap pieces of stripping glued up and cut to shape at the first/last form. After checking the fit I cut a rectangular opening then fiberglass both sides. Using additional strips I glue the up and cut them to fit the opening then fiberglass them.
I glue 1/2 x 1 strips around all side with about 3/8 " protruding. I then place vinyl foam weather-stripping on for a weather tite seal. I drill a hole for a #10 machine screw through the bulkhead and cut a couple of pieces of wood with a slight taper at the ends which also have a hole drilled. These are snugly fastened to the bulkhead and are rotated to secure the cover. Then the assembly is glued in place with thickened epoxy.
Its a good idea to provide a length of rope or what not that keeps the cover from getting misplaced.