BWCA Kydex Deck for NS Magic Boundary Waters Group Forum: Do It Yourself Gear
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08/16/2020 08:15AM  
I have spent more time than I’d care to admit modding my Magic. Fun but a fair bit of work.

While all the previous work has been performance oriented, the last step was a cosmetic mod.

I had thermoformed plastic end decks that fit poorly, were mounted lopsided, and generally looked too large and awkward. The Northstar decks are one-size fits-all…but the narrow, pointy magic does not fit these nearly as well as a Northwind 17.

So, I asked for ideas here at PortageKeeper mentioned Kydex. Sheet Kydex when heated is readily molded...

First, I drilled out the 4 rivets to remove the stock deck. Then I removed the very large Wolf Spider living in the floatation tank (only half full of foam, so I added more).

I struggled with ways to deal with the misaligned gunwales (one was longer than the other) & the transition/taper to the hull; ended up building out temporary support using tape and layers of cardboard (yes, that’s a cheerios box).

The Kydex is the thicker (.080 “) variety. It rough-cuts easily with sheet metal shears.

Began by testing on scrap pieces heated in a small toaster oven I got from goodwill for $7. It proved pretty easy to work with.

On to the actual deck…as before, I heated it and then when it was hot and ‘floppy’, I draped it over the cheerios-supported nose and then formed it by hand, holding it place with gloved hands until it firmed up. This took about one or two minutes.

I then drew out the final edges and trimmed it up with a bench grinder.

Clamped it on (firmly, not super-tightly) and drilled holes through the Kydex and the gunwales, and attached it permanently with 1/8th inch rivets.

I like the look a lot - with the exception of the folds which I will live with for a while but may grind down, bonding gaps with epoxy or vinylester (will test vinylester first; epoxy does bind Kydex but I’d rather not use epoxy on/near a vinylester hull if I can avoid it).

It is apparent that Kydex is tough as hell…this will certainly serve the intended purpose.

Guess I need to replace the stern next…but that’s another day.

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08/17/2020 04:35AM  
Looks nice
08/17/2020 10:06PM  
Great idea with the kydex. I have a kydex holster and it is super tough.

I've never worked with the stuff. Would it be possible to pull it tight at the tip of the bow and stretch it back from there? It would be deformed on the back end then and you could trim it off? Like I said never worked with the stuff, just tossing out a thought.

Definitely looks way nicer than the sloppy factory decks!
08/18/2020 06:44AM  
Beavers: "Would it be possible to pull it tight at the tip of the bow and stretch it back from there? It would be deformed on the back end then and you could trim it off? "

I had the same thought, and just do not know...would require a lot of deformation/stretching. I am certain it would have needed to be hotter than I had it as well...

I did not want to try it because if I messed it up...I had no spare Kydex for a second attempt. But I may play with it some more - may also make a difference using .060 vs .080 Kydex.
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08/18/2020 01:14PM  
Was there a reason you didn't try carbon fiber? That seems to be mold-able in any shape. If you made a mold with foam, you can buy vacuum sealing skate-board decking kits- little handpump, bag, and supplies. I haven't pulled the trigger on it to use for 'glassing paddle faces, as I just lay it on

Vacuum Kit

After seeing how you used the Kydex- it has really opened my eyes to projects I could use with it.
08/19/2020 07:23AM  
I did not consider CF - interesting. Also did not know that those inexpensive DIY vacuum kits were available. Also interesting.

CF likely would look much more finished if done right. But for this application I think it will be hard to beat the abrasion and impact resistance of Kydex.
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