Experimental Kydex Deck Plate Template



I’m jumping the gun on a friend’s boat outfitting out of curiosity. I have no Kydex, and no current need for replacement synthetic deck plates, but I know it’s been done before, and know he’s going to try.

Today’s shop play project is to make an experimental template for cutting and thermoforming a Kydex sheet to make deck plates. I’m curious about how much extra material is needed to form the (non-right-angle) curved sides; I know that adding a single twist in a webbing loop tie down needs an extra half-inch of webbing to create the same length as a flat loop.

And, mostly, how to form the tip at the end of the stems without puckering or wrinkling or too fugly overlapping the Kydex.

First, a more foldable paper template, with lines scribed along the bottom of the outwales, for rough size and shape.

P2240003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

A little test fit play with that initial paper template revealed what I had anticipated; the front fold-over at the tip needs a vee of material removed. And revealed what I had not anticipated; I somehow thought that notch would be a narrow v, and kept cutting the vee wider and wider in repeated test fits, until it folded down with minimal overlap.

P2240005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Cut out and transferred to cardboard. I added an extra ½ inch below the scribed outwale lines and a bit more at the stem tip, just to be curved-Kydex safe. With the actual Kydex material a little too deep could be sanded down at the bottom of the lip.

Cardboard soaked ‘til pliable.

P2250007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Once that cardboard was saturated pliable soggy I formed it around the existing deck plate and taped it in place

P2250009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I’m not sure how closely soggy cardboard replicates thermoformed Kydex, but the extra half inch on the sides was needed to accommodate the curve, and the wide vee slice at the tip seemed necessary as well, though imperfect on the first template try.

The ½” extra on the sides was just about right, the ¾” extra on the tip not quite enough and the experimental / \ slice just a tad wide at the bottom, but close enough that it could be filled in with some thickened, black-pigmented G/flex.

Kydex can be thermo-formed using nothing more than a heat gun, and 12x12 inch sheets of .080 or .090 are inexpensive enough to allow effing up and learning on the first attempt.

OK, I may want to make some myself.

I like big decks and I can not lie
You other paddlers can't deny
that when canoe drifts by

with an itty bitty cap
no room for a painter trap
you get grabby, wanna pull your line
‘cause you notice that your decks be fine

Seriously, on a downriver or WW oriented canoe I prefer a big arsed deck plate.

Has anyone here made Kydex deck plates? Any hints or suggestions?