Well, with the forecast calling for rain, Ken and I hit the project early this morning. For most of my life I have spent a lot of time doing shipwright work so a lot of the materials and products used for this project are also boat building products. I'll let the pictures tell the story. Ken has put several coats of marine saturating epoxy inside and out on the hatch sections and painted the outside with the same color paint as his Suburban.This photo shows the "dry fitting" of the hatch frame. Once it is screwed into place, we masked out the hatch and roof to prep for the 3M 5200 Marine adhesive/caulk. For those of you that aren't familiar with this product, it is commonly used by boat builders to bond a boat's hull to the deck and to install under-the-waterline through-hull fittings. This is some tough stuff and when it cures, it remains flexible and bites harder than a grizzly. The hatch frame is there for good. I pity the fool that ever tries to remove it. This photo shows the hatch frame installed. Once is was screwed into place and the 5200 squeezes out, we tool off the excess and pull the masking tape. A perfect caulk line remains with minimal mess. Once cured, Ken can sand the frame for his last coat, mask the area and paint over the 5200 in the seams to blend everything in. The fit was perfect and the hatch frame makes the entire roof section very solid. In this photo, Ken is re-drilling the epoxy filled hatch hinge holes in preparation for mounting the hinge screws. The saturating epoxy totally seals the wood and makes the wood hard as a rock. Once the holes are re-drilled, each hole gets a dab of boat caulk and the hinge screws are run in to place. Here you see the hatch sections coming together. In the photo above we are locating the hatch dogs (flex latches that hold the hatch covers into place). You can also see that we have applied the weather stripping to the outer perimeters of the inside of the hatch frames. We have also affixed the weather stripping to both hatch sections under the hinge area to seal that up when the hatch is in position.In this phto above, we are locating and fastening the no-snag hatch dog receivers. These are really nice dogs and they were perfect for this project.It's always nice when a plan comes together flawlessly and this one did. The hatch covers fit perfectly and we were high-fiving each other at this point. (Hey....we're both married and we were powering out on this project so as not to get dog poop from the wives about "spending too much time on the hunting stuff".) Even in the full speed mode, we couldn't have been happier with the results. Thank you God.
Building a Hatch for Your Rig - Part II
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