Paddle Blade


I began to fair the hull interior today and made some good progress, but as always, I quickly tired of that strenuous work. So I decided to begin working on my paddle. In his book, Nick Schade describes a a couple of methods for building a paddle. I am using…

‘Glassing the cockpit coaming


So today I 'glassed the cockpit coaming. The deck interior was tack-free this morning, so I trimmed the excess fiber-glass around the perimeter and then sanded it smooth. I took extra care around the cockpit, making sure to have a smooth radius on the transition from deck to coaming. Then…

Fiber-glassing the deck interior


It's been a while since I've updated the blog. I was on vacation with my family for most of that time, which was wonderful. Since the last posting, I finished sanding the coaming lip and then sanded the interior of the kayak deck which took two days (my back could…

The coaming lip – part 2


Today, I applied the last layer of maple to the lip. Once that was cured, I trimmed the excess off the top and bottom of the vertical strips. I then planed the top surface smooth and used some coarse sand paper to round over the sharp corners. It still needs…

The coaming lip


Once the coaming fiber-glass was cured, I started working on the coaming lip. I sanded the outside of the coaming to smooth out the fiber-glass and to make sure I would get a good bond with the laminations I was about to apply. A few weeks ago, a neighbor of…

‘Glassing the coaming


Once the glue dried on the coaming, it was time to remove any hot-glue and then sand the outer surface to prepare for the fiber-glass. My helper and I used sanding blocks to fair out the outside and also rough up about two inches of the adjacent fiber-glass on the…

Making the coaming


With the deck 'glassed and one additional layer of epoxy on to fill the weave, I trimmed the excess 'glass around the perimeter and the cockpit opening and sanded it smooth. My next task was the cockpit coaming, the short wall that surrounds the cockpit opening and to which the…

Fiber-glassing the deck


Today, I sealed the deck with epoxy and put a fill-coat on the two reinforcement layers on the hull. Once the deck was tack-free, I fiber-glassed it in the same manner as the hull. I used Gawker on my MacBook Pro again to record a time-lapse of it. This is…

Reinforcing the hull


Today, I reinforced the hull with two more layers of fiber-glass in the center. The first one basically fills the section between the two strips of maple and the second one fill the section between the two strips of dark wenge. I did them one at a time in the…

‘Glassing the hull


Well, after about 6 or 7 hours, the epoxy I used to seal the wood had become tack-free (at least mostly.) So, I began to unroll the fiber-glass onto it. I am using 50" wide cloth giving me plenty of room, so the most efficient way is to have the…

Sealing the hull


I was finally able to get started on the fiber-glassing phase today. Before putting on any fiber-glass, however, it is recommended to seal the wood with epoxy. This is supposed to make it easier to ensure the correct amount of epoxy is in the fiber-glass once it is installed. Otherwise…

Ready to ‘glass


Durham's Water Putty. I can't say that I am a big fan. Even mixed with water color paint to match the color of the wood, it dried way lighter. I guess I should have experimented before applying, but based on the rave reviews I found scattered about the interwebs, I…

Verticality


More about vertical versus horizontal grain. The two photos below show the difference. In wood like this, the darker parts are harder than the lighter parts. With horizontal grain, the dark and light parts are very tightly packed together. If you can imagine, when you are sanding it, there is…

Sanding and wetting down


Well, the Durham's Water Putty mixed with saw dust was a bust - the color was way too light. I suppose if you used a darker colored saw dust, you could match the color of the wood, but it seems like too much work. I also noticed that the putty…

Who is the fairest of the hull?


Today, I finished fairing the hull, finally. It was another five hours of work. I've decided to market a fitness routine called the "5 hour kayak workout you can do in your basement." Based on the amount of sweat I generated, I think it's a pretty good one, at least…

Fairing the hull


Today I faired most of the remainder of the hull using the fairing board. It is very satisfying seeing the hull transform from a rough shape with glue runs and mismatched edges into a smooth, fair surface. The wood takes on an even matte finish and the graceful curves of…

The ends have no end.


Today, I finished fairing the deck. Additionally, I decided to fix a loose mitered joint in the rear end of the kayak where some of the wenge pin-striping did not fit tightly. I wasn't happy with the way that joint looked and I also thought that the scallop curves ended…

The end of the ends?


Today I finished the ends. I ripped some wenge to about 1/16th of an inch thick and laminated three strips on the each of the ends, using a heat gun to bend them around the tight radii (see video.) I also did some more fairing of the deck using the…

Ends in sight…


Yesterday I spent most of the day scraping and sanding using the fairing board. I also filled in the missing strip at either end of the kayak where the ends mount. Today, in addition to more scraping and sanding, I mounted the ends and covered them with cedar strips. The…

Break-Out!


Busy day today. First, I broke the deck and hull free of the stations. I started by cutting through the hot-glue that I had put periodically between the deck shear strip and the hull shear strip. Next, I pried that joint open enough to fit a screw driver in between…

Getting closer…


Installed another nine strips (with pin-striping) today. I think there are only seven strips remaining, which means that I should be able to finish up (this stage anyway) tomorrow. Insha'allah. For those of you who know some Arabic, you'll recognize this as meaning "God willing." It is commonly used in…

Filling in the right side…


In the past two days, I have been catching up on the right side of the deck. The first step was to install the two strips that define either side of the "inflection" curve. This is an involved process (which I discovered while installing the left side versions) and it…

Left side of deck finished!!!


I had a busy day today and worked until the left side of the deck was done. Getting the stripes in front of and behind the cockpit opening to match was tricky, but it worked out fine in the end due mostly to luck. The last piece needed to be…

Filling in…


Another two (partial) days of work to document. I filled in the wishbones with the same book-matched cedar that I used in the center of the hull. I left the ends overhanging into what will be the cockpit opening. I also began filling in on the outside of the wishbones…

Mt. Washington HDR


This is another shot of the Pittsburgh cityscape from my photo shoot at Mt. Washington a few days ago. It is actually a combination of two exposures (one for highlights and one for shadows) for reducing contrast, a technique known as High Dynamic Range or HDR. The problem is that…

Mt. Washington


$("div.scroll").scrollLeft(1400); After working on my kayak all day, I decided to head to Mt. Washington for a nice view over downtown Pittsburgh. I took my camera and tripod and waited for sunset. I took a lot of shots and several aligned images for panoramas. This particular one is eight shots…

Inflection


OK, so it's been another two days without a post. Well, I have the same excuse as before, I am trying to have a life outside of kayak building; and guess what, I am succeeding at least a little. This time it was Ethiopian food (along with wonderful company) which…

Pin-striping


I didn't post a blog yesterday. What can I say, I have a life (barely) outside of kayak building. Anyway I was taking advantage of the cosmopolitan aspects of Pittsburgh and went on a date last night and couldn't be bothered updating the site afterward. So, I now have two…

Deck work


I finally got into the swing of things on the deck. Yesterday was another rather uneventful and frustrating day, but today I have turned the corner. I now have the deck shear strip installed on both sides, along with the first strips of palownia which is what most of the…

Scallop curves defined


Today was a rather unproductive day. I worked on the kayak all day, but I didn't seem to accomplish much. Actually, I did a lot of things that needed doing, but I was left with little to show for all my work. First, I decided to break all the stations…

Hull finished!!!


I fitted the last piece for the hull and, after admiring my work for longer than I'd care to admit, modified the stands to become cradles to support the hull while I am working on the deck. I used some foam along with some 2x4 scraps to rig the cradle…

Fitting the final piece


The technique for fitting the last piece is similar to the standard tapering method, except that you can't fit the full size strip into the space available anywhere. Essentially you've reached a point where the taper from one end is overlapping the taper from the other end. I started off…

Some hot-gluing techniques


Hot-glue can be used not only for anchoring the strips to the stations, but also to help hold regular glue joints tight temporarily while the glue dries. I often use scraps of strips to hold a joint together. The first two photos show some examples of this, one using a…

Tapering the ends


The strips I have been installing today required both ends to be tapered. I decided to include a video on one way to quickly make an accurate taper. I can't take credit for this method as I have seen it (or variations) in more than one place, but I can…

Time-Lapse video


I decided to do a time-lapse video on my Mac today using a free program called Gawker. This video represents over 4 hours of work. Despite being sped up greatly, I think it shows how quickly the strips can be installed once you have your technique mastered. In four hours…

Adding a feature line


With the keel strips in place, I wanted to add a feature line of dark wenge wood. I split some strips down to about 3/8" wide and installed them next to my strips that I had run parallel to the shear strips (not against the keel strips.) I had to…

Installing the keel strips


Once the sides of the hull start closing up at the bow and stern, it becomes easier to install a pair of strips along the keel line and then fill in the remaining area. The first keel strip was beveled so that its edge that is along the keel line…

Subsequent strips


Each subsequent strip is installed in the same manner as the second strip, except that most will require some planing to make a tight joint. The angle of the edge needs to change along the length of the strip. This is called a rolling bevel. It is quite easy and…

Installing the second strip


The second strip is glued to the first strip and hot glued to the stations.  The hot glue holds it in place while the normal glue dries.  You only need a small drop to hold sufficiently. Make sure to use glue sticks made for wood. I found mine online at…

Installing the shear strip


The shear strip is the first strip to be installed. It is located on the hull side of the shear line (the line that separates the hull from the deck, also the widest part of kayak.) It is hot glued to the stations and glued to the internal stem pieces…

Revised 3d kayak animation


[iframe http://www.nomad-unlimited.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/kayak1.html 605 381] Drag the image to animate it. It may take a few moments to load the images. Background image courtesy of wallpaperstock.net I wasn't completely happy with my transition from the high deck to the normal deck, so I decided to revise that.  I ended up making…

“Book-matching” strips


One of the cedar boards I got had a band of darker grain running through it which makes for some striking patterns when "book-matching." Since I first cut the 2x4 into four 1.5x0.75" pieces and then each piece into six 3/4x3/16" strips, essentially a matrix of 4x6 strips per board,…

Shop organization


I decided to get my work shop in some semblance of order before continuing. I had already constructed some supports to hold the strong-back, but they needed some reinforcing. I also made some removable shelves that rest on the strong-back (idea courtesy of Nick Schade.) I made a storage rack…

Building the skeleton


The skeleton consists of the stations strung out along the strong-back. I constructed the strong-back out of plywood, a 2x5" box beam screwed together. It came out remarkably straight despite some bowing to the plywood I used. Once I strung the stations on and started aligning them, however, I discovered…

Cutting the stations


Once my plans arrived, I set off for my sister Deb's house in Ohio. Russ, my brother-in-law, has a nice workshop in the basement and a band-saw that I knew I would need. Vaclav Stejskal of One Ocean Kayaks provides full size plans so there is no need to piece…