Previous month:
February 2006
Next month:
April 2006

Cedar Strip Kayak Building: It's a Power Build Day!


Last night: Took a saw to the kayak and with the help of a few strategically placed whacks with a hammer I separated the deck and hull. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be but it worked! They separated cleanly without any damage to the fiberglass, and only a small bruise on my hand.

I had today off so I had a big block of time.

This morning: Made some spacers out of strips and hot glued them into place to maintain the hull shape while I whacked out the station forms. I used a metal ruler and square to carefully direct the pounding at the edge of the forms. It takes several strong whacks to get the hot glue to separate. The hardest part was getting the stems out. I ended up taking the hot gun and blasting some heat in the corners for a few seconds to get the glue to soften. Then I carefully pried them up and out. Now the hardest parts are over! All the other steps in making this kayak involve techniques I'm familiar with -- sanding, epoxywork, glassing. So it's all downhill from here.

Next I scraped the interior of the hull, removing all the pieces of glue and high spots. Then I sanded it all down, first with the random orbital sander, and then by hand. I know no one is going to look inside the ends but I still feel like I have to get it smooth. It still needs more sanding but I stopped because I hate sanding. It's the most unpleasant part of strip building. That's a lot of progress in one day!


The East Passage Today

230 PM PST WED MAR 8 2006


I'd really like to go paddling this afternoon but I'm stuck at home on call. I've had dreams where I'm walking by a beach on a warm sunny day and see a number of kayaks on the water. I want to grab my boat and go out and join them but I can't because I'm on call!

Tonight -- separating the deck and hull, using the special technique I thought up.

Pic of the Day: Sleeping Seal Pup

Seal pup at Port Angeles. 

Worked all day but got home in time to lay on another epoxy fill coat. Sometimes it can be tricky to do the epoxy work if my real job is busy, because the fill coats have to be applied within 24-36 hours of each other, and some days on call I can't even be certain I'll make it home until the next day. That makes three coats so far and I think I've filled the weave adequately except for some small patches around the edges.  I'll probably put on one more thin coat tomorrow. My method now is to pour the epoxy right on the deck and spread it around with a roller, then tip it off with a brush to get rid of the bubbles. The thin foam rollers I got from West Marine leave lots of bubbles and don't do as good a job as the ones from Newfound Woodworks. Also my first fill coat left a lot of tiny lumps -- not bubbles, but maybe little pieces of epoxy that that kicked off in the roller. I tried scraping them off immediately with a spreader and it helped but didn't completely get rid of them. I'm sure they'll go away after sanding but I'm disappointed that it happened when I thought I was doing everything right.





One of Mark Wade's kayaks, and the inspiration for learning a little about the Native American Northwest Coast style so I could put designs on my own Aleut Qayaq. The Northwest Coast Native Americans did not make qayaqs. My qayaq asks the question: What would a qayaq look like if the Aleut and Northwest Coast cultures shared the same artistic style? What would it look like if Aleut qayaq culture survived to this day to make them out of cedar strips, fiberglass and epoxy? Next I really want to make a harpoon and norsaq out of carbon fiber!



Dubside and Brian Schulz


I posted this pic to break up the monotony of the endless pictures of my veneer onlays. Dubside and Brian Schulz. Isn't Brian's kayak flippin sweet? It's a replica, of which kayak I don't remember. Next time I meet him I'll have to ask, so I can make one just like it -- a replica of his replica.

I applied the seal coat to the deck last night and this morning rolled out the fiberglass and wet it out. lthough I haven't used any other system, this one works well, 6 oz E glass and MAS epoxy in the Newfound Woodworks kit. The heavy glass likes to lie down smoothly and the slow epoxy wets it out perfectly. I haven't had any problems with bubbles, poor wet out, wrinkles or any of the problems people talk about on The Kayak Forum. If builders would stick to proven systems instead of trying to piece them together themselves it wouldn't be an issue. Those are copper accents added to the onlays on the pic below.


After spending all morning in a hot stuffy garage wearing a respirator I had to get out to paddle, to the Tacoma waterfront and back. I'm getting used to the Euroblade. It's all coming back to me. It's noticeably faster. I may continue to use it for serious overnight touring.



Cedar Strip Kayak Building: Back Hatch Design Complete


I finished cutting out and taping together the back hatch design, glued it onto the back deck, and covered it with duct tape. I rolled it down with a wooden dowel and left it to dry overnight. Then the tape was carefully pealed back to reveal... a really wrinkled onlay! After pressing it down with a hot iron it smoothed out nicely though. My technique actually worked! Good thing too since I published it in a long detailed message on the Kayak Building Forum, without actually trying it out exactly as I described. Not as much sticky residue this time around since the tracing paper kept the tape from contact with the veneer. The tape also pealed the tracing paper cleanly off the veneer. After filling the cracks with some wood filler, and performing a few minor repairs where sanding took off little flakes of veneer it looks great (just don't look too closely).

The deck is now ready for the epoxy seal coat. I'm heating up the shop as I write, trying to get it as hot as possible, to reduce the viscosity of the epoxy and get the wood to suck in as much resin as possible as it cools down. It's difficult to stop work on the deck designs. I probably could spend another month just thinking of more graphics (around the bow and stern, and cockpit recess, for instance) but it's really not that important and should get moving. I spent all month on these two graphics and I'm falling behind schedule.




Pic of the Day

I really don't go out paddling everyday.  I just post pictures everyday so it seems like it.  I'm just sitting here at work killing time by working on my blog like you!


My Greenland skin-on-frame kayak, Misterie. This is with the original chocolate brown finish. I subsequently painted her a very dark brown color I mixed up which I liked to call "dark roast".


Beautiful Day, Rolling

Sun was out, so I went rolling just off the beach. I dusted off my Werner Ikelos 210 cm carbon straight shaft I bought from Body Boat Blade last year. I figured I should learn how to roll with a Euroblade sometime. OK, I admit at first I had to use it unfeathered, but later on I feathered it like I usually do and it worked fine. What I really like though is rolling with my storm paddle. It seems so light and easy to wield.  The tip doesn't knock around the ends of the boat and it slices faster through the water. I don't know -- it just seemed more fluid. Tried some neat tips I learned from Dubside too and they work really well. I'd like to share them with you but I won't. You'll just have to buy his Greenland Rolling Video when it comes out!

Mark Whitaker posted on the Qajaq USA forum that there is a NDK Romany for sale in Portland, nearly new, for $1600. Good deal! Not my color though and the only thing those big heavy British glass fibre boats are good for is getting your BCU stars. You can get a really nice strip wood kayak kit for $1600. Just sayin.