Cedar Strip Kayak Building: Strong Enough?
Cedar Strip Kayak Building: Hatch Lips and More

Boatbuilder's Curse


Dick Mahler's three part Pygmy Arctic Tern 14 built by Pete Roszyk, Ted and Holly Henry's Redfish Silver and Redfish King, at R2K5

Strip builders are all perfectionists. Have you ever been to one of those wooden kayak rendezvous like R2K5?  After they unload their kayaks everyone starts rubbing them down with some kind of automotive polish. Then  they'll discuss the virtues of whatever product they're using. Next topic is oil-based vs water-based polyurethane, or staple vs stapleless construction. I'm no different. For instance, I hereby declare that STAPLELESS CONSTRUCTION is now the new standard! Stripbuilding takes so long that the amount of time you can save by using staples is really insignificant.

One of the reasons I like to take a lot of pictures of kayaks is that I refer to them when I'm building.  It helps to see how other people did things and what the completed project is supposed to look like. But after one gains some experience building one starts to look at the boats differently. I used to see the whole boat in it's polished wooden glory, and now I see all the imperfections  -- a little weave of the fiberglass glinting in the sunlight, the barely noticable seam between the deck and hull, the slight irregularity of the hatch edges. I zoom in on a picture to look closely at the unevenness of a composite coaming. If I could, I would close my eyes and run my fingers lightly over the surface to feel for the bumps and valleys. I can never look at a wooden kayak the same way again. It's the boatbuilder's curse. 



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