Cedar Strip Kayak Building: Deck Rigging
Cedar Strip Kayak Building: Launching Moonlight Dancer

Cedar Strip Kayak Building: Racing to Finish

Isn't it amazing how you can spend an entire day working on a kayak and time just flies by?  I'm almost done with my Shooting Star. On this beautiful sunny day I had to resist the urge to try it out on the water. I will launch it either tomorrow or the next day. Of course it's typical that builders are never really "done" with their kayaks because they are always tweaking them, adjusting the seat, changing the rigging or hatches, or revarnishing. "Done" for me means that it is equipped with everything I need for an overnight trip. I wish I had another couple months to really finish it the way I want to but then I would never go out paddling. I guess I'll just have to live the imperfections for a while. Some recent developments:


I finished making all the beads and sliders for the deck rigging after all. I made them out of the artificial ivory I had left over from building Necromancer. 

I stopped at 4 coats of varnish. That's all the 1 L can will cover. The last coat was the worst -- dust all over, and a couple sags. I don't think the "Clean Room" really worked, because I had to take it down between coats to sand the kayak. It might have been better to just wet down the floor and walls between coats instead. Unless you look very closely though the finish looks good. I'll probably put on another 4 coats in the winter when I'm not in a hurry and paddling slows down.

The hatch covers are secured with internal bungees. The bungees make a loop through carbon fiber tubes attached to the inside where the deck meets the hull right next to the hatch, then loop around wooden hooks on the underside of the hatch cover. Another cord keeps the hatch cover attached to the deck so it doesn't get lost when the hatch is off or if the bungees fail.


I had a problem with the hatches gaskets. The gasket that came with the kit is a strip of adhesive 3/16 in foam that is supposed to be applied to the inside of the hatch cover. When I did this the hatch wouldn't sit flush with the deck. So I spent half the day worrying about this and trying to figure out when I would get the chance to rebuild the hatch lips. Fortunately while I was at West Marine getting some supplies I found a roll of 1/8 in weatherstripping. It is very compressible and will let the hatch sit reasonably flush. Although I haven't tested it I'm sure it will give a watertight seal, at least for rolling. When touring I plan to use float bags for back up floatation. My experience has been that designing and building watertight flush hatches is one of the most problematic parts of wooden kayak construction.

I installed the Joe Greenley's soft padeyes. Like other builders, I modified his design by adding a small plywood backing to the nylon webbing. I was a little uncomfortable with how small the lip was on the webbing made according to his instructions (even though he says that it will hold 300 lbs). With the plywood epoxied to the webbing there is no question that it will hold and provide a good seal. I installed the padeyes by running a line through holes drilled through the deck, through the webbing loop formed by the padeye, then out again through the hole in the deck. A bead of silicone sealer is applied to the plywood and the padeye is pulled up through the deck with the line. It is possible to remove the padeyes when the time comes to revarnish.

Next post will be the launching ceremony (maybe). I better go out and get some champagne. Three more days until SSTIKS.





I've been lurking on this site for months. Can't wait to see the final product.

Take lots of pictures.

Thanks for your efforts.

Alyson Wilson

What a gorgeous vessel! Congratulations on "almost finishing" it.
-Alyson, thisnext.com/blog

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