Greenland Days

More on the Skin Job

Coamingstitch_1I completed the skin stitching and laced the coaming in today.  Six hours of work.  I neglected to go over the coaming details earlier: It's a 1/4 in x 3/4 in band of oak, with two 1/4 in x 1/4 in bands for the lip, glued together with Titebond II and pegged with 1/8 in pegs every inch after the glue had dried.  My previous coamings were yellow cedar epoxied together -- did that ever make a mess!  It was a real pain to try not to get epoxy over all the clamps and the form.  Back then I covered the form in parchment paper, which doesn't stick to anything and therefore is difficult to keep in place.   All that epoxy required a lot of scraping and sanding too.  Morris says that carpenter's glue works fine so this time I used Titebond II.   

To review, here are some things I think are not necessary when making a skin on frame replica kayak:

•  a warm, dry and dustless workshop
•  lofting (just work from the drawing)
•  mortise and tenon joints for the deck beams (as opposed to pegged joints)
•  sandpaper
•  epoxy
•  green oak (kiln dried oak is OK for bending)
•  straight seams
•  tung or linseed oil on the frame (it will not prevent rot, and linseed oil promotes mold)
•  any color other than brown or black.  I don't understand how builders, especially those who pride themselves on building exclusively replicas, will still condescend to dye their kayaks blue, green, and even pink. 

On my desk I have four books open to their stitching chapters.  Everyone has their own way of stitching.  You can tell a Robert Morris kayak from a Chris Cunningham or a Corey Freedman kayak from the stitch used.  I used a simple overhand stitch.  It lies flat but leaves holes around the stitching where I pulled hard on the skin.  I don't think it matters if you used a surgical stitch used for closing intestines.  It's all going to be saturated and sealed in polyurethane anyway. 

Wetshrink_1After stitching the skin and lacing the coaming in I wet it all down with a garden hose.  The nylon gets slack when wet.  It also looses its "memory" and all the wrinkles disappear.  When it dries it smooths out and tightens up like a drum.  For now you can see the naked frame underneath.  Doesn't it remind you of a wet t-shirt contest?  I'm drooling!



Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.


Yeah, I agree.

You mentioned brown as a colour of preference. Hmm. Don't you go messing up this beatiful kayak with a faux sealskin look! :-O


Ooops! Too late, Magnus. I already dyed it! :-)


Doh! Will I ever learn to keep my mouth shut?

Seriously, I am sure this one will be a gem. I was so inspired by your minimalist approach (perhaps sans the brown stuff, although that remains to be seen) that I cut and marked up a pair of gunwales today... It's time for a dedicated roller! It probably never see the open seas, so I am really going to allow myself to cut corners during building, to save time and weight.


Yup, this one will look just like all the other brown museum piece imitations out there. Actually it looks almost gold. I'm aiming for something exemplary, not necessarily unique.

Feels good to start another boat, doesn't it?

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