Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kayak Construction Part 2

The kayak is now ready to be trued up. I flipped it over and clamped on four boards to the upper planks. These boards were then clamped onto the horses so that the kayak was suspended in the air. Two long straight boards were laid across the sheer clamps and I sighted down the hull to see if there was any “twist” to the hull. Once the boards on the sheer clamps were parallel, I knew that the hull was true. I also checked that the bow and stern were true to one another. This was a fiddly step.


While the kayak was locked into conformation with the clamps and horses, fillets were placed in the keel and hull chines. Epoxy mixed with wood flour (purified saw dust) was made to a “peanut butter” consistency.

Masking tape was placed one inch from either side of the joint to facilitate easier clean up. A squeegee with a one inch radius was used to spread the epoxy fillet. The masking tape was removed and three inch fiberglass tape was then placed over the fillet.

A coat of clear epoxy was applied over the tape and the tape turned from white to clear when it was properly saturated.

The entire inside of the hull was coated with clear epoxy with the exception of the cockpit which had a full sheet of fiberglass placed over the ‘glassed fillets.


This is what the ‘glass looked like after the first coat of epoxy. The mesh shows prominently through the epoxy coating. Additional coats of epoxy will fill this weave in.

Fillets were also made around each of the bulkheads to make them waterproof.
Once the fillets were dry, the hull was locked into its final shape. All of the copper wire twists were cut off and the wires were left permanently buried in the epoxy fillets. The entire hull was sanded and each of the chines and keel were rounded over. This rounding will be important when the outer part of the hull is fiberglassed. This is because fiberglass fabric does not want to lay well over a sharp edge. Any minor cracks in the joints or nail holes in the hull were filled with the peanut butter consistency epoxy mixture. Here is what she looks like at this stage.


The hull was carefully cleaned up from any dust that might be on it and a sheet of fiberglass cloth was placed over it. This fiberglass was smoothed out using my hands and it was amazing to see how the cloth can conform to the bow shape.

The cloth has a fairly loose weave and will move “on the bias.” This means that if you smooth the cloth at 45 degrees to the weave, it will change conformation to the surface being covered. If you look carefully at the fabric, you can see what I mean by the change in the way the weave lays on the hull.

A dart was cut into the stern end and the cloth was covered with a coat of clear epoxy. Here she is with one coat of epoxy and the overhang trimmed up.


Now she is really starting to look like a kayak!

Go to part 3

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