These pages are a log of the communications between Karl Coplan and myself (Nick Schade) as Karl built a Guillemot Coastal. Karl kept a copy of all the email and sent it to me when he finished. I had kept most of the attached photos, but there are a few missing. Karl's wife Robin gave the kit as a Christmas present. Newfound Woodworks supplied the kit.
From: Self <GENESIS/KCOPLAN> To: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Re: Coastal Kit from Newfound Woodworks Date sent: Sun, 4 Jan 1998 20:28:30 EST5EDT Thanks for putting the kit together for my wife. It is the best Christmas present ever. I am excited about building it. I am attaching a photo of the forms as set up in my basement. By the way, there are a couple of mistakes in the pre-cut forms that you should be aware of and fix for the next customer. First, forms 2 and 15 lack the cut-out for the bow and stern forms (i.e., they should be two half forms like forms 1 and 16). It was not a big deal to cut out the thickness of the bow and stern forms, but for a customer who expects a kit that will not require any independent thinking or cutting out forms, it could be frustrating. Second, form 15 has a full 2"x4" cutout for the strongback, even though the strongback is tapered to 2" at this location. This leaves very little material in the form for strength and for gluing, once the stern form area is cut out. In fact, form 15 detached and broke on me as soon as I tried to bend in the sheer plank, which puts a lot of pressure at this location. I will take some credit for this goof -- I should have blocked it like the rest of the forms. But a form 15 with a 2"x2" cutout would work much better. Keep upt the great work designing kayaks and kits. I think I am going to be hooked on this hobby! Karl Coplan Date sent: Sun, 4 Jan 1998 14:55:52 -0500 To: kcoplan@genesis.Law.Pace.Edu From: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Re: Coastal Kit from Newfound Woodworks Karl, Thanks for sending the picture. I'm glad you are enjoying the project. I'll take a look at the computer cut forms and see what I can do to improve them. Keep the comments coming. Nick From: Self <GENESIS/KCOPLAN> To: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Re: Coastal Kit from Newfound Woodworks Date sent: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 12:28:30 EST5EDT Here's another progress report -- and some more comments on the construction process. Stripping the boat is thoroughly engrossing -- so much so, that time passes quickly. My ten year old son came down to help (mostly shooting the staple gun), and, after fitting all of one plank, said, "Gee, Dad, this is going so quickly we are going to be done in no time." I pointed out that two hours had passed in the mean time! It might help to provide some hints with the kits about where the best place to use the "thin" strips is. I started using them after three full strips "up" from the sheer -- they make stripping around the chine easier, but their real value is at the twisty hollows at the bow and stern. Still, I am vaguely worried that sometime much later in the process I will find a place where I "really" should have saved them for. By the way, I found stripping the second and third strips (plus the "cheater" strips) very difficult at the stern section. The bend there is very tight and the strips keep pulling away from the forms. I ultimately switched to a couple of ring nails to keep them in (the strips would just slide right up regular finishing nails, which also pulled out from the forms). The cheater strips were especially difficult; they just did not want to make the twists and bends necessary to mate cove and bead with their neighbors. After a lot of whittling and fitting, I managed to get just enough contact on both sides of the cheater strip for a line of glue with their mates. There is no daylight showing now, but I am worried that there will be nothing left here by the time I fair the hull down. Would it make sense to layer a second strip into the "gully" that formed there, so that there is some material left for fairing? Still, cedar is a pleasure to work with. Most of the shaping can be done with a utility knife. I am using Elmers "Weather tite" water resistant glue. It seems to have more body and gap filling than regular Elmers carpenters glue, doesnt drip, and dries to match the color of the cedar very nicely. I am not sure that it is as strong, but the strength of the boat comes from the epoxy and fiberglass, not the glue, right? Still, my nagging fear is that the boat wont stay together long enough to get the fiberglass on once I pop it off of the forms. Hope you like to hear about construction progress. Any hints would be appreciated. Attached is another shot of progress to date. Attachments: Date sent: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 18:12:10 -0500 To: "Karl Coplan" <kcoplan@Genesis.Law.Pace.Edu> From: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Re: Coastal Kit from Newfound Woodworks >Content-type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII >Content-transfer-encoding: 7BIT >Content-description: Mail message body > >Here's another progress report -- and some more comments on the >construction process. Stripping the boat is thoroughly engrossing -- >so much so, that time passes quickly. My ten year old son came down >to help (mostly shooting the staple gun), and, after fitting all of >one plank, said, "Gee, Dad, this is going so quickly we are going to >be done in no time." I pointed out that two hours had passed in the >mean time! Don't get too excited by the speed of progress, because the finishing always seems to take much longer than it has any right too. > > It might help to provide some hints with the kits about where the >best place to use the "thin" strips is. I started using them after >three full strips "up" from the sheer -- they make stripping around >the chine easier, but their real value is at the twisty hollows at >the bow and stern. Still, I am vaguely worried that sometime much >later in the process I will find a place where I "really" should have >saved them for. You have used them in the right place. > > By the way, I found stripping the second and third strips (plus >the "cheater" strips) very difficult at the stern section. The bend >there is very tight and the strips keep pulling away from the forms. >I ultimately switched to a couple of ring nails to keep them in (the >strips would just slide right up regular finishing nails, which also >pulled out from the forms). The cheater strips were especially >difficult; they just did not want to make the twists and bends >necessary to mate cove and bead with their neighbors. After a lot of >whittling and fitting, I managed to get just enough contact on both >sides of the cheater strip for a line of glue with their mates. >There is no daylight showing now, but >I am worried that there will be nothing left here by the time I fair >the hull down. Would it make sense to layer a second strip into the >"gully" that formed there, so that there is some material left for >fairing? I wouldn't try fitting anything in yet. Wait until you start fairing so you get a feel for what will actually happen. You might find nothing needs be done. > > Still, cedar is a pleasure to work with. Most of the shaping can >be done with a utility knife. > > I am using Elmers "Weather tite" water resistant glue. It seems >to have more body and gap filling than regular Elmers carpenters glue, >doesnt drip, >and dries to match the color of the cedar very nicely. I am not sure >that it is as strong, but the strength of the boat comes from the >epoxy and fiberglass, not the glue, right? the WeatherTite stuff is plenty strong enough. > > Still, my nagging fear is that the boat wont stay together long >enough to get the fiberglass on once I pop it off of the forms. > It may be a little delicate, but it should hold together. I have had to reglue some joints from time to time, but usually everything works and accidents are easily fixed. > Hope you like to hear about construction progress. Any hints would >be appreciated. > Attached is another shot of progress to date. Thanks for the photo. Looks like your doing great! I like hear about progress, and although I don't like criticism, it is useful for me so feel free to point out any problems. Nick From: Self <GENESIS/KCOPLAN> To: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: More progress, more questions on Coastal kit Date sent: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 13:00:44 EST5EDT Planking proceeds apace. It is very satisfying to watch the thing turn into a boatlike shape so quickly -- and I have the rest of the winter to fair, sand and finish it. But, with progress comes a few glitches, and the need for more advice. Just when I thought I was over the hump on the stern hollow, the full width plank I was twisting into place at the very stern cracked (right at the nail hole, of course). It is not cracked all the way through, and the outside surface of the plank is intact. My wife couldnt even find the crack when I asked her opinion. Last time this happened, I put the cracked plank aside. This time I left it in place, figuring that the crack is not serious enough to prevent fairing the hull, does not seem to have seriously weakened the plank (it is very stiff at this location), and will be strengthened by the fiberglass and its neighboring planks before the kayak is pronounced finished. The fact that dinner was on the table and my children were complaining that I loved my kayak more than my family might also have clouded my judgment. The glue is now dry, but I suppose I could still rip the plank out and scrape off the dried glue and wood splinters that would result. Should I? Or am I correct in my hunch that one cracked strip at the stern will not substantially weaken the boat once all is said and done? Looking ahead, do you recommend gluing a strip of hardwood onto the stem and stern, as indicated in the Newfound Woodworks strip building newsletter than came with the kit? One of the pictures in the instructions also looks like you are gluing a strip onto the stem, but the text does not mention it. If so, should this be done before fairing? Immediately after fairing? Looking even further ahead, I've noticed that many of the pictures of finished kayaks appear not to have any hatches. (Either that, or the flush hatches are so perfectly faired in as to be invisible!). Since I dont plan to use my boat for camping or other cargo carrying, I thought I'd save the effort and holes in the hull and leave them out. Would it be a good idea to put in some inspection/drain ports in lieu of hatches, or can I just leave the bow and stern sections as permanent airtight/watertight compartments? West Marine sells thes inspection ports for about $10 each. Here's another picture of the work in progress. My son is complaining that he cant even drag me away from the kayak to play Riven. Attachments: A:\kayak2.bmp Date sent: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 19:23:48 -0500 To: "Karl Coplan" <kcoplan@Genesis.Law.Pace.Edu> From: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Re: More progress, more questions on Coastal kit <snip> >But, with progress comes a few glitches, and the need for more >advice. Just when I thought I was over the hump on the stern hollow, >the full width plank I was twisting into place at the very stern >cracked (right at the nail hole, of course). It is not cracked all >the way through, and the outside surface of the plank is intact. My >wife couldnt even find the crack when I asked her opinion. Last time >this happened, I put the cracked plank aside. This time I left it in >place, figuring that the crack is not serious enough to prevent >fairing the hull, does not seem to have seriously weakened the plank >(it is very stiff at this location), and will be strengthened by the >fiberglass and its neighboring planks before the kayak is pronounced >finished. The fact that dinner was on the table and my children were >complaining that I loved my kayak more than my family might also have >clouded my judgment. <snip> As long as it looks alright, I would not remove the strip. The surrounding strips and the fiberglass will serve to make it strong enough. The epoxy will get sucked into the crack and it probably won't lose much strength at all. > Looking ahead, do you recommend gluing a strip of hardwood onto the >stem and stern, as indicated in the Newfound Woodworks strip building >newsletter than came with the kit? One of the pictures in the >instructions also looks like you are gluing a strip onto the stem, >but the text does not mention it. If so, should this be done before >fairing? Immediately after fairing? I have recently been gluing hardwood on like seen in the newsletter. I plane the stem and stern to make a flat surface to glue 1/8" thick hardwood veneer too. This is certainly not a requirement, but it does look nice. I don't glue any of the strips to the stem forms. I put the hardwood on half way through fairing. I do a little fairing to get a better feeling for the final shape then finish fairing after the glue dries to get a smooth finished surface. > > Looking even further ahead, I've noticed that many of the pictures >of finished kayaks appear not to have any hatches. (Either that, or >the flush hatches are so perfectly faired in as to be invisible!). >Since I dont plan to use my boat for camping or other cargo carrying, >I thought I'd save the effort and holes in the hull and leave them >out. Would it be a good idea to put in some inspection/drain ports >in lieu of hatches, or can I just leave the bow and stern sections as >permanent airtight/watertight compartments? West Marine sells thes >inspection ports for about $10 each. All my boats (accept the Little Auk) have hatches. Some don't have them in front hatches, but they all have them in back. Look close. The idea of putting an inspection hatch is a good one. I would put it in the bulkhead. That way it doesn't mess up the deck. Thanks for the pictures. Nick From: Self <GENESIS/KCOPLAN> To: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Finished stripping the hull Date sent: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 10:32:33 EST5EDT Thanks for your quick reply to my last e-mail. I finished stripping the hull this weekend. It looks great, and the curves are beautiful even before fairing. Also, thanks for the tip on putting the inspection ports in the bulkheads, so I dont mess up the decks. It's one of those obvious things that I never would have thought of. One more question, as I look forward to starting stripping the deck. I am tall and skinny (6'1", 180 lbs) and have long legs. I like the look of the lowered deck around the cockpit (better than Bob Wier's version without the lowered deck) and like the idea of something to brace against, but was wondering if someone with long legs like mine will have trouble entering and exiting the kayak. Have you had any comments from tall customers about the lowered deck? My preference is definitely to strip the lowered deck. Thanks again for your continued e-mail support. Here's a picture of the proud builder with a fully stripped hull. Attachments: Date sent: Mon, 12 Jan 1998 19:21:02 -0500 To: "Karl Coplan" <kcoplan@Genesis.Law.Pace.Edu> From: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Re: Finished stripping the hull I'm 6' 1" with 34" inseams. Although my boats were designed for me, so I think you should be fine with them. The boats are snug, but you don't need bird-legs (backwards bending) to get in. Your making quick time on that boat what are you going to do the rest of the winter? I'm collecting all your pictures and I'll eventually but them on my web site if you don't mind. Nick > From: Self <GENESIS/KCOPLAN> To: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Oops! Copies to: "Robin E. Bell" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date sent: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 10:15:19 EST5EDT Don't post those pictures quite yet -- I don't know what the end result will look like. When I flipped the boat over last night, it became obvious that the stern section had come out of alignment during stripping. The boat has an upturned stern. The stern is a whopping 5" higher than it should be. The 2x4 has a very graceful curve to it, starting at around section 12. I am sure that it was in alignment when I started, and after the first few strips. But as stripping proceeded, it was difficult to line up the reference marks on the upside down, partially stripped boat, and at some point I stopped checking. In retrospect, the stern did seem to be hanging awfully low. The forward two thirds of the boat lines up just fine. I don't know whether the 2x4 warped naturally (awfully fast), or whether the pressure of the strips bent it. I am considering my options: 1) tear the boat apart, buy some more strips, and start over 2) finish the boat and accept that I will have a "unique" looking (and paddling) boat, 3) try to gently persuade the boat to come back closer to the shape it was designed to be, or 4) give up kayak building and take up some less precise hobby, like gardening. If 3 is truly an option, it is the preferred one. Have you ever heard of anybody successfully bending a boat back into shape at this stage of the process? So far I have hung a bucket with some weights off the stern and cut some notches in the 2x4, with the boat balanced over form 12. While there is about an inch of flex in the hull, this method could take an exceedingly long time, I suppose. (I know that wooden boats that are improperly cradled will sag at the ends or "hog" after a while, but this usually takes months or years). I have also considered cutting the 2x4 forward of station 11 or 12 and removing the forms aft of this station, on the theory that there would be a little more flex in the hull without the forms in place. If I could flex the hull more closely into alignment and figure out a way to hold it there, I could then replace the forms, possibly shaving the forms as necessary to get them to go back in place. This would presumably result in a slightly skinnier boat at the shear, but that would be a much less radical design change than an extra 5" of rocker at the stern. Any advice? Give up? Start the kayak builders' "Hall of Shame" on the internet and post my pictures as Exhibit A? Thanks for your continued advice and support. From: Self <GENESIS/KCOPLAN> To: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Just how bad is it . . . Date sent: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 10:27:04 EST5EDT Nick-- Haven't heard back from you yet (but the University server is down this morning). But on further reflection, I am coming to the realization that hoping to bend the hull into shape is wishful thinking. It's just too stiff, and bending it is more likely to generate hard spots and weird curves, or just plain cracked planks. It's not that the hull is bad looking the way it is. I kind of like the upturned stern. (In fact, because my mental image of the boat I was building had exaggerated the upturn in the stern, I didn't spot the deformity when I should have. I had kept checking the horizontal alignment of the forms because I was worried about building a curved boat that wouldnt paddle straight, but I wasn't thinking about a curve in the other axis). Attached is a picture. It's just not the boat that you designed. As Robin puts it, "Looks like you are building a pintail instead of a Guillemot." I am worried that it will be a dog to paddle. I may be losing as much as a foot on the waterline, and I suppose the bow may come out of the water as the boat settles backwards to make up for the lost buoyancy aft. It also may not track well, as the sharp parts of the keel at the stern may be out of the water. I suppose as the boat reaches hull speed, it may gain some of that waterline back. Any thoughts? Has this happened to other Coastal builders? I have looked at the 2x4 closely, and the bent part seemed to be straight grained, with no obvious reason to warp. I wonder if the forces generated by the curve in the planks at the stern are just too great for your run-of-the-mill lumber yard 2x4 to withstand. I would recommend a stiffer strong back to other Coastal builders. I am thinking of finishing this boat off as it is, then building a second boat to try and get it right (after all, Robin is hinting strongly that she would like a sea kayak,too, and her birthday is in May). One way to stiffen the strongback, I think, would be to rip the 2x4 in half longitudinally, then nail and glue it back together to make a laminated strongback. This still seems easier than building a plywood box beam, which would require a lot of long pieces of plywood and some fairly precise cutting and rounding the edges. I do not own a table saw or a router. I'd still like to hear your thoughts on how best to proceed. Attachments: Date sent: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 19:10:41 -0500 To: "Karl Coplan" <kcoplan@Genesis.Law.Pace.Edu> From: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Re: Just how bad is it . . . Karl, Sorry I didn't respond yesterday. I was trying to think of some ideas. Can't say as I have any. It is hard to determine just how badly off you are from your description, but looking at your picture now, I can see that the bend is pretty severe. I am surprised that it bent up like that. The force of the strips should bend the strongback down not up as it did. I would consider trying to straighten it out. It will not want to, and I don't have any great ideas on how to make it. You could saw off the last few feet (the bent part) and restrip just the end, using a butt joint with the existing strips. If you do this section in a different color and make the cut an interesting shape, you could claim you meant to do it. If you don't want to get that drastic, just finish it as it is. However, the performance may be a little wierd. It may not track very straight and you might want to install a skeg to help it. The skeg could only be a piece of wood glued to the bottom like an extended external keel. I am really sorry this happened to you. I have not had anything like this happen to me and no customers ever reported such a problem (maybe they were too pissed to talk to me.) Let me know what you plan to do and if there is anything I can do to help. Can I ask you how long you had your 2x4 inside before you started working on it? It is possible the change in atmosphere (humidity/temperature) caused the beam to bend. I have had a problem with wood changing after I bring it inside. Read my journal about building my stitch and glue design. Thanks, Nick From: Self <GENESIS/KCOPLAN> To: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Boat Unbent Copies to: "Robin E. Bell" <email@example.com> Date sent: Thu, 15 Jan 1998 12:12:27 EST5EDT Nick-- It is not easy to take a saw to a project like this, but your e-mail helped clarify my thinking about drastic remedies. I wasn't going to have much enthusiasm to finish a boat that, however nice it might look, was always going to be a freakish paddler. I was even ready to follow your suggestion to cut off the entire stern section. First I cut the strongback aft of form 11 and removed the forms (some were stuck pretty well despite the masking tape!) Even without the forms, the boat was not going to flex enough to make up the difference. But it was clear that it was the sides that were holding the shape, and not the bottom (I had feared that the slight v-joint at the keel strips would prove too stiff to bend). As long as I was ready to cut the entire boat in half, it wouldn't hurt to experiment with notches. So I cut slits on both sides, from the shear down, one strip at a time. It took four strip-widths (basically, down to the chine), but the boat became very flexible. I then lashed the aft section of the boat to a 2x6x8'. The result shows up in the attached pictures: a basically straight boat. (The aft forms in the picture are free floating right now, and I have not finished re-aligning things perfectly). Some of the planks split at the glue joints right near the slit, and the remaining planks are a bit too stiff to bend in fairly to the new shape. I figure that I will end up cutting out about a foot-long length of planks around the slit on both sides, stepped down to the chine, and re-strip the area to bring it in fair. The splits along the planks should not be too hard to re-glue. I think the result should be undetectible except to a connaisseur. I am trying to think of a nice pattern to put in to make it look intentional; perhaps a feathered arrow or a wing or something. In the end, I think it will not look much worse than many "first" stripped boats (what did Bob Wier say about wood putty being every kayak-stripper's dirty little secret?), and, more importantly, the basic shape and paddling characteristics should be more like your excellent design. I think that you are right about the 2x4 bending the boat, and not vice-versa. My cellar is cold and the weather was mild, but the humidity changes are probably pretty drastic. I am sure that the 2x4 was brought inside less than 24 hours before I lined up the forms. Also, it was a typical lumber yard 2x4, i.e., it was in a tight stacked pile where every 2x4 was dripping with moisture when you removed it. The 2x4 kept its bent shape after I removed it (if the boat were bending the wood, it should have sprung back). Also, the bend must have happened very early in the stripping process -- otherwise, the bend would have forced the side planks visibly out from the forms. I now think it happened when I left the boat for three days to go to my sister-in-law's right after I laid the first two strips. When I got back, I had been away long enough not to notice the radical change, and I got so absorbed in stripping that I didnt notice. Literally, I lost track of the forest for the trees. Which is a way of saying this is my goof, not your design or your instructions (you clearly say to check the alignment after putting in the first few strips). Thanks again for your reply to my e-mails. It was very important to get your encouragement to try to straighten the boat out. There is still a lot of hard work ahead to finish the boat, and I am not sure that I would have kept going if I thought the end product was going to be useless as a kayak. The "Pintail" name may stick, however. More later. Attachments: Date sent: Fri, 16 Jan 1998 01:19:00 -0500 To: "Karl Coplan" <kcoplan@Genesis.Law.Pace.Edu> From: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Re: Boat Unbent Karl, I was a little scared when I suggested that you cut the stern off that you would actually do it. It looks like you did a good job straightening out the boat. It's kind of any ugly little notch on the side, but I think you can patch it up so it doesn't look bad. You can either try to hide it or accent it. If you cut back the strips at staggered lengths and patched in matching wood it will virtually disappear, or you can cut in a wider triangular slot and put in contrasting wood. If you did this on both sides it could look cool. Better still don't listen to me and come up with your own idea. Little cracks between strips can be filled in with slivers of wood. I feel responsibility for not warning about the possibility that the 2x4 might warp after you bring it in side. Although it had never happened to me, the other day I did suggest to someone that they let their strongback acclimate for a while before stripping. The next day you tell me about your problem. I feel part of my job is to steer people away from problems like that. If you need any more strips to fix your problems and finish the boat, let me know. We will send you what you need. I know you are never going to feel completely satisfied by this boat because you will always see your mistakes. I haven't been happy with one of my boats yet. The thing is, nobody else sees the mistakes. They are so impressed by the forest that they don't notice the trees. If it's any consolation, your mistake will help me tell people how to avoid making it again. If you need any voice-to-voice help, feel free to call me at (603) 744-6872 during the day or (860) 659-8847 at home. Thanks, Nick From: Self <GENESIS/KCOPLAN> To: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Re: Boat Unbent Copies to: "Robin E. Bell" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date sent: Fri, 16 Jan 1998 09:45:02 EST5EDT Nick-- Thanks for your encouragement. If nothing else, I hope my experiences can add to your ability to steer others right. I replaced the aft section of the strongback with part of a 2x4 that has been indoors for 60 years and is still straight. (I tore it out of our bathroom wall last year). They sure don't make 2x4s like they used to, do they. I cut slits along the glue joints on either side of the notch, and I think that I will gain enough flexibility to minimize the amount of new wood I will have to put in. I plan to bend the strips down one at a time and reglue them. This might result in a some hairline gaps in some of the glue joints, but I don't think it will be very visible, and no worse than one or two of the joints on the bottom where I had to plane in two ends of a strip at once. I have a neat -- and very appropriate -- idea for a way of restripping and hiding the notch, which I will show you if it is successful. Thanks again for your continued advice and your generous offer of more strips. I think I will probably stay within the 20% or so planned for wastage when all is said and done, but if I need more strips, I'll let you know. From: Self <GENESIS/KCOPLAN> To: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Re: Boat Unbent Copies to: "Robin E. Bell" <email@example.com> Date sent: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 20:45:02 EST5EDT Nickó See attached photo of the starboard side where I had to cut out the notch. You have heard of the dovetail joint. I call this the pintail splice. For emergency use only. It may not be perfect, but the casual observer will never guess that the ducks are hiding a major construction goof. Thanks again for your advice. Things are definitely back on track The second photo shows where I am now. I'm having fun getting back to plain old stirpping again and watching the deck take shape. The next step is stripping in the pattern on the deck. I find it hard to put this project down because I'm so interested in seeing how the next few strips will go on. Stripping in angles with the cove and bead strips is a real challenge. While the coves and beads are great for flat stretches, and it is simple enough to plane and sand a bead onto a cut piece, what are you supposed to do when your cut edge is supposed to fit onto a "bead?" When I have thought ahead, I have flattened out the bead in these situations with a plane, but now I didnt think to do that with the two-beaded strip I made for the centerline of the deck. Now I am stripping the side strips at an angle to the center strip and I have to make the cut edges mate with the bead. What I have ended up doing is planing in a 45 degree angle (slanted towards the joint on the outside of the strip). Then I use a rolled up piece of coarse sandpaper to sand in a little bit of a cove. I know this will leave some gap on the underside, where it will not show, but it makes a pretty snug joint on the visible side -- certainly more snug than most of my flat-to-flat joints seem to end up. There must be better tools for this -- perhaps a small, round file. Or I suppose if you had a router and the proper bit, you could route in the proper cove on each cut edge. I have stripped most of the deck so far up from the sides instead of straight and parallel to the center line. I like the look of the curves in the planks better this way, though it has involved some more unnatural twisting of strips to get them in place Once again, I had the experience of carefully planing a strip to fit perfectly into the notch at the bow, test fitting it (including a test fit of the twist in the strip), and spreading glue along the length of the strip, only to have the strip crack in two while I was stapling and nailing it in. This one broke completely in two, not even tempting me to leave it in place. The replacement strip went in without a hitch. As I get closer to stripping in the pattern to the deck, I have noticed that the redwood strips seem to be two different shades. Are there two varieties of redwood included? There are some beautiful, deep red strips, but only in the thin (1/2") size. All of the full size dark colored strips are browner and grayer. Is this just the luck of the draw? I'll let you know how things progress. Date: Tue, 20 Jan 1998 18:42:02 -0500 To: kcoplan@genesis.Law.Pace.Edu From: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Re: Pintail Redux The Pintail looks great! Unfortunately, I wrote the instruction booklet before I started using cove-and-bead strips. I generally cut the bead or cove off the pattern defining strips that will have strip ends coming in to their sides. Since my brain tends to smoke when I try and figure where I can leave the cove/bead on these strips, I end up cutting both off even in places where I could safely leave them. I use a plane to remove the cove/bead. The 3/4" wide strips that are not white are western red cedar. The narrow darker red strips are redwood. You have some western red cedar narrow strips as well. The natural variation of red cedar make it hard to get consistant color. This can open of artistic possibilities as well as shut down others. Nick >Content-type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII >Content-transfer-encoding: 7BIT >Content-description: Mail message body > From: Self <GENESIS/KCOPLAN> To: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Stripping the deck pattern Date sent: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 10:58:29 EST5EDT As you can see, I have finished stripping the pattern into the deck. This is definitely a fun part of the project. The strips are small and easy to work with. The contrasting wood is beautiful, and each strip adds to the pattern. Speaking of contrasting wood . . . I am not sure that in the poor lighting of my cellar, I may not have confused some dark pieces of white cedar with some light pieces of red cedar, or vice versa, earlier on. So there may be some random color elements in the hull! I don't mind. If I wanted a perfectly uniform colored boat, I should have built one purely of fiberglass, or painted wood. Some of the red cedar (at least I think it is red cedar) is a beautiful golden color, which I used to strip the area just forward of the cockpit. Not only does it look nice, but it gives off a very sweet, honey-like smell when you sand it. I bought a small round file for cutting coves into the cut strip edges. It only cost six bucks and it works great! It is very simple to file the cove into the cut edge, and I am getting much tighter joints than I ever did working with flat edges. Also, I am getting fewer cut fingers than I was when planing the bead onto each strip. I would recommend a round file for anyone working with cove and bead strips. And a box of band-aids. As you can see, I was a masochist and bent in a lot of curved strips on the deck. Though I did crack a few strips, I think the end result will be worth it. What's your view on homemade epoxy fairing putty versus wood putty? I have a can of "Elmers" wood putty, which I havent opened yet. I know you talk about mixing up sawdust with epoxy. My experience with that kind of mixture in the past is that it is very tough to sand. Is there any reason not to use a commercial wood putty instead (assuming the color doesnt stand out too much?) Is there any question of whether the epoxy will bind to it correctly? I'm still getting a lot of work done while the cross-country skiing around here remains lousy. If we get a good snow storm I may have to take a vacation from this project. Attachments: Date sent: Tue, 27 Jan 1998 17:57:41 -0500 To: "Karl Coplan" <kcoplan@Genesis.Law.Pace.Edu> From: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Subject: Re: (Fwd) Stripping the deck pattern Karl, The boat looks great! I've used a chainsaw file for making coves. Works well, but I prefer making beads, I find it easier. I'm alittle concerned about the strength of the wood putty. It tends to be brittle. If you are careful with your application of epoxy/sawdust putty you don't have to sand much, but as you say it can be difficult to sand. BTW, have you checked into my kayak building bulletin board? I've been very happy with the quality of discussion on it. Nick From: kcoplan@genesis.Law.Pace.Edu To: Nick Schade <Info[at]guillemot-kayaks.com> Date: Mon, 2 Feb 1998 00:04:54 +0000 Mime-Version: 1.0 Subject: More progress on Pintail Cc: ROBINB@ldgo.columbia.edu Priority: normal Content-type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII Content-transfer-encoding: 7BIT Content-description: Mail message body Nick-- I finished stripping the deck at 12:40 a.m. Saturday morning. It looks like a kayak! Finishing the stripping, I feel like a kid who has been gorging himself on a seemingly bottomless bag of halloween candy, then discovers that the candy is all gone. Now it is just a matter of picking up all those wrappers and cleaning things up . . . Of course, there is still the cockpit "flat" to strip in. Fitting these strips is not difficult, just tedious. I left a little bit of an angled lip on the edge of the cutout, so it is just a matter of sanding each little strip with course paper until it fits right. I am getting good joints, it just lacks the reward of watching large sections of the hull take shape that comes with stripping the hull and deck. I was a little worried that this would be the weakest joint in the boat, since I am a little suspicious of the end-glued strips that are impossible to clamp. Also, I suppose this joint will be stressed every time you drop your butt into the kayak. But I guess that the part that will be stressed, the aft part of the cockpit, also has the smallest amount of lip to it. Thanks for your views on fairing putty. I finally looked in the box of epoxy stuff that came with the kit, and saw the huge tub of "Cab-o-sil" to make epoxy fairing putty out of. God, I hope I dont need _that_ much fairing putty. to finish this boat! Honestly, there is more daylight coming through the hull from staple and nail holes than from the two or three places where the planks dont quite meet. I was still thinking of filling some of the nail holes with wood dough, where strength would not be that much of an issue. Yes, I have pursued some of the links on your kayak building bulletin board. The board -- and other internet links -- can be a little overwhelming in terms of conflicting strongly held views among various "experts." The Newfound Woodworks instructions tell you to sand the bare hull with progressively finer paper, down to 220 grit or so, while the Laughing Loon "Shop Tips" assure you that epoxy will not stick unless your last sanding is with no finer than 80 grit. Meanwhile, some builder out there assures you that the scratches left by any sanding at all will structurally weaken the boat, which is why he prefers not to sand at all!. Then there is the thread about whether you should wrap your boat in black plastic and leave it in the sun to "post cure," with experts claiming variously that failure to do so will certainly lead to "glass creep" and that doing so will disasterously weaken the epoxy. I did find the guy who left his partially epoxied boat in the cellar for two weeks and then came back to find it curled up like a leaf. Made me feel better about my own "bent boat" problems. But I also guess that I am not out of the woods yet. Has anyone ever posted a 24 hour watch to guard against curling boat problems? I plan to keep my boat on the forms as much as possible, especially since I still dont know what its natural, unsprung shape would be. So here are this week's list of little questions: (1) Do you recommend "post curing" the epoxy on your boat with the black plastic bag method? (2) How about the "end pour" heat issue -- I saw that Bob Weir resorted to submerging the end of the boat in water to draw off excess heat -- is this really necessary (or does the extra heat just help the "post cure" process? Would extra filler (i.e., sawdust and Cab-o-sil ) help reduce the amount of heat? (3) Are the hardwood strips included with the kit meant for stripping the stem and stern, for making the lip on the coaming, or for both? (i.e., if I use them to cover the stem and stern will I not have enough for the coaming lip? (4) What is your view on the hull sanding issue -- i.e., do you finish off with a "roughing up" with 80 grit before the epoxy (as Laughing Loon recommends)? Or do you finish with the 220 or so that Newfound recommends? I am also interested in your thoughts on varnishes. I am most interested in durability/ease of refinishing. The varnished wood on my sailboat is always a pain, because when the varnish wears, it tends to peel off in long flakes that are hard to either scrape or sand unless you are ready to sand agressively back to the bare wood or use varnish remover.. Does varnish on epoxy wear off in the same way (i.e., should I plan to sand the hull to bare epoxy every year?) I would prefer a finish that is easiest to refinish and maintain, even if it means less gloss or more initial preparation time. I know you dislike the non-durability of water-based varnish. Does water based varnish peel the way oil based varnish does when it wears? Sorry for all of the questions. I trust your advice better than the random supply of expert opinions on the bulletin board. Well, now I've got a sea kayak in my basement. It just needs some sanding and finishing before the paddling season starts. Of course, the paddling season has never ended around here this winter. The Hudson is still ice-free hereabouts. --Karl
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