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Stripping across a Feature Line


The Petrel has a distinct feature line on the front deck where there is a sharp, chine-like angle in the surface of the deck extending forward from either side of the cockpit. The feature does not extend all the way to the end of the boat, but just a few feet from the cockpit. This area provides height under the deck where your knees are, but allows the overall deck height to stay low. Unlike the chine on the hull, the feature line does not follow the natural line of the strips, yet I still wanted to keep the pattern of the strips relatively uninterupted. If I were to try to strip right over the feature line with un-broken strips I would not be able to do it. Instead I need to cut the strips along the line of the feature so each half of the strip can conform to the deck shape tightly. The stern deck of the kayak has the same feature line, but do to the lower deck it is less distinct in back.

While I'm at it I am going to put a fine pin-stripe of contrasting wood along the feature to accent the angle of the deck. I'm using some thin strips of maple I cut when I was making the Bootleggers last spring as the accent pin-stripe.

The first step is defining the edge of the feature line. I have stripped up the deck to the point that the side strips have almost reached the far extent of the feature line. I install a temporary guide strip along the feature line. I have pre-marked the location of the line with tick-marks on the plans. The angle of these tick marks also indicates the angle of the bevel needed on the edge of the strip. On the back deck a square edge is pretty close to right, but the front deck will need a rolling bevel. I bevel and taper the strips as I have done anywhere else such beveling or tapering has been needed, but in this case I am going to staple the guide strip in place to hold it securely but temporarily.

The accent pin-stripe wood strip is taped to the guide strip and secured with a small dab of carpenter's glue where it touches the existing permanent strips. Again, I don't want to glue down the guide strip.

I then start fitting the next strip as if the feature line does not exist, tapering the end to fit as needed. I then mark where the new strip meets up with the pin-stripe. This will be the beginning of the taper. I then bend the strip as it would go without the feature and determine where the other side crosses the pin-stripe, the indicates the pointy end of the taper.

I draw a line between the two point. Using a thin-kerfed Japanese pull saw I cut along the line, just leaving enough wood to clean up with a block plane. Keep the cut-off end and store it someplace safe so it doesn't get broken - it will be used later. Clean up the taper and adjust the bevel angle as needed. Come into the line slowly so you don't over do it, ending up with a too short strip. Glue the strip in place when if fits, including gluing it to the pin-stripe.

In my stripping pattern the next strip runs parallel to the centerline, after which the next strip will also need to cross the feature line. This strip is fitted in the same manner as the first. As more strips are added it becomes harder to determine how far down the accent the strip would naturally extend if there were no feature line. I will stack up some scrap strips to see where the appropriate number of strips would cross the line.

After the pin-stripe is fully supported by strips you can take out the guide strip. Pull the staples, and if any glue has snuck in between the accent and guide strip use your knife to clean off the stuck wood bits.

Now use the cut-off ends of the strips you put aside previously and fill up the gap between the accent and the side strips.