I'd promised last week to post a bit about the skinning of some non-traditional SOF kayaks that I'm building on upchurchmr (Marc's) thread about building one of Dave Gentry's Chuckanut 15's.
The boats that we're building were slightly altered versions of Tom Yost's Sea Tour 15. Basically, we've got pine stringers and Okoume plywood frames. Here's an image of a skinned and un-skinned boat together:
For much more detailed information on what I've got going on here, you can check out my blog posting if you're interested.
For these boats, we opted to go with a relatively traditional method with a seam running up the stem and stern of the boat and across the deck. We used the 8oz Dacron (polyester) fabric from George Dyson at Dyson, Baidarka & Co. for our skinning material. Basting was done with white polyester and heavy stitching with artificial sinew. On some boats, you could skin differently - by having a piece of cloth for the bottom, stapled to the sheer clamp and a second piece of cloth stretched over the deck and also stapled to the sheer clamp. A thin rub strip at the sheer would cover the staples for a nice visual appearance. There's many ways to skin this cat - so to speak.
Here's the basics of how we did things:
Drape the boat with cloth, centering it in both directions.
Pin the fabric in place at the keel and sheer, stretching lightly.
Baste a "pocket" at bow and stern to keep fabric from moving.
Roll boat upright and trim cloth proud of the centerline. Heat seal cloth with a small torch. (if you don't have a hot knife.)
Stretch two pieces of 1/8" line bow to stern
Fold the edge of the fabric over the nylon line and baste closely to the line. (Note the gap - to allow the sides to be pulled together!)
Starting near the bow (or stern) take two curved needles and stitch the two halves together with overlapping diagonal stitches. Take the stitches as close to the nylon line as you can. The line distributes the force and helps avoid opening holes in the fabric.