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Thread: SOF workshop, then kayak

  1. #1
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    Default SOF workshop, then kayak

    After many years of dreaming and many months of lurking about woodworking and woodenboat forums, I decided a couple of years ago that I had to carve out some space for myself to start building. The fact of the matter was that She occupied 98% of the house and garage space, was not supportive of the idea of woodworking or boats, and that our house was a rental. Given those constraints, I was able to negotiate/convince/cajole a "temporary" 8x12 foot piece of Heaven that would occupy the ugliest, most dead part of the back yard:



    The plan was to construct something much like those tarp-covered temporary garage structures or like a wood-framed canvas tent or really a small shed with canvas sides/doors. Unfortunately, a bow shed won't fit in such a small space. ;> At the time I owned a circular saw and an electric power drill and was able to throw this together (my design - all construction inadequacies are my choice/limitations; no snow here).

    I had to improvise to move the floor frame in by myself:





    Untreated art canvas for the walls:





    My staggered roof joists (this was all built with deck screws so no toe-nailing for me):


  2. #2
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    Default Re: SOF workshop, then kayak

    18 oz vinyl coated polyester tarp for the roof (oh, and I built a couple of saw-horses along the way):



    The finished workshop, 2 years ago:



    (you can see one of the many lessons I learned along the way - the floor frame is exactly 3 inches wider than the 8 foot ply underflooring...I didn't fix it at the time, then made the same mistake in the wall frames, fixed it, and now I don't make that mistake any more!)



    I have more recent photos that will accompany the build of a Yost Sea Tour 15-R. The materials have held up pretty well over the 2 years (some mildew in the untreated canvas - I originally had untreated 5x7 canvas tarp doors but they were completely covered in mildew and were replaced with treated canvas doors.

    Also, since the original build, I was able to "get" 6 additional feet behind the workshop when we added central air to the house (I emptied the workshop, leveled in some new concrete blocks, attached a horizontal brace at each door to lift with and the install guys literally picked it up and moved it about 4 feet forward). Then, about a year later we finally got a new fence and I was able to finagle extending the backyard out and getting a double gate added so it looks more like this today:



    But I'm getting ahead of myself...

  3. #3
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    Default Re: SOF workshop, then kayak

    So, I wanted to build a wooden boat but my 8x12 foot shop/storage space constrained my choices quite a bit. I have plans for an El Toro and bought plans for Iain Oughtred's Auk (like others, I highly recommend sending a check to Iain directly). Along the way, I became enamored with the concept of a skin on frame kayak - the sleek hull, affordable building materials, forgiving building techniques - really, what's not to love? I thought it would be a "quick" build before my "real" build...2 years later I have a beautiful kayak and many new skill under my belt but I also have a more realistic sense for how long it will take me to build things. My current family obligations allow only 1 Sunday every other week for boat building so it is S L O W going. I could have built this much more quickly - and if I build another one it will definitely be faster - but I also enjoyed the building process so much that I wasn't in too much of a hurry.

    I actually started backwards and built a greenland paddle first - this photo also has the wooden hand plane I built (from the Hock kit):



    (I've mentioned it elsewhere, but this knot-free straight-grained Western Red Cedar was from Pine Cone Lumber in Sunnyvale, CA)





    I lost count of how many coats of tung oil I put on. This one is deceptively shiny before the excess was wiped off.

    Oh, I should add that I had acquired a jig saw by this time also.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: SOF workshop, then kayak

    On to the the actual kayak - the frames were cut from 1/2 inch meranti (hydrotek) marine ply:



    The gunwale/chines/stringers were cut from a 16 foot long Western Red Cedar board using a circular saw with a rip fence on it - I didn't have a table saw at the time but it actually worked perfectly.







    Then the building frame was made:


  5. #5
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    Default Re: SOF workshop, then kayak

    Frames mounted with gunwale, chine, and keel:







    OK, full disclosure time. There's a lot going on here - first, I didn't establish and maintain the centerline for the frames well enough and the keel and deck stringer notches had to be widened to allow the keel and stringer to sit straight. Luckily the building technique is forgiving. Second, I tore up the first frame attempting to cut it with the wrong tool - I've learned that a jigsaw with the proper blade for plywood is pure joy and anything else is torture.

    Oh, I've also recently learned that leaning plywood against the wall of my wobbly little workshop isn't a good idea and it now has a slight lean to the left...

    The frame would eventually be entirely lashed - I don't any photos of that for some reason but you'll see the lashing when I show the skinning and coaming construction. The nice thing about lashing is that you can easily correct mistakes - I lashed most joints twice before the whole thing was done. If I had glued/pegged, correcting mistakes would have been more difficult and expensive.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: SOF workshop, then kayak

    Nice kayak ,I have been thinking of a skin on frame kayak build this winter. Thanks for posting the photos. Did the plans call for 1/2 ply frames?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: SOF workshop, then kayak

    Thanks - yes, most modern SOF craft of this type uses 1/2 inch marine ply.

    Regrettably, I don't have any pictures of the bow/stern panels (one of the trickiest parts because it's not defined in the plans). I made them out of 1/2 inch doug fir "marine" ply because I wanted to see the quality of the stuff in this area and how it compared to the hydrotek. Suffice to say, more voids than I would have expected and not a real substitute. So, the frame was lashed with waxed nylon ("artificial sinew") and oiled with tung oil (not a tung oil varnish, just 100% tung oil thinned with d-limoene - pleasant smelling and nice to work with). The frame took probably 5 coats.

    I made an attempt to make a steam bent laminated white oak coaming with a jig like:



    but either my oak was too dry, not steamed well enough, too thick, or a combination of the above and I couldn't create anything worthwhile. I eventually resorted to a stacked plywood coaming after coming up with a method that didn't waste an entire sheet of plywood - basically, I cut 6 C-shaped half-ovals that overlapped and then glued them up with the overlaps staggered. These might help visualize it:





    I did manage to laminate a small white oak lip onto this frame and varnished the heck out of it:



    You can see here the mildew I mentioned and also some of the lashed frame. I added two stocky white oak rear deck stringers that can be see here also (copied from the Cape Falcon F1)
    Last edited by gnack; 07-17-2013 at 05:13 PM. Reason: spelling

  8. #8
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    Default Re: SOF workshop, then kayak

    Other than some carved white oak deck line toggles, that's pretty much the extent of the wood-working for the boat. Next I had to actually make it float. Following the many excellent videos online, it's skinned with 9 oz nylon from skinboats.com:





    I started with the rear deck and added a small oak batten to help keep the seam straight.







    This part was not as difficult as I expected.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: SOF workshop, then kayak

    I then trimmed the excess fabric and whip-stitched the rolled remains into the neat center seam you see on SOF kayaks. I don't have any intermediate photos, just the finished product, with the coaming attached:



    I used a method for attaching the coaming that worked well, described here: http://dreed.com/boat-building/SeaTour15/skinning.html (another excellent build resource). I completely forgot to mention that I mounted some slidelock foot braces on the gunwales and that the floorboards are doug fir, also lashed to the frame. The kayak stand/saw horses are a freely available CLC boats design, if anyone is interested (http://www.clcboats.com/shoptips/sti...es_slings.html)





    Next came my first attempt to dye the fabric, using the skinboats.com acid dye:



    This looked OK wet but a little too brown - I wanted more of a "burnt sienna" (thank you, Crayola). When it dried, the color practically disappeared and I wasn't convinced it was even bonded to the fabric. I eventually ended up using some really inexpensive Rit acid dye from Michaels and got it to stick with a nice burnt orange color.

    I should also explain the anorexic-looking rear deck - I didn't add the full length rear deck stringers the plan obviously expected (like the bow and stern, the deck stringers were not really detailed in the "plans") and didn't realize the consequence until everything was stitched and I was ready for this project to leave the workshop. When/if I reskin it in the future, I'll trim that rear frame down to make the rear deck flat.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: SOF workshop, then kayak

    Excellent! She certainly looks the goods and I like the colour. Great series of pics too.
    Thanks.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: SOF workshop, then kayak

    Thanks. Here's the final color after the skinboats.com 2-part urethane coating (aka Corey's goop):










    A couple of comments about the urethane coating - it was a lot easier to apply to the flat bottom than to the bumpy deck. The pot life/working time for the goop was 15-20 minutes in the temperature/humidity I was working in which was workable, but not ideal. I also ran out before I got what I considered an adequate coating on the deck (I started with the bottom) so next time I'd order more - either the half-order or "touch up" order that skinboats offers. I'm sure the deck is water-proof enough, it just looks less uniformly glossy than the bottom.

    The deck lines are latigo leather than I cut myself from a scrap slab from Tandy Leather and a simple tool like this:



    I just couldn't find the color and width of latigo lace that I wanted and followed the suggestions of others on this forum for buying scraps or hide sections from a leather shop (for oar leathers or mast step padding) and cut it myself. Good advice. I was also able to cut the beefy bow and stern handles that are tied through the gunwales to provide towing access points. I followed Brian Schulz's instructions for installing the deck lines here: http://capefalconkayak.com/decklines.html

  12. #12
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    Default Re: SOF workshop, then kayak

    And, finally, I launched the kayak this last Sunday, July 14 at Shoreline Park in Mt. View (small, calm salt water lake):





    Sorry, no pictures of me or the boat in the water since I was solo that day.

    I'm a kayaking noob so I can't comment on it's technical attributes. All I can say is that it floats, was very dry, travels straight well, turns quickly less well (but I'm more experienced in something more agile like a canoe), is a tad more tippy than I expected, and is about as much fun per dollar that I've had on the water in a while. I can't wait to go again - to become more comfortable/balanced, learn bracing, rolling, wet exit/re-entry, learn to edge turn...I've been part of a Sea Kayaking group in the area for about 3 months now and finally have something of my own to join in with.

    I should also add that I have float bags (again, from skinboats) in the bow and stern - absolutely essential piece of safety equipment for a boat like this.

    Given that my model was this (Cape Falcon F1):



    I'd say the Sea Tour came pretty close. Hopefully some day I'll have the chance to build a boat with Brian Schulz and I can show him my plywood homage.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: SOF workshop, then kayak

    One other note about the kayak and I'm 98% sure I didn't make any mistakes, but it has very little rocker. Notice that Brian Schulz's F1 has quite a bit of rocker. I was surprised early on and checked my measurements but this appears to be intentional. You can actually see this flatness in the offsets:




    The "Keel" column is the "height above baseline" in inches. Anyway, the point being that this design is intended for touring and efficient forward motion, not agile lateral motion.

    Also, funny story about the patch that you can see in my SOF workshop in comment 11. About a year ago some animal (never identified, most likely a racoon) decided that it needed to eat it's way into the workshop and chewed/tore a hole in the side and put a bunch of teeth marks in the front door tarps. The hole in the side was right where a trash bag was hanging so I emptied the bag - I can't imagine what it wanted in the trash since it only had paper towels with glue, nitrile gloves, plastic, plywood scraps, dried tung oil rags, etc. The animal came back about 3 times but I was never able to see what it was. I patched the hole from the inside with some canvas scraps. The funny part of the whole story is that the back of the workshop was completely open the whole time - I had removed the rear tarp doors at that point so if this stupid animal wanted something in the workshop, all it had to do was walk around to the back.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: SOF workshop, then kayak

    I have an Oughtred Whilly Boat that I'm restoring (seen covered in comment 2) so I promise I'll create a thread about that for those not interested in SOF kayaks (or SOF workshops).
    I wanted this thread to be a general intro and to help make the point that it's worthwhile to scratch out a little space for yourself. I thought for years that it wasn't worth the battle, it wasn't worth the cost, it wasn't worth the time, etc. I'm guessing I'm like many folks here - with a spouse/sig. other, kids, job, and dreams. I was living a life focused around the spouse (in my case), the kids, and the job but not focused at all around the dreams. When I stood up and fought for my 8x12 foot shop space I thought it would be a nice hobby - a nice place to create and blow off steam. What I've learned in the last 2 years is that it's more than that - even with only ~2 Sundays a month of actual shop time that little 8x12 foot space has become the part of my life where I focus on the dream. That dream - a kayak, a Sooty Tern, sailing the Carib on an 34 foot wooden ketch, whatever - is now as much a part of my life as anniversaries, helping with homework, and paychecks. My children seem to understand and support this - they love boats and a dad that creates and follows his dreams. Others, maybe not so much.

    There was a thread some time ago where a guy posted that he was selling some small sailboat because his wife told him he had to. I can't seem to find the thread but please, don't become that guy. Move some dirt, screw some frames together and cover it with canvas, subdivide a room, rent a garage - whatever it takes to stake out some space. It'll be worth it, trust me. Is this good marital or relationship advice? I don't know - this is the Building / Repair forum, not the Marital Advice forum.

    My only advice is - BUILD IT!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: SOF workshop, then kayak

    Clever idea on the shed and really nice work on the kayak!

    I did chuckle a bit when I saw that roof. You clearly live someplace where snow is not an issue! Up here in New England a roof that size would need to be able to handle something in the order of 1 1/2 TONS of snow (or 2 1/2 to 3 tons in snowy areas of New England)!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: SOF workshop, then kayak

    Yes, I'm definitely lucky in that regard. I mentioned I had height constraints - I had to keep the "view from the street" very minimal. I think I used the lowest roof pitch I felt would drain water (12/1 or 12/2 I can't remember). I'm also pretty short (5'6") so I could get away with a shorter roof.

    Here's what the street view looked like when I finished:



    I'm so glad that ugly old fence is gone. With the new fence and double gate, both of which are taller, you can't see the workshop from the street.

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