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Thread: A kayak for Caroline

  1. #1
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    Default A kayak for Caroline

    I've been promising my wife, Caroline, I'd make her a kayak for about 4 years now. So the project is overdue. She's been paddling a very comfortable but heavy and clunky poly Necky Manitou for the past 10 years. And every time we put it on the car, it feels like it has gained a bit more weight.

    The new boat will be a Nick Schade Petrel Play, done up to his stich and glue plans. I've paddled two versions of this boat, one a stripper made by a friend, the other a carbon composite made by Joey Schott of Turning Point Boatworks in Virginia. It's the best all-around kayak I've paddled. Very light and maneuverable at just 14' long. But with a 14' waterline length and moderate beam it's quicker than you might expect for its overall length. Its has enough rocker for serious play in waves, but can also take on the roll of a top-of-the-line rec boat. This latter will be how Caroline's boat will be used.

    So there won't be any thigh pads but there will be a comfortable seat. And it must be pretty.

    So here's the general look of the Petrel Play, my color added as party of the finishing study:

    Concept - stained blue-magenta.jpg
    -Dave

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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    I don't expect to go into a lot of detail in this thread. The construction will be routine stitch and glue -- 4 oz.glass over 4mm okoume play.

    But I do want to pick the group mind over a finishing technique I haven't tried before -- using fabric under the glass for a patterned effect. I've put together a couple of samples.

    Here's the color scheme. Top deck panel with the fabric, side deck panels magenta, and hull itself dark blue. The solid colors are water-based stain. The fabric is a polyester print. Are special techniques needed to get the fabric to lie flat and bond well? It feels like I'm embedding a sheet of peel ply in the layup. My initial tests show that I need to stain or paint the wood white to get good color showing in the fabric. Has anyone experimented with this? All advice appreciated.

    Petrel Play color plan.jpg
    -Dave

  3. #3
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Has anyone experimented with this? All advice appreciated.

    I've done some cloth-under-FG on some paddleboards. I learned a lot from the first one.

    Test for colorfastness in the presence of prolonged sunlight exposure. The first paddleboard cloth faded from vivid tropical colors to drab after a couple of months, even with Epifanes varnish on top.

    Be very careful about bubbles forming under the cloth. The cloth held bubbles more readily than FG and they were hard to get out. I would consider placing the cloth under a separate 1 or 2 oz FG layer sized a little bigger than the cloth to ease handling. Do this either on top of the 4oz or underneath.

    Fraying was a problem. I cut the cloth into a somewhat complex pattern and got lots of loose threads. I solved this by spraying the cloth with a good dose of spray starch. It held the pattern well during cutting. The starched cloth easily bonded with the epoxy.

    I hope this helps some.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    I'll be following.
    I have some 4mm to use up...and I am kayak-less at the time.
    Interested to see how it comes out.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Yevsky View Post
    I've done some cloth-under-FG on some paddleboards. I learned a lot from the first one.

    Test for colorfastness in the presence of prolonged sunlight exposure. The first paddleboard cloth faded from vivid tropical colors to drab after a couple of months, even with Epifanes varnish on top.

    Be very careful about bubbles forming under the cloth. The cloth held bubbles more readily than FG and they were hard to get out. I would consider placing the cloth under a separate 1 or 2 oz FG layer sized a little bigger than the cloth to ease handling. Do this either on top of the 4oz or underneath.

    Fraying was a problem. I cut the cloth into a somewhat complex pattern and got lots of loose threads. I solved this by spraying the cloth with a good dose of spray starch. It held the pattern well during cutting. The starched cloth easily bonded with the epoxy.

    I hope this helps some.
    Thanks. Good info. The cloth is purchased, so I'll have to live with it. I did not consider the colorfastness question. I'll give it extra coats of varnish for insurance. This boat won't see the tropics, so that should help. I did see the bubble issue on one sample. The first try was on wood that had been wetted out, and I didn't get bubbles. The second test was to see if the epoxy would saturate the cloth from the top down. That produced lots of bubbles and the cloth didn't stay flat. But those were small pieces. I can see working a 6-foot long piece might be a challenge.

    I'm thinking of dealing with the edges by laying it out oversize and them trimming after the epoxy has kicked. I don't plan on cutting out shapes, so there won't be any raw edges.
    -Dave

  6. #6
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    I think there are some threads on the CLC builder's website where folks have done that. You might peek in there.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    I think there are some threads on the CLC builder's website where folks have done that. You might peek in there.
    Thanks. I'll check it out.

    ....

    And yes, there is a tutorial: https://www.clcboats.com/shoptips/fi...s/fabrics.html
    Last edited by Woxbox; 02-06-2022 at 07:47 PM.
    -Dave

  8. #8
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Thats a bold color scheme, glad you're trying something different.

    I'm personally never going to do wood look ever again. Too easily damaged.
    Or I'm too lazy, or both.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    The sample is coming together. I've found that if I squeegee the cloth carefully but fully after getting it saturated with epoxy, it will lie flat. Here's a test/practice unit with glass cloth and one fill coat.

    Sample section.jpg
    -Dave

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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Here's what you get with the Guillemot Kayaks plans. Full size patterns for everything, plus the step-by-step instruction book that Nick Schade wrote to go with the CNC kit for this same boat sold by Chesapeake Light Craft.

    The CLC kit supplies the panels cut to size and even drilled for the temporary wire ties. But by working from scratch from the plans, you save a few hundred dollars and, equally importantly, have the ability to make adjustments. The plans offer a couple of ways to do the hatches, for example. And if you want a different size cockpit or coaming design, of course that's wide open when the wood has not been cut for you. There's also the option to move the bulkheads fore or aft.

    For this boat, I've purchased a more comfy seat than the one provided with the kit and I'm going with flush Armstrong hatches. The kit and production Petrel Plays have recesses in which conventional plastic/rubber hatches are fit. So you build in the fussy recess so the tall hatch winds up flush with the deck line. The Armstrong hatch fits flat to begin with. I put one on my dedicated rolling boat. Installation is dead simple and it does not leak a drop -- and this in a boat that's upside down a good deal of the time.

    So here you have two sheets of 4mm okoume, ripped down the middle, scarfed into to long pieces, then stacked and pinned together. The pattern is held down with a light spray-on adhesive. And now the cutting begins.


    Hull panels cut web.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    -Dave

  11. #11
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Here's what you get with the Guillemot Kayaks plans. Full size patterns for everything, plus the step-by-step instruction book that Nick Schade wrote to go with the CNC kit for this same boat sold by Chesapeake Light Craft.

    The CLC kit supplies the panels cut to size and even drilled for the temporary wire ties. But by working from scratch from the plans, you save a few hundred dollars and, equally importantly, have the ability to make adjustments. The plans offer a couple of ways to do the hatches, for example. And if you want a different size cockpit or coaming design, of course that's wide open when the wood has not been cut for you. There's also the option to move the bulkheads fore or aft.

    For this boat, I've purchased a more comfy seat than the one provided with the kit and I'm going with flush Armstrong hatches. The kit and production Petrel Plays have recesses in which conventional plastic/rubber hatches are fit. So you build in the fussy recess so the tall hatch winds up flush with the deck line. The Armstrong hatch fits flat to begin with. I put one on my dedicated rolling boat. Installation is dead simple and it does not leak a drop -- and this in a boat that's upside down a good deal of the time.

    So here you have two sheets of 4mm okoume, ripped down the middle, scarfed into two long pieces, then stacked and pinned together. The pattern is held down with a light spray-on adhesive. And now the cutting begins.


    Hull panels cut web.jpg
    -Dave

  12. #12
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    I like it, Dave.

    Following!

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Been away from home a bit so work has been slow, but I've got all the pieces cut out, sanded and edges beveled so they will, hopefully, mate agreeably. So now the stain goes on. These six pieces will be stitched together to make the hull.

    Sanded, beveled and stained.jpg
    -Dave

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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    And here are the panels that will be pulled together to form the deck structure. The white surfaces will be covered with the fabric. My tests showed that the colors in the light satin fabric are vibrant over white and lose a lot over any other tone, including the bare okoume.

    13 Deck panels stained, painted.jpg
    -Dave

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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    I stitched the hull panels together this afternoon. This is the initial assembly. I'll be spending a lot of time tweaking to get all the seams tight and the hull straight and symmetrical before the shape gets locked in with epoxy and glass.

    Hull panels stitched - bow.jpg
    -Dave

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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Looks good from here!.....

  17. #17
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Inside of hull filleted and glassed. After trimming the excess cloth, I'll flip it and get the bottom done.

    17 Insie glassed.jpg
    -Dave

  18. #18
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Looking good and that's a nice looking design.
    "Yeah, well, that's just, like your opinion man"
    -The Dude-

  19. #19
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    I trimmed the excess cloth and flipped the hull to see how things look on the side that will show. Not too bad. All the chines need to be sanded out, filled, faired and stained. Stem and stern need shaping. But you can see the hull shape here. It's a crafty design -- 6 panels forward meld into 4 panels aft. This gives the boat a nice entry with good bearing in the after sections for stability, surfing and countering squatting when the 14'6" hull is pushed.

    18 Hull flipped - bow.jpg

    19 Hull flipped - stern.jpg
    -Dave

  20. #20
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    Default

    Looks good, Wox!

    Kevin


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    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    So the directions advised to stain the panels before assembly. It makes sense -- if epoxy saturates unstained wood, it would be a job to get the finish right. So I stained them, but when I flipped the hull there wasn't epoxy on the outside anywhere. But there was a lot of sanding, filling and some fairing to do. So after all of that, this is what was left of the original stain.

    20 Sanded, filled and faired.jpg

    After taking it down to more wood than stain, it was time to put on a fresh coat. This is MinWax water-based stain. It pretty heavy stuff, although some grain does show after it dries. Much more so in the lighter color, of course. I'll give this a light sanding, fill some small voids the stain pointed out to me, and then it will be time to glass. I'm mixing a deep blue mineral colorant into the fill epoxy to match the color.

    21 Stain renewed.jpg
    -Dave

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    Default

    Wox, can you speak more about the epoxy colorant? What is special about it? How does one select it? Where can it be purchased?

    Thanks
    Kevjn


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  23. #23
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Kevin, I'm not expert at this, but I've been coloring epoxy for a long time. I started at it when I wanted to see the surface I was finishing better, having been frustrated with slight irregularities and pinholes showing up when the first coat of paint went on. So I started using a System III product that was basically resin with a lot of titanium dioxide mixed in. This turns the epoxy white, of course.

    My next step was to buy containers of titanium dioxide at the local art supply store -- it's a fine powder -- and just mix that into the epoxy. This is good if you want to see the surface well, and especially good if the boat is going to be white. Scratches don't show half as much.

    More recently I've used mineral pigments to match the epoxy to the boat, or to put a more solid layer of color in the fill coats. For example, I put kevlar keelstrips on a couple of kayaks. The white boat got titanium dioxide mixed into the fill coats; the wood stained brown boat got a brown mineral pigment mixed in.

    For the current project, I bought a pack of a dozen pigments of different colors. I didn't want the touch-up epoxy to stand out, of course, because this boat will be finished clear. So I mixed some blue and black to get as close as I could to the color of the stain. What you see here is some fill where the bottom panels didn't come together quite tightly enough. I used the same mix to fill the holes left by the copper ties. If you go to Amazon and search for "mineral pigment" you'll find that the crafters are using this stuff for all sorts of things.

    The key is to make sure you're just buying a mineral-based powder. No liquids or reactive, organic materials involved. A small amount goes a long way.

    Mineral dyes.jpg
    -Dave

  24. #24
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    Default A kayak for Caroline

    That is awesome.
    Thanks for taking the time to compose that post!

    Kevin


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    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Yes. Very interesting. ↑

  26. #26
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Wox, can you speak more about the epoxy colorant? What is special about it? How does one select it? Where can it be purchased?
    Just an FYI, US Composites has epoxy colorants in liquid form. I've used them and had no problems at all. I'm sure Wox's recommendations are fine but for chemically ignorant builders like myself, knowing that these are compatible is reassuring.

    http://www.uscomposites.com/pigments.html

  27. #27
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Not much to update over the past four weeks. The weather's been warming and I've been out playing. But I did get the kevlar keel strip on, faired it out and cleaned up the rest of the hull some. I'll put this aside now and start assembling the deck structure. The keel strip is 3" wide. I first tried mixing pigment to match the blue stain on the hull but wasn't happy with the almost-but-not-quite match. So I shifted gears and used this brown pigment I had on hand. It has some sparkle in it.

    22 Hull done.jpg
    -Dave

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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    I've put the hull out in the garage to make room for the next step. Today, I wired together the deck pieces. The fit isn't quite there all around, so I've got some fiddling to do before I can cinch everything tight and open the glue bottle.

    The structure shows Nick Shade's trademark tumblehome deck shape for plywood yaks. Once you paddle a boat with the cutaway sides like this, you'll never be happy in a boat with a wide, flat deck. The white panels will take the fabric overlay displayed in Post #2.

    23 Deck pieces wired together.jpg
    -Dave

  29. #29
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Three weeks have slipped by with small progress. Been out sailing and stuff. But I got back to it the last couple of days. I flipped over the deck and put in the fillets. I'm trying a new product for this, and so far I'm really liking it. System Three Gelmagic. Two pots of goop, two different colors. You weigh out 2:1 in a cup, mix 'er up till the color is even (and them some more for good measure), and the result is a really smooth, easily spreadable fillet compound. (No, I don't have stock in the company, etc.) It went down much more quickly and smoothly than all the other mixes I've tried. The hull seams were done with MAS thickened with a bit of wood flour and a lot of Cel-O-Fil, a MAS product.

    Gelmagic.jpg

    I spread it along the seams with a silicone spatula. One swipe and it lays down very smooth. The other mixtures I've tried all require some degree of sanding. Now I've got all the seams laying flat. The label says you can work overhead, too. I'd have to try this to believe it, because it does not have that peanut butter consistency that we generally go for in this application. It's more like Crisco. Here's a sample -- ready for a layer of glass.


    Gelmagic fillet.jpg
    -Dave

  30. #30
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Three weeks have slipped by with small progress. Been out sailing and stuff. But I got back to it the last couple of days. I flipped over the deck and put in the fillets. I'm trying a new product for this, and so far I'm really liking it. System Three Gelmagic. Two pots of goop, two different colors. You weigh out 2:1 in a cup, mix 'er up till the color is even (and them some more for good measure), and the result is a really smooth, easily spreadable fillet compound. (No, I don't have stock in the company, etc.) It went down much more quickly and smoothly than all the other mixes I've tried. The hull seams were done with MAS thickened with a bit of wood flour and a lot of Cel-O-Fil, a MAS product.

    Gelmagic.jpg

    I spread it along the seams with a silicone spatula. One swipe and it lays down very smooth. The other mixtures I've tried all require some degree of sanding. Now I've got all the seams laying flat. The label says you can work overhead, too. I'd have to try this to believe it, because it does not have that peanut butter consistency that we generally go for in this application. It's more like Crisco. Here's a sample -- ready for a layer of glass.


    Gelmagic fillet.jpg


    Nice!


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    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Glassed the underside of the deck; added reinforcement for the hatch openings then cut the holes; added a cleat to flatten the deck where it didn't want to be flat -- this will also brace the after bulkhead -- and applied a couple of coats of goop to fill the weave. Almost ready to flip for the fourth and final surface.

    Deck ready to turn.jpg
    -Dave

  32. #32
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Lucky girl this Caroline!!!

  33. #33
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Are you joining the deck and hull with a stringer or more fillet/tape? Just curious. Attaching the deck is always the difficult (fun?) part in a hard kayak.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Following Wox thanks. I’ve always been interested in building a kayak but….life

  35. #35
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    Default Re: A kayak for Caroline

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    Are you joining the deck and hull with a stringer or more fillet/tape? Just curious. Attaching the deck is always the difficult (fun?) part in a hard kayak.
    Tape for this one. But yeah, there's no easy method. At least at 14' the ends aren't so far from the hatches.
    -Dave

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