This will be my first strip kayak, a Guillemot Kayaks Guillemot





 This one will be for my Marine Scientist daughter, so I'll be incorporating an appropriate deck inlay from CLC:





I'm building this kayak from the design information provided in Nick Schade's book, "The Strip-Built Sea Kayak". This was an early Christmas present to me, and is a great book.

I took the offset data for the Guillemot from the book and entered it in an Excel Spreadsheet. From that I was able to produce script files to use with a CAD program. The script command in CAD will read the .scr file and draw the spline curve for each form rather than having to enter each point manually. Once drawn, a mirror command draws the other half to make a full form. My CAD drawings are 1:1 detail, so these can be printed to make exact forms. I set up my drawings so I could plot them full size, or plot to a home letter size printer and tape the indexed sheets together.

I've started building the strongback using reclaimed 1x12 planks that were formerly basement shelves. These are at least 30 years old, warped, cupped, and 'dimensionally challenged'. They splintered badly in the routing process. The end result is not pretty.

Here's the design file: What it should look like.bmp

strongback for Guillemot

As Forrest Gump might say, "Some days there just aren't enough clamps."



Here's the end result. It's usable, but calling it a manufactured beam is a real stretch. It came out 1/8 wider than planned, 2 1/8, and there's two changes in direction along the length. Not real sure how I managed to do that. Anyway, I can get a straight line down the length, so I'm making my beam cutouts on my forms 2 1/2 by 4, and forms 6,7,8 and 9 will need a little extra trimmed out to hit the center line. This is the end of this re-claimed lumber, so I'll be happy to build the next strongback with plywood from this century.












Lots of progress. Forms mounted, strongback lifted out of the way for strip fabrication.


Strips made from pine mostly, with some (too expensive) RWC for accents. I got a good deal on some fairly clear grain pine boards at $0.75 a board foot.  Still looking for white cedar for the next boat.


I re-did the end-forms in plywood. I wasn't happy with the press-board's strength. I added internal stems from maple.


Safety gear. Although after 19 years of fire fighting I'm convinced I can't be killed, my wife disagrees and insists I protect her investment.

Got a lot of strips done this weekend. I had worried about the complexities of this, but once started, it becomes a pleasure to do. Fitting filler pieces wasn't as hard as I'd thought either.



Finished stripping the hull tonight.


Everyone's a critic...

Incidently, the picture in the background is my first dive-buddy.




Deck stripped, cockpit cut, recess inlays started.




Staples out, planed, sanded, wet-down to swell staple holes.

Foot Braces from Nick's book. Maple bases, 1/2 plywood.


Long overdue update.

Lots of work done. Fiberglassed inside and out, Custom overlay on deck.



All ready to fit the foot brace and joint the halves.


I screwed up big time. I let the hull rest in slings (without spacers) after an initial seal coat of epoxy but before glassing during a humid few weeks, then after glassing, I discovered it had deformed a lot. No way could it be coaxed back into shape. Big mistake, and lesson learned. It's now going to be the most unique toboggan in town this winter.


So, after spending some time kicking my own arse, I sucked it up and decided to build the hull again. I attached the finished deck back to the forms for a good fit for the first strips, and got on with it.

I decided to go with the running bevel instead of bead and cove. God knows I've acquired some time to hone my planeing skills. It went very well. I'll be doing this from now on.

The original hull was my first venture with strip construction, so I was able to apply the lessons I've learned and the experience to make a hull with a nicer look and much better fit and finish. Here it is with the first seal coat on. All WRC.


Span sticks, inside hull work.


I've made up several shear span sticks, and am making more tonight. Span Stick Cut List file here.



Hatch design:

bmp drawing.

dwg drawing.


And Hip Plates design:

*** Not invented here, Nick or Vaclav originals, not sure whose book I got initial design from ***

jpg drawing.

dwg drawing.



Seal coat of epoxy on inside of hull. In order to put the span sticks back in place I used pieces of wax paper for release material.




Coaming risers done. Glassed and cut to height. Hatches cut out. That is a nerve racking process.




Drawing in JPG and DWG for lines, bungies and hatches. Updated with more tie down points.



Hatch Lips and magnets.

I considered several methods for the inner hatch lip and retaining system. I decided to go with a wood lip made from left over strips and to use magnets. I looked at a site that detailed using many small pieces glued perpendicular to the opening to create the lip, but the deck angles of the guillemot are too acute for this to work. It would work fine for a flatter deck. I came up with my own idea to use long strips in the same orientation as the deck strips to form one solid piece that covered the opening with about 1 1/2 inches of 'underlap' to glue (thickened epoxy) to the underside of the deck.

I masked the inside of the deck then using wood glue in left over bead and cove strips and hot glue to hold them in position made the front and back pieces.

Edges are rounded over with a surform tool to merge into the indide deck. Cut lines are layed out and locating strips are hot glued on to position it for gluing. They are then glued in with sawdust thickened epoxy.

Opening is cut out with jigsaw with Bosch T101/A0 blade (One Ocean Kayak recomendation for accurate work). It turns out my Dewalt jigsaw cuts exactly 1 1/2 inches from the foot edge to the blade center. This is the dimension I wanted in the end, so I just tilted the back of the saw up so the front corner of the foot followed the inside edge of the hatch opening.

I'm using 3/4 by 1/8 epoxy coated rare earth magnets. I used four per side, spaced at 3 1/2, 7, 10 1/2 and 14 on the long axis from the top of the wide end of the hatch. I have 3/16 gasket material, so the holes are 3/4 in from the edge. I made a bristol-board template with 1/16 pilot holes for layout, then a 3/4 forstner drill bit to make the resess holes. The lip edges are rounded over, the magnets are epoxied in.

Next step will be to use the template to place the magnets in the hatches, fit the weather seal and test the final fit. The dry fit looks promising. I haven't decided on a hatch pull yet. I'd prefer to use a finger grip at the side rather than a web loop. I'll see how much grab the magnets have before I commit to a method.



Hatch covers fitted with magnets.

I used the same pattern as above. These are two 3/4" Forstner bits. One has the center piece filed flat. The hole is piloted with the pattern, started with the intact bit, and finished to depth with the modified bit so the point doesn't poke through the hatch top.


The magnets are tested for orientation with those already installed in the hatch lips. The attracting (correct) face is ID'ed with stationary whiteout.

They're all laid out for insertion once epoxy is brushed into all the recesses. You have to space these out carefully. They're like back-country cousins.

The next morning the whiteout can be scraped off (carefully), and a full epoxy coat applied.



First try at waterproof seals for hatches. Not satisfied so far. I'll try thinner or more compressable material.

I used this stuff I found at Home Hardware, 1/4 x 3/8 weather seal.

I'll give it 24 hours to see if it compresses more, but for now it's too stiff. The hatch sits high, and the seal break force is too low.

I have eight magnet pairs, which I think is enough. Without the seal material it takes at least 17 1/2 pounds force to break the seal.

The seal I used will hold at 5 pounds of force, but not more. More magnet pairs might do it, but I'm going to start with thinner seal material.

On the other hand, some things are going well. Here's my first custom CF fittings for hatch retaining bungies, and my CF coaming rim.

Later, that same day...


Did some trimming of the seal material with the Dremel tool with a 420 cut off wheel. Good results. The hatch just breaks free at 10 pounds now, and sits lower.



Instead of end pours, I made custom fit pieces of oak to fit in the bow and stern bottom half of the shell. I'll drill these out for bow/stern lines later. They're sturdy, 6" long and taper down to 2 1/2" deep. Lots of material. I put these in yesterday with thickened epoxy, and trimmed them in today.

I tested the fit of the shell halves. Looking good. I've got a few CF fittings to glue into the deck underside, then it's hull joining time.



On another project this week, I had a good lesson in table saw safety. I'm always careful with line of fire precautions and careful feeding. I was trimming the edge of a piece of roughcut pine board I was machining into 1x3 for a project. The trimmed piece got grabbed by the blade after the cut and shot across the shop to the laundry room door. It actually went half way through the hollow core door. Oops.



Joining the halves together.


This has gone much easier than I'd feared. The inside seams are done using this 'well hung boat' contraption.

It's sanded and ready for the outer seams. Here's my grandson test-fitting aunt Shanna's boat.


Good weekend. Made the seat, did several wet-sandings of the whole boat.

Made bow and stern line pass-throughs. Used nominal 1/2" plastic plumbing pipe. It's OD is just over 3/8". so drilled holes 3/8" and the pipe is an interference fit into the hole. There's oak pieces inside the tips rather than end-pours.

Last step this weekend was to make  rotisserie attachments for the sling stands so the varnishing can be done without having to turn the boat in slings.







First coat of varnish "on to her"



Ready for the water at last.



 23 May 2011

Launch day for the Guillemot