Stripping the hull, part 2

April 2 - still working on the second half of the bottom of the hull. Fitting two ends is really time-consuming. Tonight, it took 90 minutes and two trashed strips before I came up with a third that was acceptable. Not perfect, but acceptable. Only a half-dozen or so to go.

The second shot is a good photo of the bead-and-cove shaping, where two strips have been filed back at the centerline.

April 4 - Strip-Fitting 101

Here are the steps I go through to fit a strip. There are probably dozens of ways to do this, but this is my process:

1. 2.

First I take a strip and clamp it roughly into place (1). That way I can mess with the ends and know I've compensated for the arc in the placed strip. Then, I hold an end over the area to be fitted (2), and using a pencil and piece of another strip, mark the angle to be cut.

3. 4.

Using a knife and straight edge, I cut the strip as marked (3). Of course, this is never 100% correct. I then use a plane, flat file, and round file to try to get the piece fitted in as close as possible. Here (4) it's darn close - close enough for me, and schmutz-able if any gaps remain after fairing.

5. 6.

Once one end is fitted, I make a couple alignment marks (5) so when I take the strip out and start the process on the other end, I can work back to the marks to make sure the length is correct. If not, you end up short, or - more likely - long, as in (6). Both ends fit well, but the strip overall was still a bit long. At that point, I have to go back and shave down one end, and hope that it still fits as well as it did before. If all works out...


... it snaps into place, the strip is glued in, and the alignment marks magically align. For the record, this strip was the first one I worked on, and was done in just under an hour.

April 8 - the hull is stripped. The last "football" was finished this morning, after much fitting, adjusting, fitting, more adjusting, etc. It's not perfect, but the fit is pretty good. I had one narrow gap that I filled with a shaving from the block plane, and one end wasn't quite long enough - which I filled with a sliver leftover from cutting another piece to fit.

Next up - trimming down the bow and stern strips to attach the outer stems. As you can see from the bow above, right now they're all hanging ragged, proud of the inside stem... it'll take some manual labor to make them flush. I'm starting on the stern first - hopefully I'll make minimal mistakes there, and if I do screw up, I'll know better when I work on the bow.

April 13 - a short break in the action. I'm not totally happy with how the pre-laminated outside stems are fitting to the boat. So, Joe from Redfish will be sending out some new yellow cedar strips, which I'll laminate directly onto the boat. In the meantime, I'll try pulling some staples and commence with some fairing.

April 17 - new stem strips are on their way! In the interim - most staples are out (except some along the sheer, and on the first and last forms). In the name of all rivers great and small - what a pain, pulling those out without causing any damage to the wood. I've been wetting the wood to raise the grain over the staple holes, hoping to minimize them a bit. The section in between the middle forms is planed...

Rough wood: Planed:

And there's got to be something I can do with all this...

April 29 - stems are laminated on, and planing continues. The stern stem has been shaped down, and an initial rough-sanding done. Bow stem still needs to be started. Most of the boat has been planed, and I've started sanding on the stern, moving forward.

Stern before: And shaped:

Bow being laminated:

June 4 - after a five-week hiatus for a trip to Florida and another foot surgery, I'm back in the basement. External stems are on and shaped. Using the random orbit sander and an interface pad to even out the pressure on curved surfaces, one side of the kayak is almost completely sanded. I also filled the staple holes (yes, I know I said I was going to leave them) with wood filler rubbed on with a fingertip. I like the light spots where the holes were, rather than the dark holes themselves. Next up - I'll need to touch up a few gaps here and there, and then it's on to epoxy and fiberglass.

Hard to see the holes, right?

June 9 - Faired. As much as it's going to be, anyway. Time to commit all my mistakes to a coat of epoxy!