Thursday, February 3, 2011

Who's the fairest in the land . . .?

Having roughly stitched the hull together, the next job is to make sure that everything is fair. This took a bit of fooling about. Most crucial is the keel line. Even if you  know nothing about boats, you'll understand that a straight keel is critical - unless, of course, you want to go around in circles!!  With a bent keel, not only will your never go straight, it will also look dumb when you view the boat while it's upsidedown!!  I was fortunate in that my keel was dead straight right from the get go. It was not so fair on the profile curve, i.e., the curve of the rocker, but  few minor adjustments and all was good.

I found that the "busy" background was making it hard to focus on the just the keel so I placed a large sheet of cardboard behind the hull and badda bomm, badda bing, no problems in picking out the lumps and dips.

Cardboard used to silence the noisy background

After fairing the keel, I moved onto the chines. Again, there was a little bit of tweaking but no big ordeals.  The problem with faring the chines is that the copper sutures break up the sight line making it hard to focus on the smooth curves.  At this point I was referring to the kayak as the "porcupine boat"  The wire sutures were hooking into my clothes and worse of all, they were getting dangerously close to my eyes as I leaned in close to sight down the chines!!

I ran into a problem with one of the bow panels. For some reason it wanted to curve/bow on it's own. To make it worse it was warping away from the intended curve and was throwing the whole shape of the bow out of whack. I tried to bring it back into straightness using steam, hot water, clamps and straight edges but to no avail. After much sweating, cursing and fretting, I came up with a solution that will work. Here's a shot of the bent panel but unfortunatley I have no picture of the "solution"  Once I flip the hull back over, I will capture an image and explain.  The main thing is that the crisis was averted and work resumed as per normal.

Warped panel on the right.
Once I had the hull lines all faired, the next step was to tack the joins. The tack only has to be strong enough to hold the panels in place while the glassing and such is done. I mixed up some West System epoxy along with 406 Colloidal Silica to form a paste that I could work into the joins. Using a tip I gleaned from Moores and Rossel's book Kayaks You Can Build: An illustrated guide to plywood construction, I ran masking tape along each side of the join to prevent excess epoxy from getting on the hull. I've seen other people slap the epoxy on only to find out it's a bastage to remove after its dried.!!! 

Tools of the trade

Stern View

Bow View
Tacking the joins took about two hours to complete and was relatively uneventful. I removed the masking tape right after I finished glueing and I used a stir stick to remove any excess expoy.

Blunt end - joins tacked

Pointy end - joins tacked

Attempted panoramic view of boat using in-camera procesing.
Hope this is not some kind of sign or foreshadowing?!?!??

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