Saturday, August 6, 2011

Disko Bay Update . . . Finally

After what seems like quite some time, I'm finally getting around to posting an update on the Disko Bay (DB) project!! I have been picking away at this boat for some time but between family camping trips and a general laziness with regards to blog entries, I've not been good at keeping an ongoing account of my work. Hence this posting!!

The gunwales/sheer on the DB are quite curved. Instructions state that pre-curving is required. If not, the gunwales will pull up on the boat causing hogging. (Reverse rocker is not a good thing) I initially tried soaking the gunwales with hot water and then bending them but the resulting curve was not enough. When I fitted the frames, the gunwales pulled the keel up so much that all rocker was lost. One of the other options suggested by Dave Gentry (designer) was to cut the ends of the gunwales into three strips, bend to desired curve and then glue. I decided to go this route. I simply took a sharp handsaw and ripped the gunwales. Then I bent them to the exact desired curve, applied some Elmer's Waterproof glue and a whack of Schedule 40 clamps. Badda Boom Badda Bing - the exact curve that I needed!!

Schedule 40's doing their "thing"

I decided to peg and lash the stringer/gunwales/frames.

Tie down strap holds stringers in place while holes are drilled and pegs put in place.

Use of tie down straps and clamps to hold the shape. Level used to make sure that hull is not twisted.

The frames/gunwales/stringers are lashed using synthetic sinew (waxed nylon) that was purchased, believe it or not, at Michael's Craft Store. This stuff is damn strong and the wax creates great friction so that it holds very nicely.
A lashed join.

Sinew wrapped around a block of wood for greater pull!!

Lashing the frames was not an onerous task but it was bit hard on the hands. The sinew had a tendency to cut into the skin. Still, once a "system" was established, it became quite an easy task.

The plans for the DB do not include templates for the stem and stern. These are left to the builder's discretion. Using the scale drawings from Harvey Golding's Kayaks of Greenland, I determined the length of the stem should be about 28" while the stern should be about 18" Taking these measurements I set about to cutting templates. I used some corriplast (corrugated plastic) I had laying about.
Initial fitting of the stem.

After some trimming.

Here's the actual 11mm plywood stem based on the template seen in the images above!

After some trimming and planing, the gunwales and chines fit nice and tight!

Of course a kayak has two ends, so here's the stern template in its early stages! 
And the stern glued and clamped!!

The stem glued and clamped.

There are two deck stringers just behind the cockpit. I pegged these into place as seen below. Note: I put some glue on these prior to driving them home. In the image below I left one inserted halfway. After taking the picture I tried to drive it all the way but the glue had swelled it too much. I had to drill out the peg and re-insert a new one!! Note to self:  glue makes things swell very QUICKLY!!

Back deck stringer pegged into place.

Back deck stringers.

Unbound!!!  The frame off the strongback!!
 After installing the rear deck stringers, the next step is adding the foredeck stringers!! This is where there was some finagling of the original DB design. At 6'3" with size 13 shoes, I'm thinking I'm a bit outside of the "typical" Inuit body size!! I had to raise the height of the deck at the footrest. This required some changes to the shape of the foredeck. After some tweaking I came up with a look that I could "live" with!!

The mock-up of the foredeck. 

Well, at least I can fit in there!!

A closer look at the foredeck stringers. Should look fine under the fabric.
Well, that's where the project stands right now. A little more work on the frame, i.e., sanding and some more lashing and then I'm ready for the polyester "skin" .

Looking forward to seeing this on the water. I'm hoping I'm not too heavy for it. If I sink it, I guess Cheryl get's herself a new SOF!!!



  1. Wish I had your woodworking skills!

    Tony :-)

  2. Hi Sean, glad I found your blog. I want to start building the DB this winter and I saw that you do some things just a bit smarter!