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Average building times?


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This is more a question of curiosity, as I recognize my own build time is going to be "long".  I initially thought I'd get it done in 3 weekends.  This speaks more to my ignorance than having any grand ideas about my own skills.  Luckily, the plans are solid, the videos are a godsend, and while I am now trying to get it done in the next 3-6 months, I have no doubt I'll be able to complete the process, provided I go slow (which seems to be the fastest way to get these things done) 

 

I'm a month in and "almost" done cutting the frames, but I'm enjoying the process way more than I thought I would, and really hope my kayak is any good at all in no small part so that I'll have an excuse to build more for my friends.   

So, just out of curiosity, how long did you anticipate your first build to take and how long did it end up taking? 

 

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It's difficult for me to estimate build time because I break it up over many months, sometimes going weeks doing nothing.  This is partly due to my work schedule that has me on the road for much of the year.  However, one thing I know for sure is that skin on frame using the Kudzu method is faster than strip built, stitch and glue, and "traditional skin on frame kayak building, all of which I've done.  

 

I think the other factor that will affect build time is the tools you have.  Necessary woodworking skills are rather minimal, but could also slow you down.  Why is cutting out the frames taking so long?  Are you using a coping saw?  For me, I'd say cutting out the frames was a couple of hours, but I have a bandsaw 🙂.  Cutting the keel, gunwales, and stringers about another hour, but I have a table saw and planer 🤯.   Scarfing and gluing up those pieces was maybe another hour.  Let them dry for one day.  

 

Putting the frame together with bungy cords was quick - < 1 hour

 

Tapering the gunwales and stringers ends with a hand plane was maybe a couple of hours. 

 

Lashing took me the longest time.  I did it over roughly two weeks, with the the goal of doing one frame per day.  This took at most one hour each lashing session.

 

For my coaming, I laminated multiple thin strips of white oak, waiting for the glue to dry between strips; this took about a week.

 

Getting ready to skin now, which I'm guessing will test my sewing skills. 

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Some folks keep logs of their projects including time spent. I can understand the urge to quantify, but I build boats, build model boats, carve decoys, and rebuild bicycles for the fun of it. When I worked as an engineer, I had to keep track of time spent for billing. It was not fun. When people ask me how much time I spent on a project, I usually reply  "How much time did you spend watching TV?"

 

Having said that, I agree with Scott that a SOF kayak goes together quicker than a stitch-and-glue kayak, based on my experience. Another difference is that almost all tasks on a SOF boat can be done in small time periods. For example, you can take 15 minutes to cut out one frame. You can mount one frame on the strong back. You can sew one foot of the skin seam. Of course, it's likely that you'll work for much longer periods (time flies when you're having fun), but you can do bits here and there. In contrast, there are major tasks on a stitch-and-glue boat that cannot be interrupted. These require mixing epoxy and applying it all at once. 

 

Stitch-and-glue boatbuilding is noisier (lots of sanding), smellier (epoxy), dustier (again sanding), and messier (again epoxy). I find SOF boatbuilding more fun.  James, I hope you have fun building (and paddling).

 

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6 hours ago, Scott Pettigrew said:

 Why is cutting out the frames taking so long?  Are you using a coping saw?  For me, I'd say cutting out the frames was a couple of hours, but I have a bandsaw 🙂.  Cutting the keel, gunwales, and stringers about another hour, but I have a table saw and planer 🤯.   Scarfing and gluing up those pieces was maybe another hour.  Let them dry for one day.  

 

 

 

Well, I have no skills and I'm only getting tools together now.  This feels like an attainable project, but it's definitely a challenge for me. 

I started with a harbor freight jigsaw with u-shanks that spit out blades at random. That was pretty terrifying. I have a Ryobi t-shank jigsaw and decent blades now and am getting better at cutting to the lines.  I've had to cut everything a few times as I snuck up on the lines (I'm now fairly decent with a jigsaw, but certainly wasn't when I started) 

 

I'm an apartment dweller, so setting up shop in the parking spot takes about 1/2 an hour, as does tear down. and then I'm good to cut for a few hours before I get too sunburnt and exhausted, and as I mentioned above, I think I'm making 3-4 cuts for every cut as I try not to destroy my poor ($130!!!) sheet of plywood. (which is just maple ply, as I can't get anything from Russia out here. I'm really hoping it will work, but it has no voids. ) 

My next step will be using a trim router I've never used before to round off the edges, so that'll be some time practicing on scrap, then going over all the pieces.  

 

Once I've got them done, I'll make the scarfing jig and get my local lumber yard to plane the stringers down for me before I begin.  I don't expect that will take too long. 

 

I'm having an absolute blast at this, but I am certainly slow. Hopefully my next build will be faster. (I'll probably make templates)  (and yes, I will send over the second boat fee ;)

 

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50 minutes ago, James Barros said:

 

 

Well, I have no skills and I'm only getting tools together now.  This feels like an attainable project, but it's definitely a challenge for me. 

I started with a harbor freight jigsaw with u-shanks that spit out blades at random. That was pretty terrifying. I have a Ryobi t-shank jigsaw and decent blades now and am getting better at cutting to the lines.  I've had to cut everything a few times as I snuck up on the lines (I'm now fairly decent with a jigsaw, but certainly wasn't when I started) 

 

I'm an apartment dweller, so setting up shop in the parking spot takes about 1/2 an hour, as does tear down. and then I'm good to cut for a few hours before I get too sunburnt and exhausted, and as I mentioned above, I think I'm making 3-4 cuts for every cut as I try not to destroy my poor ($130!!!) sheet of plywood. (which is just maple ply, as I can't get anything from Russia out here. I'm really hoping it will work, but it has no voids. ) 

My next step will be using a trim router I've never used before to round off the edges, so that'll be some time practicing on scrap, then going over all the pieces.  

 

Once I've got them done, I'll make the scarfing jig and get my local lumber yard to plane the stringers down for me before I begin.  I don't expect that will take too long. 

 

I'm having an absolute blast at this, but I am certainly slow. Hopefully my next build will be faster. (I'll probably make templates)  (and yes, I will send over the second boat fee ;)

 

I've done some woodworking when I had no place to do it but a parking lot...it is a challenge.  A good jigsaw and blades designed to cut plywood do make a difference.  I would not try and cut them to the finished size, but cut them slightly on the small size and then use a flat file to fine tune once you get your keel and other pieces cut; that way you'll have a nice snug fit.  Regarding the edges, using the trim router should be easy to learn, and once the bit is adjusted properly is fairly hard to screw up.   Good luck!

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6 minutes ago, Scott Pettigrew said:

 I would not try and cut them to the finished size, but cut them slightly on the small size and then use a flat file to fine tune once you get your keel and other pieces cut; that way you'll have a nice snug fit.  Regarding the edges, using the trim router should be easy to learn, and once the bit is adjusted properly is fairly hard to screw up.   Good luck!

 

Yeah, I'm not cutting the parts for the stringers yet at all. I want to cut my stringers first then use a small piece of stringer to set my marks for cutting, (and as you mentioned, go small and work up to a proper fit)  
 

@Scott Pettigrew also... today I learned there are plywood specific jigsaw blades, so I think this weekends cutting will go better. THANK YOU. 

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5 hours ago, andy00 said:

 When people ask me how much time I spent on a project, I usually reply  "How much time did you spend watching TV?

 

Gonna have to borrow this one.

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5 hours ago, andy00 said:

When I worked as an engineer, I had to keep track of time spent for billing. 

I have a billing code for the time I spend filling out paperwork. It looks like there are a number of us retreating to wood and cloth. 

 

5 hours ago, andy00 said:

"How much time did you spend watching TV?"

 

Why on earth would I own a TV? ;)

 

 

5 hours ago, andy00 said:

Having said that, I agree with Scott that a SOF kayak goes together quicker than a stitch-and-glue kayak, based on my experience. Another difference is that almost all tasks on a SOF boat can be done in small time periods. For example, you can take 15 minutes to cut out one frame. You can mount one frame on the strong back. You can sew one foot of the skin seam. Of course, it's likely that you'll work for much longer periods (time flies when you're having fun), but you can do bits here and there. In contrast, there are major tasks on a stitch-and-glue boat that cannot be interrupted. These require mixing epoxy and applying it all at once. 

 

Stitch-and-glue boatbuilding is noisier (lots of sanding), smellier (epoxy), dustier (again sanding), and messier (again epoxy). I find SOF boatbuilding more fun.  James, I hope you have fun building (and paddling).

 


You forgot to mention what sold me on skin on frame... I was down at an estuary in the evening, and there was a guy in a skin on frame, and he had some lights inside the kayak. The entire thing glowed a beautiful amber.  I don't think you can do that any other way, and as much as I love old wooden sailboats, I've never seen a more beautiful man made thing in the water than that.  ❤️ 

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James:

A router will work fine on the frames, but you can go lower tech with some combination of a Shinto saw rasp, a rotary rasp chucked in your drill, and a half-round rasp. It may take more time but will cost less* and be safer (for both you and the frames).

Have fun!

 

*of course, it may be difficult to pass up an excuse to buy a new tool

 

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