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Tips and Tricks

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Suggestion for the forum would be for a pinned topic "tips and tricks". 

 

The cutting/searing of the fabric is a good example where people have developed different techniques (soldering iron, torch, hot knife).

 

From my bag of tricks:

When doing the lashings, I found the flat-blade screw-driver was marring the wood a bit (and now my screwdriver disappeared from the shop) so from necessity I tried using the curved needle to pass the sinew behind the lashing for the tie-off.  This went easier, faster and didn't mar the wood like the screw-driver.  At the beginning I have to pass behind one side of the lashing, come out and then pass behind the second half of the lashing to ensure I get behind all the sinew and didn't split any of the fibers.  The needle is also sharper than the screw-driver so easier to get it between the lashing and the frame without splitting fibers.

 

When trying to get the last figure 8 stopper knot in place I found I could again use the curved needle to hold the knot in place by holding one of the loops up tight against the lashing, as I pulled the loose end to tighten the knot, the needle held the knot close to the lashing and as the knot tightened, just pull the needle from the knot.  With a bit of practice and figuring out which loop to grab with the needle, I could consistently place that stopper knot within 1/8" of the lashing every time.

 

I was also using the straight needle to pass the sinew through the holes for the Y lashings when lashing the stringers to the bow and stern frames.

 

After using the needles for lashing I found them covered in wax, so to clean it I just used a lighter to heat it up and wipe it off with a paper-towel.

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For joint perfectionists:

 

After using a rasp to get the stringers close to being perfectly flat against the bow/stern frames, place a piece of sandpaper between the stringer and frame, and with the sandpaper side out towards the stringer, hold the stringer against the frame, pull the sandpaper through the created joint.  Do this a few dozen times to get a perfectly mated surface between the stringers and frame.  Use at least 60-grit or larger (smaller number).

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I'll throw my borrowed hat into this ring. Chris Cunningham shows this balance bench in his kayak building book.

It won't make you better at building kayaks, but it will make you a better paddler.

Make it long enough to sit on straight legged...work up to it.

Your core will thank you, and you can pretend you're not exercising!

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I didn't like my first attempt at a strongback (clamshell type) so I pitched it and made a new one from layered veneer lumber (LVL). LVL is cut from big sheets of thick plywood and is laser straight, dimensionally stable, is rigid and it cost about $1.10 per linear foot. The stuff I used has about 13 laminations in 1.5 inches. We use it at work for making shipping crates (for countries that won't allow un-cooked lumber imports because of bugs). I haven't checked around that much to see if it's widely available.

 

The strongback is made from two 15 foot 2x4s with intermittant spacer blocks screwed and glued between. 

 

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Lashing gloves. I normally use these when sewing knife sheaths, but they came in handy when lashing the frame. Just a cheap pair of (thin) leather work gloves with the fingers cut off. You maintain dexterity, due to your fingertips being exposed, but can still wrap and pull without cutting your hands. Leave the little fingers a bit longer since they get the most abuse. Use a dowel for the high tension pulls.

 

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Winter Storage:

Not a building tip but I thought this tip might be useful for those who keep their boats outside during the winter. 

When I removed the old skin on one of my kayaks to do a re-skin job I found that mice had built a nest for the winter up in the bow end of the boat and had gnawed about half way through a couple of the stringers. 

   I remembered that when we owned a travel trailer my wife would put dryer sheets in cupboards, drawers, and corners to repel the mice. In many years of outside storage we never once had any sign of mice in the camper. Now I push a few dryer sheets into each end of the boat while I wait for soft water again. Seems to be working. 

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Sanding drum setup to assist in sanding the inside of laminated coamings. Harbor freight sanding drum with a support board. Saved tons of time over hand sanding.

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I didn't like the process of lifting the lashing with a screwdriver for a couple of reasons.   Foremost, because i keep losing my screwdriver.   So, i held on to the little shallow wedges i had when scarfing stringers.  Split down the middle, they became nice little lashing-lifters, perhaps safer to the fiber than a metal tool.  And, there were always a couple nearby.  

 

 

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I didn't like the process of lifting the lashing with a screwdriver for a couple of reasons.   Foremost, because i keep losing my screwdriver.   So, i held on to the little shallow wedges i had when scarfing stringers.  Split down the middle, they became nice little lashing-lifters, perhaps safer to the fiber than a metal tool.  And, there were always a couple nearby.

On the last one, I started lashing around one of the clipped ends of a zip tie with it flat against a frame piece. Lash it in place and you don't have to pry on anything and there just enough room for the curved needle to slip into the gap. When you get a few loops around and cinch it all up the first time, the zip tie comes out and the gap remains where it's all gathered.

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When applying goo and fabric overhead, a builder with a significant bald spot has the advantage of using it as a squeegee, to hold and smooth the cloth, without the usual bad hair day. Apply a PVA first for easier clean up afterward.

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I wanted to protect the leading edge of the stem and came up with this.  Using some leftover 1/4" OD copper tubing seemed to be the best answer.  I flattened a section in a vise, annealed it, drilled some tiny holes and then fitted it.  I gave it a good bedding of silicon caulk and fastened it with copper canoe tacks.  I should take normal abuse and still be easily replaced if needed.   13062210_10209496238749827_7274048609778

 

 
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I was staring at my boat, thinking about how I need to work on it, and I was reminded of a trick I used on her.

After I had all the frames in and aligned, I put little pencil tick marks on all the stringers on the side AWAY from the cockpit, right up against the frames.. The little marks allowed me to easily verify frame alignment while lashing, and will never be seen by anyone.

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Suggestion 1:  If you have a router and router table, run all of the stringers and gunwale surfaces that will be touching cloth though a round over bit before assembly.

 

Suggestion 2:  When making the "recesses" for lashing on the keel (and bottom stringers if you're building a Short/Long Shot), don't get overzealous with the rasp. I didn't *think* I was cutting too deep; however, when I pulled the boat off the strongback, I saw that the indentations in the [soft] cedar were at some points deeper and sharper than I would have liked. (And would likely have created "wear points" for the cloth...) To make the necessary repairs, I cut about 18 - 20 bottom lashings, added some epoxy filler to a couple of the "too deep" indentations, sanded all of the indentations smooth[er] and re-lashed the joints.

 

Suggestion 3:  If you are a first time builder, building a Short/Long Shot, go ahead and purchase TWO spools of sinew...

 

 

Happy building,

Byron

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Suggestion 1:  If you have a router and router table, run all of the stringers and gunwale surfaces that will be touching cloth though a round over bit before assembly.

 

Suggestion 2:  When making the "recesses" for lashing on the keel (and bottom stringers if you're building a Short/Long Shot), don't get overzealous with the rasp. I didn't *think* I was cutting too deep; however, when I pulled the boat off the strongback, I saw that the indentations in the [soft] cedar were at some points deeper and sharper than I would have liked. (And would likely have created "wear points" for the cloth...) To make the necessary repairs, I cut about 18 - 20 bottom lashings, added some epoxy filler to a couple of the "too deep" indentations, sanded all of the indentations smooth[er] and re-lashed the joints.

 

Suggestion 3:  If you are a first time builder, building a Short/Long Shot, go ahead and purchase TWO spools of sinew...

 

Happy building,

Byron

Certainly agree. I am also well into sinew spool two on my Short Shot.

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My contribution may be common knowledge to woodworking experts, but it's what I came up with about half way through my first kayak frame building experience.

 

When drilling 3/8" lashing holes it really bugged me that they always splintered on the back side regardless of my speed or feed rate. The method I use now takes 3 steps but is worth it to me. (1) Drill a pilot hole about 9/64. (2) Countersink both sides to about 1/2" diameter. (3) Drill through at 3/8".

 

My attached picture shows a 3/8 hole drilled though in one step on the right, and on the left done with countersinking.

 

20170326_115255.jpg

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