Monday, November 9, 2009


In this posting:
1. Laying strip, after strip, after strip.
2. Bulges
3. Summer has arrived.
4. Hatch covers.
5. Time is running out.
6. Hours spent so far.

1. Laying strip, after strip, after strip.

Looking at last week's photographs, it is disappointing to see how little progress was made this week-end. The "stripping-up" of the kayak just seems like a never-ending process. However I have covered the worst of the curves that connect the sides and the bottom of the hull and progress should pick up now. But now a new phenomenon reared its ugly head.

2. Bulges.

As the strips of cedar approach the keel line, they are being bent more and more side-ways and this causes bulging between the stations. (The same effect can be seen if you "bend" a strip of paper side-ways on a flat surface). One solution to this problem would be to use stringers but I want to keep the weight down as much as possible. ("Stringer" = a strip of wood glued along the length of the hull on the inside). I then decided to employ cable ties to pull the strips back to an even curve.

I also stopped glueing the strips to the stations and the bulging problem dissapeared to a large extent. I wonder if this is the reason that why the experts don't really use permanent stations?

Cable ties were also used were clamps would just not work

I alway maintain that the person that invented cable ties should be considered for the Nobel Prizes of Peace, Chemistry, Science , Literature and what-ever other categories there are.

3 Summer has arrived.

Summer arrived with a vengence over the week-end and one would think that the affect of the heat on the setting time of the epoxy would speed up the progress. Quite the opposite. The quick-setting epoxy started to set almost immediatle after mixing and I had to stop applying the strips betwee 10 am and 3 pm on Saturday and Sunday. During this time I started to work on the hatch covers.

4. Hatch covers.

A chunck of Tamboti was cut off from the stock and ripped in strips. African Tamboti is extremely hard, fine grained and beautiful. (And very rare and expensive). It is my favourite wood for making trophies and renders a fantastic finish.

The strips of Tamboti will be book-matched.

5. Time is running out

I was hoping to complete the project so that we can take it to the Western Cape during the December break, but with with 5 week-ends left it seems unlikely considering that it needs to be decorated with veneer inlay, glassed etc.

6. Hours spend so far: 58

Monday, November 2, 2009

4. Negotiating the curves

In this posting;

1. Negotiating the curves
2.Steaming Ash
3. Mistakes I made thus far
4. In closing

1. Negotiating the curves

I was naive to think that the glueing of the strips to the bottom would be completed over the week-end.
When I started fitting the strips around the tight curves on the aft section, progress slowed down to a crawling pace.
Imagine a plastic ruler. Twist it lengthwise through almost 90 degrees. Now bend it slightly sideways. Now bend one end downwards in a vertical plane. This is the shape of the strip near the aft section. Sounds easy enough but the bottom edge of the strip also needs to fit snugly on top of the strip previously fitted.
This means that the bottom edge of the strip needs to be planed in a spiral shape. I really need a spoke-planer that the old folks used to plane the inside edges of ox-wagon wheels.

When planing the edges and continiously test-fitting them, my language was far from prestine until I started marking the edge to be planed with white chalk to see what part of the edge still needed to planed.

Due to the awkward shape of the strips additional "dummy bulkheads" had to be made to keep the stips in place.

With each strip to be glued, I had to "dry-fit" the strips by determining which clamp to use where, numbering the clamps and marking the exact position of each clamp on the hull. A tedious process. Only managed to fix four strips the week-end.

2. Steaming Ash

While waiting for the epoxy to set, I started on the external stems. Having played around with steaming wood previously, I quickly built a steaming box and set up a steaming "plant"

After steaming the 6mm thick Ash for 30 minutes, it was quickly clamped to the jig.

It never ceases to amaze me how certain types of wood can be manipulted when steamed. And I love the smell of wood being steamed. Yes, I should have made the curve on the jig more pronounced to lessen the effect of spring-back, but the wood is still flexible enough to be clamped to the right curve with a little pressure.

As an experiment I tried to steam and bend Cedar and this was the result.

3. Mistakes I made thus far:

I should have had twice the number of temporary stations near the aft and fore sections.

I should have concentrated more on utilising the prettier grained wood on the sides of the hull. Now that I'm reaching the bottom of the hull, I notice that the strips that are being used are more colourful than the strips glued to the sides.

Should have bought epoxy solvent to clean off the runs of epoxy after clamping. Unfortunately AMT is closed on Saturdays.

4. In closing:

Obviously the Evolution was never intended or designed to be built in this manner but it does seem feasable provided one is patient and treats the wood and the shape of the Evolution with the respect it deserves.