Sunday, April 28, 2013

Yak, yak, yak

I'll be brief. Used a popsicle stick to draw a fillet around the coaming, set biased glass all around the rim, and tape kept epoxy off rest of boat.  Will epoxy 1st rim lamination before trimming coaming.

Tape protects from epoxy ooze. Gives crisp edge when removed at 1/2 cure state.

bias set glass

Double layered glass at cockpit. Used separate pieces at stems with a 1.5" overlap towards center. The interior really soaked up the epoxy. This may be due to the rougher sanding. Boat still seems quite light. No telling how much I removed in sanding the interior. It weighed 20# before sanding & interior glass. Will weigh again. Lay up went very well save for one small spot where I put spreader sticks to maintain the beam. This stick slid about a 1/4" down and took the glass with it. No problems. This will be covered up in the seaming of the 2 halves. Timeline: 185 hours.

double glassed at the cockpit

epoxied with spreader sticks at odd numbered mould locations.

Took the hull into the back yard to locate the foot pegs. Here are some nice pics and one of a clown in a boat.

starboard qtr.

sweet lines

happy clown.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Dogs & Battens

Like most jobs, that last 5% seems to take half of the time. My best guesstimate before taking on this project was a conservative 300 hours to complete. I'm currently sitting at 175 hours invested. I say sitting because the last bit of "work" on the "yak" has been more studying than doing. The last details such as hatch attachment, deck lines, cockpit coaming, etc. really effect the look and many functional aspects of the design, and when it comes to drilling holes in the shell, I want to do it once and get it right.

I've resolved to use a modified version of Babina's screw down hatches, but I don't care for the chunky knobs he illustrates. Mine will echo the earlier fashioned carry toggles and will resemble small wing nuts that can readily be spun to dog down the hatches.

Toggle & new hatch handle. More sanding & varnish required.

A 1/4x20 stainless threaded rod is epoxied into handle. I filed a flat edge to the rod for a more secure bond to the handle. A sugar pine batten that is 5" longer than the hatch diameter has an epoxied nut on the underside. I used some left over adhesive roofing material to capture a stainless washer between the handle and hatch and directly under the hatch to keep the rod from sliding up and down.

gasket installed in hatch rim.

pine batten dog.

I'll use my "paddle soup" to finish the battens and I'll add a slotted keeper to one end of the hatch to receive the batten and hold it still while tightening. Otherwise, we are done here. Pouring a good gallon or 2 over the hatch showed no leaks with very little tightening.

Aft hatch

Forward hatch

I'm thinking the deck lines will echo those commonly found on more traditional Greenland kayaks. I've read Latigo leather best resists the elements. I also suspect it will be more secure and less likely to give as shock cord does. Lastly, I think it is more in keeping with the traditional lines of this boat. However, since I can't quite decide, we'll move on to the cockpit coaming next.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hatching Hatches

Was able to work parts of a couple days. Accomplishments: sanded and glassed inside face of cockpit coaming, formed both hatch rims (one installed), took a 1st pass at wet sanding the outside of the hull, and scraped the hull interior.

 For the hatch rims I'll point  you to One Ocean Kayaks. Their manual was well worth the investment. Sometimes it is good to have cross references on techniques. I generally followed this method except I used fiberglass cloth and mat instead of carbon fiber in large part to the fact I had it and didn't want to add the cost to this boat. While ounces add up, there was very little to be saved for 2 rims.

One other difference was I used small blocks of wood hot melted to hold the hatch in place securely. Duct tape was too flexible. Also thicker gauge plastic works better than food wrap as a release agent.
So, here are the shots:
blocks hot melted to top of deck & hatch.

plastic over underside of hatch area.
I found that laying the strips of glass in a constant direction allowed for easier wetting and smoothing of the build up. Five alternate layers of 4 oz cloth and mat were used. I could have been more diligent about pushing out the bubbles.
filleted weather stripping & glass

wet sand placed over plastic to squeeze lay-up

rim after trimmed

rim epoxied in place
 Here you should police the oozing epoxy and keep the weather stripped groove clean. It wouldn't be easy to remove after epoxy hardens.

finished rim w/o thicker weather stripping

I haven't decided on the method for holding the hatch down. Instead of some sort of mechanical dogging system, I'm favoring shock cord under the deck. I'd like to preserve the clean lines of the boat. I considered magnets as some have done, but I don't want to cause problems with any compass I might use.

hatch resting on rim.

At this point, the real boogey man is joining the 2 halves. There is much sanding & varnishing to come, but we are well on the home stretch.
Here are a couple pics of the hull. I took the opportunity to do most of the sanding while it was still on the forms.

close up

hull with forms knocked out


What I noticed in glassing the underside of the deck is that if only one coat of epoxy is used, the finer sanding used on the exterior is not necessary. I will scrape, use the ROS with 60 grit and quickly smooth with 120. For the cockpit area, I am likely the use at least 1 extra coat to help in cleaning of sand, mud, etc.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Egg Shapes & Circles

Gorgeous day. Very productive. Spring has sprung.

finally the feathery lace of spring arrives.

Cut the hole for the cockpit and hatches. Started on the coaming. For the cockpit I made a template out of a 1x pine board representing the outside face of the coaming. Clamping this in place on the deck, tick marks were translated to masking tape by use of a framing square. These marks were faired with a light batten and cut to with the jig saw. I attempted to keep the blade vertical, but some truing was done with a file afterwards. Determined to make yellow pine behave, I glued up the coaming with 1/4"x 2" pieces and accented with 1/4" square mahogany.

1x template & tick marks

tick marks connected with a batten

jigged egg hole

coaming glued up to be followed by a laminated lip.

This was followed by scribing the holes for the hatches. I thought a simple circle would be better looking than an ellipse or some sided hatch. I made my own beam compass with a stick to which I glued a fresh razor blade and slid a nail through pre-drilled holes for a 12" and 11.5" diameter hatch. The center of the hatch was marked with a hole to receive the nail. The compass was then ever so lightly rotated to mark the deck. No attempt was made to cut. This would have resulted in the blade walking away from the circle and creating a mess. The jig was started by a succession of holes drilled along the cut line. The scratched circles were very easy to follow, better than any pen or pencil mark.

scratched circle

tape holds edge of jigged hatch.

I will fill the holes in the center of the hatches with a small dowel for accent. It's fantastic when all goes to plan. I'm starting to feel like a pro! Hopefully it won't be short lived. The joining of the deck & hull lingers out there.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Down Under

Well, I am "glassy-eyed". Awoke at 4am to put 3rd fill coat on hull. The deck took only 2. I guess because it is mostly horizontal. 2" glass tape was added to the stems for potential wear resistance.

Sacked out until breakfast and then began the scraping, planing, and sanding of the underside of the deck. I wish I had weighed it because quite a bit of wood was removed. I paid a price in labor for using a few less than perfect strips. These were thinner in some portions and while flushed out topside, they left a few foot long depressions down under. At the time, the thought of pulling off the tarps in the snow and ripping a few more strips was not appealing. I also hated to waste those strips. Excluding labor, I will have about $750 invested in this boat when that splash finally happens. This is boat materials only. No tools or strong back which are reusable.

Spent maybe 1.5 hrs fairing. Since it is really unseen, I focused in the areas where hatches are going. Otherwise, I let the glass and epoxy do their thing. All in all, results appear good. An extra layer was added across the deck for 16-18" just aft of the cockpit to take stress as paddler (me) slides into the boat. 2" glass tape was also added where the bulkheads will be sealed in. I'm hoping this helps distribute any shock load should the boat land there.

underside of deck from cockpit to stern

At this point I'm tired of fiberglassing. The hull still remains to be done. I may take a detour and work on the cockpit coaming and/or deck hatches and allow the hull to really cure before tackling it. It requires a little more attention than the deck. Good portions of it are exposed. Not that the deck underside is bad at all, I just need to be in the right frame of mind to do it justice. For now, I'm all sanded out.

reinforced area behind cockpit with 2" tape at bulkhead placement

matched pair
The hull will take some wet sanding. There are stipples here and there. Still, its coming together.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Glass Slipper

I think I'm on the downhill side of this build. With the exterior glassed and filled we are at 140 hours. The interior remains to be glassed, coaming & hatches to be fabricated, deck lines to be added, and  halves to be joined. The hull looks great. Looking back on it, I'm glad I started with the deck.

After a thorough sanding of the fill marks on the hull, the short on glassing of the hull was as follows:
  1. the extra layer on the "football" (bottom) was placed diagonally on a bias. This allowed for the cloth to lay down more easily.
  2. I used a razor blade stuck perpendicular on a stick which I marked about 2' from the waterline. I wish I had taken a picture. I came up with this device after I lost track of the seam I was following as a reference. The 2 strips merged in contrast.
    Football glass is barely visible under top glass
  3. laid the second layer over the whole. The only caution here is that you mustn't finish sand through the top layer of glass. After wet out, the edge wasn't perceptible. There also was no cutting of cloth at the stems since it sat down so well. Very nice.
  4. take a deep breath and wet the boat out. This requires some additional patience as saturation takes a bit longer, but given enough epoxy, it does happen. Proding with a chip brush can help on the more stubborn areas.
  5. I started in the center on one side and worked toward both ends simultaneously to always have a wet edge to work from. No problems.
  6. The remaining squeegying (is that a word?) goes as planned. 2 fill coats and you are done.

I will say the lower temps (low 60s) after starting at 75 do seem to stretch the fill coats to about 8-10 hrs apart. Also, the flash point of the epoxy is mellowed too and not so abrupt. This worked fine for me. Coat 1 was at 8pm and the second 6am with final near 5pm. Recoating before the epoxy gets hard is critical to avoid sanding. I haven't done it and don't want to.
Sooooo much nicer then before & just 1 coat. I like the "stitches".

after 2 fill coats
Unlike the deck, I added a 3rd. now it looks right.

Not much to show in the pictures aside from a noticeable and dramatic difference. Yeah, I've impressed myself and my hat no longer fits. Hey hey hey ...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Different Strokes

As long as you exclude yard work, car washing, house chores, etc. (or anything else you don't want to do) it is good to have small tasks to fill in the wait while your epoxy cures. I decided my new boat needed her own paddle. I prefer a  Greenland style to a Euro. Greens are much easier on the shoulders, can have lower windage punching to windward, and just feel so much nicer slicing through the water. You can actually "throttle" the blade's drive in the water. They also have a grace missing from the Euros I think. Additionally, you separate yourself further from the plastic rotomolded riff-raff. You may fly over the waterfall into oblivion, but darned if you don't look good doing it!

This is actually my 3rd attempt at paddle making. The first was hacked out of a knotty white pine 2x4. It was to be practice and never to see the light of day, but it turned out to be quite functional. Coating the loom (center grab area) with polyurethane (or varnish)was a mistake as the coating promotes blisters. I say hacked, because this was before I read up on the proper tuning of a block plane. I assumed a brand new plane was sharp. I fairly bludgeoned the stick to compliance and had to trim the edges in mahogany to cover major errors.

1st at top. 2nd at bottom.

1st & 2nd up close.

Not too discouraged, I happened to see a nice stud grade spruce 2x4 lying in the rack at the big box home store and snagged it for $1.75. With a sharpened plane, this go was much more to my liking. It is finished with a soup of equal; parts pine tar, mineral spirits and linseed oil. Stinks, but the smell grows on you, and perhaps becomes a part of you. There is a spline of mahogany epoxied on this one. Weight: 2 lbs 10 oz. and straight.

Now to #3: I wanted a nicer and hopefully lighter paddle. I also added an inch to the previous 87" stick. Strips of 3/4" x 1 1/2" western red cedar is laminated with Titebond III waterproof glue to 3/8" x 1 1/2" sugar pine to approximate the overall shape at 6 pounds.

round 3 in the rough.

There are some knots I expect to be removed in the shaping process. Paddle is over 6 lbs at this point. Heavy. Glue seems to be super hard and leaving a scrap in a cup of water showed no glue discoloration or softening. Certainly less expensive than epoxy. The drips were scraped and the whole assembly run through my old Ryobi 10" surfacing planer to 1 7/16" thickness. At this point it more represents a frat paddle. "thank you sir! may I have another?!" you either know the reference, or you don't. If not, consider yourself lucky. Now the the real shaping begins.

fraternity paddle

The edges were cut with a Japanese saw. I used a circular saw on the flats. My Workmate portable bench secures things well. Use scraps of wood in the jaws to avoind dinging the paddle itself. Cedar is soft. The hand plane trims the cuts to a fair line.

one edge cut.

 Over 1/2 of the initial blank is trimmed away. Weight now 2# 10 oz. This time I decided to add shoulders at the end of the loom as references or indices when paddling. After a series of planing and sanding (the fairing boards came in real handy), and a final sanding with 220 grit, it looks like so -

# 3 sanded & ready for the "soup".

At 2 lbs and 10 oz, this third try weighs a whole pound less than #2. I may have to test it out this weekend. The blades are thinner and should slice the water better. The site below notes less turbulence with a more oval cross section than a flat or squarish section. Mine is between the two for quick execution. We'll see how it compares to #2 which is more "flat". In the meantime a coat of soup will be applied everyday. I just slop it on with a clean rag, let it soak in for an hour or two, wipe off any drips, and re-coat in 6-8 hours.

For more in-depth on this style of paddles:

shoulders on #3
3 coats of "soup" and the satin finish is starting to come through. I know of one fellow who has pitched using varnish products and wipes on this mix on his brightwork at the beginning and end of each season. It is thin and it does appear to soak in well. Each successive coat deepens the hand rubbed look.

 Saw THIS this morning. The pain of those blips are starting to melt away. After a few coats of varnish, I expect the exasperation will be gone. I have it on good report from Barry Long that these blemishes will fade as the varnish (not applied yet) and wood darken. I trust he's correct and welcomed the comment.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Forest for the Trees

While I have fiberglassed pieces and repaired parts of boats in my history, none of that quelled the anxiety of fiberglassing a whole boat for the first time. Nonetheless, to finish requires continuing on. Though Spring hadn't really sprung, this past Saturday did offer temps in the 60 degree range allowing me to use both quartz and kerosene heaters to reach 75+ degrees in the garage.The glassing process sounds simple: have your tools ready (chip brush, stirring sticks, paper mixing cups, foam "hot dog" roller, squeegee, etc.), lay out the glass, smooth it with a soft brush, mix epoxy, pour that onto the boat, and distribute the goo by brush and squeegee. After all the build up, it was time to take the plunge. So, we began on the deck. I had decided a horizontal surface was perhaps the best way to begin. I worked the epoxy around the cockpit and had perhaps 1/3 of the deck surface wetted out before stepping back for a peak.  At 1st glimpse I was happy with the results. I still nervous about the epoxy pot life and having a wet edge to continue with, but the glass was translucent, brush hairs had been captured, and there were no white areas from too little epoxy. None of this concern was really necessary as the Raka material is very patient, and at the temps I was working with, it allowed for plenty finessing. The whole operation was going well. I even began to relax, when to my horror, I saw a faint color difference where I had previously patched nail holes. Had the epoxy not soaked in there? No, I apparently hadn't sanded the residual epoxy entirely off the boat when filling those holes. As a result there was a slight barrier preventing the fresh epoxy from fully soaking in. I can't tell you how bummed I was (and still am to some extent). After all the prep and what I thought to be conscientious studying, I had this disappointment. The thought of pulling off the glass and trying to remove the epoxy proved too daunting so, I elected to continue on, all the while kicking myself. I even debated on not posting this report. Strategic photos could hide the screw up. My middle son was quick to say it is hardly noticeable. I don't know. I see it, and to know it didn't have to be really irks me, especially after I tried both water and mineral spirits on several of these areas to satisfy myself that the filling could stay as is. Well, bad analysis there. It is done. No structural flaws and the remaining 2 fill coats worked fine. The 3 epoxy coats were separated by 8 hrs hardening time or at least until no longer tacky so that the coats will bond to each other without sanding.On with the show. Here are the photos.

Chica was hauled to the heavens for more ground.

A warmer day, but not warm enough.
12k btu kerosene heater pushes some heat.

Raka's UV epoxy here. I wanted to make darn sure the pumps stayed with their proper bottles. Also shown is the 12 oz. paper measuring cup for metering the juice. Not my idea, but I don't recall who to give credit. I worked with 1 cup mixes. Perfect really. After marking 1/3 cup intervals on one cup, it was placed inside another with a window and marks were transferred. Though pumps seemed accurate, this prevents you from forgetting the count.

A template of the cockpit's inside curve marked the limits of glassing required.

I covered the stem ends from epoxy. These are already glued to the hull. 

A chip brush smooths the cloth without snags and avoids oil from handling.

Cockpit opening is cut for better lying of the glass. I did have to cleat the aft of the opening as it had released from the mould there.   

Forget the blemishes. Look at the super tight joints!
The horror. residual epoxy telegraphing through. So be it. After 1st coat. The rest was flawless too.   

 Final fill coat displayed here. Cardboard prevents drips on floor.

 She's still pretty even with the pimples. Guess I'll ever get over it? Geeze (or some expletive)!

       Bulkheads got one coat of epoxy & glass for both sides. Ciao!