Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Making a Combing (my way)

In Combing, Wood Kayak on January 29, 2010 at 4:53 am

In this post you will see pictures from several different builds.  That is because I didn’t think anyone else would be interested in how I do it.  So I have gathered the combing pics from different builds and will most likely end with the Spring run build.

Once I found the size that I like, which uses a “Seal Skirt” 1.7, I glued up some 1 X 6s edge to edge.

Then I made a frame to match

And a leg post out of 2 X 4s

Then I traced the first pattern to the frame

Then glued the 2 patterns together and mounted the post

Sanded the forms(patterns) so they matched each other, added some feet to the post and taped the forms

On my first 2 I stapled (nail) the strips to the pattern.  I cut my strips to 4″ in length except for the back and cheek plates which I make longer.  This makes installing the backband easier.

On the Spring Run, I am using rubber bands

Meanwhile as I glue those pieces up, I cut12 – 12″ pieces of strips for my thigh braces.  I glue 6 pieces together and wrap them around a 5 gallon bucket (notice that the center is not glued together).

After the glue dries, I sand these smooth and then glass them

By now I have finished stripping the form which I sand and add 6 oz. glass tape to the outside

Once I have a couple of coats of epoxy on it, I remove it from the forms and lay it on the Kayak recess so I can scribe the lift of the recess.  If you look close at the next picture you can see the scribe line.

Once I have my line scribed, I rip some Ash to 1/4 X 3/8 inches and bend them around the coaming matching my scribe line.  I glue and clamp one piece of Ash at a time using LOTS of clamps.

Once I have a lip that is 3/4″ wide, I use a belt sander to clean the rim down even with the lip.

I coat both the lip and rim in epoxy and let dry.  Once it is dry I remove it from the forms and sand the inside.  Then using the same 6 oz. tape I epoxy the inside.

I mix up a little epoxy, silica, and wood flour placing a small fillet on the underside of the lip

With the recess cut-out to fit the rim tightly, I slide it in using a 1″ spacer between the recess and the underside of the lip.  Then using more fillet mixture I glue the outside of the rim to the recess.

When it is set, I turn the deck over and trim any excess hanging through and shaping the cheek plates and back plate.  Then add another fillet to the inside.

With the combing installed, I cut the thigh braces to shape and locate them to the combing.  Using 5 minute epoxy I glue them in place.  Then using a color match fillet mixture, I add a 1/2″ wide fillet all the way around the braces.  Sand smooth and apply a finish coat of epoxy.  Using contact cement I glue 1/4″ closed cell foam to the underside of the braces and the combing is complete.

Tools to build a Kayak

In Tools, Wood Kayak on January 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Below I will show and describe the tools I use to build my kayaks.  By NO means are these tools required, and most of them I owned before I took up this hobby.  In fact I owned all my big tools from either work or making the furniture in my house.  Also keep in mind that I only have a 2 car garage in which I have to keep the yak I am building and all of my tools.  So all of my tools are on casters so I can roll them outside to use them.

Large Power Tools

Table Saw… is what I use to cut my strips.  Mine is an old Delta Contractors saw which I added a Beismeyer fence and a router table on one end.  This is kind of a shop staple.

Bandsaw… again I have owned mine for more years than I care to remember.  Mostly used to make custom cuts like making forms, eyelets, cockpit recess fillers, etc.  It is a Delta 14″

Router tables… Hahahaha, I am so router rich it is scary.  My one is a Kreg table, with a Woodpecker lift, and a 3 1/2 hp Delta router that I use mostly to cut the cove in my strips.  Having a fancy lift in it makes it easy to set up.  I also will use it to cut out the recess of my skeg handles, do round overs on other assorted pieces.

The other most used is the one I have mounted to the extension of my table saw.  I mostly use this one for cutting the bead on my strips.  Having a delta 690 router, it is not as easy to adjust.

Drill Press… this is a fairly new tool to my shop, not for kayaks but to replace a cheap one that was not very accurate.  I chose a bench type for room and it does everything I ask of it.  I chose the Jet because of reviews and cost.

Thickness Planer…I have to say I do love what this tool does.  It is a DeWalt 13″ that allows me to keep all my strips uniform in thickness and when I buy my lumber Rough Sawn then it allows me to plane it down to the 3/4 or 5/8 strip width.  I also use it to size my combing lip strips and stem strips.  Needed?  No, just very handy

Wood Lathe…  I have used this tool once in building kayaks, and that was to turn carry handles.

Strip Sander… I use this to shape different things such as eyelets(faring), clean up angle cuts on my strips where they meet the stems of the recess fillers.  Very handy and a lot faster than a plane.  I use a very cheap Delta 1X30.



Hand Tools

Planes…  I have 4 that I use on my yaks and all 2 are low angle block planes.  2 of them are Stanley brand and what I use for the rough work.  They have a habit of dulling quickly hence why I have 2 of them.  The 3rd one I own cost a months pay and is my Baby. LOL  It is a “Veritas Low Angle” with the extra handle and knob.  It also has a much harder steel blade which does awesome finish work and stays sharp longer.  The draw back to this one is it takes more work to sharpen it.  The little one is a small Bullnose plane.  Don’t use often but is handy when you need it.

Spokeshaves…  I have so many different types of spokeshave I dont know where to start.  It almost seems like I started collecting them.  So I think as I take pictures of them, I will give a description.

The top one (red) is an Avanti flat sole standard shave.  Inexpensive but works well.  Next is my favorite standard shave.  It is a very old “Stanley Sweetheart” flat sole shave.  And the 3rd in this group is another Avanti, but it has a rounded sole.All spokeshaves take a little practise to figure out the right angle to hold, blade depth, and pressure which to use them but it is worth it.






 This second grouping are pretty much specialty shaves  Using the picture on the left I will start from top to bottom.  This unique tool is called a “Pull Shave”.  Its curved sole and handle placement make it perfect for planeing inside curves… like where the bow & stern widen out and the insides of the kayak.  Next is another baby of mine, it is a flat sole “Veritas” shave with a hardened blade.  Great for that final smoothing.  The skinny black one is also a “Veritas”, but it is a low angle spokeshave for those knarley grains.  And last is another “Stanley Sweetheart” convertible shave.  The blade sits in a barrel body which you rotate to adjust the amount of cut you want and as you can see between the 2 pictures, the handles can be moved from the sides (either making left or right hand) to the front.  For those that don’t know, Sweeheart planes were made in England and are of much finer quaility than the Stanleys made here in the USA.


Scrapers…  There are 2 types of scrapers.  The first being your basic painters type that I use to remove glue drips and such, and the 2nd type being a cabinet scraper that is used to scrape the raw wood to a super smooth finish

Japanese Pull Saws…  Not until I started making kayaks did I realise how far ahead the Japanese are ahead of us Americans when I comes to cutting tools.  All of their saws cut on the pull stroke which makes them accurate and fast.  There are many different types with each having their own purpose.  The most common and used has a rip set on one side and a crosscut on the other.

Shinto Rasp…  Another Japanese marvel.  I use these on both the raw wood as well as on the epoxy.  You use them the same places you would use any rasp, what is cool about these is that one side is rough quick cut and the other has a fine finish cut.

Faring Sanders… These are home-made.  Using a piece of 1/4″ plywood and covering one side with melamine (any laminate), I cut them to a width of 4 1/2″ and various lengths.  I glued a couple of wooden knobs on them (backside)  to use as handles and I use PSA sandpaper made for vibrating Sanders.  These really do work well.  They level out the surface of your yak so when you have that piano finish, you don’t see dips caused by other Sanders.  This is one of my “MUST HAVE” tools for kayak building.

Clamps… What can I say, never enough.  I use all kinds from spring clamps of various sizes, pipe, bar, vise grip type, and I guess the “Doodads” mentioned later would even fall into this category.

Doodads…  These marvelous little acrylic thingys are just what is needed if you want to build your yak without using staples.  I found them on the Blue Heron website where a man in Portugal with the user name of “Amlap”(Silverio) designed them to make surfboards & kayaks.  He shared his design with others and a man in Australia who goes by the name of “Seppy” (Rick) who has access to a laser cutter and made them for everyone who wanted a set (100 pcs.) at minimal cost.  I ordered my first set and found them working so well (see Spring Run) that I ordered a second set while he was still making them.

Small Power Tools

DA Sander


Screw Gun


And The Most important in my shop

Is a good radio and a “Shop Dog”

Spring Run (part 3 begining the deck)

In Spring Run, Wood Kayak on January 20, 2010 at 1:43 pm

01/21/10  YAHOO!!!!  The deck is stripped out.   Now to start the cockpit recess.  Then I will putty and sand the whole thing.  This pic is looking down the bow

And the spots you see is this mornings rainwater dripping off the trees.  Here is the opposite view


 And now for the side view…


 And this next one shows the colors of the woods better

01/20/10  Okay, for those of you that follow my blog, you will notice certain words that are highlighted.  If you click on them, it will take you to a whole new web site that is connected to the name or event.  Might save you from a whole lot of Googling. LOL

Okay as I promised yesterday, I have a few pics to share.  As you can see, the front half of the deck is stripped out…

and I am on the home stretch on the back half

A little more White Cedar (aka AWC) and I will be doing my cockpit recess.

And speaking of the cockpit, I have started my combing

And as the combing progresses, I will start a separate article showing how I make mine.

01/19/10   Okay!  I know I have been slacking in my posts, but between being away for the holidays, then coming home to 2 weeks of lots of work, temperatures here in FL lower than they were in Denver CO., and my just getting things back in order, I just haven’t been working on the yak.  But I have a new goal now… my friend Russell Farrow of Sweetwater Kayaks is having his annual symposium at the end of feb and I am signed up to take 3 days of classes with Nigel Foster and how cool would it be to have this yak done in time????  I worked on it all day today and will post pics tomorrow.  I hope to get quite a jump on it by the weekend (some of us are discussing going kayak camping this weekend).

12/06/09  Just to let everyone know, the Turkey was PERFECT!  The weather was questionable however.  Now on to the build…

Again doing these little 2 foot pieces stapleless, it just does not seem to go very fast.  But here are the pics as to what I have to date.  I am now working with the WRC on the stern end, and still with the AWC on the bow end (actually the middle)

And overall

11/24/09  Well, the holidays are on us and I have come to realise there is no way it will be done by Christmas.  The weather has cooled down here in Florida and it is the perfect time for Kayaking, and camping.  And we will be starting this weekend with 4 days of fun.  I am already drooling with thoughts of our annual “Trash Can Turkey”

I haven’t been posting much because putting a couple of 2 foot strips at a time on the yak just doesn’t feel like I am going anywhere very fast.  So I will post pics of what I have done so far and let you decide. LOL  I am still not sure how this is going to look when it is done

This first pic was the bow when I last posted

This is how far I have gotten on the bow now

And looking at the bow from the center line

Working in confined quarters, I turned the yak around to start the stern.  Here I am with it, and yes it looks like the bow did a month ago.

And if you use your mind to stitch the next 2 pics you can see how the entire yak looks.  Yes I did it on my puter but it made the pic to smal to see anything in this post, so just use your mind…

11/06/09  I continue to glue up little strips while working on the hull at the same time


As you can tell from the following pics, I have finished the bow point in Paduk with a Mahogany behind it, and am now working on the Dark Red Cedar.



11/01/09  As of today I am starting to strip my deck now, I think you can see from the pics what the basic design is going to be….



Although I had to staple/nail the first row on, I am happy to say that I am back to using my “Doodads” to secure the strips.



My biggest delima now is the fact I used a hot melt glue gun to set the shear strip and I am not sure how easy it will be to strip the forms when I am done. LOL    I also have to remember to re-tape the forms before I continue or I will have a real problem stripping the forms.

The Boobie (part 1, the concept)

In Boobie, Wood Kayak on January 19, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Well, after lurking on the Blue Heron Forum for a couple of years now.  I have watched many design their own kayak with free software that Ross Leidy (site admin) offers on his site.  So I decided to give it a go and with help from others that know more than I, have come up with a design for my next yak.

I have already named it my “Boobie”.  Now I know that name could have a lot of different meanings, but this one has to do with a veneer inlay I found on Ebay of the bird called a Blue Footed Boobie.

This will also be the smallest yak I have made to date at 15-7, and designed to use on the rivers around this great state of Florida.  As of now because of the wood I have on hand the hull will be made of mostly Mahogany with cedar highlights, and the deck will be made of White Cedar with Mahogany highlights and this wonderful inlay.

And even though I am not even half way done with my Spring Run I am already looking at my next boat.  Building yaks is very addicting.  And I am very excited about the fact it is one I have designed myself.  Hopefully by the summer of 2010 you will see this yak take shape.