Sunday, April 17, 2011

Skinning the Sea Tour 17 EXP

Finally posting again... it has been a while!  I have made some more progress in getting the "skin" installed.  Instead if seal skins (I couldn't find any locally...) I am using 18oz Vinyl Coated Polyester tarp material.  This fabric is REALLY tough!  First, it gets rolled out over the upside down hull.  It is cut to overlap the gunwales by a few inches all around, then small slits are cut every few inches around the perimeter.  Starting in the middle of the boat, the skin is laced tightly around the hull.

You can see in this picture how tough this fabric is.  The lacing is under a lot of tension, however the slits in the fabric do not tear; even cutting them with a razor knife was pretty hard!

One thing that can't be avoided with a skin of this type is wrinkles in the hull between the chines and the gunwales.  I knew that this would happen, and I tried my best to keep them to a minimum.  In the end, I decided to cut a couple of "darts" into the hull sides.  There are two per side, and they reduce the amount of wrinkles in the hull.

My first attempt at closing the bow was a mess, lots of wrinkles and loose fabric.  I cut off the first few inches of fabric and made a new bow section.  The second attempt was much better.  Last night, I finally finished the last dart and got the stern closed up.  I flipped the boat over and will do the deck skin next.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Progress on the folder

Over the past few days, I have almost completed the frame.  The stem took longer than expected because I ended up trying a couple of different methods.  My first attempt used a section of HDPE cut to fit the inside curve of the stem and screwed on.  I ended up abandoning this because the HDPE didn't fit well and didn't feel very secure when installed.  I decided to give the bent aluminum brackets a try.  These ended up being pretty easily manufactured using thin aluminum bar bent around a mandrel with my bench vice.  These were riveted in place, and the stringers were attached with nuts and bolts.

The stem / gunwale / deck stringer attachment was a little trickier, and I thought long and hard about how best to accomplish it.  I ended up making a slightly different version of the bracket where it was molded into a "U" shape.  The deck stringer went on the inside of the "U" and the gunwales are on either side.  See the pic below:

I am hoping that I will be able to leave the smaller diameter inserts bolted on permanently to the stem and stern, but I'm not sure I will be able to get the tubes assembled without unbolting at least one side.  We'll see...

After I got everything assembled, I took the frame off of the temporary supports and could not resist trying it on for size.  Feels great so far!

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Boat!

Yes, I have started building another boat!  I am building a Tom Yost designed Sea Tour 17 EXP kayak.  I am building it as a folder, using HDPE frames, aluminum stringers, and PVC skin.

I have found this to be an extremely fast build so far.  I drilled out the stringer connection points with the drill press at work (way easier than a hand drill).  I then cut out the frames with a jigsaw.  The stringers are made of three 6 ft sections of aluminum tubing connected with smaller diameter inserts.  Eventually, I was add some shock cord to hold the sections together, kind of like big tent poles.  Two frame sections were attached to the strongback and the stringers were "clipped" onto the frames.

Next, the middle four sections were clipped in.

Stem and stern are next.