Skin is On

After a few trials and errors I finally sewed the skin on my sof kayak. It only took two years of the kayak hanging under our deck in order for me to start the process. I guess I’ve been busy. A bachelors degree, half of a masters degree, and a new career will do that to a guy.

When I first started to sew the skin I had a lot of troubles. I decided to use the method show by Cape Falcon Kayak. I bought 8oz ballistic nylon from George Dyson in Bellingham, which was an interesting trip. The first step was sewing the end pockets, which was easy.

The problems started with the cutting of the nylon fabric. I put a strip of wood down the middle of the deck but i found that the nylon moved a lot while cutting. I virtually had no idea where I was cutting the cloth. Next time I do this I will tack the skin to the gunwales before cutting.

My first attempt at sewing the main seam was pretty bad.

I then made calls for help across the internet. I decided to continue with whip stitches but I would soak the nylon while sewing, thereby giving me more cloth to work with and allowing the skin to tighten immediately after drying. For the most part this worked well. I still managed to have a couple of wrinkles along the sides of the hull. I don’t know if this is common or not, and how much it will affect the paddling.

There is some bunching in the center of the cockpit, and I assume that will not be a problem for when I stitch in the coaming.

I’m still a bit hesitant in coating the kayak with polyurethane. I don’t want to spend a lot of time and money coating the kayak in case one of the following fails:

  • little holes caused by the stitching, will they get sealed?
  • are the wrinkles going to cause problems?
  • will the seams hold?

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