Archive for Interlude SOF kayak

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?

New Sleeping Bag?

This is a tough one. I’m in the market for a new sleeping bag and not too sure what to get. I currently have two bags. The first one I bought around 1990 and it was originally something like a 0 or -5C synthetic bag. I took it with me when I traveled the world in 1991 and it spent most of its time in a stuff sack. 18 years later and it’s safe to say that it is “punched out.” My son Grady used it last year but I don’t think it is warm enough for shoulder season camping. It’s still good for warm weather stuff though. My other bag I bought maybe 8 years (time flies!). It’s a down barrel bag from Taiga. It’s okay and rated to -7C. I don’t find it all that warm but what the heck. It think it’s a good bag for Grady now because he wouldn’t like a mummy bag. My daughter Emma May has her own +5C bag and it works well for her, and my wife also has a Taiga down mummy bag.

Ideally I want a bag that compacts really well. I plan on taking the family backpacking once or twice this year and there’s no doubt that I’ll be carrying most of the gear. Therefore the space savings of a small bag would be fantastic. Weight isn’t a huge issue, but obviously the smaller the better.

Where the decision gets tricky is when I consider coastal camping. This would include boat trips that I hope to do (canoe, kayak) as well as coastal hiking. I think it’s not that unlikely that camping may include some wet/damp sleeping bags at some point. If that is the case, then it is clear that a synthetic bag would be a much better piece of gear. On the other hand, even if I found a small, warm synthetic bag, it wouldn’t do much good if everyone else in the family were in wet down bags.

Currently I’m thinking along these lines:
1. rule #1 – the bag never should get wet. I already bought some waterproof stuffsacks that help mitigate risk
2. get a MEC Merlin -3C which is very small and not too expensive (4L and $230)
3. get a Mountain Hardwear Lamina synthetic bag which is inexpensive and not too bulky (10L and $140)

Time For Another Interlude

Over the past couple of weeks while waiting for the weather to warm up for fiberglassing the canoe, I had the chance to work on the SOF kayak. I’ve actually pretty much finished the frame and just need to set aside some time for sewing the nylon skin. There were several little things that I did to the frame to get it ready. In no particular order:

1. cut out the coaming base plate, riser and rim, and fiberglass the rim for extra support and longetivity

2. add extra supports for the coaming base and station behind the coaming where a lot of weight will be put on when getting in and out of the boat

3. putting small decks on the bow and stern, and filling the ends with some hardwood, then shaping to a smooth round nose

4. adding 1/4″ thick and 1″ wider station in front of the coaming because I thought my initial station was a bit weak

5. epoxied foot rests on to the chines

And voila! pretty much ready for the skin

Interlude, part deux

I now basically have the frame together for the Interlude.
gunwale scarf
Here is a list of some of the issues I’ve encountered during the build.
1. I needed to clamp/jig the keel to keep it straight while putting the boards onto the frames
keel clamp
2. thickened epoxy was used to hold the boards to the frames and it seems to be strong
3. after the epoxy cured, I drilled holes and inserted 3/16″ dowels to pin the boards to the frames. I used PU glue to hold the pins
dowels glued
4. I found it very finicky to cut the board ends (chines & gunwales) in order to meet flush with the stern and bow plates
close but not tight
5. the bow and stern plates are epoxied in place with dowels
6. I had to remove two knots in my chines, and filled these holes with thickened epoxy
7. I’m not sure if my frames are deep enough, maybe I should add some extra support…?
8. I’m not sure exactly how I will finish off the bow/stern plates. It looks like other people add small deck plates to tie/hold everything together
9. I’m not sure what I’ll use to seal the wood. shellac? polyurethane? tung oil? epoxy (too expensive)?

Interlude: building a Sea Rider SOF

Prior to starting the stripping on the Freedom 15 canoe, I thought I’d try and rig together the frame of a skin-on-frame kayak.

I had come across Tom Yost’s website and found a ton of good information on his SOF construction method, along with several different kayak designs. It’s an unbelievably good source of information. Through a small amount of research and a few emails with Tom Yost, I decided to build his Sea Rider. As I have had this in the back of my mind for some time, I had already purchased nylon and cedar for the kayak. I did this last year while working on the Tern 14 for my wife. I figured that I would want a kayak in case we had a chance to paddle together, and a SOF would be the cheapest and fastest way to build a kayak for myself.

Earlier this year I transferred Tom’s offsets into my CAD program and printed out templates for the stations. I then cut the stations out of some extra 1/2″ plywood I had kicking around. This was a bit of a mistake because the plywood turned out to be of very low quality. The surface was so rough that it was difficult to trace the proper outline on the wood, and the wood had a tendancy to grab the saw when cutting which made it difficult to make precise cuts. As well, there ply had a lot of voids in it. I tried to fill in the voids as best as I could with thickened epoxy. So after all of the tracing, cutting and sanding I was almost ready to put the frame together. I also needed to rip the planks for the frame and scarf them together. I started with a 1x8x10′ wrc board and ripped it to make the chines and keel (1x.5×20′) and gunwales (1.5x.5×20′).
My first shot at putting the kayak together went okay. The keel is curved, so I’ll have to fix that before I glue everything together. I may also try to clean up the scarf joints a bit better before continuing.
curved keel

BTW, I chose the name “Interlude” because that is exactly what this kayak is. It’s an interlude in the building process of the canoe. Pretty imaginative eh.