Gluing The Seams

Gluing the seams isn’t as straightforward as you would think. From what I’ve learned (and I could be doing it incorrectly), gluing the seams involves:
applying several coats/applications
a fair bit of scraping and sanding
getting a perfect mix of epoxy + wood flour can go a long ways
going extremely slow may pay off big time in epoxy cleanup (isn’t this always true?)

Check out the gallery for pictures and tips/experiences.

seams glued

Some Good Tips on Building a Pygmy Kayak

Building the Pygmy Coho has some good tips for S&G kayak building.

Here’s a tip that I wished I had noticed earlier:
“I cut a plastic cup to match the length of the stitching wires. I put the end of the wire down to the bottom of the cup and cut it at the top of the cup. I repeated until I had a cup full of wires of the correct length. If you cut the wires with a wire stripper (adjust it so you can cut at the notch where you would normally strip) you will get a flat end on the wires. Otherwise, you will find yourself perforated by the sharp points that are sticking out everywhere.”

Started Stitching the Boat

I started stitching the panels on the Tern14 the other night. I hadn’t done much work on the boat recently, and it was good to get into the shop and make some progress.

If you click on the photo below you will see my most recent photos with a bit of information which may/may not be helpful to you, if you are also building a kayak from Pygmy.


Last day of doing butt joints

I finished the last butt joints tonight. My last 4 or 6 joints were significantly improved over the first ones. The finishes are smoother and I did them with less work. Bearing this in mind, I have a tip. If you have the room in your workspace I would finish all the butt joints on the underside of the panels first (underside being the side with the stickers/labels on them) before doing the top side. This way you will have more practise before starting the upper sides, which will be visiable.

The way I’ve been working is to do two butt joints a night. I then wait 24 hours (6C temp, fast cure hardener) to remove the bricks and mylar and trim the epoxy from the ends. However, I’m not going outside every night, so that’s why it’s taken me 4 weeks just to get this far. I’ve been meaning to record the hours I spend working on the kayak but I haven’t done this yet. I’d better get caught up before I forget.

Rethinking temperature

Upon reading other people’s experiences with building pygmy kayaks, I’m rethinking the heating situation in the garage. It is becoming more and more apparent to me that I will continue to have difficulties working with the epoxy at the cool temperatures that my unheated garage provides (under 10C).

I’ve read other people describe how the epoxy flows nicely when they apply it to their boat. Not so with moi. When I’m applying the epoxy it is quite sticky and thick.

If anyone has experience or advice on heating an non-insulated garage (20’x12), I would like to hear them. Insulating the garage at this point is not really an option, I have way too many things stacked against the walls along with the bikes attached to the wall studs. Not only that, but insulation is really expensive.

By the way, I ended up returning the heater that I bought from Home Depot. It turns out that there was a recall on it.

Epoxy cure time

I finally figured out the best time for doing some work on “green” epoxy. Please note my specific environment. With temperature in the 6-8C range, and using the fast cure epoxy from System Three, I found that 24 hours was just about right. The epoxy was soft enough to cut through relatively easy, but the epoxy was generally quite firm. ie I didn’t need to be gentle with it.

This is what it looks like when the extra epoxy squeezes from the ends of the panel:

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