Making a Strip Built Kayak – Stripping the Deck – E6

Hi I’m Nick Schade at Guillemot Kayaks. Welcome to Episode 6 of my series of videos
on building the Petrel Play. In the last episode we finished stripping
the hull and in this episode we will strip up the deck, add an accent stripe and remove
the staples. Back in Episode 3 I planed a bevel along the
edge of the first strip I installed on the hull. The goal was to eventually create a miter
between the hull and deck for a smooth tight seam. Now that I’m working on the deck, it is time
to create the matching first strip for it. As I did on the hull, I write the form number
where the strip crosses each form. This is just a quick guide to keep track of
where I am working. I start the bevel by looking at how wide a
gap I have. I then hold my plane so I see a similarly
sized gap. Holding that angle constant, I keep planing
until the gap disappears. I then check my work, and if it looks good
I move my way down to the next form, slowly rolling the angle of the plane as needed. The strip twists sharply from almost flat
at the bow to nearly vertical at form 4. Heating the strip softens the wood allowing
me to lock in the proper twist before the strip is installed on the forms. With both sheer strips fitted and twisted
on each side, I need to join then together. By overlapping the strips I can roughly estimate
the centerline location. It should be where the inner edges cross. The strips are not long enough for the outer
edges to cross, so I do my best to eye-ball it. There is always a convenient scrap to use
as a straight edge. I mark the taper. Its just a first guess, I don’t need it to
be perfect. I’ll plane down towards the line. I hold the face of my plane vertical to simulate
the angle of the face where the two sheer strips will meet. With both sides roughed out, I check the fit. The toes touch. This means I need remove material from the
pointy end first. When I get a nice fit, I can staple the strips
down. Notice I am not gluing these decks strips
to the hull strips. If I used glue here, I would be hard pressed
to remove the forms later. I do want the deck strip glued to each other. I repeat the same fitting process at the stern
of the kayak. The next set of strips follow the centerline. I align a pair of strips with the centerline
and mark where their outer edges cross the sheer strips. I draw a taper from that mark to the end of
the strip. The most efficient way to get down to the
line is to whack off most of the excess with a pocket knife and then I use a block plane
to ease in on the line. When I check the fit, I’m looking at both
the taper and the bevel angle. I’ll hold my plane to match the gaps I see
and plane until the gaps are gone. Since both sides need to fit simultaneously,
I work on both sides before finalizing either side. There is a slight crown to the deck along
the centerline, so the edges between the strips need a little bevel. I can then work on finalizing the fit at the
ends. When the fit looks good enough, I can apply
glue between the strips, add glue at the ends and then secure the strips in place with staples. A little tape binds the junction between the
four strips nice and tight. These center strips only extend to the cockpit
area of the deck, so I’ll repeat the same process with some new strips at the other
end of the kayak. So, I started with strips following the sheer
and then added strips down the centerline. I’ll continue with this pattern, sheer followed
by center, for a while. It matches well with the curved sides. This pattern continues until the side strips
intersect the feature line feeding into the cockpit area. From there on I’ll just run parallel to the
centerline. Since I’m using square edged strips instead
of cove and bead, I am not guaranteed a tight seam between them. My Robo-Bevel tool forms a bevel on the top
edge of the strip that is square to the form above it. The shoulder plane takes a very fine cut. While this takes longer, it limits tear-out
and helps prevent plugging up the throat with chips. The strips following the sheer line continue
past the feature line and are then trimmed back using the marks on the forms as a reference. No need to have the staples in the way. Connect the dots with a scrap strip. I’m cutting just outside the line, but I want
the feature line to end at a strip intersection, so I stop the cut without going into the last
strip. Now the sawn edge needs to be cleaned up using
a rabbet plane. I’ll keep checking to assure the edge is getting
fair and smooth. I’ve got several rabbet planes. One can be set up as a bull nose, cutting
right to the end of the feature line. A very thin strip of Alaskan yellow cedar
will make a nice accent along the feature line. There is a tiny little bevel at the end where
the feature line intersects the next strip. Obviously, staples are not an option on such
a thin piece of wood. Masking tape will serve as a clamp while the
glue sets up. The same drill on the other side and then
up front. The next strip has a compound taper, against
the intersecting strip, and then along the feature line. I mark out where the bottom edge of the new
strip crosses the top edge of the intersecting strip. This is the first taper. I shape this until it fits pretty well. The next taper extends from the end of the
feature line back to where the bottom edge of the new piece crosses the top edge of the
accent. The fit starts with a good taper angle. Shaving back the taper will allow the strip
to slide in farther. When the glue dries, the staples can come
out. We now have the kayak all stripped up. Next episode we will be sanding and fairing.

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Reader Comments

  1. Robert Randall

    It's looking great! Are you going to be bringing any Robo-Bevels to Brooklin for sale? I'm in Australia, so it'd be easier grabbing one from you there that getting one shipped. Cheers, Bob Randall

  2. Bretson S

    Is the feature line something that is included in the plans or is that something you added? If I wanted to add other feature lines or designs should I do it in a 3d CAD and mark the points on the forms or can I eyeball it?

  3. Wade Patton

    Nick, would scarfing the strips be suitable where a fellow simply couldn't source full-length wood at a practical price? Thanks. Good series-nice editing and the Petrel Play built here is stunning-as are most strip-built boats.

  4. Archos

    Nick: Thank you so much for posting this series! It's incredible helpful and a joy to watch. Keep on! Greets from Germany 🙂

  5. N M

    I admire your work. I would like to build my own kayak one day, but it surely be a plywood one. Gluing strip by strip looks impossible to me. It is far beyond my skills.
    Good luck and greetings from Bulgaria.

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