Black Pearl build......maybe?

Discussion in 'Boat and Accessory Building' started by paddlesores, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. paddlesores

    paddlesores Paddler

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    I'm thinking of building another kayak now and this time I'd like to do a strip build. The kayak I've got my eye on is the Black Pearl by Bjorn Thomasson. Problem is, I've never done any strip builds or fiberglass work before. I'm wondering if the BP would be a good choice or not for a first attempt. I have no idea about what makes one design more or less difficult to build than another. Any thoughts on what should or, maybe more importantly, should not be attempted for a first time strip build? If I go ahead with this project I will be painting it (do you paint fiberglass? like I said I know nothing of the process) a solid color so I'm not worried about patterns or wood coloring/design too much. All thoughts appreciated. Thanks.

    Doug
     
  2. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Doug-
    I've got a set of Black Pearl plans on the shelf here, but haven't built the boat yet.

    Just looking at the plans, I'd rate the BP in the easy-medium difficulty range.
    Easy: putting hatches in flat decks is quite easy - you can use snap-in inspection plates if you want something flush. And the rear deck on the BP is flat.
    Medium-keeping the flat chines 'looking right' means that you don't want strips 'running over' the angle where the planes meet, so that can mean a bit more fitting of strips than in some other designs, but it's not difficult.

    I have built both strip and stitch-and-glue kayaks using glass and epoxy. You'll get the idea of handling epoxy fairly quickly, I think.

    Paint is an excellent finish for wood-epoxy kayaks IMO. My last few kayak projects have been painted. The good part is that you can use epoxy filler and get a really fair and smooth surface finish. The bad part is that paint reveals surface flaws - there's no 'pretty wood design' to take the eye away from any bumps - so you need to use filler in most cases :)

    You've probably explored Bjorn Thomasson's website where there are lots of BP pictures. If you run into Swedish pages, Chrome will do its best to translate, with sometimes humorous results.

    Also, make sure to frequent http://www.kayakforum.com/ - it's a great resource for builders. Dan Caouette and Sean Dawe (in NL) have both built Black Pearl boats in strip, and Dan also builds and teaches BP classes in S&G.
    Both of them have lots of build details in their websites/blogs.
    BTW, Sean Dawe pulled the Black Pearl back into the shop to add a skeg and also to put in a keyhole cockpit (vs the small cockpit as built (in the plans)) after paddling the BP for a couple of years, so that might be something to think about....it's easier to do things like that from the get-go.

    http://justyakkin2.blogspot.ca/2014/05/ ... plete.html

    Sean is a very helpful guy; I wouldn't hesitate to contact him with questions.
     
  3. paddlesores

    paddlesores Paddler

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    Thanks John. That's just the kind of info I was looking for. Pretty sure I will take a stab at this over the winter and I'm sure to have a bunch of questions for you then. Did your plans include an option for a skeg or is that something a guy can just add on his own during the building process? Do you have a ballpark number of hours you figure a strip build takes?

    Doug
     
  4. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Doug:
    Ask away! I'm glad to help here, or here via pm or on the kayakforum. At kayakforum, you'll get hints from folks who've actually built a BP. Warning: 'Two boatbuilders, three opinions on the best way to do anything'.... :)


    I'd rate the BP plans from Bjorn Thomasson as 'very detailed'... the location and dimensions for a skeg are indicated. Construction details for skegs are on BT's website, as I recall.


    You could also consider using a purchased skeg assembly (from KayakSport? or other manufacturer?) but you would have to make sure that it would fit under the low aft deck of the BP. Check with Sean Dawe for ideas.


    It varies a great deal. "A few hundred hours" would be my guess if you are just starting on your first build, assuming you don't yet have:
    -strips milled (BTW, this is a good thing to do before the rainy season if you have an outdoor spot to set up your saw- it is dusty work. You'll need a pile of strips no matter which design you pick to build.)
    -a strongback set up
    -forms cut
    -practice using epoxy and fiberglass (I strongly recommend buying extra supplies and practicing before putting epoxy on the boat.)

    etc.

    Building a skeg and skeg control box 'from scratch' will add quite a few hours to the job.


    Are you planning to use the BP for general paddling or just as a 'rolling boat' ?
     

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  5. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    In a previous discussion, Rod Tate of Orcaboats stated this about the Black Pearl:

    The entire discussion can be found here:

    viewtopic.php?f=7&t=5108&start=25&hilit=Black+pearl
     
  6. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    A link to pictures of the strip-built Black Pearl by Rod Tait:

    http://www.orcaboats.ca/photopost/showg ... hp?cat=555

    IMO, a hybrid style Black Pearl - S&G hull, strip deck - would work well since the hull is hard-chine and the deck is rounded forward. I built a boat in this style, and it worked out OK, and was fairly quick to build.


    Building a Black Pearl entirely in S&G or even as a hybrid might be a bit tricky, especially as a first build in either style, IMO

    Sean Dawe figured out some shortcuts to stripping flat panels - details are in his build blog.
     

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  7. paddlesores

    paddlesores Paddler

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    John, after seeing the pic of your white kayak I can start to understand why it could be tricky to strip that style of hull. Thanks for the link to Orca's site, it really showed again the finessing it takes around that hard chine.

    Maybe a dumb question here. I went through the build pics Rod Tait has on his site and at the very end he cut off the ends of the kayaks, looks like the last couple of inches, and then builds a small form and creates what I'm guessing is epoxy ends to replace the cut-offs. What is the reason for that?

    I'll get some time this weekend and go through Sean's build process.

    It is looking like another steep learning curve coming up but I'm leaning towards giving it a shot.

    Doug
     
  8. OrcaBoats

    OrcaBoats Paddler

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    I did indeed build the Black Pearl for a customer and I will be doing some work on it in the coming month (in need of minor scratch and dent repair as it is used hard). If you wanted to come by and see when I have the boat, drop me a note. since you are just down the road If you have any questions during your build I will try and answer.

    If you plan on painting the boat, then planking is not that hard as strips can run any direction, runoff chine edges, etc., but if you want a clear coat, then it is more difficult to get clean lines. If you look more into how Bjorn builds many of his boats, he just staples the strips on without any glue, then pre-coats the wood with epoxy, pulls the staples, fills a lot and fairs and then glasses, and paints.

    The ends were cut off so that I could add a solid end block of epoxy which is what the customer wanted.
     
  9. Roy222

    Roy222 Paddler

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    My opinion:
    Use strips to build curved surface designs,
    Use S&G to build flat surface designs.

    I would not use wood strips to build a Black Pearl. The exception would be an expert builder like Orca Boats.

    First time builder will need a minimum of :
    70 hours to build a S&G
    300 hours to build a strip boat.
    Add another 100 hours to finish a high gloss clear finish.
    Flat panels take even more time to finish, because flat shows flaws.
    Plywood comes flat.

    Roy
     
  10. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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  11. OrcaBoats

    OrcaBoats Paddler

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    I believe Dan's Black Pearl is designed to be built S&G. I don't believe he is taking the strip design and building it from ply. It is more difficult to get flat panels from strips, hence the fillers and paint. The real difficult area I found in the strip design was the sharp curves around the cockpit area. In this area, shorter strips are used to fill in. Would not look good clear coated.
     
  12. paddlesores

    paddlesores Paddler

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    Rod, thanks very much for the offer and I'd love to take you up on it. I would really like to keep it a full strip build and glad to hear you say it is doable. I will PM you my contact info. Going through your pics I was interested to see you also do canvas/cedar canoe restorations. I picked up a rough Chestnut a couple years ago but am still trying to find the time to get at that project. Thanks again,

    Doug
     
  13. Michael Pearson

    Michael Pearson New Member

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    Hello John.. this is Michael I bought the little white kayak from you. Everyone asks me what kind of kayak it is and I don't remember what designs you used for it. They also want to steal it but luckily most people won't fit!
    I'm giving it a good workout though.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Michael-
    That's a great pic! I'll definitely add it to my folder here.

    Thanks for the kind words; I'm glad that kayak is working well for you. You and that boat were the perfect combination- right boat for the right person.....I'd actually refused to sell that boat to a couple of beginner paddlers.

    The hull is a narrowed version of the Pygmy Arctic Tern 14, and the deck profiles are from my (still unbuilt) Black Pearl plans.

    Cheers
    John
     
  15. GeroV

    GeroV Paddler

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    Doug,
    Have you considered BT's Hunter? The lines seem similar to the Black Pearl and if you look at Etienne Muller's build (www.etiennemuller.com) you'll see that it turns out very nicely in strip.

    Gero
     
  16. paddlesores

    paddlesores Paddler

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    If anyone else is interested I just heard that Dan Caouette of Clear Stream Custom Water Craft has now made available Black Pearl plans for stitch and glue builds. He also says he will be putting together kits in the near future. Four sizes available. Check out his website if interested. I'm thinking now I will build the BP using the S&G method but it won't be happening now till next fall. Will likely order the kit when it comes available instead of cutting my own panels.

    http://clearstreamwatercraft.com/

    Doug
     
  17. paddlesores

    paddlesores Paddler

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    Just saw that Clear Stream is now offering the BP in two different size S&G kits so I will be ordering one of these in the near future with the hope of starting on the build this fall. The panels are being cut and shipped by CLC.
    I've got no idea on what kind of glass or epoxy to use but can someone give me a rough idea of what the cost of materials may add up to (excluding panels)? Any advice, pros/cons on the different types and weights of glass and epoxy would also be appreciated.
    Thanks,

    Doug
     
  18. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

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    Doug:
    The BP is a skinny boat, so will not use as much glass as a bigger kayak.
    Both Dan Caouette and Rod Tait will be able to give you good advice on the amounts of glass, epoxy and epoxy additives required.
    A phone call to CLC might get you the answers you need. Do they sell a 'full kit' for the BP? Ask what's in it?

    If you haven't done much work like this before, you probably will use more epoxy than a long-time builder, so keep that in mind.

    I'd advise using 6oz glass on a first build.
    Drop into kayakforum.com and ask for input on glass weights in the 'Building' forum, to get more (contradictory :D ) opinions. How rough are you on your boat? Is this strictly a rolling boat, or are you going to be pulling it up on the beach and running over barnacles? Where are you planning to get your glass? Not all suppliers have 3.7/4 oz glass; 6oz is most common.
     
  19. Mac50L

    Mac50L Paddler

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    If you are going to be rough on it I'd suggest not glassing it. Why? because damage to ply is much easier to fix than torn glass and ply. Our kayaks get knocked about on bouldery beaches and I've never glassed a kayak yet. My partner just painted her one (instead of varnish as original) after 15 years of use. About 2 metres of glass cloth would be way more than enough. Cut strips on the diagonal so that both threads do some work and it won't unravel. Lay glass strips inside and out on the chine and keel and one layer on the deck to side join. I've left it off there on some kayaks as the sheerclamp does the job of glass on the inside and makes a strong joint. Coat the keel, or at least a metre of each end, about 50 - 70 mm wide, with a carborundum filled epoxy. This means you can leave grooves in the rocks instead of them doing damage.

    You will use 3 times as much epoxy if you glass versus not glassing meaning about <5 kg of epoxy versus 15 kg which might explain why, without fittings such as rudder, deck hatches etc. AUW of 13 kg is easily achieved.