Getting ready to build a cedar strip boat

Discussion in 'Boat and Accessory Building' started by Steve_Fairbairn, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. Steve_Fairbairn

    Steve_Fairbairn Paddler

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    About the time that Mark, Darren and Dan started on their respective stitch & glue boat builds I was in the midst of moving to a new home which required the construction of a new workshop. While enviously monitoring their builds through their photo galleries I slowly, but surely, plodded through the construction of a new 22x24' detached workshop and am now getting very close to finishing the interior to the extent that I can actually start setting up all of my woodworking machines and tools and do something productive.

    During this time I have been researching various wooden boat plans and kits. I've read Nick Schade's excellent book, "The Strip-Built Sea Kayak", and have just started reading Ted Moores' "KayakCraft". I have pretty much decided to forgo the kits and build a cedar strip kayak from plans and mill all of my own strips. The two authors have fairly different ideas and processes for their construction methods and I'm not sure which is the preferrable process. Nick Schade's seems to be less complex and I like his method of strongback and station construction.

    At this point, I'm having a really hard time choosing between Nick Shade's 'Guillemot' and Joe Greenley's 'King' although I'm currently leaning toward the King. Any comments, pro or con, about these two boats from those who have some experience with them would be most welcome.

    I'm also hunting for a good source of clear, close-grained red & yellow cedar planks for ripping into strips. A local source would be preferable. I'm not sure if I want, or even need, to rip 18' long planks for full length strips and may just buy a half dozen full length strips for the keel and sheerlines and mill the rest from 10-12' planks. Any words of wisdom from experienced strip builders would be welcomed.

    Naturally, once I get started, I'll be documenting the build as it happens in the WCP photo gallery and may even setup a webcam in my shop.
     
  2. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    heh, heh - all those fun early decisions!

    internal(guillemot) vs external(king) building is an endless debate with proponents on all sides. either way will be ok. the main aspect in either case is that the strongback needs to be stiff(straight is unimportant) - an external because it physically can have a larger cross section is more likely to be stiff. (however, i prefer the elegance, simplicity and minimal space of an internal - and build it out of good materials)

    for wood - one possibility is Great Northern Craft (he was at the matb) over in N. Vancouver. I believe he can get just abt anything you want.

    about methodolody, i would suggest not going to bead and cove as there is much more likelihood of damage, much more machine time/money involved, no construction benefit, harder to store, and the end result is slightly poorer and easier to make/hide mistakes. it also does not lend itself well to pattern stripping. others may disagree slightly here, but it would be an animated discussion.

    about yak types, good luck!!! but it first starts by what will you be using it for. If the same type of yakking you've been doing - loaded and putting down the miles - then maybe also look at some of the one ocean kayak types - efficient, beautiful and good volume. the guillemot and king are both great looking yaks, with maybe the guillemot being slightly more manoeverable, the king a better tracker - and just maybe the guillemot is slightly lower volume. if you like elegance, have a look at the guillemot night heron stripper also.

    anyway, all sounds like fun. I think there are representative types of these yaks all around the lower mainland and might be an idea to check those out that you haven't seen.

    and with a workshop like yours, i think that many different types would fit quite well!
     
  3. DarrenM

    DarrenM Paddler

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    Sounds exciting Steve! I can't wait to follow your progress. 8)
    FWIW I like the King better... :? :D
     
  4. Steve_Fairbairn

    Steve_Fairbairn Paddler

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    Interesting comment. Although the B&C method will leave a slightly wider glue line, I would think construction would be quicker than trying to match the bevels along the length of the strip. Yes/no? When you refer to the likelyhood of damage I assume you are referring to the fragile nature of the edges of the cove when storing and handling them? By the time I get to milling strips I should have two router tables setup in the shop and, while it does take time to feed the strips through the router, I can't imagine it taking more than 2 or 3 hours to mill the beads and coves on all the strips once the routers are setup. Can you elaborate on why more money would be involved?

    All these new things to learn... :?
     
  5. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    aaargh - (b&c vs bevel.)!!!!


    depends depends. a simple stacked layout means b&c will be quicker. fitting stuff is always very difficult. some real experienced ppl just use b&c on hulls. if you're insetting or pinstriping, b&c is way more difficult, and if regular non (b&c)strips are inset, you get width change depending (obviously) on how much is routed off.

    bevel matching is usually so slight, that after getting the idea, it is no time at all - and a much more tactile, gentle, rewarding and skill obtaining experience than a whining, screaming, deafening, howling, earshattering router at 30,000 rpm.


    if yr buying them, b&c will cost more: if making, you have to buy/rent a router and router table/setup

    and fragility = damage possibility.

    for me, everytime i touch or machine something, there is a possibility of damage, and if keeping track of strips for grain/edge matching is important, i can imagine the frustration i would feel upon screwing up a strip when doing an extra machine step.

    you're a careful guy, and probably will get a great result, but i have seen some awkward examples.
     
  6. Steve_Fairbairn

    Steve_Fairbairn Paddler

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    I don't consider the cost of tools into the equation because either I already have the tools or I'm looking for an excuse to get new tools. 8) I dont know about boat builders but all of the woodworkers I know subscribe to the theory that any new project requires a new tool(s). In the case of routers and router tables, I can't imagine a woodshop not having at least one router table and a selection of routers. I've already started a list of the new tools that I will need to get including a better LA block plane, spokeshave and a heat gun.

    Having not yet gained the experience of building a boat, I have to take your word on the ease of matching the bevels. I do want to do some pinstriping and other design elements on the deck so perhaps a compromise of b&c for the hull and non-b&c for the deck would be appropriate. Perhaps I should cut all of the strips but hold off on milling the b&c's until I am actually stripping the boat. Need to do more research....
     
  7. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    Sounds like a lot of fun Steve! From my experience, learning about the processes - even before they begin - are a big part of the fun. They lead to a great deal of anticipation to actually start making sawdust, so as soon as you rip the first bit of wood you're all smiles - the journey has begun. Looking forward to seeing your progess (and learning from it for my own project in years to come!).
     
  8. Steve_Fairbairn

    Steve_Fairbairn Paddler

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    Mark, I have the arguably bad habit of researching things to the extreme before I actually start designing or building something. I often spend more time researching and planning than I do building. It's amazing how many people have blogged the construction of their boats on the internet. 8O I'm starting to compile a 'lessons-learned' document from reading the blogs and seeing what did & didn't work for people to avoid some of the mistakes that other have made. Unfortunately, most of the blogs are from people with limited boat building (and woodworking) experience.

    Shop Update - I now have all of the insulation and wall & ceiling paneling installed. This past weekend I installed half the lighting and the molding around the ceiling to cover the 4" gap between the top of the plywood wall paneling and the ceiling. All that is left is:

    • Install the rest of the interior lighting and external security lights which are all on the same circuit - wiring is in but I still have to cut a couple of holes in the exterior walls for the security light junction boxes and hang the interior flourescent fixtures.
    • Install a couple of light fixtures in the attic.
    • Install a pac-pole in the middle of the shop. The pac-pole is already wired up and the junction boxes are already pre-wired and installed in the attic. I just have to mount the base of the pac-pole on the floor, stick the top end through the hole in the ceiling and connect the wires to the junction boxes.
    • Install the compressed air plumbing. There will be about 5 or 6 copper drops throughout the shop connected by a permanently mounted hose running around the perimeter of the ceiling. Each drop will have it's own regulator and some will have a filter and/or oiler.
    • Install dust collector ducting
    • Hang cupboards and install counters which are currently stored in my carport.
    • Build a radial-arm saw/chop saw bench along one wall.
    • Install heavy duty shelf brackets for wood storage rack.
    The end is in site and most of the outstanding work is relatively trivial although routing the dust collector ducting around the light fixtures may be a bit of a challenge. The last thing will be dragging the scores of boxes and totes containing all of my tools and stuff out of storage in my crawlspace and actually setting up the shop. I also haven't figured out the sound system yet. 8)
     
  9. Steve_Fairbairn

    Steve_Fairbairn Paddler

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    Yea, I'm leaning more toward the King at the moment. Is your boat finished now?
     
  10. DarrenM

    DarrenM Paddler

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    That all depends on your definition of "finished" :lol:

    It is for the most part but I would like to customize my cockpit a bit. And maybe add a bit more deck rigging.
    I'm also planning on another build for this winter. A 14' S&G from plan for my wife.
     
  11. DarenN

    DarenN Paddler

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    welcome to the strip building world Steve!

    bead and cove..... i happen to like b&c. i build without useing staples and while i will admit to the cove edges being fragile, if you are careful you can avoid chipping off the edges. also, i use 3/16 thick strips with 1/4 b&c bits.

    King vs. Guillemot....... i've paddled the G, built and paddled the King (Robert M bought it from me). between the two i'd go with the King, hands down. maybe Robert will let you take a test drive. as far as i'm concerned it is THE best woodstrip design on the market. i'm building another one this winter, with a modified deck.

    i like external strongbacks. much more stable.

    i'll be around to answer any questions or offer assistance if i can.

    Daren.....

    ps... that's the King in my avatar pic.
     
  12. Komatiq

    Komatiq Paddler

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    Steve, personal preference would be to go with b&c. The edges of the cove don't have to be a problem when you are doing your own milling because you control the depth of the cut on the cove.

    I mill the cove and leave a fairly substantial amount of stock on the cove edges so they aren't so fragile and the excess gets removed during the sanding process so the hull/deck comes out fair.

    Bevel edge planking is an inferior way to do strips the size you'll want to use on a kayak or canoe and the finished product won't withstand as great a stress impact as the b&c since the recess of the joint makes for a stronger joint.

    Sounds like you are just about set up to get started. Hope a get a tour of the new shop when I'm over your way since I'm just at the starting stage of setting up the 2 car garage I have here for a small wooden boat and furniture shop......... :wink:
     
  13. Steve_Fairbairn

    Steve_Fairbairn Paddler

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    Would that not make the edges even more fragile? How much weight do you save using 3/16 strips?

    Robert has offered the last couple of times we paddled together - I'll have to take him up on it the next time. I think I've pretty much decided to build the King. It's just a matter of ordering the plans.
    You can count on it. I'll probably be soliciting advise from all the experienced builders on the site once I get into it and start discovering new challenges. It's a bit of a departure from the woodturning that I normally do.
     
  14. Steve_Fairbairn

    Steve_Fairbairn Paddler

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    Getting close. It's hard to get out there in the evenings to work on it so I have to get as much done on the weekend as I can. I figure I've still got 4 or 5 days of work to do before I can start unpacking the boxes. I've got a couple of (really) expensive new toys that I haven't even unpacked yet. It's driving me crazy... I can show you the floorplan of what it it supposed to look like, though.
     
  15. Steve_Fairbairn

    Steve_Fairbairn Paddler

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    I talked to Joe Greenley on the phone today and placed my order for the King plans.
     
  16. DarrenM

    DarrenM Paddler

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  17. Robert_Meier

    Robert_Meier Paddler

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    Nice! When do you start the build? Or maybe that's prep for the build?
     
  18. Steve_Fairbairn

    Steve_Fairbairn Paddler

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    Probably not for 2 or 3 months. I still need another month or so to finish off the shop and I have a few higher priority projects that I need to complete in the shop before I can start building a boat. However, I wanted to get the plans early so I could study them and try to ask all of my stupid new builder questions before I actually get into the build.
     
  19. Doug

    Doug Paddler

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    Sounds cool Steve. I think building and owning a King is a great choice.

    I'm getting ready to start a strip boat myself. I'm leaning towards a LaugingLoon baidarka. I almost got a line on some free strips last night via the KayakForum, but I think Daren beat me to it by an hour!

    Doug
     
  20. DarenN

    DarenN Paddler

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    Heh Heh!! :D