PYGMY ARCTIC TERN 14 - building Q&A

Discussion in 'Boat and Accessory Building' started by Mark_Schilling, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    I'm about to start building a new Pygmy Arctic Tern 14 stitch-and-glue kayak, and I'm going to document the process with photographs, but with a bit of a twist.

    There will be an album created for the job, which you'll find in the
    'Boat Building'
    section of the site. Unlike other albums, this one will be viewable by everyone while it's in progress, and the photos will be updated as the boat progresses.

    So, while I'm building the boat, I welcome you to follow my progress and use this thread to ask any questions that may arise as each process is fresh in my mind.

    Enjoy!
     
  2. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    sounds interesting, i'll be looking forward to your progress.

    did you get anything added to the kit or are you planning to modify it in anyway. I'm not too sure what comes standard, but i'm thinking in terms of hatches or bulkheads etc.
     
  3. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    The "full kit", as sold by Pygmy, includes just enough to make the actual boat that you could take out on the water. But no extras - no hatches, bulkheads, padeyes or deck lines, etc. Just the very basics.

    Along the course of building the boat I'll be adding Pygmy's hatch and bulkhead kit (made specially for the Tern 14), as well as a few custom features. I'll be making my own soft padeyes through which I'll run a full set of deck lines and bunjis. I'm also going to use Pygmy's epoxied-in foot brace studs instead of the 'standard' foot peg system, which is attached by drilling holes through the hull. Thus, my finished boat will not have externally-visible bolts holding the foot braces in place. I'm also going to customize the positioning of the foot brace studs and forward bulkhead, to minimize the amount of 'extra' room in the cockpit and maximize available space in the forward hatch. (This feature will be used once the Tern 14 is completed, in my Romany which I'll be putting into 'dry-dock' later on). Finally, I'm toying with the idea of making my own fibreglass knee tube, similar to what I have in the Romany, which is a storage 'tube' suspended in the cockpit from the bottom of the deck. It will hold things like snacks, water bottles etc. without getting in the way of moving around in the cockpit.

    That's about it in the way of modifications - I'm not going to do anything more difficult (such as inlays etc.) on this boat, as I want to keep it relatively simple on which to learn about building techniques. One thing I'm NOT going to install, which is something of a standard item on boats these days, are bow- and stern toggles (handles with which to carry the boat). I want to keep the lines of the boat attractive, and the Tern 14 will be light enough that these won't be neccessary.
     
  4. jurgenk

    jurgenk Paddler

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    Mark, sounds like a very nice project, and should keep you busy (and out of trouble) for some time to come.

    Perhaps you should leave the option open of using bow and stern toggles, as they are not really designed for carrying boats. Their use in rescues and for having something to hang on to when you take that inadvertent swim, more than make up for their dulling of a boat's lines.

    Included a link on making soft padeyes link and for rigging and varnishing a wood boat. Have fun and enjoy fulfilling your inner Bob Villa... :wink:
     
  5. Andy_Ferguson

    Andy_Ferguson Paddler

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    I'm absolutely giddy with anticipation.

    Mark, can you tell us a little something about the work space you'll be using?
     
  6. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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  7. rider

    rider Paddler

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    Right on :D so you actually got the kit. Cant wait to see what it turns out like,should be a sweet little boat. I would put a handle of sorts on the front because theyre handy for pulling the nose of it out of the water(NO i dont mean to drag it across rocky beach,just get nose out of the water),maybe for the rescue reasons too but cant say i worry much about that. I bet you'll be done your build before i'm done my homebrewed rocker-less wonder.
     
  8. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    Oh yes, I'll certainly have a bow line and a padeye near the stern end of the boat - I just won't have actual grab-handles flopping about on the deck. My soft padeyes will be made similarly to those explained on the Redfish Kayaks link that Mick included (thanks Mick!). Bow lines, in my opinion, are an absolute neccessity when doing overnighters in tidal waters. And it'll give me a chance to show off my splicing skills. :wink:

    As for the workspace, I'm using a woodworking shop measuring about 22' x 28' - but I only get one little bit of it against a wall. It is, of course, heated - although I'm quickly finding out that the wonderfully comfortable radiant in-floor heating system is not ideal for working with epoxy. Epoxy prefers a falling temperature while curing against bare wood, as a rising temperature can create 'off-gassing', creating tiny air bubbles within the epoxy. Radiant heat systems are designed to maintain a steady temperature; the ground heats, and disperses heat into the room, and since it takes time for the ground to radiate its heat into the air, the process is slow (to heat or cool a room). So, I have it set at a steady heat, and hopefully the temperature will be constant enough not to create any problems. That said, it's sure nice having a large workspace where your feet are never cold. :wink:

    First set of photos should be up later tonite or tomorrow.
     
  9. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Ahhhh, you've done this before! Years ago, I started to build a Pygmy in a cavernous unheated space, and discovered this effect the hard way. I tried to heat just the kayak, while applying resin. Many pinholes later, I shifted to a smaller area with baseboard heating.

    In your case, it might work to preheat an hour or so ahead of time, and then turn the in-floor heat off as you begin a wet-out job. Or, direct a small electric space heater onto the work for a while before you start, turning it off when you begin. As well, a small epoxy storage cupboard maintained at about 25-30 C will ensure the resin is in cooling mode during application.

    I'll be watching your work enviously.
     
  10. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    Actually, I haven't! This is my first experience with epoxy (unless you count fibre-glassing the back deck with Dad when I was about 8!). The Pygmy manuals are very good at explaining these things, so perhaps I'm a bit paranoid. We'll see tonite when I take a look at the first set of panel joints.

    After a little 'experimentation' over the last week, it seems that the shop floor does not start to cool until about 5-6 hours after the heat has been turned down. If you then turn the heat back on, the temperature falls considerably before the concrete is warm enough again to radiate more heat into the shop space. So, I think I'll just go for an even temperature and hope for the best.

    Your epoxy 'warming oven' is a very good idea; I will be constructing one of those within the next few days. That should help with the first major coat of epoxy over the entire hull, once I get that far. For now, I'm using the 'hot water' treatment (warming the epoxy jugs in a bath of hot water, as per the Pygmy manual) but it takes a while (over an hour).
     
  11. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    A 60 W bulb is plenty of heat -- keeps mine at about 23 C when the shop is at about 16 C. I just slapped together some 18 mm ply and a 9 mm door. Bolted to the wall near where I mix epoxy.

    Are you mixing by volume or by weight? The latter is especially handy for small batches, which I seemed to need all the time when I did my yak.
     
  12. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    Yup, that's what I plan to do - just a very basic ply box with no bottom, and a 60W bulk inside.

    I'm currently mixing by volume, using Pygmy's supplied pumps which insert into the jugs. They seem to work ok, although I've heard that they can 'burp' and mess up the measurements. If that turns out to be the case, I'll start using a small gram scale instead. Is the resin about the same density as the hardener, so that the 2:1 measurement by weight is the same as by volume?
     
  13. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    I used dixie cups for measuring. The pumps will burp eventually -- especially when the level in the bottle drops or if the epoxy is cool.

    I measured out an ounce of epoxy in a dixie cup and then placed the cup inside another cup -- I then marked on the outside cup where the one ounce level was and cut the side off of the outside cup -- this way I easily inserted a clean cup inside the cut cup and filled the inside cup to the level of the cup -- a perfect pour every time. Of course, you'll need two measured cups, one each for epoxy and hardener.

    You could even measure cups for a half ounce as there are a few instances during the construction where you'll need only a very small amount of epoxy.

    The pumps are convenient, but the measuring cups will ensure that your mix is always correct.

    *****
     
  14. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    The pumps will eventually burp, all right, and you'll lose a batch. And, they only allow larger batches to be made.

    Everyone I have heard of runs out of resin in those kits -- they do not really give you enough, considering the way a home builder uses the stuff. I did not, because wastage was minimal, weighing out the resin and hardener.

    As to the ratio, it is 100:44 resin:hardener, so you'll need a calculator to do the math.

    There should be a lot info in the System Three literature that came with the kit to help here. I think S3 sells a US$70 electronic scale that is perfect for this.
     
  15. Batstar

    Batstar Paddler

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    Sounds like a great time to build Mark. You should have it ready to paddle in no time at all. :)

    I went the cheap route and used a big cardboard box for my glue warming hut...spacious enough to fit an old desk lamp plus all three jugs of resin/hardener. I cut a big square hatch in the front and folded it back to allow easy access. Worked great. If you want to avoid a mess, I would recommend placing a piece of plywood underneath as you’re bound to get a few drips no matter what. How much resin and hardener does Pygmy ship with the Tern 14 kit? If they shipped 2.5 gal, as they did with the AT17, then you should have plenty to spare with the smaller kit.

    One of the most indispensable tools I used when removing cured epoxy was a cabinet scraper. It was very precise and the carbide blade never required changing during the entire build.

    [​IMG]

    Good luck and have fun. Look forward to seeing the progress of yer build! :)
     
  16. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    The Tern 14 comes with 1 1/2 gal of resin and 3/4 gal of hardener (so, 2 1/4 gal total).

    I haven't picked up all the stuff I'll need for the build yet - still have to get one of those cabinet scrapers and a pile of other stuff. Hopefully I'll be able to find most of the stuff I'll need tomorrow, before I get too far into the build process.
     
  17. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    I've quickly flipped thru the System Three booklet; sounds like I should spend a bit more time with it. Thanks for the tips though - I'll certainly start weighing it instead. Sounds like a much more precise way of controlling your mixes, and considering the cost of the epoxy, it's probably a good idea considering I have an electronic gram scale anyways. The batch I made yesterday went well (1 oz to 1/2 oz) but the epoxy was nice and warm, the pumps new and the containers were full. As things progress, I imagine the ratios will start to get a bit sloppier.

    Thanks for all the tips so far! Sorry about the lack of photos so far - I forgot that I didn't have software here so I'll do it at home tonite. I'm building the boat about 20km from home so I can't update right then and there.
     
  18. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    That carbide-bladed scraper Batstar mentioned is awesome! I built my Pygmy using one of the traditional Sandvik steel scrapers (basically, just a rectangle of 0.060 inch-thick steel), and I about wore out my file maintaining an edge. I wish I had had access to a carbide blade back then.

    Turns out I acquired a carbide one last week and am in love with it (I'm building a plywood power boat, so I will get to use it a lot).

    The only advantage to the steel one is you can work a broader surface ... useful for fairing in uneven areas, and you can curve it a little for concave areas. But, for runs and drips, that carbide one is a godsend!
     
  19. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    Hey Batstar - may I ask where you got that from?
     
  20. Batstar

    Batstar Paddler

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    Mark,

    I purchased mine from Lee Valley Tools but I reckon one might acquire a similar scraper through any fine woodworking/cabinetry shop. I opted for the Bahco model 440 without the knob and found it to work superbly at removing runs and drips. The blade is reversible, but as I had mentioned before, never found it necessary to do so. Dave is right...it is one awesome tool! :)

    LV Tools also carries steel handled versions at half the price, but I think that the plastic handle of the Bahco would be more comfortable to use over the long run. Still, they are a great value at $10.50.

    Bahco Carbide Scraper

    I also found a good source of 1/8" foam roll covers at Rona. They happen to be 9" long but I simply cut them into 3" sections and used a smaller roller frame. I actually found the smaller roller easier to use in tighter spaces such as when glassing the inside of the hull.

    Hey, I noticed that Pygmy is offering a Sapele version of the AT 14 in their latest catalogue. :cool: