Pygmy Murrelet Build Started

Discussion in 'Boat and Accessory Building' started by pnwd00d, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. pnwd00d

    pnwd00d Paddler

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    Hey everyone. I'm new to the forum and somewhat newish to paddling as well.

    Last month I went up to the Northwest Adventure Sports Festival in Gamble, WA to paddle several Pygmy boats that were on hand. I spent the months before hand doing some research and paddling different boats. Ultimately, I was blown away by just how much nicer it was to paddle all the pygmy boats compared to fiberglas and plastic boats I had tried. I was kind of surprised that a novice like myself could even tell a difference but it was a big one. So after talking to the folks at Pygmy and paddling pretty much every boat they offer I ended up settling on a Murrelet with four piece deck and the better tracking hull design.

    My girlfriend has two plastic boats measuring 14' and 9' so I definitely have access to shorter rec boats should I desire to paddle one. As an outdoor/adventure photographer I'm interested in documenting long kayak trips and general outdoor life sort of imagery. I felt the Murrelet was stable enough to shoot from and had enough capacity for my camping gear plus a little photo gear. It was my favorite boat to paddle for sure but I can see myself also adding a Pinguino or similar small boat at some point too!

    Ok with that preamble out of the way, I thought I'd pose a question. I've already dropped an email to Pygmy about this but I have a free morning and am anxious to make progress.... so here it is:

    I'm in the process of butt joining all the panels and while they are curing I have enough space to glue the cockpit coaming together but I'm a little confused on this process. The instructions are not as refined about this as other points and Pygmy has no video tutorial for this step.
    Per the instructions:

    "Butt together the seam aft of the cockpit. Using epoxy thickened with wood flour to the consistency of molasses, glue the pre-cut butt plate under the butt seam."

    If i were to do this as described, the work piece would not lay flat on my bench without some kind of spacer under the front as well. Also, I don't think I could effectively clamp this. Is there a reason I can't just glue it ON TOP of the work piece on what will become the bottom of the coaming? Or maybe that's what the instructions are actually trying to tell my obtuse little head? :mrgreen:

    Also as a side note, does anyone have an interest in me documenting the build here? From what I can tell it goes together pretty much like the Coho so I'm not certain there would be much value... The image linked below illustrates the "wrong" way to my understanding. BTW side question, has anyone figured out why Google drive hosted images wont link via the img tag?

    https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B5dgvp ... jVfMnBpbFE
     
  2. Tootsall

    Tootsall Paddler

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    Just a thought but I would be very hesitant to attempt to pre-assemble any of the coaming and/or hatch components before the hull and deck are assembled and joined. There are angles involved in 3D plus final trimming to fit of the coaming parts (mostly bevelling of the butt joints) that really can't be done until you've got the deck completed as a template. Pygmy put their instructions in sequence for a very good reason!... It works. While there are some areas where some preliminary work is useful (I'm thinking of precutting the wire "staples"), this isn't one of them.
     
  3. Roy222

    Roy222 Paddler

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  4. pnwd00d

    pnwd00d Paddler

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    I definitely see your point. In this case though, the cockpit coaming step is immediately after the initial butt joining of the panels. Since I'm nearing the end of that step I thought I'd just use the bench space to work on that task. The actual joining of the coaming to the coaming spacer and deck comes much later, this is just the coaming lip.
     
  5. pnwd00d

    pnwd00d Paddler

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    Actually the video you link to in your post is the source of my confusion because it's at odds with the printed instructions both in sequence and in method. In the instructions I have, the coaming LIP is first joined right after the other panels then set aside..... actually looking closer at the printed instructions. These two steps seem to be in direct disagreement with one another. I think this may be an oversight in the instructions since this is a newer boat. I better just give them a call. Ugh, hate to disturb them.


     
  6. pnwd00d

    pnwd00d Paddler

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    Posting an update in case anyone ever has this same question.

    The Murrlet has a recessed deck to better allow easy leaning and rolling. The cockpit coaming is therefore FLAT unlike other designs with a coaming that slopes away from the centerline as the deck itself does. So, long story short, it gets laid flat to glue it. The little tabs on the ended of the pieces that cause a gap, need to be removed as they are just a CNC glitch.
     
  7. Whidbey

    Whidbey Paddler

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    http://www.pygmyboats.com/Images/Murrel ... 9-Edit.jpg

    You should be able to use spacers to hold the cockpit surround pieces up and flat while glueing them together. Or just use weights to hold down the cockpit surrounds until the epoxy cures.

    One thing to watch: Make sure the step created by the butt plate is free of epoxy that may ooze out when you join the parts. This will save you grief later on when you attach the crescent shaped slanted back panel.

    James
     
  8. pnwd00d

    pnwd00d Paddler

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    Thanks for the tip. The instructions mention that pretty specifically too. I think I managed to scrape most of it off but I'm sure there will be some clean up still.
     
  9. pnwd00d

    pnwd00d Paddler

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    Ok been making some good progress, I think but I ran into a series of questions>

    1. Hull is all stitched up. The center butt seams align well on all panels BUT at the stern end the alignment is not so hot. The panels do come together in the right spot at the stern though. Having talked to John at Pygmy he mentioned that the entire boat is built off that center seam so I'm hoping that the mismatch at the end isn't too critical

    2. This is a bigger problem I think. For the Murrelet the center frame is wired in place on all chines after all hull panels have been joined. In doing this step, I can't seem to get rid of very small gaps on both sides. I've re-installed the center frame twice with no appreciable changes. Here are two pics of the gaps that I'm fighting. For what it's worth, placing the bow and stern frames in place, they seem to fit just fine with only the center frame having the gaps. I'm not sure how to fix this or if I even need to worry about it.

    thoughts?
     

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  10. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    This is an incredibly small offset that you have. It is most likely due to the type of edge treatment you gave to the panels. I presume you rounded/bevelled the inside edges of the panels just a bit, and this would be just about impossible for a designer to allow for how much you would take off. I/ve seen this in other builds where the gaps are 1/4" and even much more.

    If you want the best case, loosen the form wires and slip in pces of thin card or paper all the way around the form so the gap is even all the way around, then retighten. Now the relative angles of all the panels become exactly as designed. If the form is to be glued in as a bulkhead, glue between the spacers, pull them out and glue those remaining gaps.

    What you have is the best case. A more difficult case is if the form is tight all around and the boat panel edges don't quite match at the forms (and of course can be forced to match between). In that case the same type of spacers need to be placed between the wire locations of the panels, epoxy filler in the gaps, remove spacers, filler in the spacer regions. (a fix requiring more care but similar in concept to the previous condition).
     
  11. pnwd00d

    pnwd00d Paddler

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    Well that's encouraging :) I've given little edge treatment though. The only thing I can think of is that I've narrowed one or more panels just ever so slightly too much at the butt seam when I filed off epoxy at the seam where it ran out during the butt seam joining process. The top most panel has been beveled but only on the shear and not on the edge where it meets another panel. Thanks for the reply, it's awesome to have this forum as a resource.
     
  12. RoyN

    RoyN Paddler

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    I think the big thing is to make sure the keel line is straight and the seams are wired together the same on both sides of the kayak. If still unsure give Kelly or Laura a call at the Pygmy shop. I'm sure either would be happy to help you.
     
  13. pnwd00d

    pnwd00d Paddler

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    Heard back from Pygmy today.

    So Jim asked me to measure the center frame for him and measure back from the butt seam to be sure that the frame is located properly in the hull. The center frame indeed appears to be properly located and the dimensions seem correct to me though I'm waiting for him to confirm that.

    I asked him about shimming the space on one side and am awaiting a response on that. I could use hand pressure to hold the other side in place while I hot glue it but if I were to shim that side as suggested above, what demons might I unleash later if I'm just correcting a bigger problem lying in the panels some place?

    My fear would be that I would then struggle to get the rest of the boat fair in the next step...
     
  14. pnwd00d

    pnwd00d Paddler

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    As I work on this build, I'm sure I'll be posing a lot of other questions. As I learn the answers to those questions, either from this community or from Pygmy, I'll try and update this thread for future builders. This is my only way as a novice as adding value to the site at this point :)

    So regarding the above. A conversation with Laura at Pygmy boats led me to just go ahead and drill a couple more holes near the chine to pull in the offending gaps. When this was done, I was able to easily move on to the other frames. The bow frame ended up having a very similar issue but was also easily corrected with a couple extra wires. The bow and stern both now appear a bit more fair as a result of these efforts though I haven't tightened the keel wires or any other wires in the hull yet.

    This extra wiring and having to reinstall the frames several times used up a lot of wire. Pygmy doesn't really sell that wire separately so I'm moving forward with a roll of copper wire which though more expensive seems more readily available at my local hardware store than aluminum wire.

    With some luck, I should be able to lay some fiberglas on the hull in the next day or two...
     
  15. Pawistik

    Pawistik Paddler

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    It's looking good. I haven't built a S&G yet (I have built a strip guillemot, and a skin-on-frame yost sea flea), you seem worried about what seems fairly small imperfections to me. Wood is an imperfect material (maybe it's perfectly imperfect), and it expands and contracts with temperature and humidity. So, it seems to me that some imperfection should be perfectly acceptable and still turn out a perfect boat. :)

    My own kayaks might have one or two, very small, imperfections. If someone ever sticks their head into the cockpit looking for places that I messed up, I'll hit them hard on the backside with a hand-carved paddle! ;)

    The murrelet is a boat that I would really like to build so I'll watch your progress with eager anticipation.
    Cheers & happy building!
    Bryan
     
  16. pnwd00d

    pnwd00d Paddler

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    Wait... did you just call me anal retentive?? :mrgreen:

    I was just laughing about this with the Pygmy folks actually. I'd rather er on the side of worrying too much rather than too little which is what they say is the other common call they take after things have gone a little too far south.

    Having never built one before, it's hard sometimes to know what is a small issue and what isn't. I'm sure by the time I finish this one, I'll be a lot more relaxed when I build the next one. Might try out a strip boat next. I just love the looks of strip-built boats!

    Here's the hull all tightened down and awaiting a bead of glue on it's keel.
     

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  17. Madamfool

    Madamfool Paddler

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    It looks great!

    I'm building the Osprey and have one set of seams (butt seams) in the middle. I see you have seams toward the front end in the photo. Do you have 2 sets of seams?
     
  18. pnwd00d

    pnwd00d Paddler

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    Right, it's long enough that it needs two sets of seams. I was worried about the fact that the end seams don't align like the center but it turns out that doesn't matter. Phew, one less thing to concern myself with.
     
  19. Madamfool

    Madamfool Paddler

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    I really didn't like gluing all the panels together so I'm glad I only had the one set. It took me forever to get them done! I can't imagine having more to do! Good on ya!
     
  20. pnwd00d

    pnwd00d Paddler

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    Ok, been working quietly but am moving and struggling to meet travel obligations so things have slowed down considerably. Still, I've run into some frustrations which I hope to find some solace for amongst you...

    I've been over these seams four or five times now, filling with different thicknesses of epoxy but I just cannot escape air bubbles that come out when I sand the seam smooth again. I'm afraid to sand anymore because on my last pass, I started to go through the first ply of the wood near the seams.

    Is it even possible to get every last little air bubble out of the epoxy in the seams?

    Also, I'm including images of the stern and bow. Have I shaped and rounded these correctly? Comparing to what I've seen in the Pygmy video, I'd say mine is more fair than what they show but not absolutely perfect...

    I'm ready to put a saturation coat on... just worried about getting air under the glass when I get past the saturation coat if I can't deal with these little bubbles.
     

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