Looking for a kayak builder

JohnAbercrombie

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Dec 7, 2011
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50 hrs, according to Bjorn Thomasson
:)
For a pre-cut S&G kit...perhaps.
For building a strip version of a BP, 'from scratch'... I'd like to see some data.
I know a pro would be a lot faster than me, but....

Anyway, even at 50 hours it shouldn't be cheap.
I once did some kayak work 'to order' -on a labour plus material basis- for a person who - quibbled about the (extemely low, IMO) price.
I asked how much that person would charge to do their professional work for the same number of hours.
"That's completely different!" was the reply.
Translation: "My time is much more valuable than yours."
My 'never work for this person again' list is extremely short, but that customer made the list that day.
:)
 

Ilan

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Dec 17, 2021
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Calgary
One simple question ?
How can you make money building a boat like the Black Pearl?
Even if you charged $5000 plus material and completed it in 300 hours , that is just a little over fast food money.
I guess I asking how manny hours does it take a professional builder to build a stripper?
"The building time may vary (experienced builders finish a kayak in some 50 hours, first-time builders may need 150 hours, and a few with a pedantic approach may spend 500 hours)"
Bjorn Thomasson about building the Black Pearl
 

JohnAbercrombie

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"The building time may vary (experienced builders finish a kayak in some 50 hours, first-time builders may need 150 hours, and a few with a pedantic approach may spend 500 hours)"
Bjorn Thomasson about building the Black Pearl
I'd like to see the time sheet for that 50 hour build of a strip-planked Black Pearl, to what most folks would describe as 'a professional standard".
Starting with a set of paper plans, and some sheet goods for the molds, and some rough-cut lumber for the strips.
Let's assume the builder already has a strongback from a previous project.
Ending with a fully finished boat, ready to paddle with bulkheads, hatches, skeg, deck fittings and deck lines, seat, etc.
Once I have the hull and deck stripped and glassed, I usually assume the build is about 50% complete. 'Details' can consume quite a lot of time.
A S&G build would be faster - perhaps Bjorn was referring to those? There is/was a builder in Sweden who was producing S&G BP (or Frej?) kits, I think.
 

Ilan

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Strip built. He doesn't offer any other plans although, he mentions, they exist. You can contact him directly if you wish. He answered all my questions immediately.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Strip built. He doesn't offer any other plans although, he mentions, they exist. You can contact him directly if you wish. He answered all my questions immediately.
Yes, Bjorn Thomasson is very helpful (and thoughtful, and very fluent in English) and a talented designer. I've built several of his designs.
 

nootka

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I've only built one stripper but 300 hours seems high for an experienced builder. I built mine mostly without staples, and I tried to get bead & cove to fit with minimal gaps, so I took that long. But a pro builder is going to know the tricks to produce a good product in a reduced time frame.
But I agree that you're not going to make much money at it.
 

Roy222

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Jun 2, 2009
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Strip built with staples in 50 hours might be possible if you already had the strong back and forms set up, router templates for all the parts needed and other hard tooling alerady made.

It would be real interesting to see Bjorn's manufacturing process.
 

Ilan

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I asked Bjorn about strip building. I watched Nick Schade's video. Here is Bjorn reply that might help you:
"Nick Shade's manual (and several other American manuals) is comprehensive and may result in beautiful kayaks. Mine is simplified to the extent that a kayak can be built in approx half the time compared to the traditional American way and with a result that for most onlookers is as beautiful as a Nick Schade-built kayak – but an observant scrutinizer might notice that the joints are a trifle wider."
https://www.thomassondesign.com/en/building/building-manual
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Bjorn's method varies from 'the standard' (Hazen/Ted Moores) method by not bevelling the strip edges, or edge-gluing them.
The strips are stapled in place on the forms and then epoxy is spread over the surface so that it runs into the cracks between strips.
This part is similar to the way that panels are glued together with epoxy (applied with a syringe) in S&G building.
Several builders who used to post on kayakforum, including myself and Dan Caouette, used this method on a kayak project.
My conclusion was that the time saved in not bevelling and edge gluing was lost afterward in the epoxy application and especially in sanding later. The cured epoxy is much harder than the cedar strips which are the most common wood used in N. America for stripping, and it's tricky to sand down the excess. Bjorn mentions using a few hundred mL of epoxy to coat a hull with epoxy. With WEST or System Three epoxy and cedar strips I think most builders would use quite a bit more, and a lot of that needs to be sanded off. There were a few other problems I found as well.
As I mentioned above, I find that the stripping process (using staples and painting later) goes quite quickly anyway, so time saved there isn't a big factor for me.
YMMV, etc..

One way to find out: Gather your materials together, and start the clock! :)
 

sofstu

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Jun 14, 2021
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Kootenays BC
First time builders are going to split or break wood, then have to source out more.
They'll most likely botch the fiberglass, and want to redo it.
All that adds extra time and expense to the build.
I would be impressed if they had it finished and looking good in a month of full time work.

Completely different if they just hack it together and go crazy with fiberglass to seal it up.
Then yes 50 hours may be enough.

As for me, I would look to see if anyone close by has made one and barter with them to assist and teach me.
There should even be lessons somewhere, so you may want to book a holiday around one of their workshops.


If I somehow have some extra time at home in the spring, I may offer to make up a combing, however I wouldn't hold my breath on it.
It looks like I will be busy making a couple sof boats ( not just kayaks ) and recently bought another boat in need of some TLC.

I honestly won't be making any $ building these boats, it's just working on something with a boat designer I respect.
 

Roy222

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Jun 2, 2009
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406
Ok I get the idea!
Maybe if you had a canoe router set modified so the outside was slightly open and used a consistent mix of thickened epoxy you could save a lot of time. If you made a special plane to shave the thickened epoxy just after it set up, that would save a lot of time. If you build without stems that would save a lot of time.
Maybe it could be possible to make money building stripers.
 
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