Kayak Update

2005-09-16 09:59 ☼ post

I had the day off from work today so I spent part of my afternoon working on my kayak which I had been neglecting for a few weeks. I was kind of burned out on it after my big push to get it seaworthy and the subsequent test run back in August, but it was great to spend some time working on it again.

The first thing I noticed when I put the kayak back up on sawhorses was that leaving it tipped on its side for a few weeks had caused the keel line to aquire a clearly visible curve as gravity pulled on the stems. On top of that issue, the skin seemed a bit more wrinkled in spots along the chines than it should have been. Fixing both problems ended up being a matter of simply tipping the kayak up on the opposite side and pulling down on the stems to straighten everything out. With that keel curvature problem fixed I moved onto the more pressing issue: adding a keel strip.

I decided a keel strip was a necessity after bringing the kayak home following its maiden voyage and inspecting the keel line. While the kayak had held up quite well overall I noticed that there were several roughed up areas along the keel that were going to require reinforcement. It probably would required several outing for the rough patches to develop into holes that actually leaked, but I didn’t want to mess around with this issue.

The first step was taping off a 2 1/4″ wide by ~18 strip along the keel. Luckily I had plenty of masking tape leftover. Next up I had to cut the strips as evenly as possible. That actually proved quite easy when I cut the vinyl with the thread pattern side up. I wish I had realized that trick back when I started work on the hull skin. That simple idea would have made things much easier several times along the way. Finally, with the keel line masked off, I prepped the exposed surface with MEK as usual and finished by coating it with H-66. In the end it took me a few hours, but I I’m pretty happy with the results. My mastery of the vinyl bonding process is far better than when I first started out.

The finished keel stip looks pretty good and should do a good job of protecting the hull. Rather than gluing the strips on with the smooth side out yet again, I decided to glue the strip on with the thread pattern side out (apparently Tom Yost usually does the whole skin with this side out). My theory is that scrapes with not stand out so much with this pattern out, but I won’t be able to confirm this until I take the kayak back out again this weekend.

At some point I may go ahead and add strips to the chines as well, but I’m not convinved that will be necessary yet. In the meantime I’m looking forward to taking my kayak out again this weekend and testing out my new spray skirt at the same time. I don’t think I will be attempting any rolls this year, but I definitely want to try paddling further than I did last time around. It would be nice if I didn’t have to borrow Mary’s Expedition to haul the kayak, but until I add the zipper and complete its folding capabilities I’m going to be stuck for a while.