Kayak Building – Planing, Drilling, Wiring – Part Two

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This post is Part Two of a multipart blog . . . Read Part One here.

In my last boat building adventure blog, I left off with my first “real use” of the WoodRiver hand plane. I left the four panels on the work table for Dan’s inspection. I expected to hear him say that he had to fix it. But to my surprise, he said it was fine. He did mention that we missed a step, and we had to use the plane for a few more sections before we started to drill.

I couldn’t believe we missed a step! I read that section in the manual many times. Basically, the support plates needed to be beveled on each panel so the boat could fit together.  That step was mentioned in the support plate section, above the beveling section, so it’s easy to miss – in case you decide to build a boat. Yesterday I also received an email from Laura at Pygmyboats.com, and she pointed me to the videos that show every step in the process. The videos are great, and it did clearly cover beveling the reinforcement plates.

Missing this step gave me one more chance to use the hand plane. In order to do a better job with the plane, I asked one of our product managers, George Snyder, to give me a quick lesson on sharpening, tuning and especially using that plane. Frank Byers shot a video of the lesson.  George makes it look so easy. I struggled a bit in the video, but when I cut the remaining edges in the plywood, it was SO much easier. The quick lesson and tune-up really helped. Thanks, George!

George and Nancy

George and Nancy (left) demonstrate the WoodRiver Low Angle Block Hand Plane with Adjustable Mouth, Woodcraft Item #151125 in the video below.

Additional information on sharpening plane blades as referenced to in our video can be found at this link with Rob Cosman.

Making Wire Staples

Day 9: 4/19/12: 3 1/2 hours  Dan asked me to wait for his arrival before beveling the edges on the plywood. While waiting, I measured out the drilling template and matched the left and right sides of the panel to prepare for the drilling process. After that, I went outside to make some of the wire staples that I’ll need soon. Basically, you cut the wire provided in the kit into 3-1/2″ pieces and bend them around a 1/2″ piece of wood to make staples.  The staples will be used to stitch the boat together.

While I was making the staples outside of the house, several people came by to check out the lockmaster’s house. Again, the house is in the center of town and on the way to the walking path along the river. The historic house is interesting enough, but put a kayak building event inside, and it’s even more interesting. So, I played tour guide a bit as I bent wires.

When Dan arrived, I tested my new skills with the hand plane and did a much better job. (Although Dan could have completed the task in minutes, he patiently waited for me to finish.) While he was waiting, he cut out the drilling template that I measured out. Next we put the matching panels together, clamped them down with a quick grip clamp that did not damage the wood, and drilled the holes.

Dan Jones removing my broken drill bit!

Dan Jones removing my broken drill bit!

I used the Porter-Cable Cordless drill with a 1/16″ drill bit to drill holes every 6″ with the template. On the first panel, I broke the only two drill bits I had.  After laughing, Dan said he would wait for me to run to the store and buy more. I returned with 8 more titanium bits! I only broke one more, while I was chatting of course. Although the cordless drill worked well, Dan suggested that I use a corded drill since it would be lighter without the battery. I’ll be sure to bring one to the next drilling session.

The overall time of 3-1/2 hours would have been greatly reduced if I didn’t have to run to the store!


Day 10: 4/22/12.  5 hours

Today the boat finally started to take shape! The first steps were measuring and marking the panels for the temporary support frames. Then we adjusted the three jawhorses to fit my height and layed out the #1 panels. We aligned butt seams in the panels and started to wire them together with the staples I made last time. We placed the support frame in place according to the measurement, drilled a few holes, and wired it in place. We added tape and a piece of scrapwood for extra support.

How exciting – it’s finally starting to look like a boat! The holes for the #1 panel were already drilled, so I wired the pieces together. We used a quick grip clamp to  bring the ends of the panels together.

Next, I lined up panel #2 with the butt seams of panel #1. Panel #2 first attaches near the center seams and then at each end. There are no holes drilled in the bottom of panel 2, so once the panels are aligned, matching holes are drilled and then wired. I repeated that process for panel #3 and called it a night.

I’ll be back in the shop on Tuesday to finish panel #4, place the bow and stern end frames, and flip the boat to prep for gluing the outside seams. Stay tuned!



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