Tuesday, June 26, 2012

building a skin on frame kayak

We finally made it a priority and started building a Skin on frame 'Baidarka' kayak.
'Building a kayak means more than you first imagine.This journey of creation will reflect your present and your future. When you bring a boat to life in the traditional fashion, you create stories just as the first kayakers did. Making your own kayak, You get a boat you can be proud of, a kayak you will love, and the knowledge and confidence to build one on your own.'

 Baidarka is the Russian name used for Aleutian style sea kayak. The ancient Unangan name is Iqyax. The word has its origins from early Russian settlers in Alaska. A prominent feature of a baidarka is its forked bow (bifurcated bow). Very lightweight and maneuverable, it was made out of seal skin sewed only by Aleut women, over a frame made strictly of drift wood (since no trees grow in the Aleutian Islands), bone and sinew.
It was treated as a living being by Aleut men ( it was taboo for a women to handle them)

Tom Yost  http://yostwerks.com
 has an excellent website with kayak designs and  great information on building  skin on frame kayaks   

We did choose the relatively new Roldarka design from the website , but Tamas altered  cross section #3 and #4 ( raising both 1")  to gain more freeboard.
the roldarka
the roldarka offset


Than we took the first step and went to the local lumber store to look for Western Red Cedar and Marine grade plywood

We knew that we need to build the strongback first. This will support the frame during assembly.
We made a 16` long strongback....  bolted  six   8` 2x4 together and  two  8` 1x6 deckplate screwed on the top
the strongback

    and the stations at each end to secure the first and last cross sections

The cross sections:  install the sections
we used a pushpin to transfer the outline of the cross sections to the plywood

We used a jig saw to cut  the outside of the cross sections with a fine wood cutting blade,than drilled  the inside edges of the cross sections using  the 3/4" drill bit to make smooth corners and provide starting points for the jig saw.

after cutting all the  cross sections out we used our Dremel multimax to smooth the edges of the wood..

                      It was a great feeling to see all the 8 cross section 

                                       first time in my kayak :-)

        we sealed the cross sections with 2 coats of spar urethane from Helmsman

                                    and 2 coats of  Tung oil  to the stringers

Frame Construction  the stringers
first we secured cross section #1 and   #8 to the stations than attached the gunwales to the cross sections held in position  with shock cords and electric cable tie. After is an easy task to slide  the remaining cross sections and  stringers  into place.

                                         WOW...it look like a kayak :-))

                                                   second time in my  kayak

"While the origins of the unique Aleut craft, the baidarka, are lost in the mists of time, it was the Russian explorers and traders in the early 1600’s who called the boat by the name we use now – “baidarka”, or “little boat”. Russian and then European explorers who visited this part of the world observed and recorded the little boats and how they were used by the Aleuts and other coastal peoples. The Russians, in particular, recognized the extraordinary seaworthiness of the craft, and used it extensively in their harsh exploitation of the native peoples and the fur trade.
The baidarka was the sea-going equivalent of a sports car – fast, maneuverable, and admirably suited to hunting in rough conditions. The umiak, in contrast, was the equivalent of a dump truck or utility pickup truck – capacious, much slower, but suited to carrying a great many people or tons of cargo (though smaller versions were used for whale hunting).
native baidarkas were built of driftwood gathered along the beaches, and covered with sealskin or sea lion skins. The Aleuts, as did many of the other native peoples, designed and made specialized garments that covered the paddler and attached to the baidarka, helping to make man and boat into one sea creature, and thus helping to ensure their survival in one of the roughest seas in the world. (Such clothes, and the equipment used by the hunter in the baidarka, are another fascinating field of study).
Aleut baidarkas are generally classified by their number of “holes”, or cockpits – one, two or three holers. It wasn’t unusual, the explorers tell us, to find children riding in the bigger baidarkas under the skin covering and between the cockpits. The smaller boats generally ran from 16 to 19 feet long, and were often about 20 inches wide at their widest point.
These craft were also noteworthy for their bifid, or bifurcated bow, which is useful both to extend the length of the craft (thus making it faster for a given human horsepower) and to provide just enough built-in flotation to help the bow rise to the seas. Although the bifid bow was not unique to the Aleuts, they did develop their own specialized design suited to the waters in which they lived and hunted"

                                    figuring out the Bow.. it took us a few try..;-)))

                                                        The completed bifurcated bow

Lashing  lashing a skin on frame kayak
to secure all the the pieces together we chose  to go with lashing

we used   the modern and virtually indestructible equivalent of seal gut – waxed nylon thread

                                 Time to separate the frame from the strongback..

 the cockpit floor floor

the foot-pegs

The Coaming  coaming
The 2 coamings was cut from 1/2"marine grade plywood. 

trying to smooth the  coamings before gluing the two together .......... was a mistake ;-)))

                                    I used a woodburner to make the fire owl...


legend of the fire owl

we used Titebond III  glue and dowels to glue the two coaming together

sealed  twice with urethane

and temporary clamped to  cross section #4 and #5

                                   just be sure......

 was time to take a day off and get some Frozen Yogurt

The Skinning:

the best online resource for the skinning process is Corey Freedman's skin boat school website
we ordered  the  nylon and  the goop from Corey's  spirit line store  ( quick and friendly service)

we watched this videos before and during our skinning process..
Corey's instructions

tools what we used for skinning:

                                            sewing needles from CVC pharmacy

                                                  Unwaxed floss


                                                   hot cutter

                              helping the needle trough the skin


    2 clamps to secure the fabric to the frame


we made the nylon wet for better stretching

used a hot-cutter to cut the skin

the coaming  installing the coockpit
When the nylon fabric was sewn over the boat, we fastened the cockpit to the boat 

 inserting nails trough the  sewing holes into the nylon

and lashed into place..


Dye and Shrinking dye and shrinking

                                                              this is my purple dye

The dye was applied with a rag rubbing it into the surface.  The dye first dissolved in hot water with 10-15% vinegar added to the liquid.

                                                         and here is my purple kayak

 for shrinking we used a new iron from WalMart..  It coast us 7$

To shrink the skin after the dye is applied, an iron at full heat is pressed on the top surface.  

Urethane coating : Goop

Deck Rigging  deckline cord

 wood burning tool helps to make  a hole trough the skin

the seat

.. .

it was taboo for a women to handle them!!! :-)))
Locations of visitors to this page