Sunday, December 9, 2012

The installation begins

Strip installation has begun!  And now the boat is starting to show the shape of itself.  With every strip that goes on, I get know that I am getting closer and closer to launching it.  I know that the time and effort that I put into it will conclude with a great reward of paddling it for the first time.  As I write this post today we have received a significant about of snow.  Here is a view from out our patio door onto the deck.  So far, it looks like about 14 inches has fallen.  Two good things from this, one, I can go snow shoeing, two, when it all melts there will be water to paddle in.

For this post I decided that I would display a lot of pictures.  I feel that previous posts have been lacking pictures so without further ado, here they are.
The first strip.
I used my hand plane to remove the bead from one side.
 I installed the first one cove side up and held it in place with hot melt.

The second and third strips.  Between the strips I am using 3M Blue Painters Tape.
This helps to squeeze the glue out and it removed easily. Of course, as mentioned in previous posts, I
am using 3M wood glue for the strips. I apply this down the bead.

Just enough clamps.

A close up view of the clamp block holding the strips to the  forms.

A view from the opposite end.

Up to about 9 or 10 strips at this point.

The Keel Strip installation.  This one has taken some fitting to  install.
So this is my current progress.  So far things have been moving along pretty well.  Now comes the work of fitting the strips into each other unlike the first several courses where I could just run them long and then cut the ends off.

By the time my next post rolls around I hope to be complete with the hull and then moving on to stripping the deck.  The anticipation of the first paddle stroke in the water keeps building...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Milling strips

Well again it has been some time since my last post but I have accomplished quite a bit in the last couple of months.  After finishing ripping all of the strips, next was the milling of the cove and bead on each strip.  I set up my router first with the bead bit, then the cove.  WHY?  Well the bead can take more abuse than the thin edges of the cove so it is best to do that first.

Here is a video of the milling.

After completion, I counted all of the strips and came up with about 140 total.  Doing the math this comes out to just over 1200 feet or almost 1/4 mile!  I thought that was pretty good.

Installing the first strip:
The next step was putting on the first strip.  Using my newly sharpened block plane, I planned down the strip so that it would bend nicely to the shape of the boat.

And just like that the first strip was on.  Ok, it may have been a little more work than that but it is now looking good.  At this point I consider myself about 1/3 of the way through the project.  The first 1/3 being the form building and milling the strips, the second being installation of the strips, and the final 1/3 being finishing.

I also added a couple of 3M products to my list.  One was a 3M half face respirator with the P100 particulate filters installed.  I used this when ripping and routing the strips so I didn't have to suck in the cedar dust.  The next was a 3M hot melt applicator (glue gun) and 3M hot melt glue.  So counting these as 4 different products brings my total 3M product usage up to 16.  Pretty good for being 1/3 of the way through.

Hot melt applied to the back side of the strips to hold them to the forms.
I have decided that I will not use any fasteners (brads or staples) on this project as I don't want any small holes to deal with later on.  Also, I don't think it would look to nice to have a bunch of small staples holes scattered across the surface of the strips.  This is the reason for using the hot melt.  Once complete with the stripping, I will break the forms out and remove the hot melt.  Sounds easy!

Now I continue placing strips on as I have time.  It is actually kind of fun as it clears my thoughts as I can focus on the task at hand.  I've got plenty of details to post about strip installation so I will save that for next time.  Hopefully soon.  So far I have been pleased with my progress.  It hasn't been too difficult so far.  I have taken time, set things up correctly and once the steps are broken down, they go quite well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cutting strips

Well it has been awhile since my last post as progress has slowed a bit.  I did meet a small milestone and that is I ripped all of the strips.

I purchased the wood from Hiawatha Lumber in Minneapolis, MN.  They've got a lot of beautiful cuts of wood and I think it was pretty reasonably priced.  I purchased clear vertical grain western red cedar and some clear redwood.  All of the boards were 1x6's and had various lengths.

They did have long ones available (16+ ft) but I didn't have a good way to get these long boards home so the longest I purchased was some 12 footers.  The remainder were either 8's or 10's.  The total cost was just over $350 for about 80 lineal feet.  If my calculations are correct, this should be enough to cover my kayak.  Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the wood prior to ripping it so you will have to use your imagination to envision what a pile of 1x6's looks like sitting on the floor of my shop.

So using my thin rip table saw jig (see previous post), I set up the saw so that I ripped the strips to 0.263 or very close to that.  I chose to go just a hair thicker than 0.25 to make sure the cove and bead come out nice.  Yea, I do have a little variation as I had to move my fence for each cut but in general I would say the strips are between 0.260 and 0.268.  I know this because I took measurements with my caliper throughout the cutting process to make sure things were not moving around on me.
My table saw setup with and outfeed table and "slide" for the strips.

Another shot of the ripped strips
Here is another shot of the ripped strips.  You can see the difference in color between the redwood and the red cedar.  The redwood is the left pile.  Also, I was slightly amazed to see the amount of saw dust which was generated.  Oh well, it will make some good mulch or a great fire starter.

Finally,  ripping completed!
I also have a video of me cutting the strips but I have to cut down the file size.  I'll get this posted shortly.

In total I probably had 3 to 4 hours into ripping these.  Before I began this project, I was thinking that ripping the strips would be a challenge but now that it is complete, it turned out to be pretty simple.  Once I got the saw set up, it became a routine of cutting the boards, moving the fence, cutting the boards, moving the fence....and so on.

My 3M product usage count stays at 12.  I didn't use any during this stage of the build and I don't anticipate any until I get to actually installing the strips on the forms.

Next up is routing the cove and bead on the strips.  The shouldn't be too bad as I already have my router set up to cut the beads.  One by one I will get through these, until next time....

Monday, August 27, 2012

Form building

Before getting into the details of the form building, I thought I would take a quick moment to mention that I added the subscribe feature to the blog.  In the upper right corner you can put in your email address if you want to get updates.  Or you can follow this blog with the feature just below the subscribe area.

The next step is building the forms.  From the plans, I roughly cut out each of the forms, 21 total.  In thinking back, this is probably the first project that I will build from plans.  Most of my projects are from my plans which I have drawn up.  Sure I have had some help from local furniture stores where I take measurements from but still, I have not purchased the plans.  But, for this project, I purchased the form plans and so far I am pleased that I did.
Cut out forms laid out on a 4x8x1/2"thick piece of sanded plywood
Of course, I added a 3M product to my list of products used.  The 3M Super 77 spray adhesive was used to glue the paper forms to the plywood.

I then roughly cut the forms with my jig saw.  Once I had them roughed out, I used my bandsaw to cut them out exactly to the forms.

Now I had to build the strongback.  I could have used a 2x4 but finding a 16' one that is straight enough is quite the challenge.  SO I decided to make a solid laminate beam out of the other sheet of plywood that I purchased.  I ripped eight 3.5" x 8' long strips on my table saw.  I then used another 3M product to glue these together.

This product is one of my favorite spray adhesives that I have used.  The Woodworking 20 spray adhesive has a short working time so the bond is very quick.  I sprayed it on both surfaces to be glued, allowed it to dry to a light tack, then stuck the two strips together.  It is not easy to separate once they have touched so positioning correctly the first time is key.

Since it is a spray adhesive, I didn't want any over spray on things where I missed the strips.  To combat this, I had some 3M masking film laying around.  I cut a piece off and draped it over my work bench.  You can see it in the picture above.  It is thin, easy to cut, laid out nicely and protected my bench from over spray.  Once complete, it was easy to wrap it up and dispose of so cleanup from the spray was a snap.

Once I had these together, I clamped and brad nailed the beam along its length.

Somewhere during this process I cut myself.  SO, add another 3M product to my list in the form of a Nexcare bandage.
Just a minor scrape.
I then cut out the center of the form and placed them on the strongback.  For the end forms, I had to glue the small pieces to the end forms.  For this, I used 3M Scotch Maximum strength adhesive.  This is a quick setting permanent adhesive.  Very quick, easy to dispense fast setting adhesive.  I like it and I will probably use more if it when making scarf joints on the cedar strips (more on this during the stripping post).
Scotch Maximum Strength Adhesive
I added some wood cleats to allow me to screw the forms to the strongback.  It was easy to align the individual forms as they have lines already drawn on them.  It took some time but in the end it will pay off to have the forms aligned.
Forms roughly attached to the strongback.  Here it is on my sawhorses.

Once I had it to this stage, I used 3M Blue painters tape around each form.  The purpose of this is to prevent any extra glue from sticking to the forms during the stripping process.  Since the forms have to be removed once stripping is complete, I want this to be easy to do.

Finally, the completed forms.  It is nice to see the shape of the boat coming together.

I also made some more sturdy supports.  Just had a few 2x4's laying around so I made it a little more ergonomically friendly for myself by raising the forms up to about 40".  I figured this would make it easier on my back when attaching the strips.  Lastly, I didn't want to forget the 3M 50 grit abrasive sanding belt I used.  This was used to add the taper to the end forms by using my belt sander.  It didn't take long to add this feature as the 50 grit belt quickly cut away the plywood.

For the form building, I added seven 3M products to my usage list.  These were the Super 77, the Woodworking 20 adhesive, Nexcare bandages, masking film, Scotch Maximum strength adhesive, 3M Blue Painters tape and a 3M sanding belt.  This brings my total number of 3M products used to 12.  From previous posts I used the Scotch white wood glue, Scotch carpenters glue, 3M all purpose sanding disks, and Scotch tape.  One item which I have not taken a picture of but have used is the 3M E-A-R soft yellow neon blasts.  I like these as they fit me well and are easy to insert.

So now the forms are complete, the next step will be ripping strips and milling them.  Then I can start attaching the strips.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Answers to my questions

I am sitting writting this post from comfort of my shop.  It is kind of nice to be out here with the smell of fresh cut cedar in the air and a Sam Adams summer ale in hand.  The kids are out running around playing and every now and then I step out and check on them.  What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon in August.

After my first post I had a few questions I needed to answer and I think that I have done that for myself.  My questions were:
1. Should I get a thin rip table saw blade?
2. How is milling my own strips going to go?
3. What glue works better?
4. Should I stain it or not?

cheap thin rip blade
First off, the thin rip blade.  I had a cheap 7 1/2" blade which I installed on my saw but it didn't perform too well.  I didn't like the blade marks which it left on the strips. 

To me, the blade is flexing or something.  Oh well, I won't use this one for this project.

The strip in the middle was cut with the cheap blade.  The outer ones were cut with the Freud.
So, I went to the Rockler store in Maplewood, MN and purchased a Freud Diablo thin rip glue line blade. 

table saw insert removed to show blade

After cutting a few strips with this one, I am very pleased with it's performance.  It leaves a nice clean edge.  One item of note with this blade is that Freud designs this blade so that only 1/2 of the top tooth should be showing above the work piece.  Apparently they have the cut angles figured out to provide the best cut.  In addition, it is the proper way to set up a blade for cutting in terms of safety.  I have always followed the rule of the blade should be no more than 1/4" above the work piece.

Tooth height above stock to be cut

Milling the coves and beads:
I purchased a set (one cove and one bead) of bits from MLCS online.  These are 1/4" shank bits which will fit into my router.  I decided on this style versus the combination cove and bead in the same bit purely based on personal preference.  I think this way it will allow for easier setups.

1/4" cove and 1/4" bead router bits with 1/4" shanks

An important item to note here is the strip thickness.  I had set up the bead bit first and milled several strips that I cut.  The difference in thickness of the strips was pretty minor.  I had two different setups with my thin rip table saw jig, thus the difference in strip thickness.  I've got some work to do here when I set up to rip the strips to the right thickness and also to set up my router.

cove and bead cut strips

For the bead, it didn't seam like a big deal.  But for the cove, the thickness was a very big deal. 

Obviously, this is why I only cut a few to play around and expirement with.  Now I know, strip thickness is key.  In fact, I think I will rip the strips to 0.260".  Verus 0.250" just to give a little but extra material there to account for the variation which will most likely be there when I rip all of the strips. 

After ripping a few strips, I decided that I would glue a few together to see which 3M glue I prefered.
One is a 3M white wood glue and the other is 3M carpenters wood glue.

After letting the small strips dry, I sanded them.  I don't really see a difference in the glue type.  Both performed nicely and I will purchase a few more bottles to have on hand.  From what I can tell these should perform the same as other major brands such as Elmers or Titebonds.

Next I put some stain on the small test strips.  I don't like stain for this project.  In order to show the natural beauty of the wood, I will not stain this one.  I would have a really hard time staining the wood on this boat to all look pretty much the same color.  It was a good test.
Stained versus natural. 
The wood types, top to bottom are western red, pine and redwood.

3M product use so far:
3M Scotch 3/4" wide tape - I used this to tape my plans to the wall of my shop.  I know it is a pretty minor detail but hey, it is a 3M product that I used!

3M wide wood glue
3M carpenters wood glue - see picture above.

3M all purpose sanding disks - I will be using many of these later on.

So I learned a few things and answered my questions.  Buy a good blade, set ups are key, no stain!

Lastly, I bought two sheets (4x8) of 15/32" thick sanded plywood.  I will use one to build the strong back and the other one will be for the forms.  More on the form building in my next post.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cedar strip kayak

After several months of thinking about it, and seeing it on my list hanging on my garage wall, I have decided to start my next project.  I have started to build a cedar strip kayak.  I intend to use this page to provide updates to the project, share pictures, help others...etc.  Enjoy and stop back often for updates.

So far here are the steps which I have taken in this project.  About a month ago I purchased the book "The strip build Kayak" by Nick Shade.  I arrived at this book through an internet search and think that I chose wisely.  The book details all of the necessary steps to take when building a kayak.

Second, I have to make space in my shop.  I will be building this in my single stall shop of my garage.  The size is about 11' x 25'.  It is tight but in order to make some more room, I needed to build a storage shed, or barn as I like to call it.  So this has taken me a couple of weeks to complete but it will be nice to have as I can park my lawn mower in there and use it for other storage.  This will free up space to arrange my shop so that along one side I can put together the forms for my kayak.
I have decided to build a sea kayak.  I read various articles and compared designs and decided that I would build the Guillemot "L" design from Shade.  Why?  Well, I envision the day when I am complete with the build and I can pack it up and take it on a solo paddle for several days up in the BWCA in northern MN.  The Guillemot L has what I am looking for and will work nicely (or so I hope) for my intended use.  Here is a picture of one which I will use for my design.

To get started, I purchased plans from Chesapeak Light Craft.  These arrived just the other day so I am really excited to get started building.  The full size plans were $108. with shipping and include the full size patterns for all of the forms.  These, along with the book, should be what I need to get started.

The other items which I have recently purchased include a thin rip table saw guide.  If you don't know what this is, google it or look on  Since I have decided to mill my own strips, this will help to ensure that when I am ripping the strips, they will be equal thickness.  I haven't yet fully decided on the wood to use but I am leaning towards western red cedar, redwood and for a lighter color either yellow pine or eastern white cedar.  I recently bought a couple of boards from Hiawatha lumber company in Minneapolis for trial cuts and to play around with.  Here is a picture of some strips which I cut to 1/4" on my saw and layed them out to see what they look like.

In the picture, the redwood strips are obviously the red ones.  I like the look of the cedar next to the redwood.  Throwing in some white cedar should add some nice light accents.  I found a place to buy some boards in Duluth, MN so one of these days I will either order it or just drive up there and buy a couple boards.

The reason for the trial strips was to try out how the cutting will go.  I have a cheap thin kerf blade for my table saw but it leaves some undesireable blade marks on the wood.  In order to avoid sanding these later I want to find a blade which will cut these yet not leave any marks.  I guess it is off to the Rockler store I go, or ebay.

The other item I need is a bead and cove router bit.  I've got my eye on a couple and just need to order it.  I will get this shortly and set up my router and try my cove milling skills.

Hopefully all goes well with the cutting and milling.  I've got a couple of items to buy and then next time I will post I will hopefully have some answers to my questions.  And of course I need to get a sheet of plywood or two to make the forms, probably this weekend. 

Lastly, I have decided that I will try to use as many 3M products either directly or indirectly for the construction of my kayak.  Why 3M one might ask?  Well, I work for 3M and what a better way to learn about more of products than to actually use them.  So far I have used the Peltor brand hearing protection, the Sandblaster sanding sheets and others.  I am also looking at using some acoustic dampening film on the inside of the hull and other quick set adhesives and Scotch brand wood glues.  I am open to suggestions for other 3M products so send some comments my way and let me know how I could incorporate their use into this project.  I have a list of multiple different 3M products which I intend to use and so far the list is about 14 items long.  As I use them, I will keep the list growing and post about how the product is used and maybe even a review or two about it.