Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Eastern Arctic Kayak Construction - Shaping the Deck

I've got the deck of the Eastern Arctic Kayak (EAK) set up.  Beam is something like 29 inches at 90 inches from the stern. I figured that the first three feet of the boat weren't in the water so I would put the widest part of the boat more or less in the middle of the part that was in the water which worked out to be at about 90 inches from the back.
View from the bow end. There's a windlass just back of the bow to pinch in the sides. Aside from the coils of rope that hold the ends together, three spreaders fix the shape of the deck.  The middle of the three spreaders fixes the beam.  The other two spreaders widen the deck by some amount fore and abaft the middle spreader.
Here's an oblique view of the deck, this time from the left rear toward the bow.  The bow rises and the stern drops.  The deck turned out pretty symmetrical, something that sometimes takes some struggle to achieve.  But I cut both gunwales from the same piece of lumber that had been laying outside for about a year, giving it time to stabilize from its green state when I bought it, so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that it turned out.
And I forgot to mention in the previous post on shaping the gunwales that I backed up the Gorilla glue with some stainless steel screws. My experience with Gorilla glue is that it isn't that strong given the kinds of surfaces that I glue together, that is, unless the two surfaces being glued are both smooth and in good contact, you don't get a very good bond.  Hence the screws.  I could have driven some dowels in there too, but screws seemed just a bit faster and I had a box of them and wanted to try and given that the pieces of the gunwales do not need to move relative to each other, rigid joinery is OK
When it comes to something like the gunwales, what matters is the shape and not the details of how the shape is achieved.  I used to think that these things needed to be done in a traditional manner like with doweled scarfs and no glue or screws, but then doweled scarfs were not particularly traditional anyway.  Much of what we think of traditional kayak building technology evolved in post contact times, that is, post contact with European traffic which introduced both new materials and tools.  The only truly traditional part of kayak building is to do the job the best you can with the tools and materials available to you.

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