Flyfisher's Guillemot

A rolling machine!  Here is Flyfisher in the new Guillemot, April 2003


17 Nov 2002 

I have always thought the Schade Guillemot is pretty.  Many of them have been built, as the offsets are available from his book.  When I built the Great Auk last summer, I really wanted to have a nice stable fishing kayak.  I got it on the water just as fast as I could.  With this boat I have decided to be a bit more of an artist with the strips and especially with the finish. 

About all I got done this week was to clean out the shop and loft the forms, pasting them (with wallpaper boarder paste) to 1/2 inch plywood.  A difference this time around was to choose to make the hole in the form much closer to the size of a 2x4 than the full 2x4 inches recommended by Nick in his book...  I put about a 1/16 of an inch all around, but no more. 

First look at the forms:

23-24 Nov

Having obtained 5 12 ft cedar 2x4s and a 10 foot 2x4 from the lumber store, I spent the weekend resawing that wood into strips.  First, the 2x4s were split along their long axis into 1x4s.  then the saw marks were removed with a planer.  Finally, the strips were cut from the 1x4s and then a bead and cove were cut into them. 

I built a rack for the strips to keep them off the floor this time, and added a light for the dark nights, working on a more perfect finish for the boat.

Then I put the forms together, and anchored them down square and straight.  Finally, I laid the first two shear strips.  The design has a lot of curve at the ends of the boat, and Rob Mack's idea to use a heat gun for these bends worked very well. 

Nov 28-30, 2002 Thanksgiving Weekend

It was a great weekend for building.  We got in a trip to visit family, had a traditional Thanksgiving Turkey, and also there were hours to spend in the workshop, heated with the kerosene heater. 

First task was to strip out the hull.  I worked hard to keep the number of scarf joints down to a minimum and to match wood when I needed to do a scarf.  The bead and cove construction worked particularly well on the hull.  And here is a picture of the hull mostly stripped:

Next came the deck.  I had decided to design a "swoop" on the fore and on the after deck.  I used two strips to define how severe the edges of the swoop could be:

Then I created paper shapes and attached them to the forms.  I wanted to do this so that I would know what sections of the hull did not need to be stripped... to avoid all scarf joints on the hull.  Here are those shapes and the shape of the cockpit laid out on the deck:

Next came the laying down of  the strips:


And cutting out the shapes:

And finally the stripping of the swoops with contrasting white pine.  Many of these strips needed to be persuaded to bend this severely with a heat gun.



By the end of the weekend I was working on the cockpit surround.  Next episode will be the removal of staples and creating a nice smooth, pretty surface for epoxy/fiberglass.  This will be interrupted by a short side trip to Greenland this week.  More later!

Dec 20-23, 2002

Next stage after removing all the staples is to plane and sand.  There had been some discussion on the Kayak builder's forum about sharpening, so I too the opportunity to get about 10 grades of sandpaper, from 150 to 2000 grit and do the "scary sharp" sharpening system on the plane blade.  This worked out very well and I was able to do a better job planing the soft cedar.  Even cross grain burls near knots shaved off very well - like a microtome.

After planing, I tried a new technique, filling the various holes and sliver sized pieces with Durham's Water Putty.  It mixes up with water.  For filling pine, right from the can is right.  For filling cedar, mixing some color to about a dark peanut butter color works out right.  I used some color from the hardware store used for coloring latex paints, but another poster suggested using a couple grains of cocoa colored RIT dye.  This suggestion sounds like it might have worked just as well and been easier. 

NOTE:  I did not fill in the staple holes with the putty.  It would have made a much nicer surface if I would have done so.  Oh, well, next boat...

After filling in the holes with a drywall knife and drying overnight, I used the RO sander to get back down to wood and to make a nice smooth surface.  I sanded with 60 grit paper and then with 120 grit.  Here is the deck after sanding.  The Swoop pattern is beginning to look a little nicer.

Next stage, of course is to do the fiberglassing again.  This is always one of my favorite parts of building a boat.  The dry color of the wood comes alive with all the beautiful grain and color of the cedar.  But before getting to the glass, I decided to try the epoxy system I have seen posted on the boards.  I found two squeeze bottles at Michael's craft store for a couple bucks apiece and then got syringes that fit their top.  The new epoxy station looks like this:

First stage looks good... the hull.  By filling in all  holes and making sure there were no step-offs, the surface was much smoother than on my first yak.  The glass and epoxy went on a lot smoother as well.   You might note that I reverted to the forms held up by the stands underneath.  This was to allow the glass to hang along the side for the whole length of the boat.  It did require setting the deck off to the side.

But now I was sitting there and had nothing to do for a while, except put on coats of epoxy, 2 fill coats.  The deck beckoned to me.  So I went up to the lumber yard and brought back 3 2x4s  and went to work to make two more stands.  Then I could set the hull aside and apply fiberglass to the deck.  Efficiency gets and A+ on this weekend.

That swoop is turning out just about how I hoped.  After these pics were taken, I came back at midnight to give the deck it's first fill coat.  Oh man!  Now that's a kayak!  Next on the list is to begin working on the inside of both halves and to get the cockpit coaming in.  

April 2003

The winter was long, and the kayak sat languishing in the Flyfisher Shop until it was warm enough to have several days above 60 degrees to do the varnishing.  Soon thereafter, the boat was launched at Caesar's Creek.  My friend Mike was there to record the event.  Pictures will be posted later.

First trip for the boat was to Eglin AFB and Ft. Walton Beach.  The water was warm enough to enjoy learning to roll.  I found immediately that it was quite easy to roll.  Perhaps part of that was my studying of several books over the winter.  I did learn to lay much further back to complete the roll than I had last summer. 

Here is a picture of the first day at the beach, learning to roll the baby:

What I really enjoyed was a series of early AM kayak rides.  Some of them into 18 inch steep waves with whitecaps and some in the fog.  One morning I came across a fisherman who had just caught a sea trout about 18 inches long.  Diane happened to be there to catch it on film:

Now comes the time to integrate the kayak with some lightweight backpacking ideas I have and to try to do some lightweight single trip portaging with the kayak.  More as I come to grips with that project.

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