Monday, January 10, 2011

Building The Pygmy Kayak - Part 1

10x20 Storage Unit
Last winter, out of a need to keep myself occupied, I decided to build a Kayak.  I had built a boat before, a 16 foot sailboat from a $25 set of plans, it was touted  as a $200 sailboat, in the end it cost me a great deal more and did not come out quite as planned, nothing was straight.  I had been wanting to build a canoe but the cedar strip idea, while both romantic and industrious, was a bit over my skill level so I chose to purchase a kayak kit.  After some research and pricing I decided to go with the Pygmy Pinguino Sport, a 13 foot long recreational kayak that was designed for the ocean and very stable in the water.

Epoxying panels together
When the kit arrived I was very surprised and delighted at how light the box was and how thin the wood pieces were, 3/16".  My first problem, however, was where would I build my boat  I live in an apartment and there is no space within the complex to build.  After several visits and phone calls to rather unexcited storage unit managers I found one that not only was excited but gave me the unit, a 10x20, at half price.  I moved in with all my tools and set up a shop.  This was October and the temperatures were still mild, meaning about 50 degrees.  This is important as the winter was coming on and temperature can drop in the Northwest.  The first thing to accomplish was to put the panels together, the panels are cut from 8 foot pieces of Okume plywood and the boat is 13 feet long.  I layed out everything got it all epoxied together just as the instructions stated, well that is not quite true, one of my panels slipped in the process and I ended up with a 1/16" problem. Not a very auspicious start to a grand project.  

Stitched together hull
The next step was to drill holes in each panel at 6" on center so that they could be stitched together, probably one of the easiest steps and it went off without a hitch.  After the holes were drilled I set aside a whole Saturday to stitch the hull of the Kayak together.  This by far is one of the most exciting parts of building this boat, progress came fairly quickly, I took 8 hours to stitch the entire hull together then I sat back and admired the days work and nurse the gouges and scrapes the wires I stitched the boat together with had left.  I will continue this story at a later date in Building the Pygmy Kayak - Part 2.

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