Monday, February 14, 2011

Building The Pygmy Kayak - Part 3

 Getting back to the Pygmy.  The next step should have been an easy one, putting the deck onto the hull.  Well guess what, I put it on wrong.  There is a seam where the joints of each panel are butted together, they should have lined up but in my excitement I tried to line the deck up with the points at the bow and stern.  Unfortunately I did not realize my error until after the epoxy had dried a week later.  I was not that far off but it required a little extra sanding to at least make things look straight.  Outside the temperature had dropped to below freezing temperature and my epoxy just was not drying very fast, overnight dry times became two weeks.  I finally built a plastic tent over the boat and placed a space heater underneath for a couple of hours at a time while I sat in my car outside of the storage unit watching movies on my laptop. 
Putting the fiberglass onto the deck happened to be next, what could be more exciting.  Again I failed to reread the instructions as I took each step.  Thinking I had this down by memory I laid out the cloth and cut it.  According to the instructions the cloth should be layout out in two pieces, but I ended up having to cut the cloth twice and laying out three pieces.  This error required some extra sanding and a little extra epoxy to smooth the whole thing out.  After each coat of epoxy the space heater was recruited for more action.

Finally a mostly complete kayak.  The combing and the seat panels were the last two steps both went in without even a hint of a problem.  I could not have asked for more than that.  One of the possible additions for the Pygmy Kayak is the bulkhead and hatch kit.  I purchased these so that I could use my kayak for overnight trips.  The layout of the hatches went very well, then again I did not do exactly as the instructions instructed.  According to the instructions you should cut the openings for the hatches with a saw blade held with a pair of vice grips, I used a jigsaw with a laser sight.  Even moving slowly the saw never quite stayed along the preassigned line, oh well.  After another five hour session of sanding the varnish went on and she is ready paddle away. 

I excitedly load my new boat up onto the top of my car and headed off to the local puddle, Fish Lake, for its maiden voyage.  Once out on the water I really did not want to go home, she floated beautifully and was extraordinarily stable, a big concern for me, since I almost lost my father and grandfather in a kayaking accident on the Nooksack River when I was a small child.  

What did I learn from this experience.  First always walk through the instructions as you are doing each step, do not rely on memory.  Two, if using epoxy plan on working during warmer weather, the project took eight months instead of the three I had planned because of dry times.  Three, patience is key to building anything, from boats to friendships.

Here are the links to read about the previous two articles:
Also see the slide of the build

No comments:

Post a Comment