Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha

Dio vs Yak rnd 4

I read an article written by a man that followed Chris Cunningham’s book entitled “how not to build a greenland kayak.

One point he stressed was that “the jigs move, frequently.” So I decided on a tact that the fuselage builders take; a strongback. Thats the 4×4 at the bottom. I cut notches centered on my jig points, then ‘locked them in’ with a deckscrew. A centerline ran down the back makes sure I am on center of the jigs and since the saw depth never changed, I’m at same height across the board. Granted, when I arch the gunwales, they will not lay in a straight plane, but rise, creating the ‘sheer’ familiar in yaks and canoes: I’ll have to adjust then, but will apply the same lock after adjustment.

The boards representing the gunwales are (s)crap wood, but work for this test. The long board along the left side, is my storyboard: it has the center and my contact points, for laying out both deckbeams and ribs. Doing this test also gave me a better feel for what the end product will look like and some ideas for how to layout the rib structure. Some of the ribs are going to be nearly bent over on themselves to get the cutwater I want. Others will be near box like (seat area specifically). Some of the other wood is there just for the visual aid; location and size may change before I actually start assembly.

By fluke of chance, the 4×4 actually seats the coaming at how high I was planning. The keel will make the boat about 1″+/- 1/4″ deeper than shown and the chines will fill out the angle even more, so it won’t appear as steep as it shows right now.

I’m very happy with the way the arched deckbeams turned out. (In the first image) I was guessing when I made the jig, and yet they fit the points perfectly with a nice gradual slope down. That third one forward may change to a flat beam with a riser on it as that will be my footbrace beam, or I may just add in a footbrace attached to the ribs or tenoned into the gunwale: ain’t made up my mind yet. I still have options there.

As for length, I am cutting my gunwales to 16′. I’ll set em up and decide then. I want to see how the lines look before I finalize that thought. I wont be able to go longer (much. I can add to the bow and stern boards to add length, but 17′ is my cut off as that puts me into high performance class. No thanks.) but I can go shorter. I’m actually thinking 15′ or 15’6″ . Again. Options remain open, and alot of my decisions will be based on appearance above the water line. What happens at and below that line is already decided upon. Long shallow entry at the bow, to cut into the water like a knife, steep and sudden exit at the stern with a keel line nearly skeg like in operation. Some of this is inspired by Brians F1 and LPB at Cape Falcon Kayak, some of it by Killiis‘ kayaks over at Seawolf Kayaks, and some of it from Chriss’ book. At the end of the build, it will all be my decisions and many years of others refinements applied as well as some modern materials, but it will be uniquely my kayak, built for my narrow backside, and to run a river race. (And to learn rolling, one reason it will be so shallow in sheer)

And I can see it in my head now, not just lines on paper.


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