Getting close to the end of the Greenland kayak building session, now up to week 13 and the end of April. Many of the boats are getting their skin sewn on, skin dyed, and the first boat got a seal coat (one of three coats). The pressure is this week to complete the kayaks as May 7th is the last day at the rented Warehouse in Livonia Michigan.
Two sewing techniques have been used. One method is using two sash cords to wrap the skin (ballistic nylon) around tensioning the cords down the center of the kayak. Then a “X” or cross stitch is used to bring the two seams together. This makes for a very nice seam if done correctly and kept straight.
It does appear this X stitch is a slower technique than the one shown in videos on SkinBoat.org web site. The other technique using a batten to use as a reference to keep the seam straight and uses two stitches to close the gap.
Dyes were ordered from Skin Boat; amber, copper, and gray. The copper looks red at the moment prior to sealing. The dye operation is tricky as it is difficult to get a consistent color in the nylon along with the shrinking operation. The dye was applied with a rag rubbing it into the surface. The dye first dissolved in hot water with 10-15% vinegar added to the liquid.
To shrink the skin after the dye is applied, an iron at full heat is pressed on the top surface. Care must be taken that any wood under the skin is not heated with the iron as it changes the color of the dye/skin. A heat gun was also used for the shrinking operation. I discovered that the saw horse holding the kayak after dying left a color mark, so others should take care to minimize the contact surface while the dye is drying.
I put the first sealer coat on my boat using a polyurethane called Dura Tuff. It is a nasty operation requiring 65 to 70 degrees and lots of ventilation. The material gets very sticky by the end of the coating operation. Care must be taken to keep it off your hands and not breath the vapors.
Next week will be the last blog of this Kayak building series, please let me know if you enjoyed it by leaving a comment.
The Southeast Michigan Kayak Builders (SEMKB) group will be looking for people to build next year. I recommend adding about two weeks to the length of the build, starting earlier in January. The group is also loosely known as “Skirts and Skins.”
Again, let me have some comments about the series. Bored? Like it? or Hate it?