Monday, November 26, 2007

SOF Progress Report

I know Michael (Canadian Seakayaker) will be looking for a progress report on the skinning of my kayak, so this is for him. Sorry, no skinning progress photo yet.

It was definitely slower going than I had thought, still much more to do. The canvas is much heavier then the polyester I had originally started with. I found I needed to experiment a bit with the sewing and with the needles (broke a few) and size cording I needed to use. I quickly realized the seam finish I had hoped for wasn't going to work with this thicker cloth. I probably should have followed Michael's lead with the double corded seam, but, I didn't have the cording and it was a holiday weekend.... In the end, I stayed true to the Bob Boucher video.

Then, once I actually started sewing, I realized the skin was not pulled as tightly as it could be, this after much pulling and struggling with both Paul and Alan. They eventually helped rig up a vice-like contraption while and I tightened up the lashings.

I've got the bow end sewn from the cockpit to where I'll add a bow deck line (my paddle park). After all that fussing around, it got late and I just couldn't bring myself to cut a whole into the cloth, so I stopped here (I already had pre-drilled holes through the gunwales). I'm very pleased with how tight the skin feels, and how well it's forming to the boat, no puckers so far. I'll finish this seam first before doing the stern. It will take another pass to fold the raw edges under and tack it all down. Pretty slow going on my part, and next weekends calendar is already looking pretty full.

So far throughout the whole building process, I've found the skinning the hardest and most stressful. I just can't stop sweating the small stuff, it must be the sewer and quilter in me that's agonizing on stitch lengths, and finishing details. A very different process than the sailboat building that's going on in the basement, where Paul and Alan just keep moving to get it done.

Of course we are all now agonizing a bit on color options. I'm pretty sure I'm going with black for the SOF. The interior of the sailboat will likely be an off white, but we haven't decided yet about whether to paint the hull a color.


Biffle French said...

I'm a paddler who lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest where I kayak most of the year in 600 foot deep, cold salt water. I just published a fun little book on kayaking in this area called "Paddling the Waters of Vashon Island," which I am trying to publicize.

I have a regular blog about kayaking Vashon which is located at, and I would like to ask you to add my site to your list of kayak blogger links. There are some nice photos, and what I see when I paddle up here is very different from what you see paddling where you are.

I'm putting together a links section for my blog and if you’d like me to, I'll add your blog to my list.

Michael said...

Dawn - looks like you're doing a great job. I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results when you're done. The ends can be a bit tricky with all that thick material to deal with. Don't be afraid to clip where necessary. Black will look great! Will you embelish it with some art-work?