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Building my own kayak (4) – Prototype lay-up and cockpit-rim

September 23, 2013

Instead of kayak building I was on the road for some actual kayaking, so there was no update on this blog for nearly a month.

As intended, I have started building a simple prototype directly from the plug. With that I want to make sure that I will fit in the boat comfortably and that it behaves as I want it to.
I layed-up the hull first, as it seemed simpler because it does not have as many details as the deck has. I have applied 4 layers of 160 g/sqm glass and the resulting hull was way too flexible. So, after curing, I added a single layer of non-woven polyester fabric (150 g/sqm), which contributed to additional 3 mm thickness of the hull. The processing of the polyester was a real pain in the ass. It really sucked… a lot of resin – I needed around 3 kg to fully saturate the polyester. So I had to prepare new resin for 4 or 5 times. Furthermore, it was quite difficult to saturate the fabric as gravity always moved the resin from the vertical sidewalls to the bottom. My original idea was to use this cheap fabric for building the mold, too. However, whilst the fabric itself is cheap, the final product is probably more expensive than using proper glass fabric as so much resin is required… I will just keep the remaining 10 sqm of non-woven polyester for absorption if, one day, I will go one step ahead and layup-up using vacuum bagging.
Here you can see the hull lay-up with the glass only:

The final hull including the polyester ended up to be quite heavy and it still seems a bit brittle. However, for my needs it should be sufficient.

For the deck I decided not to use the polyester again. Instead, I have layed-up 4 layers of the same glass like I did for the deck. Additionally, I have put in various pieces of the glass fabric rests between these layers. With a lot of curvature and the additional layers of glass the resulting deck was less flexible than the initial hull.

For both, deck and hull, I have used plastic wrap (fixed with double-sided adhesive tape) as separation between my plug and the lay-up:

After a quick and dirty hull and deck join using duct tape I did a first sitting-in-the-boat test. I have noticed that I need to move my foot bumps around 5cm to the front – however, for a final decision about that I need to find out the optimal seating position so that the boat is balanced, first.

While I am writing this, the cockpit-rim is curing so that I am able to get the boat on the water for a first float. Here you can see a few pictures of the cockpit-rim:

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