mini-Model version 2.0

Today I found some free stitch and glue kayak design software online (see the Resources post for a link!) and worked up some ideas that are vastly superior to my first design.  I can’t afford to purchase plans for my design through the site, but I can do a rough sketch-up based on the model.  And thus, I present to you Version 2.0, a 1:24 scale model (approximately.  I meant it to be 7.5 inches long and instead it’s 8 inches long) of the much-improved kayak design.

Now, you may notice that these images show this model floating (please excuse my rusty drain).  Apparently, sufficient application of tape will, in fact, render the model watertight, at least temporarily.  I also stuffed it with some cloth so that it had some weight and didn’t float so ridiculously high in the water.

For the record, this boat would be paddled by a 2.5-inch high version of me.

Version 3.0 will be a 30-inch version of this design, if oaktag comes the right size.

Resources I Am Using

The New Kayak Shop – book by Chris Kylczycki
http://kcupery.home.isp-direct.com/ – paper boat information
http://www.washingtonwoodcraft.com/ – kayak design software
http://www.pdxtex.com/canoe/kayak1.htm – kayak building
http://aaron-hines.com/ – kayak building
http://www.kayakbuilding.com/ – kayak building
http://ibiblio.org/eldritch/nhb/paperc/c05.html – paper canoe

The Plan

I want to build a kayak.  I have been wanting to do so for quite a while, since I saw my first strip-built wooden canoe.  It was beautiful, a delicate, glossy thing so much more elegant than my family’s clunky aluminum canoe.  But I was already lusting after a kayak: I fell in love with the vessel from the first time I tried one.

The problems:

1. Space.  I live in a teeny-tiny apartment with no garage.

2. Money.  A wooden kayak built on the cheap will still run $500 or more.

3. Skill and Resources.  I can fight my way around a woodworking shop, and I’m not one to let lack of technical knowledge stop me from doing something, but I don’t own any tools more complex than a hammer and, lets face it, I’d be flying by the seat of my pants.

The solutions:

1. My apartment is big enough to hold the 15′ kayak I want to build, as long as I’m not doing anything that requires lots of ventilation.  When it comes to the final waterproofing steps, I can hopefully move outside and do everything in one fell swoop.

2. Forget wood.  Build with something cheap.  I started out thinking about paper as building material, but it is too light and too brittle (as paper mache) for a serviceable vessel.  So I thought, I’ll reinforce it with cloth.  Then I thought… hmmm… Paper mache and cloth.  I can work with that.  Maybe a bit of wood to reinforce key components.  The best waterproofing and abrasion resistance is apparently fiberglass cloth and 2-part marine epoxy, but that’s expensive, too.  So using alternative materials, cost is slashed down under $100. And if it doesn’t work, I can always salvage materials and build a legit skin-on-frame later.

3.  I know how to sew.  I’ve been doing it since I was four. I have all of the appropriate materials for sewing, too.  And lets face it, kindergartners can manage paper mache.

The plan:

A fifteen-foot, single-person sea kayak built of cloth panels reinforced with paper mache for structure.  Other materials will be used in key areas for additional strength and abrasion/puncture resistance (i.e. vinyl on the base, wood to reinforce the cockpit)

At the moment, I am working on 1:9 scale paper models to come up with a pattern that I like.  Conclusion of the day: paper and scotch tape do not make a seaworthy vessel (I missed a spot with the tape).  This design has some other problems, too, so hopefully version 2.0 will be much better.