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Although the Seabird Black Pearl and theTahe Greenland give me good fun paddling Lake
IJsselmeer, I've reached some sort of ...saturation point. The BP for sure is the faster and
more agile boat opposed to the Tahe, the first kayak to pick for rolling but both kayaks
share some common quirks. First is the offered real estate for my feet, which is just
too...cramped ( for size 45 at least ) , and second these boats like to hammer on
oncoming waves as found on my local windy pond. What about trying another
wild approach: Lose a few meters in length in exchange for room to put my
 feet in and a smoother ride. If things work out as hoped for, still remains
to be seen. Sailliant detail: I was told this thing will not float me at all.


Go here for a larger image of the kayak including the underwater part




Building a small size sof kayak was something that lingered in my mind for quite a while.
I have paddled and rolled normal size boats for some time now and I am just curious
to know how an  " under "  scaled kayak will behave out in the open. On my attic two
pieces reasonable quality timber  were waiting to become part of something new.
Length about 3.75 meters, based on this I envisioned a boat ... roughly 54 cm
wide, a fish shaped hull and around 17 cm of depth behind
the seat. Serious
calculations were not made as this must be a fun project. Eyeballing and
wishful thinking where the basics for this kayak build, and while working
along, some unorthodox materials where used here and there. Enjoy!

Or jump to the end result

Don't listen to hearsay, find out is what I thought, and so " Little Bastard " came to be.
As it turned out, time spent well, as this is actually a fun boat to ride.
Stable enough, light to paddle, lively and remarkably quick.

So, as length was set already, I only had to figure out the width
and hight the hull. My
hips and two fists gave me the first, and my feet the second. Nothing difficult about.
For a soft ride and to prevent hammering on waves I wanted a lot of V in the hull.
On the picture: 12 foot Apumaqs / Gunwales
(Larch) drilled for ribbing.The ribs
on the floor where of the first try ( too few ). Here I go for the double amount.
I decided to place a pvc rib every 10 cm to give the hull enough rigidity.

Dramatic difference in size, Black Pearl vs Little Bastard, a good idea? Yes !

For drilling the holes in the gunwales / gunnels / apumaqs to accept the ribs.
Make sure you use a Wood drill bit (left) and not a metal drill bit.
If you
do use a metal drill bit, you will wind up with a big mess, so don't.

The easy way : Screwing the Deck Beams in position
, dowels follow later. Actually
the dowels did never follow but longer screws did, SS 60mm long. A took great
care to make the joints a very precise fit and to countersink the screw heads
into the gunwales first, and NOT to overtighten 'm. Till now ( five years
later ) the boat is holding up strong and doesn't creak or flex while
paddling. The next kayak I like to build in Cedar but that must
be lashed and mortised carefully as that's a softer wood.

For fasteners I used stainless steel chipboard screws ( right ), but what I did was
following: I first drilled the gunwale to accept the screw, than I placed a SPAX
screw into the hole and with that drilled and cutted tread  ( in one go ) into
the beams. I've done some experiments with the spax type screws and
it is amazing how well this screw enters the wood without causing it
to split even in extremely awkward situations. I you take a close
look at a spax you notice the first runs of the tread look like a
saw, cutting the wood. The nose of the core has a square
cross section, again pulverizing the wood on it's way in.

Why the workaround you might ask? Answer: I had no SS Spaxxes at hand.

" Willow shoots '' on the roll, or Fishing Net Hoop Tube. Normally used by
local fisherman for making basket nets, serves as a handy alternative
for steamed wooden ribs. This material (PVC) is unbreakable, tough
and supple, but you need stiff thumbs to ''over" bend it
to make
it stay in the desired shape, as it wants to spring back. A heat
gun can be of good help in making very sharp bends.

10 mm diameter, wall thickness 3+ mm. This material
is available in a range
of sizes. Unfortunately I hear in some countries it is very hard to find.

Ribs placed under the keel. Fairing these out was harder than I anticipated for
if you look carefully, you can see a crooked one that needs rebending.

The bow stem temporarily held in position with a bicycle inner tube and two pegs
A small beam will take the place of the inner tube later on. The stem to keel
joints are two of the few I have glued as well as screwed together.

Plastic lashed see if that works, sure these " lashings "  will lift the skin, but that's
good for an organic appearance. After all the tiraps are pulled down almost up
to the point of snapping, the stringers can still be slided ( although with a lot
of force ) over the smooth surface of the plastic ribs. This comes in handy
as final adjustments can be done afterwards. In the end when the skin
is put on and coated with polyurethane the stringers become fixed
in position. The coating will seep through the weave of the fabric
acting as a strong glue between the skin and the wooden parts.

Now we are getting somewhere, maybe the deck beams are slightly beefy still
but they can be taken out ( screws ) and reshaped. The masik
is also made
of .... I guess you have guessed it, namely, FISHING-NET-HOOP-TUBE!
This is remarkable strong tubing and does not fold or break on bending.

The Masik : Double pipes for strength, as this section of the boat is rather stressed.
Apart from screwing
the masik keeper blocks onto the gunwales, I have used
waterproof glue as well to make 'm stay put under stress. There was just
too little beef for screws to hold on in this area. Better solid things up
over here, because the back rest / sling / band / support will be
pulling here like mad
when the kayak is in actual use.

Thinking about it now, I could have used copper clinkers.

The ribs where fixed into position after '' lashing '' the keel and bilge stringers on
to them. I've used long thin pop rivet heads as makeshift "clinker" rivets.

Coaming ring support : Two double layer deck stringers are running beyond the masik
where they meet with the back support beam.
Usually the sides of the coaming are
unsupported by the kayak's frame. As I wanted a super low ring, it needs all
possible support it can get. The ring you see here is just a mock up.

See if I can squeeze in, entering via the rear deck and paddle support.
Sizewise the coaming is the same as the one on the Black Pearl
but I've increased the angle of placement for easier access.

Space enough and a layback is reasonably easy, still some tuning left to do.

The side deck stringers also act as knee grips. I will add one more cross beam
just over my kneecaps later on for even better grab hold. The beam just

over my lower leg is the footrest for a shorter paddling person.

An important detail which is not in the picture here is that I've connected the

footrest beam and the ones in front of it by placing wooden laths in the
 between of 'm, right onto the gunnels inside. This to prevent
the screws from being kicked out of the soft wood. The foot
is going to have a hard life and has to absorb a lot of force.

So if you are going to follow this method of building, do
not forget to
copy this important detail or you will loose the footrest in no time.

Gluing the Coaming: Two layers marine grade multiplex are firmly pulled down
on the kayak frame to follow the transition of the front to rear deck. The ring
now becomes arched ( starboard to portside ) and hollow ( bow to stern ).

Hurry up...the polythene wrap. Weather is good today, little or no wind so I
like to go up north of the '' peninsula '' of West - Friesland ( Holland )
do a waveless test run to see how the kayak will float me, or not.

The big moment is drawing closer, no more time to waste.

Let's gooooooo!!

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LB rev 2021

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