Petrel Play SG Build - Stitching together the Hull - E4.3

In this episode of The Guillemot Kayaks Workshop, Nick Schade is joined by his friend Bill to build the Petrel Play SGC kayak using a kit from Chesapeake Light Craft. The kit, based on Nick's design, comes with pre-drilled holes and beveled edges, making the assembly process more accessible.

The goal is to stitch the hull panels together using copper wires, creating a tight seam between them. Bill, a first-time boat builder, serves as a stand-in for viewers, asking questions that might arise during the process.

The episode is divided into smaller chunks for easier consumption. The focus is on stitching the panels tightly, aligning the edges, and navigating challenges such as tabs and gaps. Nick emphasizes the importance of pulling wires to create tension rather than twisting, demonstrating proper techniques for securing stitches.

The process involves addressing issues like tabs interfering with seams, aligning panels, and dealing with gaps. Nick showcases effective wire twisting, comparing good and poor examples. As the bow seam is closed, attention is given to getting the bottom and top to align, ensuring a smooth transition.

The episode concludes with the hull fully stitched together, ready for the next step. Nick introduces the use of cyanoacrylate glue (CA glue) in the next episode for spot welding the panels. Viewers are encouraged to subscribe and stay tuned for future episodes. The video not only provides valuable insights into boat-building techniques but also promotes Chesapeake Light Craft kits and Nick's designs, encouraging viewers to explore boat-building projects



Hey, welcome back to The Guillemot Kayaks Workshop. I'm Nick Schade, and we're building the Petrel Play SGC kayak with a kit from Chesapeake Light Craft. It's my design, and they make the kit for this. They've supplied me the kit, so my friend Bill and I are working together to make this kit. You can see how it all goes together. Bill has never built a boat before, so he's here as a stand-in for you guys. Hopefully, he asks the questions you might ask, and in that way, you get those answers to those questions while we're building the boat.

So, as I said in the last episode, this whole process of putting the hull together was dragging out into a fairly long single episode. So, I decided to break it down into multiple smaller chunks to make it a little bit more digestible. It makes it so you're not sitting in front of the computer for an hour and a half at a stretch. You're still free to do that. I'll be releasing these four episodes on consecutive days so you can watch them all at once if you want, or you can watch them one day at a time, just trying to make it a little bit easier.

In the last episode, we sort of got a boat-shaped object. It's just loosely put together, a few stitches holding the panels together. In this episode, we're working on stitching up the tight seam between all the panels, getting the panels aligned, getting the boat to really take its final shape. We're doing that with a bunch of copper wires that we run through holes along the seams in the kit. These holes are all pre-drilled, and the edges between the panels are beveled. Those two things save you hours of effort over building it from scratch or in a kit that doesn't have those things done for you already. The bevel assures a nice tight seam on the outside, and the stitch holes are all lined up in their proper place. There might be a few missing here and there, but we'll deal with that. But the holes are there, and it makes it really easy to get it all stitched together.

So, Bill and I are doing a day's worth of work over four episodes. It's really not taking that much time. We're not working at a furious pace here. It's a relaxed pace. I'm just breaking it up into shorter episodes to make it a little bit easier to digest. Hopefully, you'll be able to take it in step at a time and find the stuff you want by having these in separate videos.

So, without any further ado, let's get going. Now, we've got all the panels generally situated. What we want to start doing now is the full-on stitching. We want to line the bottom edge up here, so you see on the bottom panel is a stitch hole, and on the side panel is a stitch hole. We want those to line up even with each other. Then we will take a piece of wire, run it through each side hole lined up with each other. Underneath here, I'm giving it a twist, and I'm going to take and pull that tight and give it another twist to lock it in place. Then we go on to the next one, do the same thing. While we're doing this, we want to make sure that the corners down together on the outside, so we're not overlapping like this or overlapping like this. And we tighten it so much we can't get it to the right place. And think of making sure that things don't become out of line here. You want those two holes aligned with each other, so pliers on the other side, pull it tight, and give it a twist to lock it.

So, we are going to do that.

Removing Tabs:

So we've got a couple of tabs still on this piece here. I'm just going to take and knock those down carefully. See, we want to get the... yeah, don't force it. I might do the same thing a couple of times here so I get an angle on it. But, um, so we want this stealer to line up here at the stem and then have the stitch holes here line up along the way down. We want these panels to all basically align. We don't need to make them perfection yet, but we don't want it like 6 in back here because then we'd be stitching up the wrong holes. So, we want to get it so these are aligned with the correct holes. And we could, while we're up here, just to help keep that in the right place, find the right holes next to each other, get those holes even with each other, and then pull and twist.

All right, so that way as we work our way down there, we know we're lined up with the right set of holes. So one of these first stitches I had in here is interfering with getting this stealer in between. No point in untwisting these, just flop it off. We'll stick this piece in between those two stitch holes and then run a wire through again. All right, so now the process is kind of repeating. Add in an item, we want to make sure we can get the panel in between there. All right, same on the other side, and so we've got 14 ft of length here, holes every 6 in. You know, we've got 70 something holes, you know, stitches to deal with here.

How to Tighten Wire Stitches:

So we're kind of doing the whole length all those together. So with the stitches again, talked earlier about not trying to draw everything together by twisting the wires, we're going to do it by pulling on the wires. Sending the wires through here, get these edges aligned with each other, and then always on the... there's a pair on the other side of the boat. All right, so I'm going to take the wires, cut and pull them snug and then give them a good twist. And you see how easy it is to break them, and they tend to break the wires fairly easily. So we're pulling the wire tight and twisting so the twist locks it in. It doesn't create tension; it's just holding tension that's already there. So, and get it lined up, get them crossed with each other, and pull the wire and twist.

So I'm not necessarily pulling these wires down snug with the surface, but I'm locking that tension that's in there in. All right, so it's that process repeated all along here, and so I'll get these panels together here, and things might pop part a little bit, don't worry about it. The more stitches we get in here, the better it'll stay together. Just make sure it doesn't get so far sprung out that you can't get them back together. But again, pull it tight, twist it.

So, it seems one of the things that I've noticed when you're pulling these tight is that this wire on the inside becomes a straight line, and really lining up the panels in that manner, and then like you say with the twist, you lock it in. Yeah, all right.

So we just took a break for lunch, and now we're coming back, and essentially we're going to fill up all the holes with stitches. We do want to make sure that these line up and don't sort of get trapped, so it can be useful to sort of jump around a little bit, get everything contained in place. And then finish filling up all the gaps, but it's just a matter of running more wire through more holes and keep on doing it until we're done. We'll just go for it.

Okay, now there's no order here as far as doing the top and the bottom. Not really, no. Had it perfect and then it decided it didn't want to be perfect anymore. Again, as you get more stitches in there, it'll tend to hold together a little bit better, you know. So don't try and cinch everything per hard down on the first few. Okay, um, because you can make it then hard to manipulate things. Do you recommend doing the top and the bottom seam on a row at the same time? Again, it doesn't really matter. Try things and see what works.

So we have an issue where this just keeps popping out, and generally, if you keep on adding stitches, you can make it so it will stay. But, you know, if I work here, it pops out up here, and this. So what I'm thinking is going on here is this stitch, which goes down to the form, that's when we first stitched the bottom panels to form too. We ran that stitch in there, and that kind of constrains the boat from shifting around. So I'm just going to cut those wires that go down to the form and pull this out and see if that allows us to manipulate things any better and hold them in place.

Seems better, yeah, seems. Seems to relax. It seems like there's a hole missing right here. Here, so I can just make a new hole and run a wire through that. And again, things might tend to go sprawling for a while, but as you get more stitches into it, it will start to hold together. So make sure you're getting a good twist on these. Okay, so see that doesn't do much. Okay, it's not holding it. I like to get the wires crossed at 90°. Yep, so if they're parallel, they'll just spin around each other. But if you get them 90° to each other, they will then... Oh, you give it a pretty good tug there too. I gave it a tug, yeah, you know, don't worry about breaking the wire or breaking the wood. If you break the wire, well, you just put in new wire, but the wires need to grab onto each other in order for them to hold. If they're just sort of wrapped loosely around each other, they're not going to hold anything. So starting out at 90° and then wrapping them as opposed to having them sort of parallel. So I'm just going to do a little demonstration of how we put these twist these wires.

So I've got a couple of holes here, and I'll put a wire through it. So right now, the wire is kind of loose on both sides. I'm going to take and cross them at about 90° and then pull on it. So that's made the wire go tight on that side, and I've gotten some tension on here, and now I want to twist them together and lock them. So you see, it's a tight twist where they're wrapped around each other, right down in here, as opposed to if you have them out like this and you sort of bring them together, nearly parallel and grab a hold of those and pull on that and then twist it. The wires are sort of parallel with each other, and they don't hold all that well. So these come right untwisted as opposed to that tighter twist where they're really interlocked with each other. So these panels should be starting to lock together with the force of pulling those wires. So I think we might... we want to get the wires in there with that nice lock and twist on them. So I'm going to put it in here and then get the seam lined up, get this 90° to each other, get my pliers, pull it tight so it's straight across the backside, and then twist it.

Good vs Poor Wiring:

So here's an example of a twist that's just not doing that much. It's all long, and it's not really generating the locking in the tension there. So you see how the wires are running sort of parallel to each other. It takes a little while to get the knack of this. And now I want to get that seam kind of lined up the way it's supposed to be on the one I'm working on. So we want a nice and smooth transition from one panel to the next. And now I'm going to fold these across, and it can help to put a little bit of a twist in right now to partially lock it, and then now I'm pulling pretty snugly on that and going to lock it in there. So we've started to pull this wire out, but you see how this wire is really not twisted around itself much. It takes some practice to get this, and it's not that critical.

Okay, I got the seam lined up. I've got it fairly close to where I want. Put a little twist to it, and now really pull on that. I think one of the things I was doing, I was focusing on the inside of the boat, whereas you seem to focus on the outside of the boat, where the seam needs to come together. Yeah, our goal is to make this outside seam tight. So we want it to look like that, where it's smooth across there, and you don't have any step. So there's a couple of stitch holes here by the puzzle joint going between the bottom and the steeler and the steeler and the side, where things aren't all lining up perfectly. The stitch holes and the steeler seem to be a little bit offset. You know, we'll just do our best to get a wire through one or two of those. We'll go between the bottom panel and the side panel, just wrapping around the steeler, and the steeler won't have a hole in it at all. I think these may be forward just because the steeler is getting narrow, and that will weaken the steeler a little bit and tends to break. So they put it where it was a little bit wider.

It is much more evident, I think, working from the outside of the boat and looking at that outside seam as what needs to be done, yeah, versus looking from the inside at it. So as we get up into the ends there, we often need to get the bottom and the top to come towards each other to close up this seam.

Closing up Bow Seam:

Here, okay. So again, think about using your hands to draw it as opposed to twisting the wire. So if you can get a hand on it, get it lined up, and then lock it in place with the wire. Okay, did you get a bath, Eli? Yeah, he rolled in something unspeakable this morning. Oh, lovely. Don't you love that? It really does start to pull together the more you get in there. There is a little tab visible on the edge here. Oh yeah, you see that little tab there? There it is. So, you know, if we had our act together, we would have cut that off already with the block plane, but we've got a utility knife here. Here, and all right, no more tab.

I'm pushing on this, but it's not coming all the way together. Is there anything interfering with it coming all the way together? You know, you see anything blocking it from coming together? I don't really... oh, is that a tab? No, that's not a tab. Yeah, so on the inside here, the bevel stops up here at the front because basically the sides are parallel all the way down to the front. But back here, where the chines start to appear, we do have the bevel. I'd say what we'll start with here is just try to put those in there, snug them up a bit tight. And then you see I've got a bunch more stitch holes here than normal. They're every 3 in instead of every 6 in. That's partly to give ourselves some more clamping pressure there. So see what happens. If we need to come in and do some more, we'll do some more.

Making progress on that gap, yeah. I am. I think I often want to try to pull it together by, like you say, twisting the wires, but it doesn't work at all. It just doesn't work. And so that, um, creating the tension through pulling away from the boat on both wires at once seems really, um, does do it. And then just locking the wire and not having to twist it that much, yeah, is really, yeah. And figuring that out took me a while. You're familiar with those safety wire wrenches for aircraft? No, no. The, there's these cool pliers that have a spiral handle on them, so you pull it and it twists the wire, and people want to use their safety wire pliers for this. Oh, because they have a pair, and they're really cool. They don't do this. Those pliers are really good at twisting the wire together, making a really nice twist. But as far as doing that lock, pull, putting tension on it and locking it in place, they don't seem to do it that well.

The ends are always a little tricky. We want to get everything lined up well, and then this face needs to be up under there. And this panel, this bottom panel, it's got a lot of twist right now, going from flat up here to almost vertical back here. And so this has a lot to do to get back in there. Also, when we stitched up this seam here, we wanted a wire in this hole, but now this wire crosses over the top instead of wrapping around the front. So that wire ends up, you know, it's going to be in the boat. So going to cut that wire out. Ow, look at that. Look at that. Oh, so now that's gone spring. So we, we'll just, let me just get the wire through. All right, so now it's through, and now I'm going to get ready to twist it just so I can pull against myself instead of against you. And so get that squeezed up as tight as we can get this ready to go and then twist it. We've got a couple more stitch hole pairs right here.

MH, these are hard to reach. So to get into hard to reach stitch holes, you can pre-bend your wire, um, so it's going angle to get you through that stitch hole. So while we're coming out here now, get that wire out here and pre-bend this one. All right, so I've got the wire threaded through there. I'm going to pull the slack out of it, and then I'm going to squeeze with my hands to get that seam lined up and pull it tight.

Here we have the side panel and the bottom panel, with all that twisting there ends up with a little gap through here. And so we want to take, squeeze that tight, clamp it with a little bit of a gap there. Now it's pretty small. We will be filling the inside of this, so it doesn't need to be perfect, but the tighter we can get that now, the smoother things will go together later. So again, pulling this sort of stuff together is a losing cause to try and twist the wires to make it tight. We want to get everything lined up as much as possible. Oops, I twisted the wires the wrong direction. They cross one way, and you want to have them, you know, be twisting into that cross instead of from the cross. All right, so that should do. So in the perfect world, we've got these gaps here, a little bit of space in between the panels. In a perfect world, we would get these cinched down to make those gaps go away. And it may be possible to do that. We can give it a try, but again, getting the pressure onto it, pulling that. Let go of it, there's still a little bit of a gap there, but it's a little bit better. Get this one tightened up, and there is one more stitch hole pair up here we might be able to get that to come into play. But if we see a little bit of light in there, this is all going to get, um, thickened pox. See, smear it in there, and then it's going to get covered with fiberglass that will be strong and it won't leak. Again, perfect world, we see no light, but the world's not perfect. So we've pretty much got all the stitches in. Now, there's a couple of places. It's not a law that you have to stitch every single pair of holes, but what you want to do is have the panels fit fitting tight together and staying aligned long enough for us to do the next task, which is gluing them together. So if you miss a spot, but everything's tight around it and it looks good, you know, don't worry about it. If there's a gap and you think you can tighten it up by putting that stitch in, by all means, put the stitch in. Just don't obsess about it. What matters is the boat is held together long enough for us to get the glue on there, and then these stitches are all coming back out again.


So that's all the stitches in there, looks pretty good. So we'll stop here. We've got the hull all stitched together, everything's nice and tight. So in the next episode, we'll use cyanoacrylate glue or CA glue, Super Glue, to spot weld the panels together. That way we can take the wires directly out. So it's a really quick way of getting the panels all secured in place and ready for the filling and fiberglassing, which will come later on in another set of episodes. This episode we got it stitched together. Next episode, we'll spot weld it. So if you're interested in seeing the next episode, please subscribe, turn on notifications, hit like, all that fun stuff, and we really appreciate the support you're giving us on this whole series. Chesapeake Light Craft and I have worked hard on making a really great kit that you can build a fantastic kayak. The Petrel Play is a lot of fun to paddle, and the best support you can have for us is if you're interested in building a boat, any kind of boat. We have plans for this boat as well as a whole catalog of other designs. Chesapeake Light Craft makes kits for all my designs, including all my strip-built designs, and they have a whole series of everything from little kids' kayaks to teardrop trailers. And getting you interested in making your own boats and other stuff is really what we're here for. So the best support you can provide us is buying plans, buying a kit. If you have needs for fiberglass and epoxy, CLC has all the boat-building material you might need. I also have a Patreon site if you're interested in direct support of the video-making process. My supporters there really help me produce these videos, and as a supporter there, you get access to these videos a week before everybody else. So until the next episode, thanks for watching and happy paddling.