Making Petrel Play: Stripping the Side - Episode 4

Video Four in a series documenting the making of a strip built kayak. In the last episode I made the inner stems out of pine and tapered and installed the sheer strips.


Stripping the Side

Hi, I’m Nick Schade at Guillemot Kayak, welcome to episode 4 of my video series documenting my build of the Petrel Play cedar strip kayak.

In the last episode I made the inner stems out of pine and tapered and installed the sheer strips.

In this episode I will finish stripping up the sides of the hull and install the cheater strips.

Some people may have noticed that I am not using cove and bead strips. When you are working on curved sections the cove and bead creates a quick tight joint between strips. I’m using square edged strips which will open up wide gaps on curved sections.

But if I bevel the edges of the strips, I can get tighter seams than when I use cove and bead.

In the previous episode, I installed the sheer strip on forms. I beveled the bottom edge where it will mate with the deck, but the top edge is still square.

If I add more strips directly on top of the prior one, I will get gaps between each.

I could bevel the new strip, but instead I use a plane to bevel the existing strip. By holding the plane flat against the forms I make the top edge of the strip square to the form above, so the new strip fits squarely on top.

I made a tool to hold a small rabbet plane. The rabbet plane cuts right up next to the form. The tool holds the plane flat against the form and helps the plane stay on the strip edge.

I run the plane along the edge until it cuts across the full width of the strip. At this point the top edge will be square to the form above it, allowing the next strip to fit tightly.

I’m sorry I don’t have better video of this process right now. I’ll show it in more detail in later episodes.

I don’t bend the second strip to follow the sheer. The sweep of the sheer requires a lot of difficult bending and I think it looks better to let the strip run straight. I follow the sheer for awhile, then just let the strip run naturally to the stems.

I’ll fill the space remaining at the ends with cheater strips later.

Before applying any glue, I check to make sure the fit between the strips is tight. 

I only need glue where the two strips will be touching. 

The squeeze bottle contains yellow carpenters glue. The small outlet hole on the bottle keeps the bead of glue small.

The next strip is pressed firmly into the glue and temporarily held in place with a spring clamp and a little notched jig.

I push down on the strip while I shoot staples in at each form. For now, I only staple where there is glue.

At the ends, I eyeball the second strip to make sure it runs in a fair curve then mark its landing spot on the inner stem.

A little glue and a clamp holds it in place.

After I glue and clamp the other end, I secure the strip with staples where it separates from the sheer.  Then I use masking tape to tighten up the seam between the strips. 

The ends of the strips are cut just proud of the inner stems.

At this point it is a matter of just adding more strips for a while. After 10 or 15 minutes the glue has tacked up enough that I can remove the tape. I then dry fit the strip to check how much beveling is needed, use my beveling tool to square the edge for the new strip, check that the fit is good, add glue, staple and tape the strip.

I kept on adding strips until I had gone a bit past the chine.

At the chine the angle of the strips changes suddenly. Since the chine is not parallel to edge of the strips I need to cut them back a bit and then bevel the new edge.

The forms have a couple guide lines to help. There is a long diagonal that  is on all the forms, and a short bevel guide that is only on the forms where the chine is most pronounced.

I want to transfer these lines to the outside of the strips. I use a little jig with a notch cut in it to reach around the strips. Note that the two marks actually align to the same point. 

I make a pencil mark where the jig hits the outside. When I trim back to this mark while following the angle of the bevel guide I create an edge ready to accept the next strip.

Since the diagonal line is consistent on all the forms, I lay my transfer jig along it. I make a mark at each form.

I can then connect these dots using a spare piece of strip. First I align the edge of the strip to the mark, then clamp it in place. I double check that it creates a fair curve down the length and then I mark the line with a pencil.

Using a Japanese saw, I cut down the length of the kayak, cutting just outside the line.

I clean up the bevel using my rabbet plane. I either square up the edge or match the bevel mark.

With the long strips up the sides complete, I’m now ready to install cheater strips in the remaining gaps at the end.

The first step is cutting a strip roughly the length of top of the gap.

I then mark the length of the taper.

This first strip narrows down to almost nothing before it ends. To roughly mark this I clamp a scrap piece parallel to the end, then bend it down to the mark.  

This makes a smooth curve to guide my cutting.

The quickest way to remove the excess is a few swipes with a sharp pocket knife.

Now it is a matter of planing off all the material that prevents a tight fit. I get close to the line and then do some test fits. I plane off the spots where the strip binds up first.

With a good fit, the strip will slide into place without displacing the strip below.

A little glue on the inner stem, the newly tapered edge, and the top edge of the strip.

A few pieces of tape to squeeze the seam tight.

With progressively shorter tapers with each successive strip the tapering and fitting get easier as I go. 

The ends of the cheater strips are trimmed off just proud of the inner stem after they are all installed.

In the next episode I will strip the bottom of the hull.

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Thank you for watching and Happy Paddling