John's Cedar Kayak

Page Two: Milling Strips

(Click any photo for a larger image)

Ready to cut strips.Cutting Strips
Okay, it's time to get on with actually building the boat.  To cut the strips, my table saw was moved outside, since I needed about 15 feet clear distance on either end of the saw.  The table saw surface was extended with plywood on the inflow and outflow.  Featherboards kept the lumber pressed down against the table as it was cut.  

To avoid strips falling into the slot where the saw blade comes through the table, I bought a new solid table insert and a thin-kerf 7 1/4" blade, and raised the blade through the insert so it was a snug fit.   

SawdustSawdust from the board might be useful later to sift for filling small gaps between strips, so I saved some of each wood type.   I may sift it and mix with epoxy to create a filler that is a similar color to the surrounding wood. I'll use sanding dust mostly, but I won't be able to get sanding dust for the accent strips. 
(Posting-building comment:  I hardly used this sawdust.  I used some dust from sanding, but this was unnecessary.  I found that filling holes was best achieved by jamming slivers of wood into cracks, and sanding it down.  - John)

The mahogany plywood kayak that I built last summer was a "stitch and glue" construction where plywood panels were wired together and then glued with epoxy.  Building that kind of boat mostly requires skills for working with epoxy and fiberglass, and varnishing.  A strip boat, like the one I'm building now, requires more carpentry skills.  Scary.

Scarf joined strips. In this photo, I've glued shorter strips together using a 1 1/2" scarf joint. 

I'm a big fan of waxed paper to keep boat parts from sticking to table tops and each other when I don't want them to stick. 

Router tableRouter jigs.To help the wood strips fit snugly together, the narrow edges of each strip will have a round or concave edge.   These are also called "bead and cove" strips.  

To make the bead and cove edges, I mounted my router under a temporary table top, with a fence and feather boards to guide the strips.  

The pair of router bits cost about $40.      

Stripping the Boat
The first pair of strips to go on the forms was dark walnut, 1The first day of stripping./2" wide, so the boat would have a good, visible shear line.  I tacked this pair of strips to the forms and checked carefully that the lines were "fair" and properly positioned.

Things got a little hectic putting on the second strip on the boat, as I needed to make sure that the strip was properly joined to the first strip, and that it was against the forms down the whole length of the boat, and all this needed to be done before the glue set. 
(Post-building note:  As building progressed, I found that aligning strips was best achieved using a combination of masking tape - not duct tape - and staples into temporary sacrificial strips.  On the occasional strip that would not stay flush to the mold, a dab of hot melt glue did the trick.)

Stripping the hull.I'm using ordinary carpenter's glue to join the strips.  The glue is not waterproof.  This might seem silly for a boat, but the entire boat will eventually be encased in epoxy so the wood will never get wet.  That's the plan, anyway. 




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Created: November 21, 2002