Designing the Artist:
 Taking Lines From Existing Kayaks

Two playful kayaksI wanted to build a kayak with a hull shape similar to some of the smaller maneuverable British-style boats such as the Nigel Dennis Romany or Valley Kayak's Avocet.  A suitable design for strip building was not found, so I started my own design by recorded measurements from a few  commercially- available kayaks.

Marking-Boat.jpg (74244 bytes)I am careful to respect the intellectual property rights of boat designers, but every new boat design borrows from existing craft.  Starting with proven designs reduces the risk of creating a poorly-performing kayak.  

The first step was to mark reference point on the kayak every foot, so the deck and hull measurements would be taken at the same location.

Contour Gauge.jpg (91179 bytes)A contour gage was made from leftover cedar strips.  This contour gage records heights every 5/8".  

The strips in the contour gage had bead and cove edges, so they fit together nicely.  They are held firmly in place with a strip of foam, so they can be locked in position when taking measurements.

Marking_Shear.jpg (84625 bytes)The sheer point was recorded at each station using a pointed strip.  

The position of each form relative to the others is essential, so the hull rocker was carefully measured at each station using a string line.  As a double check, the distance from the floor to the highest point of the overturned hull provided confirmation.

The cockpit position was also recorded.

MarkingPaper.jpg (513516 bytes)The point measurements from the boats were transferred to easel paper.  

To draw curves from the points, the paper was folded in half to achieve exact symmetry, with the dots 'averaged' so create a fair curve..

The hull and deck measurements were recorded separately, and later joined together.

Forms-Aligned.jpg (417527 bytes)The form dimensions were transferred to plywood forms with carbon paper.  

Below the waterline, I was careful to make only relatively minor changes to length & width.  Above the water line, I lowered and flattened the decks to produce a lower-volume kayak suggestive of traditional Greenland-styling.   

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Created July 15, 2006