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Old 04-28-2015, 09:50 PM   #1
Zach
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Building a modified Kite canoe

I don't know if there will be much interest in another thread on a Kite canoe since Stripperguy documented his build very thoroughly last year, but Fisheater asked if I would be doing another build thread and I said I would. I got started on Sunday afternoon tracing the form plans and changing the top of each form. I have omitted the tumblehome that is the defining visual feature of this design and gone straight up to the sheer line. This will make construction a bit simpler and since I will be putting a low seat in this canoe and using a double paddle it should not be inconvenient. Last night I cut out the forms and tonight I put together the sawhorse and mounted the first few forms. I am late getting started this year but I won't need the canoe till August at the earliest so I have plenty of time. I will post updates from time to time as things progress.
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Old 04-29-2015, 08:06 AM   #2
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love these build threads. I'll be watching and learning Zack.
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Old 04-29-2015, 02:02 PM   #3
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Zach,

Where does one get plans for the original design? Can you post the bsic specs?

I, too am looking forward to this thread as the build progresses!
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Old 04-29-2015, 07:09 PM   #4
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Zach,
Are you going to build this one really light, or really strong?
This hull should be a much better fit for you.
I'm sure you will have your own way of doing things, it will be interesting to see the contrast in techniques.
Did you cut your strips yet? And what, that house still isn't finished??!! MDB and I built our first house when we were 20 years old...we lived with taped walls and bare floors for 5 years!
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Old 04-29-2015, 10:23 PM   #5
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Darnedsox; this is only my second canoe so I don't know how enlightening my methods will be, but I hope that you'll at least be able to profit by learning from the mistakes I'll make along the way.

Vtflyfish; the design is by John Winters and full information about it can be found at greenval.com/kite. The plans cost $100 with shipping but I have only read good things about this design so I think it will be worth the money.

Stripperguy; I am aiming for a compromise which will likely end up being neither as light nor as durable as I might wish. My goal is 30 pounds, and I will be okay with 35. If I get up toward 40 I will be mournful but I'll get over it eventually. I think you're right about the fit being better, for sure on paper and I don't see why it shouldn't be on the water too. I know it won't be as nice as the one you built last year but I am hoping it will come out with fewer cosmetic issues than my first canoe had. In particular I am hoping to get a tighter fit between the strips with fewer gaps with glue showing. I cut the strips a month or two ago and they are in the workshop on the overhead rack drying out completely. I still need to cove and bead them, maybe later this week. The house is a long sad tale. We live in the barn which has a wood gasification boiler and was converted into living space in the 90s before we came. When we came the house was in bad condition. The outside of the house was my big project in 2005 and it got new siding, sheathing, insulation, wiring, doors, windows and roof. The interior has been gradually being repaired for years, and now all of it is in good shape except the kitchen which was partially gutted in 2005, further gutted in 2010 and finally got the new drywall last year. The floor has some rotten spots and I have cut some pine which is drying. I need to repair the big planer which I bought on Craigslist and then I can run the wood through the shaper to make tongue and groove, I hope. The kitchen is always the lowest priority which is why it is still not done. Guests eat with us in the barn anyway so the kitchen has no real purpose other than as a temporary canoe shop at the moment. I'm sorry that was so long.

Tonight the rest of the forms went on the strongback except for the last two on each end which went over to the workshop and got the stems laminated on them. I tried to take a picture showing how I did it but I don't know if it is all visible. The bending pipe is the same I use to bend guitar and fiddle sides and is just a short piece of copper pipe with a bolt in it mounted in a vise with a propane torch turned down low. I wet the wood and bend it over the pipe slowly as the water turns to steam inside the wood. This is a fast and easy way since I am used to it and the idea of pouring two kettlefuls of boiling water over the strips as suggested on the CD that came with the plans seemed rather messy. Tomorrow I hope to get the last forms on and check alignment and then start shaping the stems.
Zach
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:11 PM   #6
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Waiting impatiently for an update on the build! Thanks for sharing this with us, I followed your last one too, good stuff!
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Old 05-16-2015, 06:58 AM   #7
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I'm sorry to have left this hanging so long. I haven't worked on the canoe since the last post, initially due to an ankle problem that kept me off my feet once my work day was done and then we have had guests for both of the last two weeks. I am hoping to get back to it tonight and Sunday and make some progress.
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:50 AM   #8
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I really enjoy you build threads. Ive wanted to build one for years, but like you said, life gets in the way sometimes. I'm also lacking the space to take on a project like this. Thanks again Zach
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:29 PM   #9
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jayman,
The 1st canoe that I built was with/for a buddy of mine. I had space to build, he did not.
And at work we scraped out an excess storage space for another buddy to build his boat there. I even know of another dude that built his boat under a tarp!!
If you have any pals that could lend a few square feet for a month or so...

And Zach...August is coming,
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Old 05-17-2015, 09:35 PM   #10
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I didn't end up doing anything about the canoe on Saturday evening but today I got the strips cove-and-beaded and put the first 6 strips on both sides. The router table is a $1 special from an auction and this time I remembered to put an angle on the ends of the weatherboards which somehow I forgot last year. They worked better that way, as you would suppose they should. This year's strips have many fewer knots than last year's but more spalting which I like better. I broke fewer while machining them. The strips went on very easily since they are not up to where they will begin to twist. These strips seemed to go on more easily than the same ones did on the Wee Lassie II last year. I think this is partly because I have a small amount of experience now and also partly because they don't seem to have to be bent as much in the up and down direction. I am stripping both sides at once because I want to imitate what Connecticut Yankee did in some build threads of his that I remember reading where the ends of the strips are interwoven on the bottom of the hull. I like the way that looks and since this canoe is fairly flat bottomed it looks like it should be feasible. My goal is to get the stripping done this week but I will have to see how late I have to work into the evenings and if I still have time and energy left afterward for the canoe. August is indeed coming very soon so I will try to get both oars in the water.
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Old 05-18-2015, 09:32 PM   #11
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Not a lot to report today, spent a couple of hours stripping and now have 16 on each side. I used up all of my unbroken strips first so the first 14 on each side are full length. I am down to my last 3 or 4 sticks of staples so I may have to take a hiatus at some point until I get to town. Getting around the stems is a little fiddly now but not too bad since I have a disc sander on hand to shape the ends. Tomorrow evening I'll do as much as I can with the staples I have and then figure out what the next step may be. There were a few strips that were a little hard to work with at the sharpish corner on the middle forms but for the most part these strips have continued to go on more easily than the strips on the Wee Lassie II did. I think partly the fuller bow and stern on the Kite mean that the strips don't have to bend in and then back out as much. I like the way this hull looks and I am looking forward to trying paddling it as soon as I can get it together.
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Old 05-18-2015, 10:40 PM   #12
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Zach,

Are you going to overlap those laminated stems? Or will you join the strips to the stem pieces, leaving them exposed?
Oops!! Never mind, I just looked back at your form set up and could see that you'll overlap...

I have helped strip a few Wee Lassie's and I always thought they were tough to strip, too much twist and off axis bending.

I see that you're stripping parallel to the water line, it will be interesting to see how your strips will lay in when you get near the keel line. With my Kite, I was essentially parallel to the knuckle. I suppose there will be some difference, not sure exactly how it will manifest. I have thought about that alternating pattern like Conn Yankee does, I am anxiously awaiting your assessment.
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:55 AM   #13
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I failed to make any progress at all last night because the trackhoe that I had rented for today came yesterday afternoon instead and I was out digging till 8:30. I hope to get back to work tonight. I am pretty confused about the stems after reading the builder's notes on the CD that came with the plans. So far I have been gluing the strips to the sides of the stems and I think I will continue with that as I can't think of a good way to transition from the exposed stems on the upright parts to weaving over them on the bottom. I'm planning to add at least one more strip of stem material to the outside after all the strips are in place. I am even thinking of putting an aluminum strip on the outside of the bow stem to protect from abrasion but I am not sure yet about the aesthetics. I don't think the weight would be any worse than having ever more layers of fiberglass added to that area. I started stripping at what will be the sheer line, which should be roughly parallel to where the knuckle would have been if I had not omitted it. I made the sheer line by taking the height shown on the plan and just moving it out to the side so that it was directly over the knuckle instead of offset to the inside. I have read about stripping parallel to the water line but I though it would just make the football even tighter when I got there and I didn't think that would be fun. Another idea I am thinking about is possibly doing the last few strips in the middle with one large thin piece of wood instead of having to bend those strips. I'll have to see if it will conform to the shape of the canoe well enough.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:13 PM   #14
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I got the strips around the remainder of the stem areas tonight. In about two hours I only added 4 strips worth to each side but it took a lot more fidgeting around to get the strips cut so they were almost right on the ends. I also did the first strip on the "football" using the Connecticut Yankee method and I really liked it. I just held the strip roughly in place, reached up inside with a pencil and traced the end and then cut it on the bandsaw which is conveniently located in the kitchen at the moment since its place in the shop was taken by a bigger one last fall. I think that another two or three hours may suffice to strip the rest of the canoe bottom given how fast this first strip went in. The curve in this area is not as tight as it was on the Wee Lassie so I will go ahead and use strips all the way to the middle. There are some gaps where the strips meet the stems as shown in the close up photo but I think they are small enough that they shouldn't be too obvious once I plug them with bits of scrap wood.
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:45 PM   #15
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Tonight I got the stripping done and I am very excited to start sanding and messing with the stems. Of course I will have to pull out all of the staples first, which is not as exciting but still has its small satisfactions. I had to make the last strip twice, and also the third from last strip since I made both of them too short. Most of tonight's strips were full length since the remaining length was short enough to match some of the remaining strips. I have about a dozen decent-sized strip pieces left and a bundle of short scraps. Things are looking up, though there is still a long way to go. Today I bought a piece of 3/16" nylon rope at the hardware store to use to make Stripperguy style seats as shown in some of his build threads. I need to make a seat for the Wee Lassie before it goes to its new home and that will give me practice making a seat for this canoe.
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Old 05-22-2015, 09:48 AM   #16
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Looking good Zach. Great progress.
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Old 05-22-2015, 11:11 AM   #17
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Hey Zach, looking great!
Kind of pricey but this sof site
http://www.berkshireboatbuildingscho...ome/store.aspx
has brass stem bands listed under their parts to protect the stems. I'm sure you could get your own brass and do it cheaper! On a side note, no table saw, not much spare $$ and not much spare time so no sof for me this year : ( The Kite looks like a great canoe, I'm anxious to hear how she performs for you.
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Old 05-24-2015, 09:39 PM   #18
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Sorry to hear about your SOF plans being postponed. Table saws can be had pretty cheaply sometimes on Craigslist and at auctions, but time and money are both harder to come by. I did think about brass but the trouble is that it weighs about 3 times or more as much as aluminum depending on the alloy in either case. It is prettier but I would rather save the weight on a pack canoe. I didn't work on the canoe at all for the last two nights but today I pulled out about 3/4 of the staples. I realize now that I should not have blithely stapled the strips to the cherry stems as I have broken off a few trying to get them out. Live and learn, I guess. On Friday night I went to look at a John Deere crawler loader from the early 1950s that needs some work and that the owner is going to trade to me for the Wee Lassie II. After I got back I was working on the seat for the canoe since that was part of the deal. Tomorrow night I only have a little more to do on that job and then I will be able to get back to the new canoe and maybe start sanding if I can get the broken staple legs out and remove the remaining staples without breaking any more. I hope to maybe be ready to fiberglass the outside next Sunday but I am not sure if I will get ready in time.
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Old 05-24-2015, 10:08 PM   #19
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Zach,
I wouldn't sweat the stranded staples too much...too many years ago I built a sailboat, the cedar strips were 1/2 inch thick. It had a mahogany keel plank and a laminated mahogany stem. I had to use a 1/4 crown inch pneumatic stapler with 1 1/4 inch long staples. Well, long story short (or maybe not) I stranded quite a few staples that went through the cedar and into the mahogany keel plank. Often, I could get one leg to break free, but ended up amputating the other leg. It's been 15 years now, and you still can't tell there is any metal buried under the glass and resin.
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Old 05-25-2015, 09:22 PM   #20
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Thanks, that's great to know about the stranded staple legs. I was remembering the ones that broke on your build last year that you had to remove, but after you wrote and I thought about it more I realized that they had to come out because they were holding the canoe to the form, while these are not causing any other problems by being where they are. Tonight I didn't do much as I was doing some postprandial form placing and backfilling for a while, but when I did get over to the house I got the rest of the staples pulled and trimmed the overhanging strips at the stems. Then I cleaned up the offcuts off the floor and put way the extra strips from last week. I touched up the varnish on the Wee Lassie and the paddle and called it a night. I really want to get that concrete poured this week so I may not make as much canoe progress as I had hoped.
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