My First! Lessons Learned

Posted by Tim Clark on Aug 21, 2007

Having completed my first kayak (17LT), I have spent much time assessing how wekll I did. I finally concluded that my finished product IS better than the boats used in the ‘Viking Funeral’ in the CLC boatbuiding video (but by how much?).

I thought I would share my top 20 “lessons learned”/mistakes (can I have a “do over”?). Pictures are attached:

20. After I have stitched y kayak, I will take a LOT more time to ensure that EVERYTHING is true and fair. Along these lines I will use a few more copper wires for the bow and the stern.

19. I will wage preemptive war on epoxy blobs. Any time I install ANYTHING with thickened epoxy, I will have a rag on hand and quickly go over the surrounding surfaces to rid them of those blobs. I will be less judicious with the thickened epoxy I put on the deck bulkheads before putting on deck. And once the deck is nailed down I will try to get inside to clean up the epoxy lobs which result from be shifting the deck around to fine tune its fit.

18. I will be more careful with my fillets. I believe good ones are narrow and neat. Mine are wide and SLOPPY! (New Tip Found on Forum: I will use making tape around fillets to make this a reality)

17. I will NOT use foam brushes with epoxy

16. Once I put the fiberglass tape over my fillets, I will do a better job of ensuring that the tape is TRULY flat.

15. When doing the “pre-installation” of the foot-braces, I will confirm that the through-hull holes actually fit into the foot-braces, instead of just relying upon the measurements supplied.

14. I will NOT trim the excess deck with any form of power saw.

13. I will be REALLY careful when sanding any edge to try to ensure the round-overs are smooth and consistent.

12. I will not cut my hatch openings with any form of power saw. Unless I have LOTS of practice!

11. While I WILL do flush hatches again and I will use “Knob Closed Hatch Hardware Kit” from Shearwater, I will be less sloppy putting together the underside hatch support frames to reduce “cleanup” after.

10. I will coat the cockpit section edges with un-thickened epoxy before installing.

9. When installing the cockpit, I will NOT forget to use brads to keep each layer in place. And I will not forget to wipe down the outside cockpit edges to remove the epoxy blobs.

8. If I put on rubrails again, I will NOT try to do it alone!

7. When varnishing, I will work from a seated or kneeling position when possible to get my eyes closer to the work surface to better track my work.

6. When varnishing I will occasionally look back to ensure that, in spite of my “perfect” job, that I haven’t left any runs.

5. When varnishing, I will limit my “sections” to under 12 inches.

4. I will allow two days between my first and second coat of varnish.

3. I will allow two days after my final varnish coat before putting on deck rigging.

2. I will be VERY CAREFUL when using marine silicone sealant around a varnished surface.

1. I will SLOW DOWN!

Best Wishes,

Tim Clark



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