Help! Guillemot Alignment

I am building a strip planked Guillemot L.  I just finished stripping the hull and till now I have been quite pleased with my progress.  This is my first attempt at building anything like this.  The hull is entirely western red cedar, bead and cove 3/4" strips glued using Titebond II.    

Here is what the bottom of the hull looks like so far:

I just flipped the hull to begin the deck and -- much to my chagrin -- the bow is misaligned.  It's curved off to starbord.  Here is a photo with a fine line strung over the center line - it goes from the far wall to my camera's tripod.  The full 12mp resolution photo is there if you want to see the detail.

The stern is off by about 1/16th - 1/8th of an inch.  I am fine with that.  It's not even noticeable without the string.  The bow, on the other hand, is off by roughly a half inch.  The misalignment starts where the stem frame attaches to the strongback.

I am not sure what to do now.  I am inclined to just ignore it and push on, but I'm not sure how it will look and paddle when it's completed.  I would be really bummed if it's an obvious flaw when it's completed.  Is there a way to straighten it out at this point?  I have contemplated just throwing out the hull and starting over.  That would really suck but wouldn't be the end of the world.,, 

What are your thoughts/suggestions?  Your responses are much appreciated! 



9 replies:

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RE: Help! Guillemot Alignment

If you had not posted your note, you would be the only one to notice it. (But you will ALWAYS notice it.)

      Good luck, it shoud be great and perform just the same,





RE: Help! Guillemot Alignment


I am no expert but if this was my kayak, I would press on.  Short of starting over, I do not think that you can fix the twist in the bow.

The twist is very visable with the forms and string.  But I think that when the deck is complete, the curves and bends of the cedar strips will hide any twist in the bow. 

The twist will be above the water line so I do not think that performance will be affected. At least in calm water.

Do not let this problem get you down. Press on and you will have a great kayak.


Wood duck 12 hybrid ( just about finished )

RE: Help! Guillemot Alignment


I have built only 2 strippers & don't consider myself an expect by no means. I couldn't tell by the pictures if the hull looked out of alinement, but it think it maybe. If it is it will paddle different.

Before you start over try to fix it.  Glue & staples are all thats holding it.  Rap the hull with strapping tape- remove the staples (if any) carefully remove the frame & strongback. Fix the mis-alignment on the strongback. You may want to wet the area & apply heat to the strips. Put the hull back on the frame. If the glue joints break, reglue & use strapping tape to pull it together.

I would try something before I would start over.

Thats my 2 cents worth.



RE: Help! Guillemot Alignment

My reply would be similar to the last one.  You may need to free one side of the hull strips from the internal stem to get the twist out. A thin cut in the stem itself parallel to the inside of the hull strips should not create a problem later.  You might also be able to use a strong string that is threaded through holes in the forms and tied to the stem form, then pullon the string and fasten the other end to the strongback several feet back to help pull the stem form into alighment. Then reglue the stem.

Good luck.  

PS, you will always be more aware of it than anyone else. So decide what you will be happy with.





RE: Help! Guillemot Alignment

I am not any kind of an expert, but I can tell you that in the 1st photo, it definitely appears as though the hull is also misaligned. I would hazard a guess that this may affect performance, but like I said, I'm no expert.


RE: Help! Guillemot Alignment

Barry, I am on my second AUK. I had exactly the same problem the first build. What I did was release all the staples from the front of the form back to where the bend begins. The glue will hold all the strips togeather and maintain the hull shape. I then cut the strongback top to bottom thru the side only that is the inside of the tweek. I then forces a shim into this cut and forced the bow over into alignment. What will happen is one side of your strips will be slightly longer and the other side slightly shorter. This is not a problem if you plan to add a bow strip. I will post a picture of this later. remember to restaple the strips to the forms.  BTW, On my second build I noticed this early as was able to force, in this case the stern, into alignment.


I hope this is of some help.



RE: Help! Guillemot Alignment

Barry, Here is a link to a of couple pics. The shot of the finished boat pre varnish is what the out come was after the fix. There is a very slight hook but takes a trained eye to see it and it does not effect the way the boat paddles. The second pic is of the second Auk before I took the tweek out and the boat is turning out true.


RE: Help! Guillemot Alignment

Thanks all, especially Hagen.  I also posted this query on the Guillemot Kayaks site builders forum.  The suggestion there was similar to your Hagen.  I am going to cut the hull in half along the keel line while it's still on the forms, cut out the internal stem, and then realign the two halves. 

Wish me luck!  :-)

Thanks again,


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