Re: Fillet Strength

Posted by CLC on Jan 27, 2006

>>>>>>Do the fillets actually add much strength to the chine and keel joints or do they more provide just a radius for the cloth or tape to follow?


It's a good question, and the answer is "both."

A neatly applied fillet alone is demonstrably "strong enough" but no one has very good data on how much you can shave off and still hold the boat together during a hard beach landing. The fiberglass doubles the strength, at least. Of all places to double strength, the seams of a stitch-and-glue boat are a good candidate. We strongly advocate filleting AND 'glassing seams.

A finished weight of around 45 pounds is EXTREMELY light for a 16- or 17-foot sea kayak and we're happy with that and with the big margins of strength. Especially for first- or second-time builders. Among more experienced builders, I not only endorse experimentation but enjoy reading about it, too.

From my point of view, there's no harm in building a kayak lighter than advertised as long as you understand it will be more fragile than advertised.

Mark Rogers's personal boat (a narrower version of the Arctic Hawk called the Hawk SS) has NO fiberglass on it anywhere, not one scrap. Just fillets and epoxy. He admits it is more fragile and treats it accordingly.

In Response to: Fillet Strength by Chris J. on Jan 27, 2006