Guillemot Play

I'm planning to build a Guillemot Play for my Granddaughter, she lives on a Lake here in central Michigan so that;s what it will be used for ,to play. I've wanted to build a Guillemot for some time now so that gives me an excuse and it will be a stripper.

 My question, has anyone out there built one and is there anything I should be aware of, or issues you might have ran into.

 I have built a strip canoe and the CLC SUP, so I have some experience.

 Thanks in advance, JC

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RE: Guillemot Play


             I am just now joining the deck to the hull of a Petrel. I don’t have any experience with the Guillamot Play, but here are some thoughts that I hope will be helpful.

            I don’t know if you used a CLC strongback to make your canoe, but I found building the CLC strongback to be tricky. There’s a tiny drawing showing how it’s assembled on a sheet of paper included with the kit. I recommend going to Kinkos and enlarging it, number the pieces on the drawing and then identifying and numbering the corresponding pieces of wood to make the strongback. Then assemble it by the numbers.  There’s more strongback material than you need, so identify how many feet you from the attached plans and don’t bother making more than you need.  As you make the kayak, make sure your supports (sawhorses, whatever) are the right distance so the strongback stays straight. If the supports are too far apart or too close together, the strongback can bow out of line and affect the rocker of the kayak.

            Be careful to make sure your forms are aligned because that affects whether your kayak is straight, and be especially careful to line up those bow and  stern forms, making sure they’re vertical and lined up right.

            The forms are made from compressed fibreboard. The good news is the have grooves that help with alignment. The bad news is that if a strip wants to pull away from the form, the form will simply not hold a staple in form because the fibreboard is not dense enough. I ended up figuring out how the wood wanted to bend. If needed, I steamed the strip with a steam iron rather than force it on a form. I ended up putting a board on top of my forms and steamed the strips there. I bought a cheap iron at Target for $14 rather than upset the wife by using our family iron, and I beat the living daylights out of that iron.

            The pattern I adopted for assembling various parts of the kayak were dictated by how the wood wanted to bend, with or without steam bending. I simply gave up trying to force the wood on the forms if the wood did not want to stay there. I ended up building the bow and stern deck differently, because there was a tight upturn on the stern that the wood simply did not want to bend into, with our without steaming. I ended up running my wood parallel back to the stern, which is what they show on the cover of the current catalogue. The strips bend easily on their flat sides, twist fairly well with steaming, but they really don’t want to bend on their vertical plane.

            Nick’s video and book are based on milling his own wood without bead and cove and using a small hand plane to join the edges. Of course, CLC’s kits include bead and cove wood.  Nick planes the shear line at an angle when it make sense. I found that when you don’t need to do that, it works well to simply plane the shear line horizontal whenever possible. It makes joining the hull and deck more simple.   

            If you have splits or gaps in your strips so that you can see between them, there, are three things you can do that I know about. The first it to cut a small strip of wood and wedge it in place. The second is demonstrated in one of Nick’s videos, where he clamps the wood tight. But if the gaps are small, consider fixing them when you’re in the fiberglass mode. Save your sanding dust by color and mix it with Cell O Fill, which comes with your kit, to patch small gaps. Also, the wood filler that comes with your kit is dark brown, which works well with the medium brown Western red cedar that CLC supplies. That wood, by the way, looks rather ugly in its bare, uncoated state, but is really beautiful when it’s glassed.

            Nick talks about filling cracks with sanding dust and Cell O Fill this in the fiberglass section of his book. I read the whole book before I started and watched a bunch of videos.  The problem I had was that when I was building the bow, I had some split wood and had forgotten about the fiberglass Cell O Fill trick…and tried to fix the splits with commercial wood filler. My worst mistake.

            When you fiberglass the insides of the kayak, as the fiberglass cures it shrinks and wants to pull the kayak sides together like a leaf. As soon as the fiberglass is dry, put the kayak back on the forms to keep its shape. This is especially important if you chose carbon fiber for your inside, because the carbon fiber won’t want to flex back to its original shape after it cures. Several builders have mentioned problems with this in this forum, but there’s no mention of this problem in any of the instructions they provide.

             I didn’t want to put hatches in my kayak, but I was unable to run the strip of fiberglass inside the bow and stern without hatches. In fact, if I ever build another kayak, my hatches will be within an arms length of the bow and stern so I can reach in and get that strip of fiberglass in place right. I used Nick’s nail on a stick method, but it’s a little messy. The fiberglass tape they send is decent stuff, but it’s not bias cut, which is what you’ll need to go around funny shapes like the cockpit combing. As you glass the hull and deck, save your extra fiberglass and cut it into bias-cut strips for those odd shaped glass jobs.

            This seems really obvious…I mean, duh…but stripping a kayak makes it really easy to do stripes and other forms. I was over thinking my design and I didn’t actually think this through until I’d laid some strips down and realized that, simply by changing wood, I had a stripe. So give that some thought. Nick has some nice kayak photos on his site that are not on CLC’s site.

            That’s all I can think of at the moment. Good luck.







    Good luck.

RE: Guillemot Play

One other thing...if your forms are too tight as you try to fit them on the strongback, don't force it. I broke a form trying to pound it in place, which came back to haunt me. I hot glued it back together, but it was never the same. If need be, take a Surform rasp and shave a bit off the inside of the form so it will fit, being careful to shave off equal amounts from both sides so it will remain aligned.

RE: Guillemot Play

CareyBob, wow, thanks for the info. I just started reading Schade's book, so I can tell bending stripes at the stem and stern will be fun.

 My Canoe was from Bear Mountain plans, I didn't know about CLC back then. Anyway the strong back I built for the canoe is 12" square out of 3/4 plywood and I plan to mount the kayak stronback to that. I ordered the forms and plan to make the strongback according to the plans.

 I have a good stock pile of white cedar and will be be milling my own stock. I plan on using some western red cedar also.

 Building the canoe was a good learning expierence and what to do and not to do, like the wood filler trickfor example.

 Just waiting for the package to arrive.

 Thanks again, JC



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