The construction of Siku Kayak
The winter after building the Magnet and returning from the Arctic with it, I returned to the computer and re-designed the kayak's parameters. I will now describe the construction of our next boat - Siku Kayak - pictured at the bottom of this page.
This time we decided to build the mold by strip-planking it - shown here.
The completed mold is fared and prepped. Next to it is a rack of cloth.
After laminating the mold and allowing it to cure, we release the mold from the strongback, roll it over, and set it on pads on the floor. Then we fit padded cradles to the strongback, shaped to accept the new hull. Here we have placed the mold/hull onto its cradle, and have pried the mold out of the new hull.
The moment of truth for any new design - performance testing the hull. We are pleased to find that it is fast and stable, leaves an exceptionally clean wake, and tracks well.
We have placed the mold in the cradles atop the strongback, and decked it. This is now the deck mold. The deck of a kayak does not require a lot of abrasion resistance, but it does need stiffness. So we are coring it with structural foam.
We cure the hull and deck in a make-shift autoclave of cardboard. The apparatus will be covered in tarps, and pair of heaters will elevate the temperature. This insures maximum strength and stiffness.
The hull is fitted with four bulkheads to create three water-tight stowage compartments - one forward, one aft, and one amidships between the two cockpits.
The hull and deck are ready for assembly.
We also made our own hatch assemblies, in order to save weight, to provide access for larger cargo, and to ensure water-tight integrity.
Jenny stands on the scales with the completed project. Its all-up weight - including rudder assembly, foot peddles, four bulkheads and three hatch covers, deck bungees, compass mount, and paddle chocks - is 53 pounds.
We paddled this boat 1,400 miles along the coast of Arctic Alaska. We also wrote a book about this trip "Siku Kayak."