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Supporting Your Kayak

Reverse form on sawhorse
Once your kayak is removed from the strongback for further work it needs to be supported somehow. Many use simple stands with the boat held up by a carpet strip suspension. My approach is to use 4 reverse forms and screw them to the strong back. Not only is the boat perfectly secure for things like sanding, it is held in the proper shape. Once I get to the varnish stage I support the boat with a pair of forms screwed to sawhorses. Of course I have a set for the deck and a set for the hull. The form is cut slightly oversize and then lined with a neoprene gasket to prevent scratching the boat.

Picking Attractive Wood

Here's a few things to keep in mind when picking wood for you kayak project. First, different woods change color by varying amounts when resin is first applied. For example, western red cedar (WRC) will darken and take on a nice rich glow while black walnut does not change much at all. Peruvian walnut turns jet black. You can get a close approximation of the finished look by wetting the woods with alcohol (although probably not as yellow).

A different problem is color fading caused by sun exposure. Not all species react the same way. For example; black walnut gets lighter, western red cedar gets darker, alaskan yellow cedar stays about the same, okoume get darker, purpleheart turns a more chocolate brown and gets a little darker, and padauk goes from dark red to even darker brown. I have a kayak with a walnut feature stripe on a medium WRC background. The color of the two woods have nearly converged over time. Fortunately the walnut is pinstriped with AYC so that is still stands out.

Cutting Perfect Strips

Cutting perfect wood strips
Besides a good fence, sawblade, and finger boards, a good splitter can help significantly. The problem with cedar is that it is so soft that the thickness can erode as it passes the back side of the sawblade with only the slightest pressure. The solution to this problem is to make your own splitter that is the exact width of your saw blade teeth and place it in the table top insert right at the back of the blade.

Head in the clouds