If you just go for a paddle than you can stop thinking about wanting to go for a paddle.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

2011: Post 38 – Disko Fever

Sean finished his modern replica of his 1931 Disko Bay skin-on-frame kayak, except for the deck rigging, and brought it to last week’s Thursday practice.  Sweeeet!  Be sure to check out his blog.  He has some nice shots of it during and after he took it out of his house.

Since he started the build a few months ago I have been interested in the possibility of trying my hand at building one of my own.  I e-mailed Dave Gentry for the plans for it and started to figure out how to make one.  I e-mailed Dave with some questions, looked at some websites, and have been asking Sean a bunch of how-to questions while he has been building his.  I think I have mostly figured it out in my mind and have been thinking it would be a good winter project... something to pick away at in free time on cold nights.

At the end of Thursday practice Sean let me sit in his new kayak and it felt pretty nice.  A little bit of Disko fever set in…

I figured it was time to make a start and at least get the plywood frames cut out.  Shortly after I received the plans with the offsets from Dave I figured drawing the frames out on plywood was time consuming.  I have access to computer drawing software and so a while ago I had drawn up the frames had plotted them out full size. I picked up a sheet of bristol board and glued the paper frames to it.   Then I cut out the frame templates that I could use to trace around onto plywood. 

Gluing the paper frames onto the bristol board

All six frames glued to the bristol board and cut out
(the bristol board provides a raised edge to easily trace around)

I had intended to paddle today but then decided not to.   I picked up a piece of 17.5 mm thick Russian Birch plywood (as recommended by Sean) just before Home Depot closed last night and traced out the frames with my templates. 

Frame five just happened to fit inside the masik
so there was a little less wastage

The sheet of plywood is 24x48 inches and, because frame five fit inside frame three, I was able to fit all six frames onto half the sheet, with the sheet cut diagonally… Not sure what to do with this half-sheet… maybe Sean will make another one, and Tony thinks he may built one too…

I placed the templates around the plywood edges to reduce the
amount of cutting along the straight edges

All the templates traced out, with some
of the straight cuts done by handsaw

Before suppertime came around I had all the frames cut out, with the exception of the notches for the foredeck in frames two and three… these can easily be done later.  The rough edges can be sanded out after the kayak is completely framed; except for frame three and four, you will not see the frames so required sanding is minimal.  I know I will still have some adjusting of the notches to get a good fit for the chine and keel stringers.

I expect this project is a big undertaking for me as I am limited in tools, space, and know-how, and it will therefore go slow.  But I am not in a big hurry so I will take my time and try to do it right.  At least now I have made a start. 


  1. Good for you Dean. I'm sure Sean will provide all the help and advice you need to do your build. On top of that you'll learn you have a skill you never knew you had. Good luck with it.

    Tony :-)

  2. Dean,

    Sounds like you have given it a lot of thought and are already on your way. Best of luck with it.