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Thread: The Birth of the Pipistrelle - building a PBK20 canoe

  1. #1

    Default The Birth of the Pipistrelle - building a PBK20 canoe

    In the 1960's when I was about 15 a friend and I went to an evening class and each built a kayak. It was a two seater, canvas covered and I suppose it was my first big woodworking project. I remember cycling every Tuesday evening from our house in Tilehurst over Caversham Bridge and up a steep hill to the Park School in Emmer Green. Mr Dix the woodwork teacher there presided over the group.
    We had the choice of either the PBK14 which was a generously sized single seater or the PBK20 which was a two seater design. We both chose the PBK20.
    Frames were marked onto a sheet of marine plywood and cut out on a bandsaw - probably my first introduction to woodworking machinery. The inner cuts on the closed frames were made with a coping saw and the edges smoothed with a surform tool.
    The hog, gunwales, and stringers were made of Parana pine. I don't remember if this came in 16ft lengths of if it had to be scarfed to produce the lengths needed. All subsequent work was done using hand tools but there was always someone in the group to give a helping hand.
    Mr Dix had sourced some PVC upholstery material to cover the boats in. This was easy to use but, as we later found out to our cost had very poor resistance to UV light and after a while became very brittle. On a trip to Dorset we left the boat in what we thought was a safe place and returned in the morning to find that someone had thrown stones at it. It was peppered with holes like a colander.
    So we took it home, stripped off the skin and replaced it with something called Otterskin which was a form of canvas with a PVC outer coating. This proved to be very resilient and apart from a serious gash caused when we tried to shoot a weir and which had to be patched it lasted until the boat fell out of use.
    Most of our canoeing was done on small rivers around Reading, the Lodden, and the Kennet were favourites. We had a roof rack on the car for long trips but I also made a wooden trolley with pram wheels and a 10ft long tow bar which I towed behind my bicycle!
    Anyway at the ripe old age of 74 with grandchildren coming up to an age when they might appreciate a bit of adventure I decided to build another kayak to the same design. She will be called Pipistrelle ....
    To be continued

  2. #2

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    My sister in the finished canoe

    Here I am on the river Lodden aged about 15
    I think this was the maiden voyage.
    note shop built paddles, aluminium tubing stained hands black when wet
    Where has the time gone
    Last edited by Davegod; 6th-September-2017 at 08:11 PM. Reason: Pictures did not appear!

  3. #3
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    I tried right-clicking on the x-symbols, looked at "properties," and copied the URL. The 2nd and 4th url is a long dropbox string with "jpeg" near the end. If I paste those into new tabs, that takes me to the photos. But when I tried pasting those into a post with IMG tags around, I get the same x-symbol. The properties box mentions "privacy." Maybe there's a privacy setting in your dropbox account that won't let the photos appear here.

    Nice boat - you must have been very proud of it.
    Not in Oxford any more...

  4. #4

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    Yes I am having trouble posting images. I have tried pasting URLs from google drive and from Dropbox and nothing appears. I am doing this from an iPad, would that make any difference. A shame because I have pictures of the building of the latest boat that I would like to post.

  5. #5
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    One image work-around I have found that works from google photos, it's a bit of a fiddle but does appear to work for now.

    Get your pictures in an album on google photos and navigate to that album.

    Make that album shareable by clicking the "angle" share symbol at the top right of the screen. Click "get link" and click copy.

    Now LOG OUT of google. This step is important or you'll get images that only you can see.

    Now paste the "share" link you copied earlier into your browser. It should take you back to the album but as a guest user.

    Click on the photo you want to share. When it comes up on the screen right click on it and select "copy image location".

    Paste the resulting link into your post with [img] tags either side or use the insert image button.

    The link will be a huge and unweidly block of text like this:
    Code:
    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/tMhdoqA0CNlmTfrWNa7hHUwt5fSI0tdgqw-C6g1Z6ik9wWhwtUxySabT5iRcWGLqin4km9BgbIn03r5MForC9zm9PqeNJZg1N_J8_xik52kNBDuUmkfRDRmboMbMe7481mUvbHFpFg=w459-h611-no
    When wrapped in IMG tags it should appear as an image.



    Once you are in the album, this process is a bit quicker than it appears because you can just flick through the images one at a time and copy their addresses.
    "I'm not getting in a boat which is DESIGNED to go upside down."

  6. #6

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    [IMG][/IMG]
    Launching Day on the Lodden near Hurst, Berkshire
    I was about 15 then.
    Note the shop built paddles - aluminium tubing stained hands black hen wet.
    Happy days.
    where has the time gone?
    Last edited by Davegod; 8th-September-2017 at 02:23 PM.

  7. #7
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    That will be excellent. You should include them in the building process so that they can enjoy the same hands-on experience you had.

  8. #8

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    Building the Pipistrelle continued.....
    The first thing to do was to obtain some plans. I had thought they might be available in the U.K. but apparently the rights have been bought by a US company so I duly ordered them from Clark Craft and a thick package arrived in the post.
    I was also able to get hold of a copy of Percy Blandford's book, Canoes and Canoeing, which has details of how to go about the building process.
    I also needed a firm base to work on so I made three sawhorses which I placed end to end. These supported a couple of pieces of 4x2 which I joined together with plywood plates to make a crude strongback abou 16' long. The saw horses were later very useful for supporting the boat in the later stages of construction.
    Next I had to source materials for the frame of the canoe. The quality of marine plywood has gone down over the years and despite the fact that I only needed about half a sheet I had to buy a whole one. Plenty left over then if I ever want to build another one!
    I asked the local woodyard about Parana Pine and was told that yes, they used to sell piles of it but it was now unavailable as it has become an endangered species!
    I thought long and hard about the alternatives, Sitka Spruce would have been nice but was exorbitantly expensive. In the end I settled for ordinary white pine. Fortunately the woodyard let me choose the timber I needed so over a period of weeks I was able to accumulate enough lengths of clear knot free timber for the hog, gunwales and stringers.
    So far then I had spent :-
    Plans £35
    Sawhorses and strongback £30
    Marine Plywood £66
    Pine for hog,gunwales and stringers £70



    Total £191

    Now the real work starts
    to be continued............

  9. #9
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    Lovely to read all this and see your photos.
    Tell me, where did you get hold of a copy of Percy's Canoes and Canoeing? There are copies being offered on the second hand market for over £100, which suggests it is a book that remains in much demand. I wondered if Percy's granddaughter might get round to republishing it one of these days. She published his autobiography after his death. He lived a really interesting life, I thought.
    Looking forward to following your build.
    All the best,
    Ian

  10. #10

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    The wonders of inter-library loans via our local library in Bingham
    Still having real problems getting pictures up though

  11. #11

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    Continued ........
    I traced the outlines of the frames onto the sheet of plywood using sheets of carbon paper.
    I used a hand held jigsaw to cut round the frames roughly and then cut them out with my bandsaw.
    The edges were still pretty rough so I used my router table to round them off. I sanded the faces of the frames
    with an orbital sander and sanded the edges by hand
    Next I cut out blocks of marine ply to support the coamingframe and glued them

    to the central frames with cascamite glue. Then I added theoak battens which
    will support the bottom boards and glued these in place
    The longest timber I could find for the longitudinal memberswas 2.4m long,
    about 8ft. Clearly these would need to be joined in some wayto produce 16ft
    lengths. I made a scarfing jig for my tablesaw and used itto cut the required scarf joints



    [IMG][/IMG]



    The two pieces of the hog were clamped to the strongback andscrews were driven
    into the strongback though the scarf joint. I had alreadymarked a centre line
    on both pieces and lined them up with a string attached tothe centre point at
    each end. I was then able to mark the finished length andthe tapers for each
    end of the hog.
    I then unscrewed the hog from the strongback and planed downthe tapers at each
    end before finally gluing the pieces together and screwingthem back onto the
    strongback.
    to be continued .....


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by idc View Post
    Lovely to read all this and see your photos.
    Tell me, where did you get hold of a copy of Percy's Canoes and Canoeing? There are copies being offered on the second hand market for over £100, which suggests it is a book that remains in much demand.
    Ian
    I could lend you a copy if you wish - in fact for £100, I'd sell you my copy!

    Sam

  13. #13

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    [IMG][/IMG]
    Here are the frames cut andsanded with the oak stiffeners glued on to frames 3 to 7 and the blocks tosupport the cockpit frame glued on to frames 3 to 5. They are laid out on thehog which is clamped to the strongback which is supported by my three sawhorsesin a line.
    The positions of the frames weremarked on the hog and holes drilled to take the screws
    .
    [IMG][/IMG]

    I found it easiest to turnthings upside down and drill and screw downwards into the frames. One screwdriven home then check for squareness with the hog before driving the secondscrew, also checking that the distance between the ends of the frames on thetwo sides was the same.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    The boat is now the right way upand all the frames, stem and stern posts fitted. Now is the time to make sureeverything is straight. I drove a small nail into the middle of the stem andstern posts and stretched a string between them. When I was satisfied that everythinglined up I reclamped the hog to the strongback

    [IMG][/IMG]

    This is the view looking alongthe centre of the boat from the stern. The string crosses each frame at itscentre point.

    Next job - fix the gunwales.

    to be continued ..........

  14. #14

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    Fixing the gunwales to the framessinglehanded was a challenge as they need to be bent to meet the frames.


    [IMG][/IMG][IMG][/IMG]

    I devised a clamping system which held the gunwale in position on the frameseither side of the one being fixed. I could then concentrate on getting the joint glued and the screws in straight. I started at the centre at each sideand worked towards the ends.


    [IMG][/IMG][IMG]Canoe by david godden, on Flickr[/IMG]


    Detail of one of the clamps inplace. Before fixing the gunwale to this frame I bevelled the frame to fit theline of the gunwale so as to provide a maximum surface area for the glue joint.
    [IMG][/IMG][IMG][/IMG]

    Gunwale fixed to the frame with two screws and glue. At this point it is essential to ensure that the frames are perpendicular to the hog and that they are equidistant from each other on both sides. You can also see the blocks glued to the fame to support the coaming frame

    [IMG][/IMG]


    The most difficult bit so far.Cutting the bevels to fit the gunwales to the stem and stern posts was difficult and at first I cut one too short and had to glue the cut piece back on and try again. It is also very difficult to clamp the gunwales in positionas there is nowhere straight to clamp to. In the end I held the gunwale in position and drove a couple of small nails part way in to hold it in position whilst I drilled and screwed it into place. Then I took the nails and screw out, applied glue and held it all in position while I refitted the screw. Then put in a couple of extra screws.


    [IMG][/IMG]
    The same procedure at the front.You can also see my first attempt to fit the foredeck stringer to the stempost also a fiddly task. So fiddly that I had several attempts before I got it right.
    Next up coaming frame and deck stringers
    To Be Continued.........

  15. #15
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    Really interesting to see your ideas and approach. Thanks for taking us along on your adventure making this.

  16. #16

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    The coaming frame glued andscrewed to the frames.

    [IMG][/IMG]
    [IMG][/IMG][IMG]Coaming by david godden, on Flickr[/IMG]

    This was fairly straightforward but the difficult partwas getting the bevel at the front of the cockpit right. My little Boschoscillating saw made this a lot easier than it would have been using hand tools.The foredeck and hind deck stringers were also quite troublesome and I had tohave another go at them later. My method with all these things was to dry fiteverything using screws before applying any glue.


    [IMG][/IMG]



    You can see here the difficulty offitting the foredeck stringer to the front of the coaming frame. It isimportant to get this right. Anything other than a smooth transition will causeunsightly wrinkles when the deck canvas is fitted. The end of the deck stringerfits into a notch in a block glued to the front of the frame and the top of thestringer needs to be level with the top of the coaming frame. The other end ofthe foredeck stringer also has to fit the sloping surface of the stem post.Tricky.

    [IMG][/IMG]


    First fitting of front and reardeck stringers. Nothing is glued at this stage and later I had to replacethem to get them to fit properly.

    Next stage - fitting the bottom stringers.

    To be continued ........

  17. #17

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    The boat is turned over

    [IMG][/IMG]

    The first stringer has been fitted an I have started fitting the second one. Working from the centre towards the ends. One screw per frame, dry fit and then revisit with glue. As usual the difficult bit is cutting the bevel to fit onto the stem and stern posts. The first one is quite straightforward but it gets more difficult as you get towards the hog as the lower stringers have to be twisted as well as bent. To get enough leverage to do this I fixed a G-clamp to the stringer and held the bend in place with a cam strap while I marked and cut the bevel


    [IMG][/IMG]


    The stern post with the first stringer fixed and the second one ready for fixing.


    [IMG][/IMG][IMG]r[/IMG]

    Second stringer at the stem post. A bit of twisting needed here. Tried to make sure that the stringers on the two sides were level with each other.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Two stringers fixed. It is starting to look like a boat.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Two stringers now fixed to the stern post and the third ready to go.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Preparing to fix the third stringers. Note the cam strap holding the bend and the G-clamp fixed to the stringer on the left. This gave me enough leverage to twist the stringer into place so that I can mark the line of the bevel. This was then cut with a reciprocating saw. The twist was then reapplied and the stringer and stern post drilled, counter drilled and countersunk. Then glue was applied and the stringer twisted into place again and screw driven home.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    All stringers fixed in place. Starting to look even more like a boat.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Right way up again. Need to sort out the deck stringers next

  18. #18
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    Excellent progress. What glue and screws are you using?

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by bhofmann View Post
    Excellent progress. What glue and screws are you using?
    Cascamite glue and 1" No6 brass screws and some 1.5" where needed. Mostly countersunk but I used raised head countersunk screws where they would show.

  20. #20
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    It's looking good, Davegod. Your project reminds my of my time with PBKs. My introduction to canoeing, a generic term in those days, was with a PBK 10 which an older brother had built at school. I inherited it when the skin rotted (painted canvas was normal then) and I re covered it with a PVC coated fabric - and used it a lot on the North Norfolk coast. Next came a PBK 15 which I built about 1968, followed by building a PBK 20 8 or 9 years later. Things were a bit different back then, as you probably remember. Getting timber was easier, as building PBKs was so popular that some timber yards put together packages of wood for most models. Parana pine for the hog, gunwales, deck framing and rubbing strips, spruce for the stringers (no scarfs required) and a piece of good quality marine plywood just large enough to cut out the frames etc. But cutting out those frames was harder, as few people owned power tools in those days. We had to set to with pad saws, coping saws, spoke shaves and plenty of sandpaper. But it was all worth it.

    I am now back into paddling with a folding kayak and a small inflatable one. I feel at home in my folding kayak, as the long, open. easy to get into cockpit reminds me of those PBK days.

    I did deviate from Percy Blandford's instructions when fixing the cockpit coamings. I fixed mine to the carlins with little, brass, round head bolts (washers under head and nut, of course) as I was dubious about the holding power of screws after passing through the coaming and a layer of fabric into a relatively thin carlin. I also glued a strip of spruce around the top outer edge of the coaming to form a lip for an elasticated spray cover.

    Anyway, god luck with the rest of your build. I look forward to seeing more photographs.

    Nick

    Neris Valkure-1, folding kayak.
    Gumotex Twist N 1, inflatable kayak.

  21. #21

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    What a difference a coat of varnish makes. Well three coats actually. I used Blake's Number One varnish because I had some left over from another project only a to find that it was now made by Hempel and not stocked locally. Also it is now called Classic Varnish.Anyway I eventually found another supplier and got on with the job. First coat was diluted with white spirit as the proprietary thinner was very expensive.Then two coats of full strength varnish.
    To ensure I didn't miss bits I started with the boat upside down. Varnished everything I could see. Let it dry overnight and then turned the boat over and repeated the process.
    [IMG][/IMG]
    Any runs or blobs were removed before the next coat. It took about hour to apply a coat of varnish.

    [IMG][/IMG]


    You can see that I had removed the rear deck stringers to make access to the inside of the boat easier. I was careful not to varnish places where glue was going to go.

    [IMG][/IMG]


    The rear deck stringers were next.I bevelled the insides to fit together and cut the ends to fit the notch in the stern post. I notched them to fit the notches in the rear frames, glued and screwed them to the frames and glued them to each other and to the stern post using wedges to clamp them into place.

    [IMG][/IMG]


    To further reinforce the stern I made hardwood wedges which I glued into the spaces between the stringers andthe gunwales.

    [IMG][/IMG]


    In my original PBK20 there were three separate bottom boards but the plans called for one continuous removeable board with supplementary slats at each side. The removeable boards rest on the oak bearers glued to the frames and are held in place by wooden turnbuckles.

    [IMG][/IMG]


    Looking from the front with thebottom boards in place. I have also refitted the foredeck stringer to mate up properly with the coaming frame.

    [IMG][/IMG]


    Turnbuckle holding the bottom boards in place.

    [IMG][/IMG]


    Varnishing the bottom boards. As you can see space is at a premium in my workshop so I draped polythene sheeting or newspaper over the boat and used it as a bench to support the boards during varnishing.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    The first passengers.

    The frame is now finished. We went off to NZ to visit more grandchildren.
    When we got back it was time to start covering the skeleton.

    to be continued ........
    Last edited by Davegod; 14th-September-2017 at 04:15 PM. Reason: spaces missed out

  22. #22

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    Yes I remember it well! I still have a lot of hand tools. A bowsaw and several spokeshaves, even moulding planes, but power tools make life so much easier. I think kids should be taught to use hand tools though so that they can appreciate the effort needed to get a good finish. I was fortunate enough to have woodwork lessons at school and a handy dad who let me have the run of his shed when I was old enough.
    We are off to Norfolk next April for a family holiday to celebrate our golden wedding. I wondered whether to take the boat. Have you any recommendations for sites on the North Norfolk coast?

  23. #23
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    Blakeney and Morston are both nice places. From either of those you can get out to the bird sanctuary at Blakeney Point, have tea at the café (if it's still there) by the old life-boat shed and see the seals. You'll have to watch the tides, as at low water both creeks are nearly dry - the tides there are quite odd, best ask local advice. There are many other creeks further to the west, but I was never too familiar with those.

    Sounds as if we both had similar upbringings. From an early age I helped my dad build sheds and chicken houses. Then, after we'd built a workshop large enough, we built a Gremlin and then a Venturer dinghy. That was before I built the PBKs. Then I was fortunate to spend a few years as an apprentice boat builder - but I lost heart when fibreglass started taking over from wood. I still have all my hand tools - and probably use them more than power tools. There's something satisfying about smelling, hearing and seeing wood shavings curling from a plane. Better than the noise and all the dust from power tools.

    Nick

    Neris Valkure - 1, folding kayak.
    Gumotex Twist N 1, inflatable.

  24. #24
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    I've just remembered - the Gremlin pram dinghy and the Venturer were also Percy Blandford designs. The Gremlin could be built from just one sheet of 8ft. x 4ft. marine plywood - and they sailed well. Our generation owe an awful lot to Percy Blandford! It's quite a legacy he left behind.

    Nick

  25. #25

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    eBay is a wonderful thing but possibly not the best source of canoe covering material.
    Nevertheless I bit the bullet and ordered a five metre length of grey PVC coated canvas material. Relatively cheap at £35.
    I rolled the canvas out on the floor of the lounge and drew a line down the centre.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    The canvas was draped over the boat and fixed at the bow with three copper tacks. Moving to the stern I pulled as hard as I could to get a good stretch along the length of the boat. I had left heaters on in the workshop overnight and I had hoped that this would help to soften the material but the material was really stiff and when I was unable to get any more stretch I fixed the canvas at the stern with another three tacks

    [IMG][/IMG]

    The canvas is now secured with three copper tacks at each end.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    I put a cam strap round the boat to stop the canvas flopping about and turned the boat over.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Starting at the centre I folded the canvas over the gunwale, pulled it up as hard as I could and tacked it in place. Then did the same at the other side

    As I worked along the boat wrinkles started to appear. They were mostly in the space between the gunwale and the first stringer. The material I was using was quite thick and did not have much stretch. I kept trying to distribute the tension by taking the tacks out and restretching the canvas. The ends of the canoe were more or less wrinkle free but however hard I tried I could not completely get rid of the wrinkles near the middle of the boat. Eventually I concluded that I would have to learn to live with a few wrinkles.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Working towards the stern

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Looking sternwards

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Looking towards the bows. The wrinkles are not very evident in this view.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Finishing the stern. Folded the canvas over from one side and stuck it down with some contact adhesive and tacked it down.
    Then the same with the other side.

    [IMG][/IMG]


    I cut out the end caps from excess hull canvas.
    These are in two pieces. The first one was stuck on with contact adhesive and tacked down into the edge of the stern post.
    Then the second side was fitted in the same way.
    The top of the end cap was left open as it will be folded over the deck canvas.

    Even after fitting the end caps I continued to try to get rid of the wrinkles. This was the most frustrating part of the build so far.
    I spent the best part of three weeks fiddling about with this at various times!

    Next to fit the bilge keels

    To be continued ........

  26. #26
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    When I put pvc on a pbk, I also got wrinkles no matter which direction and how hard I pulled. I did discover that very slow and gentle direct heating with a hot air gun helped to nearly eliminate them.

    Sam

  27. #27
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    I never managed to get a PVC skin on a PBK completely wrinkle free either.

    Nick

    Neris Valkure - 1, folding kayak.
    Gumotex Twist N 1, inflatable kayak.

  28. #28

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    That's very comforting. I think the material I used on the original boat was much thinner and only had PVC on the outside. As I remember it we managed to get it pretty well wrinkle free. This stuff was so thick that any creases at the gunwales tended to show themselves below the gunwales as wrinkles!

  29. #29

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    The next job was to fit the bilge keels to the outside of the boat. These are secured by screws through the hog and the stringers from inside so the have to be fitted before the deck canvas.

    In Percy Blandford's book this involves two people, one holding the bilge keel in place on the upturned boat whilst the other drives screws up from below!


    Before fitting the bottom canvas I had drilled the holes for the screws in the hog and stringers. I bought some oak from the local woodyard and scarfed two 2.4m lengths together to form the keel. The ends were tapered and the outer edges rounded on the router table.

    Starting in the middle of the boat I marked the position of the first screw and drilled the pilot hole in the centre of the keel. Having fixed the keel in position I then marked the positions of all the holes along the keel and then drilled the pilot holes in the centre of the keel at each position. This ensured that the keel was straight with respect to the hog.


    The same method was used for each of the bilge keels although these did not need to be scarfed.

    Each of the keels then got three coats of varnish.


    After I had fitted the bottom canvas all I needed to do was stick a bradawl through the holes in the keel and stringers to perforate the canvas, drive the screws through the hog and the canvas, locate the pilot hole in the keel and drive the screws home.

    I was able to start the screws with the boat upside down but it was much easier to finish driving them with the boat the right way up.


    When I had finished fitting all the keels I decided to make doubly sure there could be no leakage round the screwholes by taking them all off again and refitting them with a blob ofsilicone sealant over each screwhole.


    [IMG][/IMG]


    Keel and first bilge keels fixed.

    [IMG][/IMG]


    The keel and bilge keels all fixed.

    [IMG][/IMG]


    Final screw driven from the outside to fix the ends of the bilge keels.

    [IMG][/IMG]


    Final fixing of the end of thekeel has to wait until the brass end strips are fitted.

    Next up ...fitting the deck canvas

    to be continued.............
    Last edited by Davegod; 21st-September-2017 at 02:53 PM.

  30. #30

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    I wanted to source the deckmaterial locally and found some nice acrylic canvas at a local firm that makes boat covers. I had to order this material as it was not in stock and when I went to collect it I had a bit of a shock as it was about twice the width Ineeded and much more expensive than I had expected. Sometime soon I plan to use the excess material to make some spray covers.

    I measured half a boat width plus a couple of inches in from one edge of the material and tacked it with three copper tacks to the stem post with a generous overlap at the end. Then I gave it a good stretch and fixed it in a similar way at the stern.

    I trimmed the excess canvas away leaving a couple of inches all round and then started at the centre of the boat tacking the canvas to the gunwales.

    This material was much easier to work with than the bottom canvas and I was able to get a good tight fit over most of the deck. In some difficult places I used a stapler, which I could use single handed whilst I pulled tension on the canvas.Then I put in the copper tacks and took out the staples.

    .


    The deck canvas draped over the boat and fixed at each end.





    The canvas is now tacked all round the gunwales. The only problem area was a slack area inthe deck between the peak of the cockpit coaming and the gunwale. This was very obstinate and in the end I poured some hot water over it. This seemed to work and the slack area disappeared.

    With the canvas fixed to the gunwales it was time to cut out the material to open the cockpit. I used a sharp knife and scissors to cut out the canvas leaving a generous overlap at the coaming frame. I then tacked the canvas to the coaming frame holding a heavy metal block behind the frame to absorb the impact.






    The canvas secured to gunwales and coaming frame.





    Finishing fitting the end caps over the deck canvas.

    These were cut to shape, overlapped and stuck down with contact adhesive

    Next job Cockpit Coaming and Rubbing strips

    To be continued .....

    Last edited by Davegod; 29th-September-2017 at 04:36 PM.

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    20,038

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    Its gonna look great...
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  32. #32

    Default

    I bought a couple of lengths of sapele from a local wood merchant to make the coaming.

    I cut the angle at the front of the coaming.




    By clamping the coaming to the coaming frame near the centre of the cockpit I was able to spring the coaming into place.

    This allowed me to mark the angle of the bevel at the front of the cockpit and the length at the back.





    This is my first attempt at cutting the mitre at the front of the coaming.

    It took several goes to get this right and I had to allow for the way the front of the coaming would be drawn in by the screws at the front.

    I then clamped the coaming in place and marked and cut it to length at the back.





    I marked out the curve and the angles for the back of coaming and cut them out on the bandsaw.
    I rounded the top edges of the coaming on the router table and drilled the screwholes along the lower edges.
    Then it was time to varnish it all.
    All the surfaces that were to be glued were protected from varnish with masking tape




    Thecoaming fitted in place. I probably used too many screws.








    More viewsof the fitted coaming. I added the little fillet at the front of the coaming to strengthen the joint.

    I started by cutting a sort of prism with the correct angle and then had the problem of cutting the taper.
    In the end I stuck the pieces I had cut off back on with double sided tape and cut the taper on the bandsaw.


    It seems that half round hardwood moulding is now either unavailable or prohibitively expensive.
    Fortunately I came across enough reject sapele in the discard pile at a local wood shop.

    I scarfed it together to make a couple of lengths which were long enough to follow the line of the gunwales, rounded the top and bottom edges and drilled holes for the screws and gave it three coats of varnish.





    Starting at the middle of the boat I put in enough screws to allow me to mark the lengthof the rubbing strips, then cut them to length and rounded the ends.
    More varnishing, then fixing the strips to the gunwales and trimming off the excess deck canvas.

    Nearly finished - next job the brass end strips, some seats and a name!

    To be continued ...........

  33. #33
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Just a little to the right of the Shire
    Posts
    2,692

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    I'll be honest, I had to skip through the words and flick through the pictures (got to go out for a meal see)

    Wow, never thought I would say this about a kayak but she looks a beaut .
    Cheers
    Tim


    Paddles a Prospector

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Exmouth, Devon, England
    Posts
    2,736

    Default

    I'm loving this build blog.

  35. #35

    Default Seats


    I bought a couple of kayak seats from eBay.
    Very ergonomic but I thought I deserved a bit of comfort.

    They are designed for sit-on kayaks so there were lots of straps and catches that were surplus to requirements and which I removed.





    They were a tight fit in the cockpit and I made box seats and seat backs to support them.

    I made the seat boxes from leftover marine plywood more or less to the plans but I shaped the tops of the boxes to fit my fancy seats.
    The tops were hinged and held closed with brass ball catches. I adjusted these to give a stiff closure but later had difficulty getting them open and had to add some little handles to the front of the seat bottoms to give something to get hold of.





    I obtained some heavy duty Velcro and stuck the hooky bit to the top of the seat box.
    Then I stripped off the backing from the fuzzy bit, positioned the seat over the box and pushed down hard. The Velcro does not stick well to the fabric of the seats so when I took the seat off the fuzzy stuff remained stuck to the hooky stuff!!!
    Contact adhesive to the rescue stuck the fuzzy stuff to the seat. Problem solved






    The seatboxes are held in place by a bolt attached to blocks which slide between the slats of the bottom boards and provide some fore and aft adjustment.
    The brass bolt was silver soldered to a brass strip which was then screwed to the bottom of the block.




    It proved to be a fiddly task to fit the seats into the boat and quite impossible without taking the bottom boards out first so I made two wooden channels for each of the seats.
    These retained the blocks in place when the bottom boards were the right way up.



    The front seat back was supported by a removeable cross member fixed to blocks on the cockpit coaming.




    I made amore substantial seat back for the rear seat which pivots on screws at the backof the seat box and rests on the back of the cockpit coaming.





    The seats fixed in place.
    She now needs a Name !!!!

    To be continued............
















    Sentfrom my iPad

  36. #36
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Currently Bristol UK, Sometimes Quebec Province, Canada
    Posts
    336

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    "Cracker"

    No reason other than it is one :-)
    G

    'Adventure is relative. My adventure is another's commonplace.'

  37. #37
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Almeria, Spain
    Posts
    47

    Default

    Apart from those awful looking sit-on-top kayak seat pads (totally out of character for such a fine looking PBK20) you've made a lovely job of the build. It's been interesting to watch the work progress - thank you for all the photos etc. It's brought back a few memories of my PBK days.

    I thought you had already chosen the name "Pipistrelle" in your very first post?

    Nick

    Neris Valkure-1, folding kayak.
    Gumex Twist N 1, inflatable kayak.

  38. #38

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick TQP View Post
    Apart from those awful looking sit-on-top kayak seat pads (totally out of character for such a fine looking PBK20) you've made a lovely job of the build. It's been interesting to watch the work progress - thank you for all the photos etc. It's brought back a few memories of my PBK days.

    I thought you had already chosen the name "Pipistrelle" in your very first post?

    Nick

    Neris Valkure-1, folding kayak.
    Gumex Twist N 1, inflatable kayak.

    I agree the the seats are out of keeping with the classic look but they are removeable if I ever want to enter a Concours d'Elegance and they ARE comfortable.
    As for the name - watch this space!

  39. #39

    Default Nameplates

    I made two name plates for the Pipistrelle out of thin walnut.
    Bought some stick on stencil material from eBay and made a couple of stencils.

    I removed the backing, stuck the stencil to the wood and sprayed it with some red aerosol paint.



    The stencil




    First coat


    Then I unstuck the stencil, moved it a tad, restuck it and sprayed it with a yellow aerosol.


    Second coat



    Peeling off the stencil



    A couple or three coats of yacht varnish and some brassscrews to fix them on finished the job.







    Finished.
    But I have some afterthoughts .........

  40. #40

    Default Afterthoughts

    Why Pipistrelle?

    She is named after my daughter Elanor and my granddaughter Pippa who is afflicted with Cerebral Palsy.
    I thought canoeing might be one of the activities which she could enjoy without feeling disabled.
    Also the Pipistrelle is a sort of bat and I have to admit that there were times during the project when I thought I was a bit bats!


    How long did it take?

    I kept a running total of the hours I spent, about 175 hours in all over a period of 7months.
    I never did more than about 2 hours in any one day and we had a 2 month trip to NZ in the middle.


    How much did it cost?

    I also kept a running total of material costs but this is a bit misleading as I have a lot of material left over.


    Plans £35
    Hog,Gunwales,Stringers etc (White Pine) £70
    Oak for frame stiffeners, keel and bilge keels £33
    Marine plywood £65.92(only used half of this)
    Rubbing strips (sapele) £12.50
    Cockpit Coaming (sapele) £28.35
    Hull Canvas £34.95
    DeckCanvas £120.00
    Cascamite Glue £6.26
    BrassScrews £19
    Varnish £18.30
    Copper tacks £30
    Bostick £2.65
    Seats £41.98
    Brassstrip £18.00 (only used 1/3 of this)

    Totalapprox £456

    What would I do differently ?

    Not sure if I would use the same PVC canvas again.
    It is very substantial but it was difficult to fit it to the hull without wrinkles.


    The deck canvas is really nice but I would try to get a narrower width to reduce cost and possibly research other materials.

    The seatbases I made are very heavy.
    I have thought about drilling holes in them to reduce the weight.
    I may yet make new ones out of lighter materials.


    Likewise the keel and bilge keels.
    These are very substantial but add
    considerable weight to the boat.
    I would consider softwood keels but the keels are fixed from inside and would be difficult to replace without removing the deck canvas.
    The jury is out on this one.

    A couple of additions

    Having car topped the boat a couple of times I am now thinking of fitting a couple of additional short bilge keels to the middle section of the boat to protect the canvas from abrasion from my cam straps.

    I notice from looking at other PBK 20s that they have a couple of additional seat support brackets for single handed paddling.
    I think I will be adding these to improve the trim of the boat when I am in it alone.



    Launch day at Hickling Basin with Pippa

    The boat did not leak.

    Some Prosecco was poured and some was drunk!!!!

    Watch out for the Log of the Pipistrelle





  41. #41
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    cambs
    Posts
    1,440

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    congratulations! Looks like you both enjoyed the first paddle.

    Sam

  42. #42
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    20,038

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    Congratulations on finishing this lovely boat, may you all have many happy days afloat!
    Covering as many malmiles as possible before being distracted by the pub!

    Paddle Points - where to paddle

  43. #43
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Peak District
    Posts
    374

    Default

    Looks great, a fine build. Brings back memories for me too, although I had a 'Moonraker' and my friend had a PBK. I well remember that we both went out on a winter trip and ran into a patch of ice on the water that neatly sliced the canvas at the bows of both boats. We realised what had happened as our legs suddenly became a little cold and wet!
    Well done, hope you enjoy it, and be careful in the winter!

  44. #44
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    northamptonshire
    Posts
    1,266

    Default

    Great blog, really honest and informative read. Looks a treat and built for a great cause.

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