Small Kayak for Backwater Canals ?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by millionswords, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. millionswords
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    Location: Bombay/Chennai

    millionswords HomeMade Kayak?

    I like to build one, for using on the backwater canals. It's still water, not flowing, so I'm looking at a small Kayak Like boat. Like to get some suggestions from this forum.

    1. Looking for it to be light. Very Light. say about 7 to 20 KGs.
    2. Content with a single cockpit, but two would be nicer.
    3. thinking of a skin on frame? Kayak
    4. CHEAP. say about $100 max.
    5. Will use it for weekend trips, just to paddle around few KMs and back. Dunno if I would be camping etc...

    . Please give some ideas, if this thread is not the right place, mods please uproot my post and create a new thread for me.

    cheers,
    MS
     
  2. millionswords
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    millionswords HomeMade Kayak?

    any takers?
     
  3. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Hi MS,

    What you describe is quite common around here. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of small, slightly beat-up kayaks and canoes all over the place in Ontario; we have a lot of small, calm lakes and rivers for which these boats are ideal. Of course, that doesn't do you much good being in Bombay....

    Two of your requirements- #1 and #4- are contradictory. It is very difficult to get an ultra-light boat that is also under $100. You may be able to build a skin-on-frame kayak yourself for this, if you don't mind scrounging for supplies a bit. I think you might be better off trying to find a small, used fibreglass canoe, if you can.... but I don't know how common they are in your area.
     
  4. erik818
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    erik818 Senior Member

    MS,
    I think the cost requirement is difficult to handle for us who don't live in India. Cost levels are different in India compared to Canada (or Sweden). You'll have to avoid imports and find something locally produced, probably not intended for boats, that is suitable for building a boat. If you can get hold of cheap epoxy you have a good start and you can then use building techiques that are commonly advised on this forum.

    Impregnated cloth as skin for a kayak ought to be cheap, except I have no idea which cloth or which impregnation that are suitable and locally produced.

    Good luck,
    Erik
     
  5. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Location: Alliston, Ontario, Canada

    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    A lot depends on what supplies are available in your country. Here in Canada it can be done within your parameters. I have built several canoes 11 to 12 ft long, less than 10kg for $50-100 each, using 3mm marine plywood. I do not fiberglass them since that adds weigth and cost; I reinforce the seams with 3/4" sq softwood chine logs. Ply canoes are lighter than kayaks, for a given construction and size; the deck adds about 30 or 40% to the weight and cost. These canoes are very quick to build, about 50-60 hours for me (amateur builder), fully finished with wood seat ready to launch. It doesn't have to be marine ply but must be good quality and not too thick, 3-4m is ideal. If you can get the materials I can share one of my designs.

    A popular canoe type is built with cedar strip; this costs more and takes longer, and must be fiberglassed to provide across-grain strength. It would be advisable to buy a professional design.

    It is also possible to make a skin-on-frame boat, in that case a kayak is a better option since the deck adds stiffness. Canvas used to be used, with a paint formulated to stay flexible, but there are more modern materials available which are tougher and shrink when heated for a better finish.

    Whichever you chose there are several sites on the web you can find by Googling.

    Are canals used commonly for small boats in India? In the UK they can be quite busy at times, in Canada they are mostly ideal although my nearest one is too polluted as a result of passing through farmland with intensive growing methods. However, in this part of canada we are blessed with an abundance of lakes that are perfect, although not for the next few months due to a seasonal hard water problem!
     
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  6. millionswords
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    millionswords HomeMade Kayak?

    Thanks a Million for the replies...

    @ ancient-kayaker :

    1. I go between Bombay and Chennai [Bombay/Mumbai is on the west coast and Chennai is on the East Coast]
    2. Both big metropolitan cities, and availability of materials is not a problem
    3. Around Bombay there are small seasonal rapids, and backwaters. Mildly used for transport but not much of traffic, not crowded.
    4. Off Chennai[Madras previously] has good scope for backwater activity, but not much is used, it's kinda pristine and if I'm kayaking I will be a lone Kayaker!
    5. It's peaceful, lots to be explored, would be nice during the monsoons and summers are real hot. July, Aug, Sept, Oct would be ideal for some activity.
    6. Cedar strips or spruce roots - I dunno if available, may not be around. But there is quite a lot of other timber that we can source.
    7. Epoxy, Resin, Gum, hardware, tools are available in plenty. What I need is the big confusion here.
    8. With some guidance and some one to clear doubts as it arises I should be good.
    9. Fiber glassing too can be done, materials are available [I have seen and been around when doing some car mods, for stereo ICEing.]
    10. From what I see, choice1 would be SKIN ON FRAME or go for the Plywood Kayak - ply is available in plenty of choice here.
    11. Inflatables and Fibre Mould are used here mostly, like in the Himalayan Rapids and some rapids down south around Bangalore[350KMs from Chennai]
    I want to build mine, unique :D
    12. So let us drop the idea of Cedar strips or pure wood Canoes.
    13. Let me see how to do a SKIN on FRAME Kayak, if the materials are unavailable, I will look at PLY.



    Thanks for the reply Matt.
    yeah #1 and #4 are important, and not impossible.
    You are band right, a Skin On Frame is the idea, please share any info that might be useful for me to start with. I wish to build one, I have the time now.

    I don't mind procuring the materials, which is available in plenty here in India, tools, material and anything else.

    Used boats? - lol I would be the first to be Kayaking on these waters I suppose! :D

    Yep, I second that. Let's leave the cost behind. Don't worry about the cost, please share with me alternative material that I can use, I will keep posting what is available here at what cost, so that we can work out something close to $100 or so. I'm not very strict about the cost now because it will be a first timer's job and hence I understand the complications involved. I have no prior experience in Carpentry but have hands on experience with Plumbing, Mechanical and some Electrical works. I think I can pull it out with some trial and error attempts.:idea:
     
  7. millionswords
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    millionswords HomeMade Kayak?

    some info on Available Material

    some doubts:

    1. Epoxy - I know the Epoxy Adhesives available here, is this the Epoxy we are talking about in Boat Forums? coz there is some Epoxy for varnishing too? isn't it?

    2. TIMBER: Timber pertinent to our continent is available in plenty [Palm, Rosewood, Mango, Jack, Deodar, Banyan, Babul, Lauraceae, tamarind(in plenty), Toona Ciliata(red cedar), Pine, Simul Bombax].

    I dunno which is cheap. But if you guys tell me which ones to drop out, and which ones would suit best in some order of priority, I will find out the prices for them all. Then decide the value for money timber and go from there.

    I thought these are the first primal requirements of material, once these are decided and spot on, we will be good to go.

    EDIT Update:

    BAMBOO
    I went out to check what is available to suit this project, first to the Bamboo Furniture stores:

    1. I found that there are bamboo sticks either hollow or [semi ]Solid. The smaller Solid ones are used to make furniture, and structures.
    2. The bigger hollow ones are used to strong hold structures, it is less usable in this particular project. We can make strips out of the bigger ones.
    3. Bamboo is affordable, value for money. about $1 for 15 feet. Isn't that nice?
    4. So now we need to know how much bamboo is required, what type (green or dry), usually we get the semi-dry ones easily.
    5. Bending bamboo in itself seems to be an art, I need a heat gun, and some sort of home made vice.

    Cedar Wood!!

    I inquired about some wood that will give the flexibility to bend, some 4mm thick and bendable.
    I found some wood, closely called like Devdar Maram [or something like that in local language Tamil]is light and used heavily in cheap furniture making, is resistant to rotting.
    When I came back and searched for Indian Timber that is close to this name I found it to be Cedrus Deodara, a Cedar family! So we have a close match to the Cedar here. But This is grown in the North Indian Himalayan range and must be expensive to procure. Will check with some timber merchants tomorrow or so and update here. But let me keep this for the next project some time later.

    Will go on with the Bamboo idea now.
    Attached is an example of how I intend to get the bamboo frame done.

    S K I N[/SIZE]
    Now with the frame in place - what material to use for the skin?
    Options are:

    1. Canvas - dunno the cost, must be expensive
    2. Please suggest something here
    3. Propylene Sheet
    4. Tarpaulin/Tarp sheet [hootchie in OZ] - ValueFM
    5. Polyethylene Sheets - VFM


    The above are available and easy to procure. Please suggest a treatment for them, and how to finish the skin?

    Oh yeah, on how to fasten them to the frame? - a big doubt that still lingers in my mind. Nails would work, bamboo threads can be made and used to tie them down. Would you all suggest something so that I can put it on and off the frame? would it be okay to do that? or should I keep it permanent on the frame?

    MS

    PS: Hope I covered a lot here, please throw your ideas. Love to hear from you all. Thanks again.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
  8. ancient kayaker
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    Location: Alliston, Ontario, Canada

    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    If there are rapids involved and you are an inexperienced paddler a kayak is a better choice than a canoe.

    Recalling the problems faced by a would-be boat builder in Thailand, I thought it possible that timber might be expensive or unavailable to you so I was going to suggest an aluminum-frarmed skin boat as per George Dyson's book "Baidarka, the Kayak". The book should be available over the internet, and would provide you with several designs plus a detailed description of the method and details of materials. I would imagine you could substitute bamboo for the Aluminum stringers used by Dyson easily enough, with a little experimenting. Aluminum tubing can be bent permanently unlike bamboo, so those parts made of bent Aluminum, also Aluminum plate could be changed to plywood. I would think green wood to be easier to bend and would gain strength as it dried but it sounds like you have experts on the care and feeding of bamboo that can advise you. Dyson uses bindings to secure the stringers to the frames rather than screws which are more common for wood-framed skin boats, and that would probably suit the use of bamboo.

    As you have found, canvas is expensive. I know there are better, cheaper and lighter materials, there is information in Dyson's book. You need something that will stretch, to enable you to get a smooth surface as well as to resist knocks and rocks. Most non-fabric plastic sheets or pre-sealed sheeting like tarp lacks flexibility, although you can use tarp as a cheap temporary covering to test the boat before investing in better materials. I have not built one of these boats but I know that the material is not nailed to the frame below the waterline; I believe it is applied in one piece, sewn at the stem to achieve the shape, and secured with a rubbing strip screwed to the gunnels, then heat-shrunk and sealed. That would apply to a wood framed boat of course. You might find Dyson's methods better suited to bamboo which is rather hard and not flat.

    There is a picture of a skin-over-frame boat in the last post of http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/projects-proposals/challenge-100-boat-12176-7.html, it has a plastic skin but the builder is planning to replace that with nylon fabric with a polyurethane sealant.

    I suppose I shouldn't advertise the competition but you have a better chance of getting experienced help on this topic at this specialised kayak forum: http://www.kayakforum.com/

    Good luck with your project!
     
  9. millionswords
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    millionswords HomeMade Kayak?

    Any takers?

    Thank you so much for your time Mr.Ancient_Kayaker

    Would some one tell me how to - Seal a nylon fabric with a polyurethane sealant??
    And how the canvas is sealed or treated? I have seen so many pictures, but not much text on this.
    Please explain what material to use and how to go about it.

    cheers
    MS
     

    Attached Files:

  10. millionswords
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    Location: Bombay/Chennai

    millionswords HomeMade Kayak?

    1) And any suggestions on how long should my Kayak be?
    And why should it be so long - if there is any theory!

    2) What I try to build would be a recteational Kayak. So what should I bear in mind, (a) Larger Cockpit (b) Stability - should I make the beam (width ) wider? , if then how big?

    PS: I would be comfortable with a 6 Feet Kayak. [portability]
     
  11. rasorinc
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    rasorinc Senior Member

  12. millionswords
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    millionswords HomeMade Kayak?

    what material are the "car covers" made off?
    Thinking if that be a good fabric for the SKIN?
     
  13. mick_allen
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    Location: vancouver, b.c.

    mick_allen -

    simplest is to follow the complete instructions for one of the wood frame approaches as described in:
    http://yostwerks.com/

    [​IMG]

    but look at the aluminum frame methods as well as the inflatables for all kinds of info.

    .
     
  14. millionswords
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    millionswords HomeMade Kayak?

    I have seen this before.
    yostwerks.com - it is really helpful.

    Please some one give me ideas for the skin, and how to seal the skin.
    If to use polyester fabric, what type to use? Just cloth?
     

  15. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Location: Alliston, Ontario, Canada

    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Stability is a very difficult thing to quantise in simple terms. Theoretically it increases proportionally with length and as the cube of the waterline beam, but is profoundly influenced by center of gravity. A small boat that rides lower in the water can be more stable than a longer, wider boat.

    Primary stability measures resistance to heeling as the boat starts to heel, secondary stability measures resistance to heeling as the gunnels approaches the water. You can have too much stability in some situations; as an illustration, a sea kayak will have less primary stability than a pond boat to allow a big waves to pass underneath without excessive rocking but it will usually have higher secondary stability.

    The hull cross-section profile strongly influences the relationship between primary and secondary stability. High primary stability and weak secondary stability is undesirable, even dangerous. Some kayaks are actually designed for low stability to allow rolling.

    A 6ft kayak would not be satisfactory even it it supported your weight! Unless you are very short there would be no room for your feet, it would be a dog to paddle, and would probably spin around at the least provocation.

    A long narrow boat is generally faster than a short wide one, but a very long boat is harder to push along at low speeds than a shorter one. The long boat will come into it's own when you are working hard. Don't overdo length for speed if you just want an easy paddle!

    Most solo kayaks are 12-17 ft long but sea kayaks are often 22+ ft. My shortest kayak is 9.5 ft long with a 30 inch beam; it is very stable and manouverable. However, it is a bit uncomfortable if there are power boats around as the waves cause it to rock rather wildly. About 32 inches is about as wide as a kayak gets.

    Canoes are typically wider, 36 inch being typical, but as you sit or kneel higher they need the extra beam. My favorite boat is a wood canoe, 12 ft long with a 25.5 inch beam at the waterline; however I sit in the bottom same as for a kayak so it is a halfway-house kind of boat. It is tippier but it paddles faster with less energy and runs in a dead straight line. The straight running (tracking) is great for bigger lakes where you can just concentrate on the paddling without constantly correctling your course but a nuisance in a winding stream.

    In a long boat manouverability can be improved by rocker, which is the amount of curve along the bottom. My wood canoe is dead straight, I am building another similar one with about 2 inches of rocker which should turn easier. Manouverability is also increased by a rounded hull, whereas sharp edges or chines increase tracking.

    Cockpit size and shape is a personal thing. I prefer a large cockpit because of my age; it is easier to get in and out. Sea kayakers wear a skirt which seals to the cockpit rim, this is easier with a smaller cockpit.

    Referring to Mick's pics in the above link, Nikumi is a Baidarka, very narrow and designed for rolling. It has lots of chines with gentle angles so it approximates to a rounded hull. The Sea Bee is shorter and beamier but still fairly narrow, "designed for good handling in rough water conditions."

    Here in Canada cars are covered using tarps (tarpaulins), a stiff, completely waterproof fabric supplied in sheets with reinforced eyelets. I have used this material for sails and others have used it for boat skins, but it's a bit crude looking, rustles a lot and although it is tough it punctures easier than nylon. I notice that PVC is mentioned in the above link.

    It is starting to get complicated, isn't it? In Canada most people just buy a rotoformed plastic kayak at the nearest hardware store. That's what I did for my first kayak. I don't know if kayaks are readily available in your country; the "factory" boats are typically twice the weight of wood or canvas boats but are tough and usually well designed, generally with an emphasis on safety. As experience and enthusiasm builds, one starts to look for performance and "something different."
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2008
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