TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

By RealBigReel
Starting a new kayak. 15'X28". This one will be strip built, mostly balsa and fiberglass. Pine or Western Red Cedar on the chines and fir trim. It will have pedals. Steering both sides.


The strong back beam is drawn inside.
Got started on the tooling.


Tailblock is sitting on the near end
Last edited by RealBigReel on Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
By RealBigReel
Looked over my shop and could not find any decent pine for this project. Went down to McCoys. Thought I'd check the Cedar first. Found a really nice piece of Western Red cedar. Nice straight grain and no knots in a good chunk of it. Setup up the table saw and cut a bunch of strips.

Found out my CAD model was off. Had to make a bunch of corrections as I set up my false buckheads. Picture is from tailblock forward. Runs the length of my shop with just a few inches to spare.



By RealBigReel
Both my composites and my Balsa order have arrived. $299.78 for Balsa and $310.12 for composites. If it had been all Western Red Cedar it would have been more than the balsa.
By RealBigReel
Lots of fill and sanding. Mixed glass microballoons with phenolic for filling on the sides. The bottom, below the Cedar chine, will be all graphite powder black but the sides and top will be natural wood finish.

Bought another 1"X8"X8' piece of dark color Western Red Cedar today. This will be cut into strips for the front deck and mixed with balsa for lightness and color differentiation. Think I have the pattern worked out. Keeping it simple.

Glassed the bottom yesterday afternoon. Used slow (2:1) epoxy/hardener. Not totally cured yet. Sands gummy.
Several bad spots, where the glass pulled away, bubbled or the epoxy got sucked up. Nothing that can't be fixed.
Tooks 21 oz of epoxy.


Later I epoxied the Kevlar on the nose and bonded the tube for the rudder mount.



Had to put Glad Wrap on the rudder mount because the piece of fiberglass was only 3 inches wide and it did not want to lay down.

Lessons learned so far:
Balsa does not cause splinters, Cedar does.
Fiberglass needs to be stretched both ways to prevent bubbling.
Need to be careful not to pull fabric away from concave surfaces when glassing.
Planking does not work as well as strips even with balsa. 4" wide is too wide to compound bend properly. Even 2" is too much.
I'll think of some more here.
By RealBigReel
Did a bunch of sanding
Removed the forms


Did a bunch more sanding were the glue seeped through to the inside.
By RealBigReel
Got the inside sanded, filled and glassed.
Installed the forward bulkhead.
Glassed the aft side of the bulkhead and a couple of patches both sides of each end.

By RealBigReel
Got the Tumblehome and the Foredeck striped. Popped a joint a couple of times so I painted it with epoxy to close up all the joints before getting to some serious sanding. Most of this epoxy will end up as sawdust.

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By Fishtolive
That's a piece of art.
I wish to have your talent to build such beauty ....
Great job.
By RealBigReel
Got some more glass on it. Just a couple of patches left to glass the basic hull. Still lots of work after that.


So I have been looking to design, or buy a seat. I want one like a Hobie Vantage, where it is airy and keeps my butt dry. Just don't want to spend well over 300 bucks for it, and the Hobie sits up too high for me anyway. Even just the Hobie seat fabric set cost about 150 bucks. Just hate to pay that much.
Shopping at Walmart the other day I found camp chair with fabric that looked about perfect for the job and only 14 bucks. This fabric looks right. So I bought the chair. It is an Ozark Trail Oversize Mesh Chair. If you are going this route make sure you get the chair with the mesh seat in the middle of the bottom. There are several different configurations. Today I drilled out the rivets that hold the fabric to the frame. Built a mockup out of scrap plywood and 1" X 4"s and "C" clamped the fabric up to the mockup frame. Set it on the ground, so my butt was point loading the fabric. Sat down and my butt was a good inch off the plywood. Probably can improve on that with full up design.
Bought a 1" X 4" X 8' Western Red Cedar for the seat frame. Still a little damp, going to give it a couple of days before I cut it up and glass it to the sheet of balsa.
By texastom
RBR, nice work as always. I have read all your build threads and am always impressed. I appreciate you working outside the box and bring new ideas to the forum.
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By kickingback
Very nice build! How heavy is it so far? Would be interested to know the weights before and after you add something. Very cool!
By RealBigReel
kickingback wrote:Very nice build! How heavy is it so far? Would be interested to know the weights before and after you add something. Very cool!

With the hull now fully glassed the current weight is 25 lbs. Hull weight will hopefully be under 40 lbs when complete. That would include the Mirage drive well, fish finder mount and the seat, but not the custom cooler.
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By kickingback
Wow! A less than 50 pound "home made Hobie" and it's better looking than a Hobie! I love it!
If you weren't so far North I'd love to see it on the water when finished. Very nice Sir!
By RealBigReel
Been getting some stuff done. Seat is coming along. Mirage drive mount needs more work before it gets installed.
Rear handle installed.
Installed the "frog eyes" and cable housings for the rudder steering and activation.


These cable housings are 1/4" OD poly refrigerator water lines with smaller (white) nylon sections for the actual "frog eyes", where the cable housing exists the hull. Cable housings are glued in place under the tumblehome with gorilla glue. Gorilla glue doesn't stick to the poly but it encases it and holds it in place.
Could have ordered teflon housings but that would have come to almost 40 bucks and have to wait for delivery.
Could have jointed 3 foot sections of .125 nylon at a buck a section, which is what I did on the previous 2 rudder kayaks.
I find it interesting that Hobie cables are 1000 lb lines and they still break. I am using 80 lbs superbraid and I have yet to have one break.
Need these aft cable housings installed so that I can install the insulation for that aft area with sheet styrofoam before the custom cooler build. This insulation is more of a fill than anything so that I can get the area even with the the tumblehome. Don't want space where water can accumulate.

Better frog eyes picture

By RealBigReel
I have been working on this idea for some time. Started building the frame before I knew what fabric I was going to use.
I wanted something like the Hobie seat, but the Hobie seat is kinda expensive and it wouldn't fit in my kayak anyway. Even the Hobie fabric kit alone is kinda expensive.
This frame is mostly Western Red Cedar. The PVC is both structural and functional as rod holders, vertical and horizontal trolling.
I found an Ozark Trail camp chair at Walmart that looked like the fabric that I wanted. Bought it and trashed the frame.
So I finished this frame this morning and then started stapling (stainless Steel staples) the fabric to the frame. Had to cut fabric a couple spots to make it go around the corners. Seared the cuts with a soldering iron but I will also sealed it up with super glue.
The frame alone weighs just over 6 lbs. About 6.5 lbs with fabric.


Might have been lighter made out of PVC.


Seat holds me (160 lbs) about 1 inch above the base. Should be good airflow to keep me dry and prevent "monkey butt".


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