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Frame Bending Lesson
By:Duane Strosaker
Date: 6/28/1998, 12:27 pm

After recently finishing a great performing ply boat, I started my next prodject, a skin boat. Today I steam bent frames for the first time. I was skeptical about it, but yes, steamed wood does bend, and quite easily. Don't be intimidated by it, like I almost was before I even tried.

Everything was going just fine, until I tried the aft few frames. I am following the Seakayaker article plans by Chris Cunningham, and the aft frames are much shorter than the ones at the bow. They were so short that I couldn't get them to bend at the proper angle to go into the mortises. I ended up breaking three frames at the aft and even split the gunwale at one of the mortises.

At this point I thought the plans were bad. I was so pissed I thought I'd never want to build a kayak again. All the sanding I had to do on the ply boat didn't seem so bad now. I dreaded the thought of having to make a whole new set of frames and resize them. I envisioned the deck hanging from the ceiling in my garage for years just collecting dust and haunting me.

After a couple of hours of just looking at the deck with a bunch of frames missing, I remembered that the thinner strips of wood I practiced on were much more flexible. Like crazy I went to work on some thinner frames. What do you know, it worked. They are plenty strong too, because they are much shorter than the other frames. The split in the gunwale was easily fixied with some epoxy. I was back in the boat building busines!

I guess the real lesson here is one that all kayak builders can use, whether they are building a stripper, ply boat or skin boat. This lesson is that when all seems doomed, just sit back, think about it a while, and keep your building spirit, because there is probably a solution, and if not, you can take a break and start over. After all, kayak building is an end in itself, not just a means.

Does anyone have a tissue?

Messages In This Thread

Frame Bending Lesson
Duane Strosaker -- 6/28/1998, 12:27 pm
Re: Frame Bending - Springback formula
Dave Greenway -- 7/1/1998, 2:23 pm
Re: Frame Bending - Springback formula
Bram van der Sluys -- 7/4/1998, 5:40 pm
Re: Frame Bending - Springback formula
Mark Kanzler -- 7/1/1998, 4:30 pm
Re: Frame Bending - Springback formula
Mike Spence -- 7/1/1998, 4:57 pm
Re: Frame Bending Tragedy
Mark Kanzler -- 6/29/1998, 3:55 pm
Re: Have you done it
Duane Strosaker -- 6/30/1998, 12:41 pm
Re: Have you done it?
Mark Kanzler -- 7/1/1998, 12:22 am
Been there, done it a bit
Paul Jacobson -- 6/30/1998, 1:25 am
Re: Been there, done it a bit
Paul Jacobson -- 6/30/1998, 2:07 am
Re: Been there, done it a bit
David Dick -- 6/30/1998, 9:59 am
Re: Tragedy
Roger Tulk -- 6/29/1998, 9:56 pm
Re: Frame Bending Lesson
Roger Tulk -- 6/29/1998, 9:38 am