Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Tech Tip Tuesday
That's square 1 up there and we're back there again.
Last Thursday evening, my friend and I who are building SOF kayaks were steam bending some Mahogany for coamings and hatches on her kayak. Unfortunately, we were working with a variety of Mahogany (probably Phillippine...) that wasn't suitable for the task. The wood was selected because it was a) nearly free... and b) light weight.
The wood was well cut in terms of grain direction, the wood was wetted down before we steamed it and the wood was heated to an appropriate temperature for a good length of time. A piece of cherry that was put in the steam box to act as a spacer bent like a pretzel.
We knew we had a grain flaw near one end of the strips that would break and wasn't going to be an issue, so we started the bend at the opposite end of the strips.
Whoops. Let's try another one.
Hmm. Maybe a third?
Ok. We've got kindling, not steam bending strips.
We did manage to steam bend some strips of "true" Mahogany for coamings on one of my student's canoes with no issues. With this information in hand, the only choice we had was to simply go back to square one and start over. So, my friend went and bought a piece of African Mahogany to use for the next strips we'll steam bend. The irony of the whole thing was that the piece of stock probably cost nearly a third of the cost of the rest of the kayak to date!
As I've said before, and I'll say again, determination is necessary to built a boat.