Thorsten‘s LPB Kayak & Greenland Paddle

Hi Folks,

I’m Thorsten, 34 years old, living in Regensburg – Bavaria/Germany, building a LPB. After two months looking for straight wood that would properly bend for the ribs and coaming, I finally was lucky to get a whole tree of ash (1.000 kg = 2.200 lbs). The problem here was mostly timing. Usually, trees get cut in winter/start of spring. So starting with the kayak in summer is challenging if you don’t have your material, already 😉

Got it cut at a small mill and picked that up on Saturday, 6th July ’19

Cut and packed, ready to go 🙂

Just one board will go to the kayak project and the rest I’m gonna make some fine furniture or another boat – will see ;).

Stacked and ready to dry…

On Sunday, 7th July ’19, I made my first bending on a scrap piece of ash out of the core. Soaking it for 20 minutes…

Give it 8 minutes in the steam, which turned out to be good until 1/4”. This one is 1/2“ thick at the thickest section, so I put it back for another 8 minutes into the steam and bent it.

I hardly tried to make a knot, however it worked and then… came loose again 🙂 By the way, making knots free hand turned out to be a good work-out 😜

Well, the scrap piece was just very raw cut by hand and had very different thickness on all edges. So I guess that’s the main reason why the piece cracked so badly.

The day after on Monday, 8th July ’19 eve, I came from work and made my first raw-cuts of the board I choosed for the frame of the LPB instead of WRC – Weymouth pine.

That wood is really light, however it seems to be a little softer than WRC, so I’m still not sure what thickness I’m gonna go for the gunwales, etc.

After a little hand-planing my work was done for this day. Next I will raw-cut the other parts and plane everything to its final dimension.

 

Tuesday, 9th July ’19

I spent my time to cut the gunwales to its final dimensions with the table saw and add 1/16” for hand-planing. And decided to keep the dimensions exactly as they are given in the plans, as the pine is really quite soft.

Cutting was kind of a big deal in the beginning as the gunwales of the LPB are 16′ long. Oh boy, nobody around when needed… so I made myself a 3rd hand to push the gunwales against the fence and simply cut these dudes 11/16” 🙂

And this worked out well. The other part is just perfect to make curved deck-beams 😉

At the end I tried out to put the forms and straps in and finally… we got the shape of a kayak 😀

Saturday, 13th July ’19 I had to deal with rain and sunshine all day, so I could work only without power tools.

Planing the coaming…

 

For the curved deck beams I took some slices of 3/16” thick pine, I had left from the gunwales. I glued 4 of these plys together but had to steam them before. By the way, these plastic clamps are shitty, however I didn’t get the heavy-metal ones here :/

Further, it turned out to work well steaming the plys first, put them into the jig for 1-2 hrs. so they will keep the shape and glue them afterwards to let them dry in the jig over night.

At the evening I made my coaming and soaked it for one hour. The ash wasn’t as soft after steaming as the oak Brian uses in his videos, however bending went pretty good, with two tiny cracks on the sharp edge. Once the lip is on the coaming, it will be fine anyways 😀

Thursday, 13th July ’19

I started kerfing and lashing the gunwales…

Pegged the deck beams…

Finally, finished the coaming with the lip

Wednesday, 24th July ’19

I bent the ribs and had to deal with non-straight grain, which let me make half of all ribs twice 🙂

And started lashing on the keel …

Thursday, 25th July ’19

I finished lashing on the keel and the stems.  Bow to Stern

Quite a long dude with 16 ft and a mess to get there 🙂

After bending and lashing the frame together on Thursday, I compared my frame with the frame in Brian’s video and realized that there must be a mistake in the length of the ribs. I thought that I would need to add on the depth of the mortises which is 3/4” to the length of the ribs, which is NOT true! However, on Friday, 26th July ’19 Brian informed me, that there is a mistake in the plan with the increments of 3/32” for the ribs #1-16, actually the increments are 3/16”.

Alright, so I thought I would need to make new rib stock and re-bend all ribs from #1-16… oh boy this gonna take another day 🙁

Wednesday, 31st July ’19 I started to prepare the rib stock in the night and cut off the lashing of the keel between rib #1-24, but left the lashing on the stems as an indication for the middle of the ribs.

Thursday, 1st August ’19 right before steaming, I realized that I actually can “simply” change the place of the ribs to deal with the increments, as 3/16” is double 3/32”. So I moved all ribs from #16-2, for one mortise hole to the bow. For instance, the rib been #16 before, is now #15… What a luck, as I didn’t need to steam all the ribs I prepared in the night before, but could re-steam existing ribs and just adjust their shape to fit 😀

Dry paddling 🙂

On the weekend I finalized the frame and finished all woodwork by putting on stringers, foredeck stringer, Aft. deck stringers and end blocks.

Sunday, 4th August ’19 I sanded the frame and put on two layers of Danish-oil to protect the the frame from water.

Next, I’m gonna screw on footrests and get the skin on. If footrests get delivered within this week and the weather is good, I will have the kayak ready to paddle before the end of this week…

Woodwork is done, some pictures of the finished frame…

 

When I started the actual build of the kayak, I organized all parts to be in my hands, except of the footrests. While I’m still waiting for the footrests which aren’t actually special at all and waiting is bothering me, as there is no further progress in the kayak build, I decided to make my Greenland Paddle. So on Tuesday, 14th August ’19 I started cutting and planing the paddle from WRC boards (2.000 x 90 x 35mm), I got pretty cheap like 22,- EUR + transport.

17th August ’19 I planed it down to fit my hands.

And started sanding.

18th August ’19, I glued two stripes of 1/4” ash “at the inside of the kayak”, directly onto the keel (between either last rib at the bow & stern) to get more stability in this area, by a hint of Brian.

21st August ’19 I finally got my footrest and installed them into the frame. Further, I throw the skin over the frame and started stitching stern and bow.

22nd August ’19 I cut off the nylon with a hot knife (made of a soldering gun and just any available tip. Bending and hammering/sharpening the tip into a thin “knife”, which really works well! Costs, ~50 EUR, max!) and started lashing the top deck.

Stretched the skin by soaking the kayak every 20 minutes until I was done with stitching the top deck. It roughly took me 2,5 hours for the stitching and soaking.

Later that day, I stitched my coaming into the kayak to make it ready for coating at the weekend.

The skin of the kayak took like 30 min. to dry-out and the skin has been shrunk like drum-tight 🙂

Due to the coarse weaven nylon and my bad stitching skills the kayak turned out to have 1/4” holes from the lashings. I closed them with Aquaseal and the kayak is prepared for coating.

23rd August ’19 I started coating the kayak in the late afternoon. It took me 3 hrs. to get 8 cups of goop onto the skin. Drying gonna take another 48 hrs.

While I was actually done with the coating, I checked a few times how the goop dryies. The right side of the kayak had some really ugly drips on the entire side at the front. So I thought it would be a good idea to roll over with some more goop…well, this kind of ruined the glossy look, as these parts now turned to be milky 🙁

Anyways, as long as the kayak gonna be watertight, I’m fine with it 😉

Placing the kayak on 3 screws to flip the boat for coating hull & deck worked really well 🙂

24th August ’19 the kayak is drying so I decided to get the Greenland paddle done. Sanding it again with 120grit, soaked it, let it dry and sanded it for a final smooth feeling. Finally, wiped the first layer of natural oil on and I will let this dry for one day, before wiping another thicker oil and finally a layer off wax on it.

25th August ’19 I melted the holes with a soldering bolt, lashed the decklines and sealed them with aquaseal. For the decklines I used 6mm accessory cord which I took from my climbing gear, as leather straps aren’t available in the correct dimension. My Deckline-holders are made of ash and coated with Danish-oil – hope this gonna last.

26th August ‘19 My kayak build is done, by installing the back-rest, my seat and a rub stripe at the stern. The last things to do, are building a holder for the roof of my van to get this baby into water 😀 and a holding system to storage it under the roof of a house.

Summery of the build:

All in all, this build went as I expected it or maybe even a little better/easier 😉

The new things/process I have never made before, for instance bending wood, went great. Sure I needed to make most of my ribs twice, however the reason for this was simply the turning grain, I needed to deal with. The bending itself went nice and haven’t been a big deal at all!

Skinning & sewing actually worked out to be really OK, however, my sewing at the stern at the deck just looks like I have been drunken while stitching. A guide in the middle would be helpful for the next boat to have a straight stitching, e.g. like the bow has a guide -> Foredeck-stringer 🙂

Lashing is another story, the ballistic-nylon I used for this is a quite coarse weaven and a “soft” one. Pulling the skin with the lashing, it had to make holes. I’ve heared that there gonna be stronger nylon available in the UK, soon. If I will build an F1, I probably gonna try this one out. Fortunately, I could close the holes with Aquaseal, so this is only a matter of “look” and has no influence on being watertight.

I’m really looking forward to paddle the LPB for the first time and if/how much a keel with 1/4” off the center, will effect the directional stability. I had and have to deal with not super straight keel & stringers. Due to the Danish-oil it was quite difficult to get everything in position. However, after skinning, shrinking, coating & drying the line of the keel changed. I could get it roughly into right position with a good wack, however after coating and drying, this still ended up with a keel showing left at the last rib towards the stern, when looking from the bow while the kayak lays upside-down. Well, I hope that 1/4” off the center will be ~OK

Weight: Well, last time I weigh it with a friends digital scale, it was a calculated ~16.6 kg. Meaning the “naked” frame + skin, +/-3kg goop, footrests, coaming, etc… I’m gonna weigh the finished kayak again, once I have the chance to use the scale and gonna let you know. But I’m pretty sure it’s still less than a box of beer -> +/- 18kg 😀

Update: 16.8kg

The Greenland paddle has a dry-weight of 700 gr.

27th August 19, I went for my 1st short ride in the afternoon with the LPB at a small lake for 3KM. I felt comfortable from the very first moment I sit. My bigggest concern was if the Kajak will go straight or not and I may need to trim it. Well, it runs dead straight 😀 the boat ain’t shaky or hard to paddle at all. I’ve had the chance trying Franz‘s F1 at Chiemsee, before I started my build. I liked the F1 very much, however I felt so comfy that I thought I’m gonna be happy with the LPB, too and having a little longer, faster boat + a little more storage for trips. The LPB totally fulfills my expectations! I also paddled a Greenlandpaddle, for the very first time and this felt also fine. Sure, I’m gonna get better feeling of the paddling strokes against the water to reduce fluttering after a few rides. However, I tried different styles of paddling with it and they all worked pretty good. Fluttering became already less after a few minutes and I got kind of the first feeling how to paddle the boat and the paddle regarding strokes, hand force, body, etc… NICE!

I need to say that I haven’t had any waves or harsh wind at the lake. I’m gonna be in Croatia in 2 weeks and I’m really looking forward how I and the kayak perform at the sea.

I can really recommend building a F1 or LPB, these kayaks run just nice and make fun to paddle, I’m gonna use my LPB for daily fitness and long distance camping trips.

An LPB is really stable and great at the sea

As I mentioned above, I’ve been in Croatia at Krk for vacation. I’ve had one day at the beginning of my trip, where we had no clouds, but sunshine at 30 C. So I decided to go paddling and check out my DWS spots from last year. That paddling was like 5KM under perfect conditions and changed to sea level 2-3 at my return. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the weather coming from the land as the mountains on the coast have been to high to prevent this so I needed to paddle back, as  landing and pickup wasn’t possible either. During my return, I heard the rumble of the sea each time the bow came down the waves. On one hand this was kind of spooky, on the other hand it showed me how stable the kayak actually is.

Please don’t get me wrong, I won’t ever recommend to go paddling at these conditions and I wouldn’t have done that, if I didn’t have to.

 

1 Comment

  1. Franz
    August 28, 2019

    Congratulations! Very cool to see you did it. Looking forward to see you once I’m back from Sardinia.

    Reply

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