After all the panels were cut, the next stage was bending and stitching the panels to form the hull. my stitching wire came from a pile of scrap galvanised steel wire used as the armoured protection around heavy electrical cables. When separated, this was about 2mm diameter and proved to be ideal. I Intended to remove all the stitching wires before taping so galvanised steel was suitable. Had I intended the stitches to remain in place under the tape, I would have used copper wire to avoid any corrosion problems.
Here are the two bottom panels stitched together with the frames in place. These will eventually form waterproof bulkheads to give buoyancy for support during capsize or rolling. Note the “bench” (2 ladder sections) has the plywood removed so that stitches can be made from underneath along the keel. The bulkheads are wired into place on to the panels so that they help to form the “Vee” shape correctly.
View from the stern of kayak. the panels are slightly twisted but straighten up once the everything is finished. I used a stitch about every 100mm along the keel but where a heavy pull was needed I put the stitches closer together. If joints gapped a bit, I eased areas with a fine saw on the tight sections. Small gaps are fine and can be filled with the resin filler mixture.
A closer view of the stern and the stitching wires. I brought the stern together a little at a time starting at the top and working down, re-tightening the stitches as they became looser above. A few hot towels can work wonders if the panels are stubborn!
Not a good picture, but this shows the finished stitching of the hull. the bar across the centre was to keep the correct hull width and allow me to set up the hull ready for taping. A Plumb line from bow to stern is helpful and the trusty level sets the edges everything up nice and square. I found a few wooden chocks were needed and some adjustment of the stitches finished the alignment. I took some time to get this right, once the resin and tape is set, the hull will become rigid and cannot be re-shaped.
Now for the Resin and Tape!