Thursday, September 17, 2009

How Are Wooden Kayaks Made?

I am frequently asked how wooden kayaks are made. It is a simple process, time consuming but simple. So here we go – in a nutshell.

I’m going to discuss how strip built boats are built. As the name suggests, you start with ¾” wide, ¼” thick cedar strips. Cedar is used because it is light weight and flexible.

Start by setting up a strong back and the kayak forms. The easiest way to explain those is the strong back is the spine, and the forms are the ribs. Setting them up carefully will ensure that you kayak will have smooth lines.

It is time to start striping your boat. Start with a full length strip; lay it carefully along where the hull and deck will meet.and staple it to the forms. Now lay a strip on the opposite side of the boat. From here you apply a strip on one side then the other. The strips are glued together with yellow glue, and stapled in place. This goes on until the entire hull is striped.

Next you strip the hull. The important thing to remember is that the strips between the hull and deck are not glued together at this point. The deck is filled in just like the hull with some adjustments for the cockpit.

Once the strips are all laid and the glue is dry, it’s time to smooth out your boat. The first step is to remove all the staples (yep, all of them). Next you can plane, file and sand the exterior of the boat smooth. Split the boat and smooth the interior as well. Now using fiberglass cloth and resin, coat the exterior of both halves and when that is dry and smooth, repeat on the interior.

Now the two halves are brought together with 2” fiberglass tape, inside and out. After multiple coats of resin the boat is sanded smooth and then covered with multiple coats of spar varnish. The final step is taking your boat to the nearest body of water, sliding in and going for the first of many paddles. I supposed I should mention that while this abbreviated how to, took a few paragraphs, plan on spending 200 plus hours, or five plus months into the creation of your boat.

Friday, September 4, 2009

What is the Process for Purchasing Custom Furniture?

A lot of people are interested in custom furniture, but they don’t know the process of going from idea to delivery. Like any creation, you have to start with a design. Some people know exactly what they want, but more often than not, you may only have a general idea.

Information gathering is the next step in the creative process. You have to take into account how the piece will be used, how will it fit into the existing d├ęcor and what size would be appropriate. Expect lots of questions at this stage. Let’s look at a desk for example. Questions that I frequently ask include: would you like drawers on both sides? Do you want drawers to hold file folders? Would you like a pencil drawer (that shallow one in the center)? Will the desk be used for a computer, and if so will it be a desk top? If yes, I then ask if they would like a storage area for the tower or CD’s, would they like a keyboard tray, will the printer go on the desk top or do we need to look elsewhere? The list goes on, and the questions vary from piece to piece, but you get the idea.

Once the basic information is gathered, it’s off to the drawing board. The design phase incorporates the information we’ve pulled together, and knowledge of standards, joinery, hardware and aesthetics. All of this is brought together and a sketch(s) is made. The designer and customer sit down review the sketch, make any changes, and once the final design is reached, it’s time for the numbers.

My quote process involves creating a cut list, or a list of every piece needed to build the furniture – by size. This information is then moved to a pricing sheet that gives me a cost for the materials. To that I add the cost of any hardware, finishing supplies, etc. Finally I estimate the labor required, and add these together for a sale price.

When the written quote is accepted the customer provides a down payment. On larger jobs, subsequent payments may be required throughout the construction process. Once the piece is finished and delivered the final payment is made.

While I may have skipped a step or two, say choosing a material and the actual building process, I hope that this has clarified any questions you may have on the process of purchasing custom furniture.