Stitch-and-Glue Boatbuilding: How to Build Kayaks and Other Small Boats (英語) ペーパーバック – 2005/7/26
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In Stitch-and-Glue Boatbuilding, one of the leading practitioners and teachers of the craft assembles the definitive how-to manual for the most popular method of amateur boatbuilding today. Enlivened with tales of boat shop mishaps and designs gone bad that entertain as they instruct, this invaluable book includes full plans and assembly instructions for nine boats--seven kayaks, a sailing skiff, and a wherry. Step-by-step photos and drawings make this an ideal guide for visual learners.
Chris Kulczycki is the author of The New Kayak Shop and the founder of Chesapeake Light Craft, the largest boat kit and plan manufacturer in the world. More than 10,000 boats have been built from his plans.
1) It is always a good idea in my opinion to own more than one book on the method of construction that one intends to use in building a boat. You will probably find one author with whom you feel the most rapport, muliple perspectives are great for learning, and one can then choose aspects from each author that one likes to incorporate into one's own individual building technique as you develop one. For stitch and glue, this book is a fine choice for your collection.
2) Regarding this book (or any book on stitch and glue boat construction with plans in it) the essential things that the plans must have in order to build are: a) hull panel offsets, b) locations of bulkheads, deck beams, knees, thwarts, bouyancy tank frames, skegs, etc. on the hull, c) scantlings (such as the thickness of various plywood parts, gunnel/shear clamp cross section dimensions, knee thickness, deckbeam thickness/radius, bulkhead/transom framing reinforcement details if present, etc.) for maintaining hull structural integrity. (Sailboat plans need, in addition, to give details regarding the sail, spars, rigging, rudder, centerboard, etc.) The plans in this book have all of these essential elements. Accurate but scaled down drawings of the bulkheads, knees, etc. (without dimensions) are given in the book, but one can make use of these by scaling them up and fairing the scaled-up versions with battens if needed (as the scaling up process can possibly create small errors). This scaling up process is probably best done after the hull is stitched so that one can take dimensions off of that directly (at bulkhead, etc. locations) to aid in the scaling. My feeling on this is that some degree of custion fitting of the bulkheads, knees, etc. are probably needed anyway on a stitch and glue boat because of small hull shape variations induced in the cutting/stitching/taping process from specific boat to specific boat. This is reinforced in my mind by the fact that some of my stitch and glue (and plywood lap) plans I own assume that one will custom fit the bulkheads, knees, etc to the resulting hull shape anyway. Of course, the gap filling advantage of epoxy can aid in this.
3) If one is too inexperienced or too intimidated to build a boat without full scale bulkhead, knee, etc. patterns, then you should go ahead and buy the plans from the designer. Better yet, if you are really intimidated as a first time builder, and do not even want to loft the hull panels, then buy the kit (if there is one) if you have the money. An additional advantage of buying the plans (or kit) is that you can expect a reasonable amount of phone/email support from the designer as you build.
4) The stitch and glue process description in the book is not limited to Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) designs, but is more universal. In addition to the traditional stitch and glue process, the lap stitch technique (developed by CLC) described is very interesting to read about, and is another reason to buy the book. The technique can clearly be adapted to non-CLC designs with some thought.
5) Regarding comments by kgyakker on the lack of material in the book on designing your own boat: First of all, most of the boat construction books I have do not give any significant instruction on designing one's own boat. A few do give some brief background and suggestions which would still require a lot more research on the part of the reader to actually do a reasonable design. Besides, there are books written specifically on boat design that one can buy, so if that is what you want to do then it makes more sense to buy one of those. There are a lot of technical issues to be addressed in designing one's own boat, from structural integrity to making sure that the results sit properly on its lines. Most design is now done with software, but it can still be done by iterating on a design with a series of models. As an engineer with structural knowledge (including finite element coding) as well as extensive experience in actually designing and writing engineering software, I have a pretty good idea as to what is in modern boat design software regarding the algorithms used. I also own and have casually read several books on boat design. Even with such knowledge, I feel too inexperienced to design my own boat as yet without having first built many boats from professional plans and then having a lot of first hand experience in using such boats. A badly designed boat can actually be dangerous to use, and amatuer boat design should be a carefully considered endeavor. It is unreasonable to expect this book to describe this entire process in sufficient detail in my opinion, as it should easily be the topic of an entire book unto itself in order to be addressed properly. A very narrow scope, such as skin-on-frame kayak design for example, may be more amenable to a more abridged treatment.
6) Regarding comments by kgyakker on the lack of material in the book on converting strip-built and skin-on-frame boat plans to stitch-and-glue: strip-built and skin-on-frame boat plans consist of, at its core, faired station form offsets to physically construct station forms. Traditional round hull plan offsets are typically also used to construct station forms for building the boat after fairing them (using waterline and buttocks line information) in three dimensions by lofting, which can be done by software nowadays. For "non-traditional" or "fuselage" type skin-on-frame boat plans for example, conversion between strip and skin-on-frame station frames involves changing the location/spacing and the number of frames using the same hull shape by software (based on the scantlings in the skin-on-frame case). If converting from strip one still has to decide where to attach the battens on the station frames (actually bulkheads) over which the outer skin is stretched. In this sense one may view such battens on a skin-on-frame as chines. Converting station form offsets to hull panel offsets involves some real expertise in using the relevant software so as to generate multichine hull panels that are (or are very close to) developable surfaces, that simultaneously comform well to the given station forms, so that they can be rendered in plywood. The same software generally allows the user to accurately unfold the hull panels as they lay on the hull into flat shapes that can be cut from plywood sheets. Hull panel offsets can then be generated from these flat shapes if desired. This conversion can also be done by iterating a design by a series of models, but this is very time consuming, and the resulting panel shapes will still probably need fairing/adjusting when scaled to full size. Again, it is unreasonable to expect this book to describe this entire process in sufficient detail in my opinion.
7) Bottom line, I have no problem recommending this book for the scope over which it was intended.