Das Koboldjager

(The Goblin Hunter)

The Koboldjager (goblin hunter) is a start-to-finish strip-built touring kayak. This project assumes you can transfer plans to wood and work with a few tools, and most importantly, calmly kludge your way though any difficult spots. It also assumes that you, like me have a healthy supply of scrap plywood that is too nice to burn, but is too crappy to use in anything that you want people to look at, as well as plenty of tooling (band saw, router, table saw, random-orbit sander, etc.) Please read the disclaimer and cautionary statements.

This boat is a highly stable strip-built cargo-hauling fun kayak for paddlers 5'8" or shorter, and of 200lbs or less. It is not intended for children, and it is a real workhorse, no wimp. The one that I am building will use pre-cut strips--- this will cost me at least $400, but will spare me the part of the job (strip making) that I consider the least interesting and least fun part of the project. If you want to really crank out the strips, Ted Moore's Kayakcraft or Canoecraft have a description of how to set up a jig that uses a surface planer and two routers to really crank out nicely milled strips. If you plan on making your own strips you will need a router table, table- or band saw, out-feed tables, and a surface planer or jointer. If you don't want the strip-making hassle, consider buying the strips or a stich-n-glue kit.

The stand for the station molds is constructed using the general ideas in Moores' book, as are the basic construction and finishing techniques outlined in any of the wood boat-building books that discuss strip-built construction. My full-size plans for the stem, stern and the station molds are (or will soon be) provided elsewhere and the basic construction technique is more or less a variation on that described by Moores. My construction techniques employ a bit of kludging here and there. Hopefully, the result is a lot less measuring and more building; more strength with a little weight savings; and substantial savings in material costs.

I like Shade's approach (a cut-away, inset deck) to cockpit construction, but this is yet another area where you can kludge-away adapting lines from an existing boat, etc. For instance, I will probably lay-up my boatís cockpit with laminated fiberglass and plywood, afterall, the cockpit and coaming are usually covered by a spray skirt or a travel cover.

The most substantial deviation between my design and most strip-built boats results from incorporating lightweight luan-ply-fiberglass central stem and stern forms (hereafter called spars to avoid confusion) into the hull instead of building the hull around stem and stern station molds that stay on the building frame. This should save a lot of time and do away with some of the more complex bits of boat building (e.g., constructing laminated internal stems). The end result should be considerably stronger, and perhaps, lighter. Although a critic could argue that this eats up valuable cargo space, on the practical side, it is pretty cramped up in the needle-like bow and stern of a kayak. After filleting the very inside of the bow and stern with resin-soaked fiberglass house insulation, I opted to seal-off those areas from the cargo areas with a resin-reinforced luan bulkhead and fill the remaining void space with polyurethane boat foam aka."insulation-in-a-can." I now have lost a little bow and stern space, but my cargo areas have no narrow crannies for gear to get lost or stuck in and are finished off with nice wood bulkheads that are very, very strong. Also, the boat now has on-board floatation. Please note, these bow and stern areas are great places to dispose of squeegeed bubbly epoxy and glass cloth trimmings, they may look butt ugly until the deck goes on, but what the heck. Once filled with foam and sealed off they will be the epitome of wood boat perfection; they are a nicely kludged-together solution to a number of problems. Keep in mind that it is not too good to go overboard on the excess epoxy... in most cases it is just excess weight.

When truing the forms and stem and stern spars you may have your first opportunity to do a little kludging by shimming this or that to get things to more or less line up. I will deal with this a bit later in the building notes. Remember, the better it is now, the less work you make for yourself later.

The stand (strongback) and the station mold forms. These are constructed from plywood that is too nice to burn, but too crappy to use in most other projects. The strongback was made from double layers of 3/4-inch ply from a 4 x 8-foot sheet saved from going to a dumpster. The forms were cut from scraps of 3/4-inch C/C roof-sheeting plywood left over from the last re-roof of our house.

This is what it looks like about 2/3rds of the way to completion. Strip-constructed boats tend to look pretty ugly until they get finish-planed, sanded, then glassed... then they look spectacular. Wood-fiberglass boats tend to be exceptionally light weight and efficient high-performace paddling craft.

Close to completion. Here it is as I am constructing the flanges that support the hatches. The hull has been glassed... it is pretty much just completing little details from this point on.

The study drawings

Construction begins (setting up the station molds)

The prototype (most recent construction photo)

Back (to the main page)