Building a Skin-on-Frame Kayak - Part 10

This week we wanted to establish the desired length and shape of all the ribs necessary for building our Greenland skin on frame kayak. To accomplish this we made temporary thin flexible ribs to establish the correct length for each of the permanent ribs needed.

These ribs are thin enough to be bent into place without steaming. Using a long, thin flexible batten resting against these temporary ribs also allowed us to gauge the desired position and shape of each respective rib.

This was important as the ribs needed be positioned in a way as to not interfere with the eventual placement of the skin of the boat. Once we measured, cut and placed each temporary rib into its desired place we could then shape the actual ribs, which were made from select pieces of straight-grained red oak.

Having already established (by means of our temporary ribs) the desired length and shape of each of the 13 respective ribs, preparing the permanent ribs was an easy task. Each rib needed to be prepared by smoothing the surfaces, rounding the edges and notching the ends as to make a proper fit between the mortises along the gunwales and the ribs themselves. After shaping all of the ribs to reflect the established temporary ribs we then proceeded to soak them in water (for a week) in anticipation of steaming and bending them into place next week.