Building a Skin-on-Frame Kayak - Part 12

The positioning of the chine stringers is a critical element in building a Greenland skin on frame kayak. The placement of the chine stringers will affect the speed, tracking and stability of the boat. The chine stringers run the length of the kayak from bow to stern and are selectively placed between the keel stringer and gunwales. It is important to consider certain important factors when attempting to determine the appropriate placement of the chine stringers. First, the chine stringers must be placed in a way to ensure that the skin of the kayak is elevated enough by the stringers themselves to prevent the skin from resting on the ribs.

The skin of the kayak will stretch slightly inward under water pressure and it is important that there is enough space between the ribs and the skin to accommodate this. Second, the “lines” and symmetry of each respective chine stringers must be consistent with one another and the proportions of the kayak in general.

Prior to clamping the chine stringers into place and assessing their appropriate positioning we first “dressed” the selected pieces of red oak by planning them smooth and tapering the ends in order to facilitate the placement of the stringers into the bow and stern stem pieces. Once the stringers had been properly dressed we proceeded to position them along the length of the boat and attempt to determine their ideal placement. Once we were content with the placement of the chine stringers we conducted a simple task that would ensure that the skin of the kayak would not rest against the ribs.

By holding a piece of string against the keel stringer and extending it down over the chine stringer towards the gunwale we were able to determine whether the string, which was serving as our makeshift skin, would touch the ribs. Happy with the placement of the chine stringers we proceeded to lash them into place as we had done with keel stringer.

Stay tuned for our next installment - it's so close to being done!