Building a Strong back

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Joined: Fri Jun 18, 2004 8:14 pm
Type of boat I like: Wooden
Location: Greensboro, NC

Building a Strong back

Post by jem » Thu Nov 25, 2004 11:17 am

I have a prototype kayak building project I'm doing for a client out in California. The sheer line is completely flat.

I want to do a top-notch job for him so I started looking into making a strong back like the wood-strip boat builders use.

But after much research on methods and techniques, I found it was going to be a lot of work and a lot could go wrong. Then I stumbled on and he had a fantastic idea: Instead of going through the pains of making a strong back, use what's available, like an aluminum ladder!

(And yes I'm posting the competitions website in my forum but hey, hats off to him for a great idea. I won't make a habit of it though :P )

I read that and thought "Duh....of course!" I have a 24' one made of two 12' sections. Went out and checked it and it's as straight as an arrow. I'll be placing it on top of some saw horses and attach a 14" wide, 3/8" thick sheet of plywood to the top of it. the 12' length is plenty for what I need. I'll be leveling it out and attaching my frames/stations.

Once the frames are attached, it won't matter if it gets unlevel! I'll stitch and glue the panels near the sheer line (working up-side-down) and install as many as I can reach to do. Once those are cured up, I'll cut the frames loose and finish it off.

I thought about the cost trade-offs. I got my ladder on sale for about $150. To build a good strong back, You'll probably spend around $80 in materials if you go cheap. But you can't use a strong back to hang Christmas lights on the roof or trim the trees now can you?
Last edited by jem on Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
-Matt. Designer.

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