Flying Pond Scum, 2006

Turner's qajaq suffers a motor vehicle accident and becomes an experimental aircraft fabric skinning subject. OK so it's a long story that made sense at the time.

Turner Wilson came to Seneca Lake to hold a boat-building workshop. That resulted in a qajaq for me and a qajaq for my neighbor Brad (process to be posted really soon!).

It also resulted in other things. When you spend 10 days working long hours conversation is bound to get creative. When you experiment with lightweight skin fabric (10 oz poly supplied by George Dyson) you start allowing for the possibility of other experiments.

A parallel conversation exists with a friend who is a pilot of airplanes, a mad scientist of sorts, and an instigator of trouble whenever possible. Said friend has recently sent a package of airplane fabric, glue, manuals, and a compelling argument about how this might be a good way to skin your qajaq. Turner is not convinced.

You begin skinning your little qajaq (little being not in the least an understatement). When said fabric is found to be a challenge to tension and stitch you start thinking that just maybe stitching should go the way of sealskin. You discuss this at length - you do have a captive audience :). As the tensioner holes elongate and the stitches pull mightily across your deck Turner allows as how a non-stitched skin might not be a bad thing. One that can be heat-shunk in a controlled manner calibrated to a range of temperatures. Hmmm.

The heretofore mentioned qajaq that had suffered the motor vehicle accident had at this point been denuded of its skin and the broken stem glued back together. Time constraints being what they are, this is as far as it got. At the end of the workshop, Turner decided to abandon this mightily abused qajaq at Seneca Lake to become the first ever Flying Pond Scum qajaq.

I have endeavored to skin this poor little craft in PolyFiber. I have read the pros and cons and for better or worse have inflicted my interpretation of this method on this frame. The official unveiling will be at Delmarva Paddler's Retreat '06. Unless it flies off my roof.

Until then, here's my progress so far ...


Turner and Cheri hang out at Kayak Ways, LLC

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