tight curves with strips / width?

I have noticed wonderful art on many strip built kayaks.  I am building the hybrid Night Heron.  I noticed the strips that come in the kits from CLC bend nicely but I don't believe they can bend as tight as I notice from others.  I realize the strip's width needs to be shortened.  Right?  What is the typical width the the strips need to be in order to bend.  I am sure this question is hard to answer because it depends on how tight I want to bend the strip.  I get that but I don't want to waste my time planning down a strip farther than I must in order to achieve a decent bend. I also don't want to waste strips for trial and error to find the width.   So again I must come to this forum in hopes someone can give me a general measurment that typically does well.  I surmise 1/2 inch may work? 

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RE: tight curves with strips / width?

I meant height not width.  I am sure the 1/4 width should stay the same, or does it?   

RE: tight curves with strips / width?

the standard bead and cove strip from CLC is 3/4 inch wide, by 1/4 inch thick.

for most of the boat it is pretty straightforward to work with and they will bend just find relative to what construction calls for.  but for certain parts of the night heron build it will be challenging to bend them to the curve needed.  particularly in the tail (rearmost end) and around the cockpit.

the tail is challenging in that a strip has to bend up and in relatively tightly.  around the cockpit, the strip has to twist from almost vertical forward of the cockpit to horizontal aft of the cockpit.

the application of heat from a heat gun can make a huge difference in the bendability of a strip...and is a standard tool in the arsenal for any strip builder.   practice with a scrap piece to see what it takes to get the heat you need without burning the strip.  the other solution is planing the strips down....which certainly makes things bendier.

as you noted, there are two ways you can go about that. it is fairly common for strip builders to use 3/16 thick strips (vs 1/4 inch).  i would also note that with the different species of wood that sometimes get used, there is different bendability for the same dimensions.  for example,  i am currently building a petrel with 3/16 thick strips.  and some folks go with strips cut down to 1/2 inch wide or less where there are tight turns like in bilge areas (which should not be an issue on a hybrid).  So it's quite possible if you have played with somebody else's strips...you have encountered more bendable strips.

that said, for the night heron hybrid, i am confident you can work with the standard strips from CLC to the extent that your pattern/design works with it.  I think you will find the application of heat from a heat gun will help you coax it into shape.  you may also need some strapping tape to provide enough force to hold it in shape while the glue dries as well.




RE: tight curves with strips / width?

I can see where the heat can be  useful.  I will go that route.  A redactment to my original question then.....What about the strip bending along the other axis?  Allow me to explain.  Imagine looking at the strip's face.  The cove and bead is facing up and down.  Now bend it to make a u shape.  Remind you that the cove and bead are on top and bottom, still looking at the face of the strip.

RE: tight curves with strips / width?

On my Guillemote play I riped some strips down to 1/2 and 3/8" height to help make the bend in and up easier, also clamps can be a big help.    

RE: tight curves with strips / width?

Hey, SleepnPilot, I just noticed your question after I posted about my experience ("Hybrid Deck Strip Tip"). Some of the tricks I cam up with may be useful to you. In addition to what I posted, I've found that an inexpensive steamer is a great help. I bought it on Amazon using the search "wood bending steamer." It comes with a 12-foot plastic hose that stays relatively cool to the touch, but it's swtill a good Idea to use heavy gloves to avoid getting scalded. For a steambox, I use 4-mil polyethylene plastic tubing, four inches wide and cut from a roll to whatever length I need. (available from a company called Uline) I seal one end, put the strip inside, then slide the house down to about the middle and tie the open end around the hose with a short lengtgh of bungee cord. (Not cinched down too tight, or it will collapse the hose; just tight enough to be secure. Use a shoe-lace-type knot to make it easy to undo). As the steam is generated, it will inflat the tubing like a giant sausage. Use a sharp tool to poke a small hole on the far end to let off some of the steam. Let a strip "cook" for about 20 minutes, then unplug the steamer, wait for the sausage to collapse, untie the hose and drain the collected water out of the plastic (good to have a bucket nearby if you are working indoors). Slide the hot strip out of the tube, lay it down flat and bend it roughly to the degree you want, secure it in place on a piece of plywood secured to a couple of saw horses, and let it cool and dry. When you remove it, there will be significant spring-back, but it will still be much more compliant with your needs when you go to install it on your boat. I have not needed to rip the strips to make them narrower than the standard 3/4-inch that CLC provides.. Next time I do some steaming, I'll snap a few pix and post them here, so you can see what it looks like, perhaps later today. Hope this helps.


RE: tight curves with strips / width?

For anyone interested, here's my steamer/steambag setup: The first pic is the steamer I bought from Amazon. Next is a closeup of the model number tag, if you want to know what to ask for. Third is the 4-mil polyethylene plastic tube, cut to size, with the strip inside and the steam hoase inserted and ready to go. Last is the inflated steam bag, cooking a strip. In a couple of the pix, you can see previously steamed strips fastened down to the plywood, cooling and drying and getting ready to install on the deck. When I release them, there will be a lot of spring-back, but they will retain some curve, and they will be easy to bend to the right amount of curve as I install them. I went with the poly tubing because I did not want to build a steam box that would be one rigid size no matter how large or small a piece I need to steam, and would present storage problems. With the poly tubing, I create exactly the size steam bag I need. It's re-usable as many times as I need it, and when I'm finished with the project, I can either fold it up for next time or throw it away. Here's where you get the poly tubing: http://www.uline.com/BL_2107/4-Mil-Poly-Tubing?keywords=4+Mil+Poly+Tubing  


Steamer detail 
Steam bag  




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