Metakrome: Web Development and Photography

Inlay and other S&G subjects

I receive a lot of questions about the inlay on my first two boats, so I have described how that was done. Also, I have put together a few recommendations for those thinking about building a stitch and glue kayak.

Standing on end

Inlay Method

The general process is to route out a recess for non-paper backed veneer before the panels are wired together. First I etched the pattern outline before using the router. I used a Dremel Moto Tool with a plastic routing base to form the recess. The routing base is a bit flimsy, but with patience I was able to get the exact depth of cut needed. A little bit of trimming was done with a sharp chisel. I then glued the veneer/plywood sandwich by clamping between plastic wrap and stiff smooth boards or plywood scraps. A little bit of cleanup with a chisel and sandpaper after the glue cured and I was ready to wire the panels together.

If I were to do this again, I would consider putting a seal coat on the panels before starting. This would eliminate the slight "banding" one gets around glued areas (like the butt joints) using the normal procedures.

The first pattern I designed (shown below) was a simplified outline of an Arctic Tern (the bird) which morphs into a simple chevron pattern. The second pattern was derived from an exploration of bow wave patterns.

The veneer I used was made out of purple heart which has a nice contrast with the okoume plywood. After four years of paddling and exposure to light it still looks great. I suspect a wide range of materials besides wood could be used in a similar manner. On the Redfish Silver I built for my wife I used mother of pearl (abalone) along the length as part of the design.

Bow inlay patterns

Head in the clouds