Outer stem protector

Welcome to the new Bear Mountain Builders Forum - an interactive internet service we provide to encourage communication between canoe and kayak builders
Post Reply
phindel
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:28 pm

Outer stem protector

Post by phindel » Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:10 pm

First time kayak builder- very exciting! I've read about brass protectors for outer stems, but wondering if it's necessary. Appreciate any advice.

User avatar
Grumple
Posts: 108
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:38 am
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Re: Outer stem protector

Post by Grumple » Thu Oct 15, 2015 12:56 pm

Hi phindel,

I think a lot of people just add another layer (or more) of fiberglass for added protection.

If you search on the topic, you will find reference to people cutting strips of cloth on a bias (ie 45 degree angle to the cloth weave) so that it bends around the stem nicely when trying to get it to stick down.

phindel
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:28 pm

Re: Outer stem protector

Post by phindel » Fri Oct 23, 2015 7:19 am

Thanks - good idea and a lot simpler. P.S. love your profile picture

User avatar
Cruiser
Posts: 625
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:21 am
Location: Bowmanville, Ontario

Re: Outer stem protector

Post by Cruiser » Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:24 am

Hi Phindel,

I skipped putting either on my first boat, on the second I added the extra fiberglass.

I do mostly wilderness camping and regardless of how careful I have been my solo boats bow is getting beat up pretty good. This winter I will be adding fiberglass and a brass protector ... truth be told I am likely going to add a protector to both builds.

Since you are building a kayak, you have to think of the terrain you are planning to travel, and obviously, how you get in and out of the boat. If you can get in and out all the time, without having the kayak bow in towards shore (think dock landing), then it won't be banged up. If the nose gets anywhere near rocks/gravel on the shore you inevitably will graze, bump or hit them, at some point. If there is only epoxy and varnish between the wood and rock, well .... it won't last long. I would suggest that most of the damage will occur when you land and launch ... although there are a few of us who also play with rocks in low water, but I don't think you can protect against that.

The good news is that whatever you decide, it is not necessarily a permanent decision. I am ready to do the re-varnish, on my solo, required after a few years of service and adding glass and the brass protector will just be worked in the job.

So my advice is to think of where (terrain) you plan to go, how you use the boat and protect your boat accordingly.


Brian

phindel
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:28 pm

Re: Outer stem protector

Post by phindel » Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:46 am

Thanks Brian
Will be entering and exiting from dock, so I think I'll just use glass and wait to add brass if needed later. Thanks for the wise advice.

KenC
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:42 pm
Location: Oakville, ON

Re: Outer stem protector

Post by KenC » Fri Oct 23, 2015 3:29 pm

Brass is overkill, but glass is a necessity, IMO. Docks aren't always available, and aren't always the easiest method to launch even if they are available.

On my Endeavour kayak, I wrapped the glass around the stem from each side by about 3", while glassing the hull. Then, when that was sufficiently cured, I added an additional bias-cut strip so that in the end there are 3 layers of 6oz glass over the stems. Bit of a challenge to get it all to lay flat during wetout, but not impossible. End product is tough as nails.

I paddle in areas where coming into contact with sharp-edged rocks is inevitable.

User avatar
Patricks Dad
Posts: 1378
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 1:11 pm
Location: Warrenville, Illinois

Re: Outer stem protector

Post by Patricks Dad » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:35 pm

Bit of a challenge to get it all to lay flat during wetout, but not impossible
As you note, bias cut cloth is essential. But a trick to make it even easier is to stretch it length-wise just a bit as you lay it on and it will wrap itself right around the stem.
Randy Pfeifer
(847) 341-0618
Randy.Pfeifer1@gmail.com

BellGuy5
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: Outer stem protector

Post by BellGuy5 » Sat Oct 24, 2015 7:24 am

I think that this comes down to personal preference. You can't go wrong either way. I like the look of the brass...some people don't. No matter how careful you are, getting into a kayak is sometimes difficult and the stern hits the bottom of the lake. After a few years, take some steel wool or a file and it looks new again.

KenC
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:42 pm
Location: Oakville, ON

Re: Outer stem protector

Post by KenC » Sat Oct 24, 2015 8:43 am

You're right, Bellguy ... brass is a personal preference ... I meant as a protective layer in addition to glass.
Patricks Dad wrote:As you note, bias cut cloth is essential. But a trick to make it even easier is to stretch it length-wise just a bit as you lay it on and it will wrap itself right around the stem.
In my case, only the third layer of glass was bias-cut ... with the extra length from glassing the sides, it falls wherever it falls, and that is the challenge I was referring to ... next time, I might just trim the sides shorter, and add 3 bias-cut layers over the stem ... more feathering that way, but probably easier in the end ... I like a very narrow stem, and am very pleased with the way the glassed stem looks and has held up to punishment.

phindel
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:28 pm

Re: Outer stem protector

Post by phindel » Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:48 am

Can anyone advise on the method of putting on brass protector or give me a reference? I don't see it described in Ted Moore's Kayakcraft. Will likely start with extra glass as you all commented on.

BellGuy5
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: Outer stem protector

Post by BellGuy5 » Sun Nov 01, 2015 6:09 pm

Brass bends nicely so you won't have a problem making the curve. Pre-drill your holes into the stem and put wax on the brass screws. Do not, under any circumstances, use anything but a screw driver to put the screws in...they are made of brass and are real soft. I pre threaded my holes with a small steel screw as well. Also, if you don't countersink them too much, you can file the screws flush with the brass band.

KenC
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:42 pm
Location: Oakville, ON

Re: Outer stem protector

Post by KenC » Mon Nov 02, 2015 10:45 pm

BellGuy ... wouldn't you need a flat surface of some width, on the stem, to receive the brass strip? Which means the stem has to be a certain width, to accomodate that flat section. How do you deal with glass around those angular corners, or do you not bother to glass the flat? How "sharp" are your stems, when all is said and done? (mine are barely more than the diameter of a pencil, for comparison purposes).
Just curious.

BellGuy5
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: Outer stem protector

Post by BellGuy5 » Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:43 pm

On both my canoe and kayak, I flattened the stems to 3/8" which is the width of the brass strip. I kept the edges sharp so they blend into the brass. I believe Canoecraft states that wrapping the glass around the stems isn't necessary so I didn't. The epoxy covers the flat and protects it. There is no right or wrong way to do your stems...just personal preference.

Post Reply