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Design & Illustration

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News from May 2019

I found a review...

Qanik review

As you might have seen I no longer take part in anything associated with Seabird Designs. The reasons given is that our opinions about quality, customers, and service differ too much. Today I happened to see a review of Seabird Qanik which very accurately pointed out the fundamental quality problems that have become too common over the last years.

If you are interested in one of my designs for this company, take a couple of minutes with this review before deciding:

The review focuses on several flaws in the fabrication:

  • uneven thickness of the laminate – partly so thin that the bottom flipped into a concave depression that had to be pushed back from the inside when the kayak was pulled ashore,
  • a seat was so badly constructed that it flexed under pressure and carved deep scratches on the inside of the hull – and was furthermore attached wrongly so that it made rolling hard and standard spraydecks not usable,
  • the stitching in the back band became undone after a short time and had to be restitched,
  • the thigh braces, though looking promising, is hard plastic and "seem to have been molded around the legs of an anorexic paddler who sits with her legs straight out in front",
  • the cockpit is longer and narrower than on the plans and the reviewer found no commercially available spraydecks that fit,
  • the skeg is so badly engineered that once it has been fully retracted there is no way of dropping it again with the handle by the cockpit,
  • the hatches leak badly, due to sloppy workmanship,

The reviewer ends with this:

"All in all: Clearly they kept the price down by cutting three or four corners in the factory. Because Bjorn Thomasson’s design is a gem, if you buy this kayak and then sort out the flimsy hull, the moving seat, the leaking hatches and the sticky skeg, and manage to find a spraydeck that fits, you will have a kayak that is a joy to paddle and feels safe out at sea."

 

Why have things gone so out of control? Of course, cutting corners to keep the price down is one reason – since a low price is the only way to sell substandard kayaks once the trust is wasted. But beyond that, and after a couple of years with ambitions and production quality, I have seen mostly ignorance (no real interest in kayaks and kayaking, just in the business) – and arrogance (towards the customers, dealers, designers (not just me). 

Furthermore, the production of my designs in the last couple of years is piracy since they have forfeited their productions rights by violating the terms in our agreement.

In this sad mess, two things in particular, bother me: that I have designed and initially recommended kayaks that nowadays are cheap in every meaning of the word, and that some of the kayaks I designed for Seabird have been among my best work. 

 

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One more Sea Racer – Fred Brown

Havsracer – Fred Brown

Fred Brown in South Carolina built another Sea Racer – one with attitude!

"Hi Björn,
I wanted to send you a couple of shot of both of my Sea Racers."

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Kavat – Jan Helge Olsen

Kavat – Jan Helge Olsen

"Hei.

Da er min Kavat ferdig. Takk for tegninger og beskrivelser. Nå vet jeg hva jeg skal kose meg med som pensjonist, selv om det er 7 år til. Det er min andre kajakk som jeg har bygd. 

Mvh"

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Black Pearl – Bjarne Kristiansen

Black Pearl – Bjarne Kristiansen

"Hej Bjørn.

Så blev mit første kajakbyggeri endelig færdigt, en BP. Har været ude i den tre gange og synes bedre og bedre om den. Har ikke prøvet at rulle endnu; forlugen har været for utæt – og vandet for koldt! Desværre blev den tungere end ønsket på grund af nogle spartlinger og en vel kraftig sarg, men det mærkes ikke, når jeg ror. Har gjort en masse erfaringer undervejs, dvs. lavet en del fejl, som kan komme mig til gode, hvis der bliver endnu et byggeri. Den er bygget uden finne. Jeg ved ikke om jeg kommer til at savne den. Var ude anden gangen i sidevind og bølger og syntes, der skulle arbejdes noget for at holde kursen. Tror dog nok, at det kun er et spørgsmål om erfaring med kajakken. Den glider fantastisk let og føles ikke ustabil. Bliver uden tvivl glad for den. Tak for råd og vejledning undervejs, Bjørn.

Venlig hilsen
Bjarne Kristiansen
Bisserup"

Black Pearl – Bjarne Kristiansen

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Lite semester från kajakeriet...

En liten stuga i skogen

Senaste byggprojektet blev en lekstuga åt de nyaste barnbarnen. Den byggdes i sektionen (golv, väggar, delar till taket) hemma i trädgården och transporterades hoppackad som en IKEA-möbel ut till deras sommarstuga i skogen. Nu i helgen var det dags att montera ihop delarna på plats, såga till knutar, vindskivor, vattbrädor, inramninger till fönster och dörrar, veranda, staket mm. När bilderna togs (igår) återstår några ribbor i stakatet, en liten sittbänk på verandan, lite målning, beslag till dörrar och fönster, tryckimpregnerat trallvirke till verandan och ett trappsteg – och på önskemål från beställarna: en liten blomlåda på verandaräcket ;-)

Stilen är mycket traditionell, för att passa den gamla sommarstugan: röd slamfärg, vita knutar, tjärpapp på taket, halvdörr etc – men eftersom sommarstugan saknar spröjsar i fönstren, fick även lekstugan vara utan.

Ett riktigt kul jobb med lagom ambitionsnivå – och så kunde jag skjuta upp det inte lika spännande jobbet med att underhålla/renovera mina gamla slitna kajaker ytterligare en vecka (ja, prokrastinering är jag rätt bra på ibland – för några år sedan blev det en lekbåt för de nu lite äldre barnbarnen, i stället för tråkiga med nödvändiga arbetsuppgifter ;-)

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2001

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