Making Avataq Jr

PatternThis weekend I had a few hours to spare on Friday night so I embarked on a project I had been looking forward to for some time – to build an Avataq, a Greenland Kayak hunting float, not for the purpose of hunting but as a rolling aid to help teaching, as well as to learn a couple of rolls that require the use of an Avataq strapped to the kayak.
The is a well known book on building Greenland Kayaks by Christopher Cunningham, it contains plans for many accessories including a hunting float. The book contains detailed instructions on making a float using heat seal-able nylon. I was not interested in building one this way, I wanted instead to make one from neoprene.
Cut outI researched what was the best material and bonding method, I opted for 3mm neoprene with a contact cement for bonding and a heat sealing tape over the joints as well as a “baseball stitch” sewing method for strengthening the joints with thread.
I started by transferring the pattern onto thick paper (a brown paper grocery store bag opened up).
Avataq Flipper NozezleI drew one inch squares over an area 24″ by 18″ and then used this to map out the shape from Christopher Cunningham’s book. I then cut the pattern out and marked the center line so I could create the three different individual pieces from the one pattern.
I transferred the shapes to the neoprene using tailors chalk, I purchased neoprene on a roll which allowed me to get all three pieces from one 18″ strip, laid out side by side.
Next I cut each piece out of the 3mm neoprene trying to keep each edge as smooth as possible.
AvataqI then sewed each seam together. While doing this I realized that the corners where not going to work well for neoprene based on the books pattern so I rounded each corner with about a 3/4 inch round. This allowed each end to be sewn into a nice curved “neck” and “tail” instead of the original pattern that would have created an odd star like end. After I had sewn each seam I sealed them with neoprene cement, and then ironed heat seal-able tape over the joint. I fixed the nozzle (purchased from NRS) into a small PVC tube which I cemented into one of the flippers which I had reduced in size to make it a snug fit (diameter).The end product looks like a baby seal but was tiny in comparison with the Brooks Avataq which is at least double the size of the Cunningham pattern.

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