A Trak Assembly Jig
Phil Ellis explains a simple jig he constructed to make assembly of his Trak kayak easier:
I find the process of installing the jacks in the Trak to be unnecessarily fiddling, so instead trying to develop facility, I whipped up some plywood assembly fixtures to make it easier.
The first photo is the plywood parts. The lower hole was was a mistake and turned out to be too low to allow insertion of the jack. The material is 3/4″ plywood, but 1/2″ would probably work fine. The second photo shows the spreader jack in place, and the third shows the keel jack in place. This process takes about 30 seconds, and obviously after the keel jack in installed, the fixtures and jack used to expand them are removed.
The frame connections are a case of customer friendliness run amok. With half a boat all bungeed together, the unassembled halves are clumsy to handle. The frames are particularly a pain, so I intend to color code and cut them loose from the stringers. This will also make the frame easier to pack, which is by no means easy, even in the huge pack provided.
Although the rocker changing feature is both useful and effective, the side jacks are an unnecessary complication, are not very effective, and add weight. Even if they worked well and were easy to use, they effectively do the same thing as edging, which the boat does very well. I had considered working up a mechanical expander to take the place of the side jacks, but after further consideration, I think I can figure out an optimum length that works with the rocker change and make a rigid part with spring loaded tabs to engage the frame tubes. In addition to being simpler, it should save me about 8 lbs.