26 October 2008

Holy clamps, batman!


Actually, I think I could have used a few more...well, at least some different kinds of clamps.  Sue and I agreed the "gun clamp" and the "big ass clamp" were the best...the others really just barely did the job.  Get together a bunch of thin strips of wood, a tight oval, wax paper, and a ton of epoxy and you get the idea -- thoughts on "there must be a better way" kind of float through your head.

What on Earth am I talking about?? 

The cockpit rim, or coaming, for my kayak needs to be built.  The typical way that is suggested is to build a long steam box and steam bend a ~6' length of 7/8" thick hardwood around a form that is oval-shaped .. the cockpit.  Steve and Ben suggested making it instead by laminating 1/8" thick strips of spruce around the same form with some kind of adhesive....a marine epoxy being the best bet all around.  Except, of course, for ease of use.

Ben agreed to help rip out the long and thin strips of spruce, and to help me in the endeavor to create an oval-shaped form that could be worked with.  This was a more tedious task than I had anticipated, largely due to some of my general woodworking ineptitude...that being said, I think I'm getting better and better as this project continues.  Thankfully the company was good, patience abounded, and I/we were successful...kind of.  I'm also working on my concept of "perfection" vs. "good enough" and being a little more picky.

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So the next day I went with the intention of epoxying.  I'm using System Three Laminate Gel (I think is what it's called), with something around a 10 minute set time.  The first roadblock was the wax paper - very necessary to not glue the clamps to the strips, strips to the table, table to the clamps, strips to the form, etc etc etc.  Found out (thanks, Mom!) that wax paper and parchment paper are indeed different beasts, but the jury is still out on whether or not parchment could be used for this task.  I decided to play it safe (as I typically due, I'm such a pansy - need to work on this?) and get me some good ole'fashioned wax paper.  Even with the strips, the form, the clamps, the wax paper, and the epoxy, I was unable to perform this task alone - although I gave it the old college try and found myself covered in epoxy and unsure as to whether or not a kayak actually even *needs* a cockpit rim.  I mean, really...

Sue, thankfully, called and offered her assistance!! Did she know what she was getting into?  Probably not.  But am I ever thankful? Absolutely! 


Sue loves clamps.  In fact, she {hearts} them...

IMG_0242 Lots and lots and lots o' clamps


My days of laminating are not over, though they're getting close.  It'll be interesting to go back tomorrow and see how much I glued to the table.  I fear that my wax paper job may have been a bit on the sloppy side...

22 October 2008

She Floats!!!

Yesterday I did a saran test on my completed boat frame!  I was fairly nervous, to the point that I had a hard time convincing my body I needed to eat lunch.  It's been over two years since I've been in any sea kayak, and that was only a one week trip in Prince William Sound.  My friend Ben kept asking how my roll was...I kept insisting we not talk about it - or how difficult a wet exit would be from a boat with such a small opening.  Squeezing into this Greenland kayak is no small feat.  I don't want to try squeezing out of it in Kachemak Bay in mid-October. That being said, I had three people on the shore ready for the rescue, my PDF, and a full change of clothes just.in.case.




Kaya was a little unsure of exactly what I thought I was doing.  She was definitely not going to be swimming out to meet me.  Pemba, Ben's dog, on the other hand was all about it.  I was pretty sure she was going to take me down by trying to jump on the boat - but crisis was averted. 



The Gibson's, looking on.  They have provided me with all of the lumber for this project, ripped much of it to proper dimensions, and have graciously donated a small space to me at the sawmill to finish up this project, as winter has descended and my front-yard-uncovered workspace stopped being quite so productive.

05 October 2008

It's baseball postseason and white-capped mountains are in view!

I can't believe it's already October.  The blustery winds, periodic rains, cold temperatures and clear skies drive the point home.  Not to mention the incredibly beautiful snow-capped mountains out my window, across the Bay.  Bringing it home even further will be later today when I switch back to my snow tires for a trip to Fairbanks starting tomorrow.  I remember vividly switching those tires over in May and stashing the studs in the shed.  Time flies...and here we are on the brink of another winter, baseball's postseason in full swing.  I'm a little disappointed that the Cubs were ousted so early, but hopefully today the Red Sox will sweep the Angels and move on to either the White Sox or TB...I'm kind of hoping for the Rays.

On the boat front:

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The keel and chines are done (though possibly the chines are set too high on the bow & stern pieces....), the bow and stern pieces created & pegged to the keel and lashed to the gunwales.

In order to join the gunwales and the stem pieces on the bow and stern, I chiseled out a recess and cut out a breast plate to lay across the three pieces on either end:


Here are a bunch of little saw-cuts that were then chiseled out:


Tadaa!  The stern breast plate. 


She's coming along!!


On other fronts, this is a picture from last week - there is far more snow now, but this is part of my view from my room...the snow is now blanketing the peaks, and there's a dusting almost to the bay.  Yeah!  If you haven't heard my excited rant, I'm planning to take up some backcountry skiing this winter - I can't wait to get into the mountains!

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Dogs are still happily roaming the beaches.....


And we have something that semi-resembles autumn around these parts...fleeting as it may be, I'll take it.  Someday soon I'll post up pictures from the harvest party we had last night...indeed, I had people eating donuts off of strings in what has become known as New England tradition.  Did I make this up?  I know I've done it before, but perhaps it's not as ingrained as I've made it sound...at any rate, I almost can't believe that 10 people got down on their knees and attempted to eat donuts, no hands, faster than their peers.  Happy fall!