26 October 2008

Holy clamps, batman!

IMG_0247

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.

IMG_0232 IMG_0235

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! 

IMG_0240

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

IMG_0242 Lots and lots and lots o' clamps

IMG_0246

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...

3 comments:

Emily said...

you are SO COOL. boatbuilding machine! good thing you have ClampMasterSue with you.

sue said...

it's amazing how much satisfaction can be gained by a strong, successful clamping...

Michael said...

WOW. I stumbled on your blog looking for ideas and know how for the little kayak that has taken up residence in my brain. Can I come see your project?

Michael
www.adventurefreaks.org