Tuesday, January 31, 2012

SOF Build: Coaming along nice!

See what I did there?...sorry... couldn't not write it. =0)


My hands are a series of healing cuts,bleeding slices and scars. Blood sweat and tears has been poured into this project; I found it only fitting to sign my art with "gusher" of my own soul. (Authors note: A "gusher"is a form of bleeding I have classified into stages during this build. A "weeper" is a slow one, a "pourer" slightly more; a "gusher" is just below "squirter"..which lucky hasn't transpired....yet!

12 days of stormy weather had given me time to pick away at the kayak. Ending a career, downsizing my life, has really taken over my thoughts this past month. Worrying about some distant future where things are not working out in life; seems to be a unintentional favorite pass time of the right side of my brain. Firing up the kayaking part of my brain seems to dull the roar of horriable things that hasn't ( and most likely never will) even happened.



As I finished carving up one piece of the front stem of the kayak; I bumped into the woodhorse.....and down she came. A cracked aft stem piece. I uttered "fudge" (I dunno why I didn't use my preferred Fuck or other colourful profanity.) I guess it's the fact of knowing that anything that breaks on this is fixable. It isn't like a vehicle that will cost me hundreds of dollars out of the blue; or paying a qualified person to fix it for me. I am that qualified guy! I hauled out some clamps and some waterproof wood glue and patched her up. I was about to peg in the rear stem anyway. .....Fudge.


Having to wait for some glue to dry I texted Rob and luckly he was home and waiting for me to pop over to use his table saw. We cut some 1/8ths of maple I had to begin work on the coaming. While late at night I figured I would get them cut and start in the morning.


Upon getting home I quickly set up a temporary jig to see if I could get away with not making one out of wood. I steamed each piece of maple and bent it into the jig. Worked like a charm! I had decided that I was going to go with a D shaped cockpit as seen on various Hudson strait and Labrador kayaks.


After the strips cooled into a state where they more or less remained in the bent shape; I applied glue to one side and clamped it tightly every inch or so. Tomorrow I will glue the other side, join it to the strait rear peice, and put some smaller strips around the top of the coaming to secure a skirt.



Then I sew the skin!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

SOF Build: Frame complete!



Faring blocks in place and Keelson completed; not bad for a afternoon. Joined on yet another plane the kayak has become solid to move about.

That's all I had planned on doing today.


I popped back downstairs to grab a pack of noodles from the pantry for supper. Before I remembered what I had descended the stairs for I had both stringers tied in place.


Although tightly latched; I still placed a small peg in each stringer joining it to the kayak. While I'm certain it isn't required; one small peg can ease your mind while building!

By the time I remembered the noodles....


Frame complete!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

SOF Build: Sinew, deck ridges, masik and Stem


Tied to the land due to an absolutely ridiculous string of weather has been horrible; yet providing time for some rest and kayak building none the less. Today I hauled out the sinew tying together the strong gunwales; it honestly seemed a little overdone. Yet it's another example of just how sturdy these crafts are built. Pegged, lashed together, and held together by it's skin; a flexible but sturdy craft.


The final ribs in place the night before; it felt nice to be done that part of the build. It was awesome to see it finally looking more like a kayak and less like a snowshoe!! I pegged in two extra rear deck beams which are not called for in any of the plans. However I wished to "beef up" the back for any scramble recovery that may occur. While rolling is key...I think we've all been out of our boat in 3m swells before...I know I have! I will add a further two beams tomorrow to run from there to the backrest.


I had found a large alder with a big bend while out in Trinity bay. After much internal debate on it's strength and durability I decided to go for it and use it to make my masik.


After cutting out some grooves for the forward deck ridges I was surprised that my eyeball method was fairly bang on with the level! I'm improving!

Masik debarked and sanded; forward deck beams pegged in. She's really starting to take shape! My buddy Rob dropped in to see the progress. (I told him it's nice to get company as the cat is being ignorant and not talking to me.) 


Rob and I made a few measurements, caught up on the news, and half planned 3 kayak trips. There are not many people from my childhood I still have much in common with; it's great to have Rob around.  We roughed out the forward stem piece which I shall finish up tomorrow. Luck would have it 20cm of snow and high winds forecasted for tomorrow; which will have me doing "hard time" behind 4 walls yet again. 

Depending on my overall mood tomorrow I could really get quite a bit done.
 The cockpit is the next big part I have to think about. I have some ideas which I'll get into in a later post.

For a guy who can't build a box out of 4 equal pieces of board; I'm beginning to impress myself!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

SOF Build: Ribs, steak and mixed berries


Having the house to myself for the past week the house has temporarily turned into a functional kayakers house. One kayak sits in the living room to stay nice and dry, my steam box sits atop my sink. It doesn't seem to impede my "cooking for one" lifestyle this week. Steak and mixed fruit for supper!! By the time supper was done I could bend some more ribs!


After experimenting with the steam box I wasn't pleased with the low yield of success. One person wrote me and said that steaming it could be allowing the sap and such to seep out of it making it brittle. Heck sounded about right for what I was seeing.  I decided to use the method pointed out to me by Sean Dawe in Cesars Bark Canoe NFB video. No harm in trying I figured!! Using one of my wife's old pots ( or maybe it looks old cause she likes it and uses it alot...who knows!) I placed one rib end in the boiling water and with a coffee cup poured hot water down both sides.


Using the bending Jig I made up (note army belt put to good use!)......


I had fantastic results with only about 10 percent failure. Much quicker, and productive method.


I still have some ribs to finish up tomorrow....alas I am city bound with neighbours and noise restrictions after hours......


And I got some more stock to mill!!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Snap crackle: Not glorious sounds while bending ribs


Steam box ready to go. I over complicated it by adding a "add water" spout and a much too long hose...not to mention tape isnt a good joining substance involving steam!


After initatial testing the hose was shortened  and some 100 mile an hour tape brought up from the basement to make it all work well. Solid! Worked like a charm.


Ribs ready to steam


One hour later I pulled the steaming hot juniper from the box 1 at a time. I had but only one success out of 4. Kinda disappointing. I have found that there are quite a few knots in this wood and I had them much thicker than what the book asked for.


So unfortunately the rest look like this!! I began to wonder if chewing the ribs would be easier for me....my dentist disagrees.

All good. A learning experience. 

Tonight attempt 2 with some solid "experience" and some nifty tricks passed on to me to hopefully make it a tad easier and productive!



Saturday, January 21, 2012

Viking in the cliff.


David Bowie"Starman" turned up just a little too loud pounded on the car speakers as I got ready. Regardless of how fun or interesting the boat building project was; I was getting cabin fever after a week off the water.  Chapel cove 08h00; and ready to paddle.


Colours magnified erosion. Towering red cliffs diverted the South and westerly winds; tossing clouds above. Trees danced in the rhythmic gusts. Streams attraction to the sea frozen in towering icicles; doing their time as temporarily prisoners to the season. 


Exposed rockface sloping gently into the sea was too tempting to not "seal" land upon. The rock slimy with alage made for a interesting shuffle up the stone slipway. Small patches of mulloscus provided grip under portage boots as I pulled my craft.


I spent some time looking around the huge rock for fossils or any little things of interest.  I found mini ecosystems in tidal pools. Signs of spring and my overall requirement for connection to this place were evident in every inch of this beautiful topography.


Seal launching back into the calm of the headland; under sculptures of the sea. Our animal brains are hardwired to spot human faces; thus we see them in clouds,mountains...even toast sometimes.  One of my favorite humans the late Carl Sagan claimed spotting human faces to be an evolutionary trait. This massive cliff face became a canvas to my "evolved" mind. A viking captured by the earth. 


A lone clopse of wood somehow remains gripped to the Harbour main point. Looking out past the calm; I could see the westerly wind finally pitching across the vast expanse of Conception bay. The slow swell would soon turn to a choppy mess of windwave across such a large fetch. Solo paddling here in the winter I tend to listen to my instincts and decided this was as far as I would explore.


A very short paddle along a very beautiful section of the Avalons vast coastline. I don't know how many more kilometers remain on my quest; but I look forward to each one.

Monday, January 16, 2012

SOF build: Family, friends, and progress


3 foot nothing. Nothing but muscle, bone and a desire to help and learn. No talk would be heard about a young juniper being "too big for him to lift". Excited to be helping knowing that this tree would become part of our kayak back in the city.


Rob lending yet another helping hand in milling up this juniper into ribs for the kayak. Without a table saw of my own Rob's help has been paramount; making a lot of hand sawing easy work.


Good bending stock all milled and ready to go!


Cut a little long I'll be trimming these down in the coming days.


Stringers and runner cut. Material for the keelson ready to go.


My oldest excited to buy 59 cent dowels and spending time with dad. I was just as happy!


the end result: A kayak. time spent with friends and bonding and teaching my oldest during very impressionable years.

Life has had me shore bound as my wife and kids get ready for a trip back to Ontario to visit family. While I'll be missing them I know I need to get back on the water and re balance. 

More pictures from the brine to come soon!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Pegging the gunwales




Checking out symmetry today; all looked good to me. 


Gunwales all pegged together..I may have gone a little overboard.

Next week is deck beams and ribs!

However now....heading to Trinity bay to do some kayaking!! See you guys in a few days.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

SOF Build: Gunwales, Mortise, and shaped!


Tracking down my saw horses and tools was a bit of a challenge. More box's still unpacked at the new home. Finally today I got some of the SOF started.


A plus of having it in my den is our old desktop computer is still hooked up down there. Eiichi Ito's awesome "How to cook your Qajaq"; and his facebook photo's of his current SOF build (#12!!) I had all the directed required at arms length.


Of course some bleeding is key to any amateur kayak builder.


Today I cut all the mortise for the ribs and shaped the gunwales. Drilling out the holes with a hand drill and jig and cleaning them up with a chisel was pretty relaxing!


|Shaped, rib mortises all done..


And starting to look like a kayak!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blow me down bluff and brevity


 The hissing of a dovkies wings taking flight both promulgated my approach and labeled just how serene this warm day in January was. Winter couldn't have felt further away.


 The more I thought about the possible adit I had found a few days back; the more I began to doubt my find. I was right to doubt. Just a little further out the bay I quickly found the actual abandoned 1850's coppermine.


Partially obstructed by shrubs and alder the adit extended a mere 6 feet in. The blasting holes verified what I had found was indeed the Holyrood coppermine.  Fine spot to camp!


Rounding Blow me down bluff I encountered the softest rolling swell I've seen here on the rock. Barely enough to even see and just enough to make a slow lullaby song on the rockface.


  Traditional saltbox homes on grassy fields; farms once cut from the forest by Irish settlers. Two common goldeneye took to flight as I entered into this beautiful outport. 60 km from the city; and two worlds apart.


Chapels cove. Named after an english merchant who long ago dried his fish along this beautiful beach. 
Daylight brief and after a long week; I turned back.


I had made decisions this week that I are both life changing and for the best. Hard decisions. Hanging upside down in my kayak taking pictures can put things in perspective. Looking through the shots upon rolling back up; the plethora of life below was reassuring to me. 


Brevity seemed to reflect this trip. This post. This day.
Brevity describes our time here. 

Time to start living.