Recovery and beyond

I learned a lot of things at the WoodenBoat School and came away from there with a number of projects/repairs. This last week has been occupied with gathering materials, planning and prep work, but recently, I have been back in the workshop actually doing some things and it feels good.

My first concern was the epoxy that I applied in Maine that did not adhere completely to the surface I had scraped clean of all the un-cured epoxy. There must have been some residual un-cured epoxy remaining and the new epoxy didn’t like and beaded up like water on a waxed car (see photo.) I sanded this surface again and re-coated it with epoxy with much better results, but still with some beading occurring. A second coat of slightly thick epoxy (that had started to go off) seemed to stick to some of the worst areas. I will still need to sand it all down to see what it really looks like.

Secondly, I repaired one paddle blade which had de-laminated during usage in Maine. I had forgotten to remove the mold release wax from one of the surfaces before bonding another layer to it and it eventually separated. The fix was pretty easy, I just sanded both surfaces and wiped them down with acetone and applied a thin layer of epoxy to each before clamping them together with spring clamps (see photo.)

I also decided to make the slots in my seat-back a bit more waterproof, so I used a common method of making the slot over-sized, filling it with epoxy and then re-cutting the slot in the middle, leaving a nice border of epoxy, rather than raw wood (see photos.)

Next, I began making cradles for my roof-rack. The foam blocks worked well for my trip to Maine, but proved a bit unwieldy for long-term use, so I decided to make some cradles following the design of Ross Leidy of Blue Heron Kayaks. I purchased some 1/16″ ash veneer online at a good price from Constantines Wood Center. For the form profile, I used my Rhino model of the kayak and sectioned it at the locations of my roof-rack cross bars and then adjusted the shape to allow for the thickness of the wood and padding and also for a flat mounting surface. I ended up making both cradles the same shape, so I could have just as easily used one of my station forms and worked form there. I will end up mounting the cradles to the cross bars differently than Ross did. My factory rack cross-bars have a channel in the top surface in which a rubber strip fits. This channel is the perfect size for 1/4″ spring nuts I found in the electrical department (near the conduit) of my local Lowes (see photos.) So I will mount the cradles directly to the cross bars.

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The next project (actually, all of these are sort of occurring simultaneously) was another repair. I had used Vaclav Stejskal’s instructions for mounting my Yakima foot-braces, but discovered that while that method looks good and would probably work OK for casual paddling, it does not take any abuse such as rolling – the right side popped off during my first roll (I still managed to finish the roll however!) I still do not want to drill holes through the hull to mount the braces, so I have decided to follow Bill Thomas’ (of Bill Thomas Woodworking) advice and use a piece of plywood epoxied to the interior of the hull to mount the rails to. I didn’t have any marine plywood, so I made my own using left-over bits of the 1/16″ ash veneer epoxied together. I cut it to slightly larger than the aluminum rails and drilled the mounting holes for some 1/4″ stainless steel tee-nuts which I modified. I cut off the barbs and filed the flange shape into a square. I made a square recess in the back of the plywood to accept the flange. I still need to file the excess of the threaded part of the nut which protrudes beyond the front surface (see photos.) I had to drill out the threaded holes in the aluminum rails and modify the mounting screws to allow them to be used from the inside. I just filed a flat on either side of the head to allow it to fit through the gap in the rails (see photos.)

The last project (still in progress) is a spray deck. I am following Duane Strosaker’s instructions but using a 5 gallon plastic paint bucket as my torso form instead of sheet metal (which I didn’t have.) The bucket turned out to be slightly too large for me, so I cut a thin strip out of one side and taped it back together. I ordered all my materials from Sweet Composites.

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