On the river…


We've had two glorious days of "Indian Summer" here in Pittsburgh and I decided to make the most of them by taking the kayak out on the river. Yesterday, I put in near my house and decided to paddle for five bridges on the Monongahela which turned out to be…

Wrapping up


Ok, it's been a long time since my last post.  I haven't been idle, on the contrary I have been very productive, just remiss in keeping up to date with my website.  I have been preparing for my imminent trip to Lake Powell which will be the first real test…

Spray deck


Over the past few days, I have fallen into the routine of wet sanding the deck in the morning and applying a coat of varnish to it and then doing the same in the evening to the hull. During the day, I've been finishing up some of the various side-projects…

Deck varnish


This morning, I flipped the kayak over and used a tack cloth on the deck surface and then proceeded to varnish the deck. I avoided having any "non-wet" edges by working both sides of the cockpit alternately. It worked, but I had to rush it a bit and I ended…

Varnish time at last!


It's been a few days since my last post and no, I have not been idle, just too lazy to post an update. I finished the installation of the footbraces. I epoxied the rails into the kayak (I had to remove the front bulkhead to allow access) with thickened epoxy.…

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.…

Maiden Voyage Video


A video my room-mate Chris took for me of my maiden voyage on the Monongahela river in Pittsburgh. I don't know how fast the barges go downstream in this river, but I can out-pace them at least for a short time. I am guessing about 6 knots.

Maine II


I made it home safely from Maine, driving all 15 hours yesterday since I didn't feel like camping in the rain. The class was great and I learned many things, the most important one being that I have much more to learn. Our instructor, Bill Thomas is an amazing guy.…

Maine


Just a quick update from the WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine. The class is going well, Maya has been repaired and I have been paddling her in the gorgeous waters off the coast of Maine. I will provide a full synopsis when I return to Pittsburgh.

No cure


Well, everything was going perfectly to plan until that last batch of epoxy. I'd run out of my standard stuff and had purchased some cheaper brand from a local boat repair place and I suspect that it might have been sitting on the shelf for a bit longer than it…

Tip off


Yesterday, I brought Maya back inside after briefly checking her fit atop my car. I then began the laborious task of sanding her smooth and feathering all the edges of the fiber-glass overlays. This, of course, generates lots of fiber-glass dust which gets everywhere. Even after showering, there is still…

Maya got wet


This afternoon, I flipped Maya end for end and did the other end pour. Shortly after that, it started to rain, so she got wet for the first time without me. I guess she is even more anxious than I am. Other than that, I worked on a heap of…

End pour anyone?


Today, I trimmed the first outside deck/hull tape joint. I'd let the epoxy cure too long, so it wasn't the easiest going, but I managed. After that, I flipped the kayak over and prepped for the second joint. After that one dried a couple of hours, but was still soft,…

Glass shaft


Today, I finished sanding the paddle shaft and sealed it with a coat of resin. While that was drying, I prepped the first of two outside deck/hull joints. I sanded the joint area smooth and then filled any gaps with a mixture of epoxy and wood flour with a little…

Over the hump


Today, I finished the interior taping. With that awful job done, the rest should be down hill. This side went easier than yesterday's. I read up before starting and discovered that I should have wet the area to be 'glassed with epoxy prior to rolling out the 'glass. This definitely…

And a bag of chips


Busy day today. To summarize, I removed the foot braces and cleaned up the epoxy mounting points, I carved the minicell foam seat, I cut the paddle shaft skarf joint and glued the two halves together, I prepped the deck and hull interiors for epoxying, I taped the exterior of…

Flushrooms


Today, I mounted my footbraces. I followed Vaclav Stejskal's instructions for mounting the Yakima footbraces. This method allows for future conversion for rudder control with the same footbraces. The modifications were simple and it should be easily maintainable. Time will tell. I also trimmed the excess on all of the…

Cheeky Mushrooms


Last night, I sealed the mushrooms with epoxy. This morning they were dry and ready to be installed. I had borrowed my brother-in-law's 1 1/4" forstner bit to drill the holes in the deck, but that choice didn't prove to be a good one. With the curvature of the deck,…

Hatches part trois


Today, I trimmed each hatch opening and then tried to make a rim around each one, only to discover that fiber-glass does not like to wrap 180 degrees around a thin section. Try as I might (using all sorts of tape and clothes pins) I could not get the 'glass…

Hatches part deux


Yesterday, once the epoxy on the hatch rims was tack-free, I proceeded to sand the rim areas as smooth as possible. I then applied three coats of release wax to each entire hatch interior. The next step was to tape the hatches back into position on the outside of the…

Cutting the hatches


I began making the hatches today. I made a template for half of each hatch with paper and transferred the shape to the deck on masking tape. I masked both inside and out to prevent scratches and de-lamination of the fiber-glass. I used a Japanese Bonsai saw which is very…

Hull interior ‘glassed at last


Today was a very busy day for me. I began by sanding the epoxy filler on the deck interior. I then proceeded to create a large fillet all along the keel with epoxy thickened with wood flour. While this was still wet, I laid out the fiber-glass. I am using…

Paddle Blade


I began to fair the hull interior today and made some good progress, but as always, I quickly tired of that strenuous work. So I decided to begin working on my paddle. In his book, Nick Schade describes a a couple of methods for building a paddle. I am using…

‘Glassing the cockpit coaming


So today I 'glassed the cockpit coaming. The deck interior was tack-free this morning, so I trimmed the excess fiber-glass around the perimeter and then sanded it smooth. I took extra care around the cockpit, making sure to have a smooth radius on the transition from deck to coaming. Then…

Fiber-glassing the deck interior


It's been a while since I've updated the blog. I was on vacation with my family for most of that time, which was wonderful. Since the last posting, I finished sanding the coaming lip and then sanded the interior of the kayak deck which took two days (my back could…

The coaming lip – part 2


Today, I applied the last layer of maple to the lip. Once that was cured, I trimmed the excess off the top and bottom of the vertical strips. I then planed the top surface smooth and used some coarse sand paper to round over the sharp corners. It still needs…

The coaming lip


Once the coaming fiber-glass was cured, I started working on the coaming lip. I sanded the outside of the coaming to smooth out the fiber-glass and to make sure I would get a good bond with the laminations I was about to apply. A few weeks ago, a neighbor of…

‘Glassing the coaming


Once the glue dried on the coaming, it was time to remove any hot-glue and then sand the outer surface to prepare for the fiber-glass. My helper and I used sanding blocks to fair out the outside and also rough up about two inches of the adjacent fiber-glass on the…

Making the coaming


With the deck 'glassed and one additional layer of epoxy on to fill the weave, I trimmed the excess 'glass around the perimeter and the cockpit opening and sanded it smooth. My next task was the cockpit coaming, the short wall that surrounds the cockpit opening and to which the…

Fiber-glassing the deck


Today, I sealed the deck with epoxy and put a fill-coat on the two reinforcement layers on the hull. Once the deck was tack-free, I fiber-glassed it in the same manner as the hull. I used Gawker on my MacBook Pro again to record a time-lapse of it. This is…

Reinforcing the hull


Today, I reinforced the hull with two more layers of fiber-glass in the center. The first one basically fills the section between the two strips of maple and the second one fill the section between the two strips of dark wenge. I did them one at a time in the…

‘Glassing the hull


Well, after about 6 or 7 hours, the epoxy I used to seal the wood had become tack-free (at least mostly.) So, I began to unroll the fiber-glass onto it. I am using 50" wide cloth giving me plenty of room, so the most efficient way is to have the…

Sealing the hull


I was finally able to get started on the fiber-glassing phase today. Before putting on any fiber-glass, however, it is recommended to seal the wood with epoxy. This is supposed to make it easier to ensure the correct amount of epoxy is in the fiber-glass once it is installed. Otherwise…

Ready to ‘glass


Durham's Water Putty. I can't say that I am a big fan. Even mixed with water color paint to match the color of the wood, it dried way lighter. I guess I should have experimented before applying, but based on the rave reviews I found scattered about the interwebs, I…

Verticality


More about vertical versus horizontal grain. The two photos below show the difference. In wood like this, the darker parts are harder than the lighter parts. With horizontal grain, the dark and light parts are very tightly packed together. If you can imagine, when you are sanding it, there is…

Sanding and wetting down


Well, the Durham's Water Putty mixed with saw dust was a bust - the color was way too light. I suppose if you used a darker colored saw dust, you could match the color of the wood, but it seems like too much work. I also noticed that the putty…

Who is the fairest of the hull?


Today, I finished fairing the hull, finally. It was another five hours of work. I've decided to market a fitness routine called the "5 hour kayak workout you can do in your basement." Based on the amount of sweat I generated, I think it's a pretty good one, at least…

Fairing the hull


Today I faired most of the remainder of the hull using the fairing board. It is very satisfying seeing the hull transform from a rough shape with glue runs and mismatched edges into a smooth, fair surface. The wood takes on an even matte finish and the graceful curves of…

The ends have no end.


Today, I finished fairing the deck. Additionally, I decided to fix a loose mitered joint in the rear end of the kayak where some of the wenge pin-striping did not fit tightly. I wasn't happy with the way that joint looked and I also thought that the scallop curves ended…

The end of the ends?


Today I finished the ends. I ripped some wenge to about 1/16th of an inch thick and laminated three strips on the each of the ends, using a heat gun to bend them around the tight radii (see video.) I also did some more fairing of the deck using the…

Ends in sight…


Yesterday I spent most of the day scraping and sanding using the fairing board. I also filled in the missing strip at either end of the kayak where the ends mount. Today, in addition to more scraping and sanding, I mounted the ends and covered them with cedar strips. The…

Break-Out!


Busy day today. First, I broke the deck and hull free of the stations. I started by cutting through the hot-glue that I had put periodically between the deck shear strip and the hull shear strip. Next, I pried that joint open enough to fit a screw driver in between…

Getting closer…


Installed another nine strips (with pin-striping) today. I think there are only seven strips remaining, which means that I should be able to finish up (this stage anyway) tomorrow. Insha'allah. For those of you who know some Arabic, you'll recognize this as meaning "God willing." It is commonly used in…

Filling in the right side…


In the past two days, I have been catching up on the right side of the deck. The first step was to install the two strips that define either side of the "inflection" curve. This is an involved process (which I discovered while installing the left side versions) and it…

Left side of deck finished!!!


I had a busy day today and worked until the left side of the deck was done. Getting the stripes in front of and behind the cockpit opening to match was tricky, but it worked out fine in the end due mostly to luck. The last piece needed to be…