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. Teaching kayaking is only one small part of his skill set which includes fine woodworking, boat design and construction, and photography. Check out
his site for more information. He made our week very enjoyable and informative. There were only two others in the class, both of whom are skilled paddlers – Wiley and Randy. The four of us visited more than a dozen islands in Eggemoggin Reach.

Other than that, I will let the photos pretty much speak for themselves.

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 should have. I noticed some solids floating around in the mix and when I examined the can of resin, the inside of it was coated with similar solid bits. Not a good sign. I had used this stuff for the end pours and that batch seemed ok, but this last batch almost used up the last dregs from the cans and maybe it was contaminated. Either way, it still hasn’t cured after two days; it is still a bit tacky to the touch.

I had wanted to varnish it beginning yesterday and was hoping to get at least two coats on it before my trip to Maine, but alas, that won’t be happening. Did I mention my trip to Maine? If I haven’t, I have been very remiss since it has set a deadline of sorts for my kayak. I am going to attend a course called Elements of Coastal Kayaking II offered by the WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine. The course begins on Sunday the 29th of August and it will take me two days to drive there. Add in another two nights in DC to visit my girlfriend on the way and you can see that I should leave tomorrow. In fact I am planning to leave tomorrow afternoon after a quick test of Maya in the Monongahela river a mere mile from my place in Pittsburgh. I will sort out any issues with uncured epoxy when I return. I am not too concerned, since she should be completely sealed from the previous two coats of epoxy. That, and this last coat is only tacky on about 1/4 of the boat and it is still pretty hard, just a bit sticky. I am actually hoping she will be cured by Monday, when she first gets a taste of salt water.

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 some lingering on my arms.

Today, I finished the sanding and vacuumed the shop before applying an additional layer of epoxy to the deck to fill any low spots. Once the deck is tack-free I will flip her over and do the hull. That should be the end of epoxying for the kayak. I also tipped-off the paddle with epoxy after doing preliminary sanding.

I also installed the foot-braces and the bulkheads. Tomorrow should see the first coat of varnish…

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 side projects. The paddle is nearing completion. I sanded the fillets and applied a 3″ strip of carbon-fiber on the tip for extra strength. I then applied a gel-coat of epoxy (thickened with colloidal silica) to the back of the blade and let it set up until it was tacky. I then stuck the last layer of carbon on to this surface and the tackiness held it in place and tight against the previous surface. This is an easy way to deal with highly curved surfaces which would otherwise be hard to get the fiber to conform to. I still had to wet out the carbon-fiber once it was stuck to the gel-coat.

I also applied some spandex fabric to my seat back foam using contact cement. I will do the same with the foam seat. I decided to reinforce the hatch with some cross-members, so I fit some strips of cedar into the span and epoxied them in place. Next, I cut out some foam supports for my roof rack. I used the appropriate stations from the strong-back to determine the shape of kayak at each support point and cut the foam to the exact shape.

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