Friday, July 26, 2013

Tid Bits

Well, I had expected to be done in June. Life got me off schedule for a good month. As I've said, there isn't much to report on loads of varnishing and sanding, but I do have a few items to share:

  1. I got Minicell from Joe at Redfish kayaks and carved away at the seat. It started as a 4x16x24 block. A Japanese saw and rasp (sure form) made decent work out of it. I used fore and aft forms from the build to interpolate the rough cuts. I plan on securing it to the hull by Velcro strips for ready adjustments until I'm familiar with the boat.
    Fitted foam.

    Note drain channel in center.

    Scraps and tools.

  2. Toggles for the latigo leather deck lines (cut from a belt strip to 3/8" width) were laminated from yellow pine and mahogany and sanded to shape then varnished 4 times.

    toggles installed

  3. Paddle keeps at the ends of the boat were installed. I think the loose leather tied at the ends will be easier to push the blade under.
  4. Final pass of clear silicone sealant glued in the bulkheads. I placed a small hole dead center for breathing between compartments. The dry time was forever (4-5 days) so I used a lamp to speed things up.
    silicone glow

    Moth over kayak

  5. It is good to have a 9 year old boy to install the foot pegs. I just couldn't reach the forward bolt to save my life. He slithered in to hold peg frame against hull while I tighter bolts on the outside.
  6. Back brace is sanded, glassed, and shaped. Foam and strap slots need to be added. I still haven't decided on any hip braces which are preferred for rolls (that I've not attempted).
    inside face glassed

    At 230 hours, I'm pushing to splash this baby Sunday afternoon even if a few details remain like hip braces. Yeah! Yeah!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sand, Varnish, Sand, Varnish ... etc. etc.

Not much to report other than wet sanding, varnish, wet sanding, varnish ... you get the idea. The weather has been quite humid and I think it caused a bad result on my next to last coat. Add to that there may have been some microscopic moisture present that pushed the varnish away in a few places. I hurried the past coat and paid for it. So, ... more sanding. I've decided to wait for cooler temps in the morning for this last swipe of the brush.

Sanded and waiting for last coat ...

While she waits, I ordered some Minicell foam to carve a seat and cushion the back brace I glued together this afternoon. A stiff piece of paper was taped under the aft end of the cockpit and a pencil line was scribed a good inch from the rear and as close and 1/2" on the sides. This template was taped to some scrap OSB and 2 sides were cut out to make the form. Crude but effective. More pics and details can be found here from earlier braces.

new brace glued up.

Determined to use the yellow pine and some mahogany scraps, I copied the "theme" of the cockpit coaming. We'll glass both sides after some sanding and shaping, contact glue an inch of Minicell and varnish the rest. Instead of fiberglass strap eyes, I may use stainless. This is where we stand at 219 hours.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Maidens, VA to Robious Landing

Had the best sort of paddle yesterday afternoon: downstream and downwind. After 5 coats of varnish on the new boat's hull, I needed inspiration for the final stretch. A lazy river trip down the James was the answer. It also proved a few things to me:

  1. our back braces were close to perfect save for some vertical adjustment needed to position the brace an inch higher.
  2. the wood slatted floor boards were not comfortable enough for hours on tails. Surprise! A pad must be added.
  3. nothing is slipperier, stickier, or oozes more than river mud. Getting our boats too the water without falling and/or getting stuck was a bit of a trick. Thankfully the islands we stopped at later were mostly sand. The recent high water had dredged all kinds of sludge up the banks. Boat ramps were useless. We had to find a bank where the grass gave enough traction to the water's edge.
Our start put in on the very muddy banks at Maidens, VA and ended at Robious Landing Park where a good floating pier exists. The dock at Watkins Landing was missing. Perhaps the recent river swelling took it out. It was there a week prior to all the rain. This paddle along the James was almost 20 miles and we covered it with 3 stops in about 3.5 hours. To our benefit the river was moving fairly swiftly. I don't know if there was a high water warning, health alert or both. We didn't check, but we were alone save for 1 jet ski and 1 tuber the entire afternoon. Unusual along this stretch. We were joined by numerous blue herons, huge painted turtles, peregrine falcons, and one bald eagle. No pics of them regretfully. The iPhone and GoPro camera were never at the ready, but here are a few pics along the way.

Here is a short video through some off the runs between the islands along the way. Tomorrow: back to the varnish!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Glossy Pics

After 5 days of varnishing, it has almost become a ritual. Early in the AM I have hauled the boat out of the garage to wet sand drips, sags, and errors with 320 grit. I find this doesn't remove too much varnish and the water keeps the finish cool enough so it does not peel off the hull. Doing this outside doesn't spoil the cleaned garage. A squeegee pulls off the water and then the boat goes back into the garage. Thankfully the damp weather has kept the dust down. I have been spraying the floor down, wipe the hull with denatured alcohol, and make 2 passes with a tack cloth. After the dust showing in the first coat, I rigged a plastic tent over the boat.

Tented boat.

A couple tips that took me awhile to absorb:

  1. Start on the hull. This allows for practice before the more obvious deck work.
  2. Taping along the shear leaves a clean line to work from the hull to deck. Typical masking tape worked fine.
  3. Thin the varnish. I added a cap of thinner to about a cup of varnish. This dramatically improved the flow.
  4. Use quality foam brushes. Wooster makes a good 3" one. Smooth and no hairs in the finish.
  5. Lay on the varnish parallel to the keel down to shear. The stroke perpendicular to the keel down to the shear and finally stroke parallel again into the previously wet area. This helps level the coat and eliminate runs. Stick with 12" - 18" length portions to avoid having the finish skin over.
  6. Allowing the varnish 24hrs to dry helps harden it enough for light sanding.
By the 5th coat I felt I had gained some competence. There are a few sags there, but hard to detect.
Now on to the deck and accessories.

Shine from 5 coats.

Mid section.