Read the title of this article again. Could a statement be more confrontational? I sure didn’t think so when my ex-wife laid it on me! The issue of “flexible” vs. “stiff” epoxies seems to have become a battleground in a continuing debate among adhesive manufacturers, wooden boat builders, restorers and repair yards. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Is it even a “right or wrong” argument? Continue reading →
Using epoxy with wood and modern high modulus fibers, the homebuilder can create light and strong evolutions of the sailing canoes designed by the Scot, John McGregor,in the 1860s. Modern decked sailing canoes are simple, efficient, solo craft which are equally proficient under sail or double-bladed paddle. Puffin and Serendipity, for example, are 15′ long with a 34″ beam. Their unrigged weight is 45 lb; fully rigged weight is under 70 lb, including Continue reading →
Braided Kevlar®, or composites with Kevlar and carbon braid, are used for joints and many components of my sailing canoes. These include the hull/deck joint, cockpit coaming and spray deck rims, the leeboard bracket and retaining pin, the attachment of the mast step to the hull, the gunter’s yard heel fitting, and the Continue reading →
Dave Hatton and I had a January trip planned to the Everglades and the Florida Keys. We decided to use a Feathercraft™ double folding kayak with a sailing rig, but were not very happy with its sailing performance to weather. It has a simple reaching/downwind sail and no effective lateral resistance to give it any bite in the water. It’s a neat boat, but we decided we could improve its performance without too much effort. We would start with a leeboard and look at the rig later. Continue reading →
The original sailing rigs on both Serendipity and Puffin are Hugh Horton’s sophisticated version of the old, but efficient sliding gunter rig (Figure 1). Hugh had put a lot of thought into sailing rigs for canoes and had chosen the gunter because it best fit several needs that he considered mandatory for a cruising canoe. Continue reading →
Boats are my first love, but I get excited about projects like this Supermileage® vehicle, other SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and airfoil carved-foam bicycle. My job offers great opportunities to talk to some of the most talented and positive thinking people around: sculptors, inventors, rocket builders, and good ol’ boatbuilders. Folks who envision and tinker with a desire to experiment, improve, compete, make a living or just play around. Continue reading →
I was in my basement applying some 2×4 furring to a concrete block wall in preparation for insulating and hanging drywall. I noticed a crack in a horizontal mortar joint about half way between the floor and the ceiling running nearly the length of the wall. I realized that this crack was an indication that the block wall was bowing inward. I don’t know how long this had been going on, or how much pressure it took to cause the problem. What I did know was that I had to take some steps to stop the wall from bowing more. Continue reading →
Editor’s note: this article was written in 2000, years before we formulated G/Flex 655 epoxy which has superior performance with plastics. The basic plastic boat repair methods described here still represent best practices, but for optimal results use these methods with G/flex 655 epoxy on plastics.
Molded plastic canoes and kayaks are incredibly tough and durable. Occasionally though people damage them and call us for repair recommendations. Considering that plastic film is often used as a mold release for epoxy, you can see what we’re up against when we try to bond to it. Continue reading →
Editor’s note: this article was written in 2000, years before we formulated G/Flex 655 epoxy which has superior performance with plastics. The basic plastic boat bonding methods described here still represent best practices, but for optimal results use these methods with G/flex 655 epoxy on plastics.
The hull shape of a white water kayak is not designed for tracking well in open water. Since I do most of my kayaking on open water and flatter rivers, I decided to mount a skeg on the hull to make it track better. This is pretty simple if you own a wood or fiberglass boat, but can be more challenging on a polyethylene kayak. Continue reading →
More people are using recycled plastic/wood composite lumber for decks and other various projects. Although each manufacturer of recycled plastic lumber has his own blend, we found that most are using very similar ingredients: an equal amount of melted recycled plastic mixed with recycled wood chips or sawdust and then extruded in the form of dimensional lumber. Since the wood is encased in plastic, the plastic/wood composite boards are supposed to last longer than traditional decking materials and carry a good warranty. Many of these boards are not intended for use as structural members, but they Continue reading →