About 30 years ago, I built an 18′ wood strip canoe. At the time, my family was young and I could only work on it intermittently. Over the course of six months, I had faired my mold frames, applied the redwood strips, faired the outside of the hull with a keen eye and applied the fiberglass cloth. Two months later I decided to take it off the mold to fair and fiberglass the inside. To my horror, the exterior hull bottom had a big dimple in the middle when removed from the forms. I immediately knew the cause. The humidity in my garage had skyrocketed since the outside of the hull was finished with fiberglass and epoxy. The unsealed inside of the hull had probably gained 4-5% in moisture content since the outside was fiberglassed. Continue reading →
As summer approaches, keeping students interested in learning while wrapping up the school year can be a challenging task. I teach mechanical engineering at Hartland high school in Hartland, Michigan. My students learn the principals of technical design while guiding through a fun, hands-on, year-end design project. Continue reading →
I made this Dala horse in the style of the iconic Swedish horse as a Christmas gift for our first grandchild. I shaped the body out of a 3 pounds blue dock foam. I then covered the model with 3 1/2 oz crow-foot fiberglass cloth cut on the bias. I used WEST SYSTEM Epoxy and fairing fillers.
The body of the horse was primed and painted with acrylic water-based paint. The rockers are varnished fir. The horse is very lightweight and strong. When she isn’t riding it, our granddaughter enjoys pushing her horse around the house.
This stand-up paddleboard, commonly called a SUP, was lovingly handcrafted by Joe Pakkala. His attention to detail is impressive in the herringbone inlays and the non-skid foot pads incorporated into the epoxy’s finish. As opposed to traditional adhesive non-skid pads, incorporating the nonskid into the epoxy allows you to have a safe place to stand without covering the beauty of a natural wood finish.
Cover Photo: Modern voyagers traverse the water in a 26′ North Canoe.
Canadian Canoes has been building wood strip epoxy canoes for some 35 years. We’ve produced many thousands of western red cedar canoe strips from clear planks which originated in British Columbia. Eventually, we realized that ripping the strips one at a time then adding on the bead and cove profiles was terribly inefficient. With valuable input from Peter Feindel from Taurus Craco Woodworking Machinery, we used a milling machine to produce consistently accurate canoe strips. What once consumed five hours of monotonous work producing the strips for one canoe now takes about four minutes on the milling Continue reading →
G/flex epoxies weren’t developed with coating in mind, but early on in applications testing we discovered they were excellent at dealing with impact. This became evident when we used G/flex 650 (the unthickened version) as a coating and when we used G/flex 655 (the thickened version) as a protective buildup.
G/flex 650 is not optimized for use as a coating, but we found it was worth the extra effort it takes to apply to wooden parts that might get dented in service, such as wooden canoe paddles and boat oars. As a coating, G/flex deflects without cracking when the wood beneath it gets dented. Continue reading →
I fell in love with the North Star baidarka-style kayaks developed by Rob Macks of Laughing Loon Custom Canoes & Kayaks in Maine. But when I tried one out, the cockpit was too roomy for me. So, I bought plans for the smaller Fire Star. When I realized it was going to be smaller than I wanted, I put the Fire Star plans into my CAD program and blew it up proportionately to be halfway between the two models. Continue reading →
We sailors sometimes think of ourselves as adventurers and explorers, self sufficient and capable of handling the vagaries of wind and weather. But our view of voyaging includes refrigeration to keep the food and drink cold, sail handling and navigation systems to make sailing easy and safe, and a good dry, comfortable boat so we remain content while sailing to the ends of our own personal world. When we compare that to the skills and equipment of early voyagers, it can be almost embarrassing. Continue reading →