On November 27, 2006, ground was broken on a perfect waterfront site overlooking the Les Cheneaux islands in Cedarville, Michigan in a ceremony that marked the end of a two-year fundraising effort and the beginning of The Great Lakes Boatbuilding School.
The Les Cheneaux Islands are a group of 36 small islands, some inhabited during the summer months, along a 12-mile stretch of the southeastern shoreline on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan about 30 miles northeast of the Straits of Mackinac. Les Cheneaux is French for “the Channels” which describes the extensive system of Continue reading →
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 →
After attending the 2012 Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, I visited the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Hadlock, Washington. School instructor Bruce Blatchley was excited to show off their one-of-a-kind boat project, Sliver. The 62-foot double-ended daysailer was designed by well-known yacht designer Robert Perry and commissioned by Kim Bottles of Bainbridge Island, Washington. The Northwest School students of the 2011 and 2012 contemporary boatbuilding classes worked on the project. For a school that teaches traditional wooden boat building, learning to build a hybrid of wood/composite construction using epoxy was a unique challenge. Continue reading →
Wooden paddles and boat oars are known for getting dented in service. While G/flex 650 is not optimized for use as a coating, we found it was worth the extra effort it takes to apply to wooden canoe paddles and boat oars to deflect impact and prevent cracking the wood beneath.
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. Continue reading →
Here’s another use of the lost foam method to produce a custom part with a molded interior cavity. In this case, the part was a masthead fitting to hold an internal sheave and provide a route for the halyard to pass. This method can be adapted to a variety of other applications, as demonstrated in Fabricating an Air Scoop.
Cover Photo: Greg Hatten battles white water on a trip trough the Grand Canyon in his replica dory, PORTOLA.
On March 21, 2012, river runners from five western states, Canada, Japan and Chile launched five homemade boats, replicas of important historical designs, in an attempt to complete a 24-day self-guided traverse of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. The replica boats represented a snapshot of river running in Grand Canyon during the 1950s and 1960s, just before Glen Canyon Dam took control of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. Continue reading →
When I told my brother that I was going to build a boat he asked me, “Why?” I didn’t discover the answer until after the project was completed.
I work in the Operations Department at Gougeon Brothers, Inc. and have been here 12 years making WEST SYSTEM® products: epoxy resin, hardeners, fillers, packaging fiberglass etc. But I’d really never used it on a big project. The company has always been involved in boats and boatbuilding, so I figured a boat project of my own would provide me with some ‘how to’ epoxy experience.
I could envision my two young daughters rowing a boat their dad built, but I had to convince my wife. I like to fish and so do my girls, so a good fishing skiff couldn’t hurt. “Think of all the fish fries,” I told my skeptical wife. Continue reading →
I have just about finished restoring a Gougeon Tornado. I’ve always had and loved catamarans, and this one had been sitting out in the sun at the Oklahoma City Boat Club for years. Bob, a fellow club member, offered some parts. His plans were to “chainsaw the hulls tomorrow” and put the pieces in the club Dumpster. That was the push I needed. In a moment of insanity, I told him there was no way I could let him do that. Continue reading →
This article is Lesson 3 of a series. See bottom of page for links to additional articles in this series.—Ed.
Designing and building a successful skeg for Sparks (our 30′ hybrid electric launch featured in Epoxyworks 32) took some head scratching. But in the end, it was just another combination of wood and WEST SYSTEM® epoxy. Our skeg needed to be functional and age gracefully, yet be reasonably quick and easy to build and install. This project was an ideal opportunity to explore the limits as well as the advantages of combining wood with epoxy to engineer simple solutions to complex problems. Continue reading →
A couple of years ago my son Ian asked me about building an A Class catamaran. Having built several of these in the past and knowing what was now on the market, I came up with a build method that would:
Allow us to build a competitive design.
Be at or under the class minimum weight of 165 lb.
Be as strong and stiff as anything on the market.
Be competitive in quality and price, but not get trapped in exotic equipment expense. This meant no vacuum bag, no pre-preg, no resin infusion, and no autoclave.