USA Bobsled/Skeleton’s Crew Chief, Richard Laubenstein, constantly works toward one main goal: to design and maintain the fastest, most aerodynamic bobsleds for Team USA’s athletes. Bobsleds are high-performance machines powered by people. Athletes push the sled in a sprinting start to gain speed, then jump in to continue down the icy track at speeds exceeding 95 mph. Continue reading →
I wanted to purchase a personal watercraft so I’d be able to join my friends at the local lake for some fun in the sin this summer. Like most people on a budget, I searched Craigslist for the best deal. I needed something low maintenance, so a WaveRunner™ felt like a good fit. After a week of looking, I found a 2004 Yamaha GP1300r that appeared to be in decent shape; however, a strangely placed sticker on the top port side turned out to be covering a painful past. Continue reading →
Looking for an entry-level composite project? One that needs a minimum amount of materials and construction space, costs less than a boat, but still lets you travel on water? If you live in snow country, why not build a pair of composite snowshoes?
These snowshoes are made from a rigid foam core between two layers of carbon-fiber cloth, edged with 1″ Kevlar tape. A carbon-fiber wrapped wood spar runs across each snowshoe under the ball of your foot. This provides a solid mounting point for a couple of stainless steel eye-bolts to attach a simple toe-and-heel strap for a binding. Fiberglass tape reinforces the top and bottom edges, and the upper surface of the snowshoes where your winter boots contact them.
The Klondike Derby is an annual winter camping trip held in our district (and many others across the country) for Scouts to hone their scouting skills in a winter environment. During the weekend event, Scout patrols go from station to station around our local Scout Camp, facing challenges that require them to demonstrate their skills in making a fire, navigating with a map and compass, cooking, knot-tying, and applying first aid. The Scouts must bring all their gear with them as they trek from station to station, including ropes, stoves, kindling, and hiking staves. Hence, each patrol is required to have a sled for their gear which they, as a patrol, must haul. The sled must be strong and stiff to hold the patrol gear, yet lightweight because at the end of the weekend there is a race between patrols, and the fastest sled wins.
Cover Photo: Wooden Bicycle designed and built by Aaron Holmes
For the past ten years, I have enjoyed an increasing passion for cycling including wooden bicycles. Cycling is the perfect combination of effort and motion for me. I’m fascinated with the details and getting “hands-on” with bicycles, both designing and building them. All types of bikes have interested me: road bikes, cross bikes, gravel bikes, mountain bikes, and more. I ride these bikes several thousand miles each year on all types of terrain. Continue reading →
Big Jon (BJ) serves as a reel for retrieving and letting line attached to floating planer boards in and out from a boat while trolling. Planer boards are used to get fishing lures off to the side of the hull so the lures aren’t following directly behind the boat while trolling for walleye. The further the planer board is reeled out, the further the lures are from the side of the hull. BJ has served Tom and Lorraine Klinski well but recently developed some cracks in what appears to be a black nylon plastic. Continue reading →
At the end of the season this year while riding in a local terrain park, I misjudged the approach to a pipe and ended up crashing the nose of my snowboard into the end of the pipe. Fortunately, I was able to ride away from the impact. Later in the day, I noticed that the nose of the board had been deformed. When I got home, I studied the damaged area closely and determined that it was not safe to ride the board in that condition. The entire nose area had become soft and flexible because much of the wood core in that area had been broken. In addition to the bent nose edge, the top sheet had cracked. Left as is, this would have allowed water to penetrate to the core of the board which would have made it unrepairable. The technicians at my local board shop told me it could be repaired but cautioned that I needed to use an epoxy that remains flexible after it cures to prevent the repair from breaking. Continue reading →
Last Father’s Day I received a new light and sleek bicycle from my family. It is by far the nicest bike I’ve ever owned. I enjoy riding it to work in the spring, summer and fall. Because it is so nice, I decided I didn’t want to bolt on the aluminum bracket used previously over the back wheel on my old bike. The bracket had served multiple purposes. It supported my travel bag and it acted as a fender to keep road water off my back while riding. I decided I would ride with a backpack instead to reduce bulkiness and thought it would be nice to make a lightweight fender that I could snap on for those rainy days. That would allow me to remove it for longer trips and on nice weather days. 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 →