Thursday, December 31, 2009


Thursday 31 December 2009: Layed out the pieces of the strongback and marked them off for drilling.

Started piece-by-piece to drill out 30 - 3/8 inch holes for carriage bolts that will hold everything together. Left to attend New Year's Eve dinner before my work was done.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

cleaning up the frames

Wednesday 30 December 2009: Took off work because it is threatening to be wet and difficult weather coming up. Drilled starter holes in the frame interiors. Then I took them out on the patio and cut them out with a saber saw. Spent the rest of the day cleaning them up with a sanding drum on the drill press and various wood rasps to clean out the insets for the keelson and deck stringers.

The frames should be more or less done, with the exception of sealing and finishing. Time to get the strongback put together and the gunwales, keelson and chines scarfed so that this thing can begin to look a bit more like a kayak.

Monday, December 28, 2009

cutting the frames

Sunday 27 January 2009:  Saturday I begin to elaborate on the poster board frames. I puzzled over frame 4 a little, finally posting a question to the Kayak Building Forum just to be sure I wasn't missing something. Frame 4 is the frame just in front of the cockpit and the legs go through there. It is very small and claustrophobical in appearance. I had to check it four or five times. I redrew it with a rounded over upper span. It is still tight looking but I'll go with that. Yes this is indeed a tight fitting boat.

I placed the frames all within a 2 foot long section of an 8 foot sheet of 12 mm okuome. I could make three more boats from this one sheet at this rate.

I rough cut the frames from the big sheet with a sabre saw out on the saw dusty old patio. Lost a lot of snow from the backyard during the long rain Saturday and over 50 degree F temperatures today.  It's almost hard to remember what it looked like just last weekend. I brought the frames inside and finished the outline cuts on the bandsaw.

The pile of frames matched up with their poster board partners.

Outlines of all frames are now cut out. The next step is to drill starter holes and cut out the frame interiors. I also cut the lumber up for the strongback so that it is ready to be drilled and assembled. I'm still pondering frame 4. On the advice of Brian Scarborough, Bill Hamm and others on the KBB, I may try to build or replace the upper span of frame 4 to form a true masik. I have time to think about it -- I will use the lower part of the form regardless of  what I decide to do.

Monday, December 21, 2009

strongback materials, offsets, forms, ...

Sunday night -- Monday 21 December 2009: Winter solstice. DC closed down by storm. Took the offsets for the Yost sea Rider and started to layout the section outlines on posterboard. It is not necessary to lay them out separately like this, they can be done on one sheet. But I wanted to play with them and be able to lay them all out on the plywood sheet to be able to get the least amount of waste.

The first problem is that the offsets for  sea rider are given in factions of a foot. Kind of inconvenient? So I put the offsets into an Open Office spreadsheet and wrote a conversion to centimeters. Took me a few hours to lay these out, check the measurements twice, and carve them out. They are ready to layout on the plywood so that the rough outlines can be cut out with a saber saw.

Also stopped at the local Home Despot to pick up some more rough lumber to build the strongback.

The Greenland paddle blank I roughed out last weekend is still waiting to be carved. Drew center lines on a clear spruce 2 x 4 last night that should make a nice short, wind paddle.

Having been trapped in my home by the Blizzard of 2009 the last two days, like the Donner party, I can say that it was a close shave that I was able to get out today for provisions. The cats and I had been circling one another warily. But we made it through by the skin of our teeth, and it was not necessary to resort to cannibalism to survive the Great Blizzard of 0ught-Nine.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

gunwales, chines, keelson and deck stringers

20 December 2009: Finally stopped snowing sometime late last night. After digging out, I ripped the necessary lengths of western red cedar to make a Tom Yost Sea Rider. The sawdust should help improve traction on the icy, north face, patio.

Work is closed to tomorrow so perhaps I can get the forms cut and strongback built.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

western red cedar

13 December 2009: Picked up enough beautiful, clear, straight-grained WRC Friday afternoon to build at least one sea rider. I also picked up a perfect WRC 2x4 7 feet long to make a Greenland paddle. Cleaned up a big mess in the shop and set up a new drill press. Then I marked up the 2x4 and cut out the rough shape on the bandsaw. It looks roughly paddle-shaped, ready for planing and sanding.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Annapolis Rock, Appalachian Trail, Maryland

2009 11 29: katinka the diesel golf gets a new battery today and wants to go for a drive. So we drive out route 40 past Frederick to where the AT crosses over 70 West and under 40 west. While katinka takes a nap, dreaming electrons, I walk, in very thin shoes, up to Annapolis Rock and back. It is a pleasantly warm day for late November. I am never in any real danger of starvation due to eating a sandwich, and a plentiful supply of plump, corn-fed hikers on the trail. I did get one or two hunger pangs walking back from the rock. But managed to almost completely avoid any need to engage in acts of survival cannibalism on the return voyage.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


2009 11 08: No more worries. My work here is done. It's a perfect, warm, November day but the water has grown chill.  This fine bee chose a quiet, beautiful spot, down by the riverside, to lay her burden down. We should all be so lucky. Judging from the absence of tiny, bee-sized,  bite marks, it does not appear that her fellow bees feel any need to cannibalize her lifeless corpse in order to survive. Though such behavior would be understandable were they to find themselves in dire straits; where the only alternative would be to go very, very hungry.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

the trees of october

2009 10 25: The evening sun was rich with color returning from a paddle up to Brown's Bridge and back. Color the vivid crimson of drying blood. Again, careful planning saves the day and I can guarantee that cannibalism was not practiced during this voyage. Absolutely not. I deny it completely! Rocky Gorge is normally pretty well stocked with corn-fed, fishermen. I practiced sneaking up on them by paddling very silently with my Greenland paddle. These skills could be useful if one were to find one's self in desperate circumstances due to starvation or being very, very hungry.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

sawney bean

"In order to survive for some twenty-five years, the Beans would have depopulated the entire southwestern region of Scotland" - wikipedia (citation needed)

While it is not clear that any small craft were used to effect this depopulation, the Beans did live in a cave by the sea. Skin on frame construction techniques were well known to the Scots.

Friday, October 30, 2009

backwards away from the sun

2009 09 05: A fine late summer afternoon fading to evening. Backward paddling home. Though I was feeling a bit peckish by the end, thanks to careful planning, logistics, and more than a little bit of luck, it was not necessary to resort to cannibalism to survive this expedition.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

There is no Cannabalism in the British Navy!

There is no cannibalism in the British Navy!

Actually, this is a bit of a whitewash of Franklin's first expedition as the 'man who ate his shoes' may have not stopped there. (Arctic Grail, Pierre Berton)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters...

A friend pointed this out to me today, and I was so shocked at the stupidity, I feel that the alarm must be raised! Go to Google Maps:

select 'Get directions'

A. Kensington, MD
B. Tokyo, Japan

take note of steps 29 and 45.

Now really, this is complete nonsense and insanity.

Any person who was not an utterly deranged suicidal maniac would obviously drive to Anchorage, Alaska. From there, kayak along the chain of Aleutian Islands crossing to Kamchatka. Then passing down the Kuril islands to Hokkaido and on to Tokyo. Though another option would be to drive to Fairbanks. Kayak down the Yukon river to the Bering Sea. Then paddle north and cross the Bering Strait to the Chukchi peninsula, and down through Kamchatka, Kurils to Hokkaido and then Tokyo from there.

Obviously, the exposed crossings of the Pacific Ocean given in the Google instructions are completely impractical and borderline dangerous!

No matter which of these routes you might choose, you would be well advised to take along a few fairly plump, corn-fed, paddling companions. Well muscled, but with just enough fat to provide for good marbling. Try to avoid any who might be diseased or have a bit of a gamy leg.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

point of rocks

2009 08 09: A hot, still summer afternoon in early August. From the Mouth of Monocacy upriver to Point of Rocks and return. A day when it seems desirable to paddle in the shade whenever possible. The river is growing shallow and thick with grass. The current lazily resists upstream travelers.

The bridge over the Potomac at Point of Rocks from the upstream side. The river becomes rocky with swirling currents here. Many fisher persons and swimmers enjoy wading far out into the stream. The general ambiance is one of beer and pickup trucks.

It was farther upstream to Point of Rocks than I had estimated. Things were getting pretty dicey by the time I turned around. The return trip promised to be a desperate struggle for survival.


I stay well out in the center of the channel to be safely out of range of the poisoned darts of cannibal headhunters.

By the time I regained sight of the aquaduct at Mouth of Monocacy, I was suffering from the horrifying effects of starvation; paddling up to the landing by force of sheer will.  And quite likely coming within one thin Clif bar from having to resort to cannibalism!