Thursday, August 1, 2013

Canoe Build Update 8/1/13

You thought I was never going to finish her?  Well the last year has been hit and miss.  We are building...

Ok that brings us up to date!  Alot has been done over the past few weeks.  After glassing the decks, next is camo the decks, then install the compartment hatches.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Small Solar Bamboo Kiln

Love solar stuff!  Here's a cheap and I bet very effective solar kiln idea for small amounts of bamboo or other wood, or make it big as one wants...

It kind of even looks like bamboo haha!  Ok what I imagine is sections of the black metal woodstove  flue pipe from the hardware store, however long one wants, assembled with wooden rings added as spacers on the outside and simply covered with greenhouse plastic.  Caps, maybe wooden plugs on the ends or maybe foam with a vent hole or two, have to experiment and figure that out.  But I guarantee this will get hot enough just sitting out in the sun.  Fill it with stalks and just open an end to check on them periodically. 

Want it hotter?  Make a V shaped trough for it to sit in that's been lined with reflective aluminum foil and align it East/West.  Easier even would be a split piece of larger pipe with reflective lining, sort of a solar parabolic trough though not a true parabola.  Sufficient enough for our purposes I bet.

What's this got to do with boatbuilding?  Well I read we have to cure bamboo by some method. Open air seems to be too long and kiln drying seems to be my personal best option but I don't need a whole big room for it. 

I'm not sure, but knocking out the center culms with a long metal bar would seem the thing to do, to allow air flow and lessen splits.  Will try some knocked out and some not.

Update same day:  Did some price checks.  One 3ft length, 6" diameter section of black stove pipe is $8 at my local hardware store.  Not everywhere is going to have this stuff and it's more expensive than I thought originally.  Got a different, better idea.  Corrugated metal roofing sheets!  Easy to roll up into a cylinder shape and rivet edges together. New is $15 for 10ft locally.  Can spray paint the finished tube flat black.  Just happen to have two slightly used sections with a few screw holes but should work ok.  Stay tuned for updates to this post.

Update later same day:  Did I say easy to roll up into a cylinder? Anything but.  Two or better yet three people would not have any trouble throwing one of these together.  A lone fabricator must improvise.  Started out with riveting both sheets together but could not roll it by myself. Ended up removing the rivets and rolling one at a time.

If you get it this far you almost got it whipped but not quite...

Getting to that point took borrowing a length of 6" diameter PVC pipe from the water dept., used as a form to roll the material around and hold the edge with duct tape.  The pipe also serves as backing when drilling for the aluminum rivets.  Kept feeding the pipe in a bit and drilled close to where the edge was located inside...

All riveted, 19' 4"...

Overlapped 8" and double riveted all the way around and about every linear foot. Nice and snug, very lightweight right now.  Will be cutting out the plywood rings to fit over for attaching the plastic cover and painting the cylinder flat black.  Thinking maybe R-Board foam caps for the ends. Wore me smooth out for today so check back later. :)

Update 6/16/12

Trip to bamboo forest.  All I can say is wow!  It's a huge thing, almost impossible to get to and worse trying to walk out with just a few pieces.  Sorry for the cruddy cell pic...

It doesn't look so big in this pic but it's the biggest I've ever personally seen.  The grove is badly overgrown and would benefit alot by some sound management for bigger and better quality culms.  Came away with five nice pieces at 16ft to try in the kiln...

Update 6/19/12

Kiln is complete and loaded with green bamboo culms.  Pretty hot in there, 120F in just a few minutes so we'll see how hot it gets and how well it dries/cures the fresh cut culms...

To be continued...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

DIY Wood Flour

One may simply empty their sander bag and have all the very fine wood flour for epoxy filler they might ever need.  If one is like me, a sander bag gets in the way and gets lost amongst countless other unused items, somewhere in the jungle known as the garage.  So one like me must improvise...

A coworker provided a grocery sack with some red cedar sawdust which I sifted by hand over a #120  stainless mesh and got a pint of very fine wood flour.  Ground the remaining in my blender and got another pint.  That's all the sifting I care to do for now.

If you ever do a stitch & glue, you'll know what very fine flour is if you try to put anything bigger with epoxy into a dental syringe and expect it to come out.

Personally, I like the look of cedar flour as it darkens red when mixed with epoxy and goes well with mahogany while I'm sure some prefer the honey color of the standard wood flour provided by boat kit companies. Whatever one likes. 

Another thing I literally have barrels of is microcrystalline cellulose.  It's a very fine white powder used as a filler in medicine pills.  If anyone reading this has a need for some white epoxy filler give me a shout.  I'll sell you all I can stuff in a large priority mailing box for $10 plus shipping.  

Outrigger Sheet Layout

Subject to change as with all things.  Similar to what I did when building the mini pontoon boat a few years ago.  Think it might work out ok but will have to mock-up with some cardboard or something first to get a better idea.  I hate waste so trying to get the most from a 4' x 8' plywood sheet....

Don't want to put a keel on my boat and my opinion of leeboards is less than favorable but I'm sure lots of people like them and they have a purpose.  My thinking is, I don't have a need for speed so much but I do want her stable and to keep a straight line.  Learned the proper name for what I'm building, a Trimaran Canoe and so my outriggers (pontoons?) are going to both be in the water sitting still and a short keel will be built into both so that the bottom of the boat and the bottom of the keels will be on the same level if that makes sense, otherwise if set on a level surface, all three points will be touching the floor.  If I'm visioning right, the keels will be about 4 inches below the pontoon bottoms to accomplish this and pontoons float right with the waterline on my canoe if I make slightly curved supports, or whatever those crossarms between pontoons are called haha! Anyway, thats how I imagine it.  Will just have to do it and see how it works out.  Planning a rudder for the boat also...

Construction for these parts will be stitch and/or tape & glue seams.  I have learned with other boat projects in the past that only some areas and not the entire seams need drilling and wire ties, usually only the bow and stern tips where wood torture pressure is greatest, if one has good forms that fit the inner hull well.  Alot of needless work is saved by taping and when a bright finish is desired it just looks alot better without drill holes.

Found a source for free bamboo today and a trip with my nephew planned for this weekend to harvest a bunch to be curing. Big, good stuff!  :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tyvek Sail Thoughts

Been reading up on different sails.  Haven't a clue to what most of the terminology means but I can tell alot from pictures haha!  It will come in time I suppose.  Really like the looks of the batwing sail and have tried an idea with some of the free tyvek envelopes from the postal service...

That's two single tyvek sheets melted together in my Seal-A-Meal along an edge, folded open and taped along the back side along the seam.  I stood on one part and pulled the other.  Took everything I had but it broke apart along the edge of the "weld" that was apparently weak.  Did not come apart but tore from one or the other sheet. Not good for a sail I suppose but interesting.

So I read that some folks have made tyvek sails using two-sided carpet tape.  Will have to try that next on the sail project.  Have a box with about 750 of these tyvek envelopes that I found useless for mushroom culture jar filters and have been wondering what to do with all of them. :)

This is so cool...

Image from
My boat would look really cool with sails like this.  I just have to figure how to make em haha!  Have a few other source links that show & tell but again, the terminology is killing me. What is what?

Today I'm filling inner hull wire holes with thickened epoxy after finally finishing sanding, YAY! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sand The Hull...Sand The Hull

Oh man, I hate sanding!  Why did I ever even build this hull up those years ago?  Oh well it's almost done with and ready to start the fun stuff once again.  Can't cut corners with building boats. Inner hull is at least ten times worse to sand than the outer but sand it we must for the other glass to stick well.

Dry fitting of the center deck support panel...

Tis backwards, yes, but it fits where it's supposed to be.  That glassed butt seam will be hidden under deck.  Just have to make sure it gets turned around when the fun starts.

I love camo as you can see.  It's going to cover the decks and ends of each support panel.  Only going to have a small portion of bare inner hull showing, enough to sit low in if need be or to have ample leg room when sitting on the rear deck.  So the panels are saturated with epoxy, glassed and covered with the camo cloth and epoxied over, sanded and epoxied until smooth.  Later all will have good coating of UV resistant something or other.

It took every bit of a full month to build the old Coho and that was working every day, all day, well, most all of every day.  There's only so much one can do when waiting for cure times to do the next thing.  You can't build a boat in a day.  Well I guess that depends on the boat and ones desires. I can't build a boat in a day haha! 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Building An Outrigger Sailing Canoe

Hi there and welcome to my canoe build!  Time to finish her. A Pygmy Boats, Taiga Wilderness Canoe, purchased as a kit about ten years ago, assembled the hull, glassed the outside and epoxied the inside. She's been in storage ever since so I have named her Mis AƱos Diez, "My years Ten".

See Pygmy Boats for specs.  So far my plans call for a beefed up hull with extra glass, decking with dry storage under, outriggers, sail, rudder and possibly if funds allow, a pedal prop of some sort which are pretty expensive, most everything else I can fabricate from recycled wood or metal.

Outer hull needed sanding prior to adding another layer of 6oz cloth.  Had to order more from Pygmy seeing as I used up all the original kit materials on other projects over the years...

Sanding complete...

Taped and glassed inside midseam prior to more glassing inside the hull and adding decking supports which I'm cutting out of 3/8" exterior plywood, patterned with the original hull forms, being saturated with epoxy and curing as I type...

Spoke with Kelly at Pygmy yesterday and so it seems nobody has ever done what I plan to do with their canoe design.  Hope it works out well!  No drawn plans to go by, just thoughts and probably some trial and error but such is the way of things when I set out to build something.

Have never sailed a boat so that too will be a learning experience.  I'm studying lots of web info and video on various builds and sailing but nothing can compare with hands on experience.  It ought to be interesting at least and likely will make some cringe and others laugh their asses off. :)

This is not my first boat build.  Prior to this hull build I completed a Pygmy Coho Kayak and made their builder list but nobody ever called to have me build one until very recently.  I did not have a suitable workshop at the time and so I ended up selling the fella my Coho that had only been used for 30 minutes and caused my legs to go numb due to an old and ever present lower back injury. I hope he's enjoying it.

Other than that I have built a couple of Pirogue style canoes from plans and a mini pontoon out of my head that was pretty cool for awhile. 

Building boats is in my blood I guess.  Something to do and I love doing it so here we go again! I'm building this boat, hopefully well enough to handle the rough stuff. May very well need it to if I get brave enough to do what I'm thinking would be awesome.  A trip down the Arkansas River to the Mississippi and down to the Gulf of Mexico...and from there, who knows? :)

That's about it for now until I get some more done.  Stay tuned!