Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: A Modest Proposal

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,503

    Default A Modest Proposal

    The idea began with a book I never read called The Six Hour Canoe. The idea of building a canoe in a short period of time seemed to open up the possibility of building the boat in a foreign country with local materials and leaving the boat when the vacation was over. I needed advice and went on line to find a country, a boat to build and the skills and tools to create this project. I was overwhelmed by the information and support. There were some skeptics, my friend Pete said, “Obtaining materials in a foreign land on a set time..I would suggest not bringing a watch but, instead, a calendar.” Matt from Jem Watercraft suggested I build a prototype and, “beat the hell out of it,” to see if it would be up to my expectations.




    The plans were in both metric and inches. I thought since I might be building this outside of the U.S.A. I might as well use metric. I loved it try dividing 14' 7 19/32" by 11 in your head. (Stubborn Americans is all I can say.)





    I cut all the panels with a hand saw just in case I would not have power tools. This was not as hard as I expected. Just make sure you flex the plywood so as not to pinch the blade. The pull saw worked great and it did not raise near as much dust or make as much noise.






    I tried 4 brands of epoxy and three fillers plus dry wall tape instead of fiberglass cloth.





    Wood flour and dry wall tape with no scarf or butt blocks. Note the plastic to stop the sticking to the table and boards.







    Duct tape was suggested as a method of holding the panels together. That was one idea I had to reject.






    The putty was used to tack the panels into place between the duct tape.






    I had to have some copper wires at the pointy ends.







    Note the self stick drywall tape. When it would not stay put I used a strip of plastic. The plastic would stick to the epoxy and usually had enough adhesion to hold the errant tape down.







    Detail of capping the raw edges of the plywood.






    This shows how the bow seat was latched.






    Bungee latch for rear hatch.








    Rear Hatch cover with bungee and painter secured.






    Open rear hatch.







    Open front seat. Note foam rubber and bolts that go inside the holes to attach the rear of the seat.









    Wide shot of the bow seat.








    Rear seat with only primer on floor and no bungee hooks.







    Testing the prototype for final stability. This took a few tries with the camera on a piling and the self timer.






    Heeling position.






    Testing flotation chambers. It still paddled full of water.






    The boat was more stable than my Grumman, Mad River or Coleman canoes full of water.









    Long shot of the prototype.






    Side view.





    Billy Gerhard Ernst Elizalde from Chile (Billy from Chile) offered the use of his shed and tools for constructing the boat. He had built several wooden boats and lives a few miles from the Bio Bio River in Southern Chile.







    My son Andrew at the home of Billy from Chile.






    Setting the seats and bulkheads. This is not the way the prototype was built.








    Stitching and screwing the panels down.






    This was a better way to use the duct tape, to prevent putty leaks when turned over. Note I used cable ties instead of wire. They were much easier to remove.






    Stitched prior to putty looking forward.






    Andrew cleaning up the putty after removing the tape.







    Slopping on the epoxy over the seams.






    Finished hull on Largo Grande in Concepcion Chile.


    I had 40 years of canoe prejudice about what hull design would be adequate. I wanted a rounded chine with some rocker and a slight V. I found plywood was manufactured in Chile and calculated two sheets would create a 15’6” hull (4.7 meters). That would be fine for 2 people and gear. When running white water I usually move the bow paddler behind the bow seat to a kneeling position to keep the bow from diving into standing waves and lower the center of gravity. I began with the seats in this position closer to the center of the boat and low in the hull. This allows for fore and aft bulkheads that serve as frames to simplify the construction process and provide storage. Matt from Jem Watercaft (jemwatercraft.com) offered to draft the plans for any boat of my design. We exchanged 24 emails on how high the bow what was the rocker where are the bulkheads and seats.

    The plan was day one to cut the plywood panels, coat them with epoxy then build the seats. Day two the panels would be butt spliced with drywall tape and then epoxy resin and wood flour was mixed to make putty. Scarf joints would be made for the long boards on the gunwale and glued with putty. Day three the fore bulkhead and seats would be used as construction frames as the panels were attached with temporary screws and shaped with cable ties and copper wires. The outside seams would be covered with duct tape epoxy putty would be spread inside the hull between the cable ties. Day four ties and screws would be removed and the uneven hull seams shaped on the outside. Dry wall tape would be applied to both the inside and outside of all seams and a coat of epoxy would be brushed on the tape and very dry epoxy putty would be squeegeed into the tape on both the inside and outside of the hull. Day five touch up the holes and coat the hull with one more coat of epoxy.

    That was the plan which went quite well except for a few problems. One disaster occurred while using epoxy that was mixed by weight. I had read you could spread a nice even bead of putty by putting it in a zip lock bag then cutting off the corner to squeeze out a bead like a pastry chef. The epoxy was curing too fast so, I figured a little less hardener would give me a little more time to get it spread into the proper place. I had built a scale to measure the 2 to 1 weight ratio. My crude scale was a board balanced on a sharpened piece of wood with the resin twice as far as the hardener from the fulcrum. This was working fine until I decided I needed more time and changed the ratio but instead of putting the hardener closer to the fulcrum I adjusted the resin. The putty looked good as I mixed the wood flour into peanut butter consistency then filled my baggie with goop. As I began to squeeze the baggie the putty began to get warm in my hand this quickly escalated to very warm then to hot. When I could not stand the heat I threw the baggie away and smoke began to billow out of the trash can while I worried about setting the rags sawdust and shop on fire.

    I tested the online advice about glues, tools fillers joints and fasteners on my prototype. I tried 4 different brands of epoxy resin. I tested wood flour, fumed silica, white all purpose flour and sawdust for fillers. I tried fiberglass, and drywall tape for joint strength. I experimented with copper wires cable ties and dry wall screws for positioning the panels. I tried various tools and ultimately took a minimum of tools: my smallest surform two card scrapers (used instead of sandpaper on green epoxy) my contour gage, a pull saw and metric tape measure. I also packed a handful of screws and some ringed bronze boat nails.

    What did we learn? Joe and Andrew from Oregon, with drafting help of Matt from North Carolina and logistic support by Billy from Chile and advice from paddlers across the world can build a boat in a foreign country in 72 hours. Sea snails, barnacles, mussels and blood sausage taste better than they sound. You can build a butt joint in plywood with drywall tape and epoxy putty that is stronger than the wood. When crawling about the floor of the shop with epoxy on your 12 panels make sure the dogs don’t come in to play with you. There are a lot of wonderful people out there messing about in boats and their love of boats crosses all the cultural barriers.

    Who wants to come on the next trip?
    Dr. Joe
    Electric Hospital
    Coos Bay Or
    http://electrichospital.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Kent, Sussex, Surrey Borders
    Posts
    177

    Default

    Superb!!!!!
    Rob
    Wilderness 1-2-1
    Exotac - Waterproof your fire

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Chesterfield Derbyshire
    Posts
    558

    Default Job's a good 'un.

    Excellent job Doc! And a tale well told. Interesting use of materials and a nice looking boat as a result.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Glasgowish
    Posts
    1,416
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    Fantastic - thanks for posting!

    For a 'disposable' canoe, that one was a work of art. So what happened next, and where is she now?

    Blutack.
    The Canoeist's prayer: "Lord grant me the serenity to walk the portages I must, The courage to run the rapids I can, And the wisdom to know the difference".

    John Muir Trust - Wild Places for Nature & People.

  5. #5
    monkey_pork's Avatar
    monkey_pork is offline a wind age, a wolf age - before the world goes headlong Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    -
    Posts
    4,856

    Default

    Blimey - that was very impressive.
    I'm constantly stunned by these self-built boats, (given that I'm such a rubbish woodworker).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    South Lakes
    Posts
    13,059

    Default

    That's quite a bit of work that. Nice one.

    TGB
    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    366

    Default

    Excellent
    Thanks for posting
    Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups
    My avatar is the crest of the McAlester clan -

    www.macski.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    West Sussex.
    Posts
    3,240

    Default

    Wow you are a star. Top Blogg.

    Bushcraft Survival and First Aid Training.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fleetwood, Lancashire
    Posts
    172

    Default

    Great boat and a great read

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Kent, England
    Posts
    557

    Default

    Excellent!!!!!!

    I would love to build my own boat and this blogg may well be the catalyst that makes it happen.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Stoke Prior Worcestershire
    Posts
    976

    Default

    Brilliant Blogg.
    Love lots trust few always paddle your own canoe

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Southern Oregon
    Posts
    1,503

    Default Where are the boats now?

    Thank you for all the nice comments. It would be rewarding to think I stimulated another person to build a boat in a foreign country.

    The prototype is still in the destructive test mode. Dragging across oyster beds and jumping logs. I took it out with Saturday to paddle the Siltcoos River Water Trail. The trail has a big impressive name for such a short river. It was scenic 3 mile paddle to the beach from the lake. Their are towering sand dunes but the best part was all the wildlife at the river mouth.
    There were two canoes and six kayaks on this trip with the Lunatics from Gold Beach. I am not making this up, they are called the "Lunatics" because every month they have a night paddle by the light of the full moon. This is hard to believe but they do this even in December and January. Also they really do live on a beach that has gold in the sand.


    Harbor seal gauntlet waiting to eat the unsuspecting salmon.


    Pelicans and gulls on the spit between the river and Pacific Ocean.

    This was a shirt sleeve day at the beach in October.

    The Other boat was named "Sasquatch" and resides in San Pedro Chile with the Hernandez family. This is near Concepcion. They are thinking they will build a second canoe this summer. They are about the same southern latitude as we are north of the equator. They too have wonderful paddling and weather. What surprised me the most was how few pleasure boats they had in a metropolitan area of 2 million.
    Dr. Joe
    Electric Hospital
    Coos Bay Or
    http://electrichospital.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fraser coast,Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    109

    Default

    Doctor Joe,

    This is the first time I have had the chance to read this thread in its entirety.

    Bloody good job mate (both of them) You have impressed the heck out of me.

    I love this design. and your workmanship, using a minimum of tools or fuss is an inspiration to all aspiring boat builders! Bloody good on ya mate.!!!

    Respectfully,

    Mick
    Regards,
    Mick,
    Queensland,
    Australia

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Just a little to the right of the Shire
    Posts
    2,769

    Default

    A truly inspiring blogg, I have often thought that it might be cheaper to buy a boat at the beginning of a holiday then sell it at the end, instead of hiring one, this blogg gives paddlers another way to paddle abroad.

    Cheers
    Tim.
    Cheers
    Tim


    Paddles a Prospector

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •