Share your perspective?

This is the place for everything that doesn't fit elsewhere.
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Joan and Ted
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Share your perspective?

Post by Joan and Ted » Fri Mar 31, 2006 10:57 am

Today the tulips are coming up and I am dreaming of launching the new red Magic kayak Ted just built...but I am working on a marketing piece for the new plywood kayaks.
Would anyone out there care to share some thoughts with me on any of the following:
Why have you built your own boat?
What method did you use and why?
How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'.
What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?

I am curious to see what kind of responses I will receive and will appreciate the perspective. And to show it everyone who responds will have a chance to win free tuition to one of our classes - either a plywood or strip building class.

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Glen Smith
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Post by Glen Smith » Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:40 am

Hi Joan, I'll break the ice on this one.

Why I built my own boat?: I wanted a canoe that didn't look like all the production canoes on the market and I wanted it to be of a lighter weight than the fiberglass canoes I had previously owned. I also wanted to do something to fill my free time and end up with a product that I could use and enjoy for many years and possibly leave it as part of my heritage.

What method did I choose and why?: Actually, I was snooping around in a lumber store and in their book section I saw Canoecraft and my heart skipped a beat. I found that a cedar-strip/epoxy canoe was one of the most beautiful things in the world. I looked at other books showing a variety of building techniques and I kept coming back to Canoecraft. Needless to say, I left the store with Canoecraft in hand. The cedar-strip method produces the fairest lines and with the large variety of lumber available, I could make a canoe with an interesting look.

How do I respond to "that" question?: I built it to be used. If I damage it, I know I can repair it. If you want one to hang on the wall I would be happy to build it for you.

My biggest concern?: Definitely the glassing stages. Having never worked with fiberglass and epoxy I was quite apprehensive about doing it. My first canoe was ready to be fiberglassed but I stalled for two weeks. During this time I read Ted's instructions over and over several times. I then took notes of all the important steps and things to look out for. By this time I was glassing boats in my sleep so I figured I was ready to actually go ahead and get the job done.
BTW, I didn't own a computer when I built my first three boats so I couldn't visit a fantastic forum like this one to seek advice.

I have now built nine boats using the cedar-strip method and I would like to build a plywood kayak so I can gain experience with this technique. I really like the almost round hull shape of the Bear Mountain Enterprise and I know this hull shape performs better than the four panel hulls offered by others. If you ever design a similar kayak that is better adapted to my lightweight body, I would be very interested in building one.
Last edited by Glen Smith on Fri Mar 31, 2006 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Bryan Hansel
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Re: Share your perspective?

Post by Bryan Hansel » Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:41 am

EDIT: Glen, you beat me. We must have been writing at the same time. You're too fast at the keyboard.
admin wrote:Today the tulips are coming up and I am dreaming of launching the new red Magic kayak Ted just built...but I am working on a marketing piece for the new plywood kayaks.
Tulips! Wow! We're under gray rainy skies and all the snow just melted off near the lake leaving brown, brown, brown.....but I'm starting a new boat today!!! Wooohooo!
Why have you built your own boat?
For several reasons: The main reason I built my own boat is that I wanted the satisfaction of paddling a boat that I built. There is a magical process of taking planks of wood and using your hands in a dusty old shop and turning those planks into something that will travel across water under the light of day. A couple of secondary reasons: Less expensive for the same performance of kevlar with only a little weight disadvantage. Can experiment with my own designs and ideas. It's fun to build stuff.
What method did you use and why?
First, stripper, because that was how the plans for the Freedom came, and I wanted a Freedom 17 bad!
Second, Skin-on-Frame, because I wanted a traditional West Greenland kayak.
Third, stripper, because I wanted a Wee Lassie based on the original plans, but I wanted it modified and didn't want to learn lapstrake.
Forth, S&G, because I wanted a hard shell touring kayak, and I wanted it now. S&G offered the quickest way to get a boat on the water.
Fifth, stripper, kayak, my own design, I wanted the nice rounded and flowing shape that strips allow, and I wanted the beauty of the wood. I'm not found of plywood.
Sixth, starting today, SOF Tom Yost-style, because that's how he did it, so I'm doing it also. I always wanted a baidarka and his plans seem to be the best for the kayak I want.
Other boats I've helped on: All strippers. They picked the design they wanted to paddle and built those. They all happened to be strippers.
How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'.
Canoes and kayaks are made to be paddled, and I get more joy out of scratching and beating up my boats than I could possibly ever get from just looking at how pretty they are.
What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?
It's been awhile, so it's a little hard to remember. But I think the hardest part was figuring out where to find the right materials. Secondly, setting up the strongback. Every book seemed to make such a huge deal out of getting it right, and rightly so. In the end, it turned out to be much easier than I thought it was going to be.
How did I overcome this? I researched materials to death on the internet, and I finally just said, "Enough is enough." I went out a bought the wood, ordered the glass and epoxy, etc... For the strongback, I just built one. It was different than the one in Canoecraft, but it turned out to be a very nice strongback and I wish I still had it.
Overall, I think the concerns are naturally overcome by following the steps in Canoecraft. They might not make a lot of sense when you read the book cover to cover, but they end up making complete sense when you proceed step to step to step as you build the boat. So, I think making that first step is the hardest, and the only way to overcome the fear is just to do it. I do think that a video would have helped me greatly, but I'm so cheap I didn't want to buy one. Maybe if there was a DVD for $19.99 to $29.99 USD, I would have bought one.
I am curious to see what kind of responses I will receive and will appreciate the perspective. And to show it everyone who responds will have a chance to win free tuition to one of our classes - either a plywood or strip building class.
Wow! That's very generous. Hopefully, this helps. If you have more questions, please, post. I'm happy to help out.

John K
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Re: Share your perspective?

Post by John K » Fri Mar 31, 2006 5:16 pm

Why have you built your own boat?
I like woodwork and I like kayaking so combined the two.

What method did you use and why?
Kayak no 1 was plywood, as i was a kid ad strip was outside my scope. Kayak no 2 was fibreglass from a club mould. It was a slalom kayak. Kayak no 3 was an Endeavour, and my first stripper. I loved the lines and thought that's the one I want, but I did modify the back deck and recessed the coaming so I could roll it more comfortably.

How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'.
No one has ever said that to me. The ooohers and aaahers all seem to want to know how good it is in the water.

What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?
The fibreglassing with epoxy. I overcame this and other questions by reading bulletin boards until I had a feeling for what could go wrong and how to avoid it. I also read Kayakcraft.

If I win the free class please send the plane ticket to Tasmania.javascript:emoticon(':laughing')
Laughing
JohnK
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Patricks Dad
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Post by Patricks Dad » Fri Mar 31, 2006 5:32 pm

Why have you built your own boat?
It all started with a canoe trip to the Quetico Provincial Park in 2003 with my Boy Scout Troop. Patrick and I were both deeply moved by the opportunity and the experience of paddling in such a beautiful place. Upon our return Patrick continued to dream about paddling (I went back to work). As an avid reader, he stumbled on a book named "Canoecraft" and bought it. He pestered for about a year to build a canoe. Finally in June of 2004 we made a deal, ordered some plans from BMB and were on our way. It was a fantastic opportunity to spend time with Patrick doing something related to paddling when we were both busy with non-paddling parts of our lives. It provided a much needed "escape" from my professional life which was extremely stressful at the time. Building the boat became an obsession which both pulled me away from my stressful profession and brought me closer to my family at the same time (and gave us an opportunity to learn many new skills at the same time). An opportunity that couldn't be ignored. A fundamental influence on my life.

What method did you use and why?
Canoecraft from cover to cover (including the Redbird on the cover).

How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'.
We get that all the time. Frankly, I think that way myself sometimes. Given we finished it late in the fall and it's still not really spring yet, we haven't had a chance to get it in the water much yet. Our goal is to take it back to the Quetico and paddle it there one day. But my response is always, "It's a boat. Boats are suppose to be in the water".


What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?
Fiberglassing. I've done a few things with wood and could always find ways to fix problems I've created with wood (my father a carpenter in his younger days used to say that "anyone can make a mistake but it takes a good carpenter to hide it"). But putting epoxy on something we had spent so much effort on was very scary. I read everything I could find on the web for techniques and advice. I watched this forum constantly (it was my daytime obsession while I was at work when I couldn't work on the canoe). I finally had to simply trust that we could make it work and we jumped in.

Thanks!
Randy Pfeifer
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Randy.Pfeifer1@gmail.com

cecbell
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Post by cecbell » Fri Mar 31, 2006 10:07 pm

I built my own boat simply because I couldn't find what I was looking for in what was/is available commercially. Attempts at using a fiberglass canoe for the sail rig I was working with just didn't pan out--the hull wasn't up to it. I had to face up to the realization that the only way to continue with this was to build my own design (whatever that was going to turn out to be).

The obvious method for me was strip building. I was only vaguely aware of it but knew enough to understand it would be a relatively simple technique that would allow a non-craftsman like me with next to no woodworking experience to get the compound curves needed. I couldn't imagine myself (and can't now) shaping planks to go over ribs and all that that implies. How hard can it be to saw a board into strips?

Put it in the water? The way that question came to me was from an 80+ year old acquaintance, "Charlie, you're not going to put that in the dirty water, are you?" I've arrived at two standard answers for that. One is, "You bet your ___ I am!". And the other, "No, I'm mounting it on the chimney over the fireplace." (Well, why not? I've seen them on the wall in restaurants. And sometimes I think things would be simpler if that's what I did with it.)

The biggest concern was definitely the fiberglassing. What little I'd seen of fiberglass jobs up to that time were patchwork repairs or an old leaky boat glassed over in hopes of giving it new life. They were all terrible--rough weave surface, ragged edges...just bad--looked awful. It turned me off. The first thing to overcome this impression was a visit from my brother-in-law who had built a stripper. He explained how the weave is filled with the epoxy and the glass becomes virtually invisible. That was what opened the door for me. But I was still daunted by the epoxy. I knew that once I started, I was on it's clock and no longer on my own time. There were two things that got me through this bit of paralysis. One was to buy three books on building strippers before doing anything else. I read them all through and digested as much as I could. This was a huge help. Being able to see how three different authors (Gil Gilpatrick, Ted Moores and "Mac" McCarthy) went about it gave me an idea of how much lattitude was available in the method and doubled my confidence. I'm the kind of person who, having read only one source, if something didn't go exactly as described would go nuts worrying about whether I got it right or not. (That was before I knew about this forum.) The other thing was to get all the material for the epoxy job together and mentally rehearse the sequence of events I would follow after I started mixing epoxy. At least that way I wasn't going to find myself somewhere in the middle of the job frantically trying to figure what I'm supposed to be doing while the clock is ticking. Of course, after three canoes, that's relaxed a little bit--but only a little bit. It helps to know I can make repairs if bad things happen.

And now I'm collecting the materials for number 4...
Charles Campbell

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Re: Share your perspective?

Post by Dark Horse » Fri Mar 31, 2006 10:22 pm

admin wrote:Today the tulips are coming up and I am dreaming of launching the new red Magic kayak Ted just built...but I am working on a marketing piece for the new plywood kayaks.
Would anyone out there care to share some thoughts with me on any of the following:


Why have you built your own boat?
I haven't built it yet, but its going to be a Freedom, As I love its lines. Why am I building my own boat? I Enjoy working with my son, this looked like the perfect opportunity to share the exp with him and to let him exp actually using what we made, Working with Wood and Paddling Sounds like a perfect match

What method did you use and why?
It will be Cedar strip, Gotta try it, as the results are visually stunningon everyone I have seen.

How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'.
I'll get back to on this one :smile

What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?
Starving and floating the glass in the Epoxy. Reveiwing all the info on the forum. as such I'm confident its fixable and even if its not the boat will still be beautiful and functional.

Jim

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Post by Bassbug » Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:45 pm

Why have you built your own boat?
My brother-in-law John encouraged me to build a canoe. I read and reread Tom Hill's Ultralight boat building, dreamed, procrastinated, dreamed and finally bought a royalex Dagger. Later I happened across Canoecraft, bought it, read it and thought "Gee that is lots of work and looks complicated". "What if I don't like the boat I built in the end?" Then John found an older Blackhawk Starship solo canoe that needed new gunwales. As I removed the old ones, the fiberglass canoe relaxed and spread. But once I put on the new gunwales, the canoe again took shape. That was a thrilling moment to see form emerge by placing strips of wood into place. I remember well thinking then that I had to make a canoe to create the shape from scratch. By then, I knew John and I should build it together (even though we lived 600 miles apart).

We choose the Redbird because it was a design we probably would not (could not) purchase and the recurved stems were reminiscent of Indian designs. The beauty of wood strips was too difficult to pass up. It took us 18 months to finish The Bird. We worked when John would come up for a visit. And of course the building turned out to be the bonus - sharing time together creating the canoe was the meaningful experience. Canoecraft should come with a warning that boat building is addictive. I'm finishing a strip kayak and beginning to work on a Ranger, but the Solo Freedom may beat out the Ranger.
How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'.
I grin, then respond that "It's a boat. If it's not scratched, it's not being used." Sometimes I think I mean that.
What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?
Actually two. The first was aligning the molds on the strongback. It was easier than I thought it would be (just follow Canoecraft) which gave me tremendous confidence for other "difficult" parts to come. The second was fiberglassing. We did not do the best job on it (we blamed it on the tight weave glass) but with practice it gets better. It is after all a boat and even a less than perfect fiberglass job will work.

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ealger
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Perspective

Post by ealger » Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:33 am

In 1969, I saw a redwood stripper hanging in my friends garage. He explained how he built it and I knew right away that we must build one of our own. It was painful to plunk down $24 for 60' of all heart, vertical grain redwood, to say nothing of all the redwood sawdust laying on the shop floor!

The redwood stripper was featured in Popular Science. It was a great project for my 12 year old son and myself. Since it's construction, the canoe has seen lots of water during vacations with our 3 boys. It's still in the family today giving enjoyment to our grandkids.

I've built a lot of furniture in the past 40 years and always wanted to build another canoe. I had saved the original forms all these years in hopes of reproducing the stripper. In 2004 I got serious and started to surf around the web to see what was going on in the world of canoe construction. What I found prompted me to leave the old stripper to history and build a modern craft.

The cove and bead construction seemed to be a major advancement over how we built the stripper in 1969. The cedar and glass seemed like something my wife and I could tackle seeing how we had some experience. We bought a kit from a supplier and went to work. We had 500 hours logged from start to finish.

We loved to open the shop doors in hopes our friends would stop by and see what was going on. Everyone who came into the shop and looked into the side of the canoe to see their own reflection, would say "how will you ever dare to put this craft in the water?" I reponded that it's like everything I build. We eat on our tables, and sit on our chairs. It's a thing of beauty and must be used to be appreciated.

When we ordered the kit, there were no concerns. The instructions were clear and the kit suppliers were super in answering questions. After all, we've been through this before. The wood working was simple and the stapleless construction proved satisfying. However, getting the fiberglass wet-out was the challange of my life. We've just passed the outer fiberglass stage on the 3rd canoe and it hasn't been any easier. I've had a lot of help from the good guys on this forum to help solve some of the problems. If it wasn't for the great help here, I wouldn't be planning my 4th and 5th canoes. :laughing
Ed...
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Juneaudave
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Post by Juneaudave » Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:34 pm

Why have you built your own boat?

I really think I reached that stage in life where I needed to pay some attention to myself.
The kids are both in high school and/or graduating. They are busy with their own lives and don't want to hang with Dad. My job is consuming, I needed a hobby that I enjoyed to come home to and relax. The wife (bless her sole), after years of being a stay at home mom, was reentering the job market. And quite truthfully, winters in Alaska are long and building in the winter and boating in the summer are naturals.

A couple things came together that got me started. First off, I have always liked wood working but lacked the tools and skills to really do much. While shopping at garage sales, my wife spotted a used Shopsmith that she bought for me. With that, and some hand tools I was in business.

Secondly, my big boat wasn't getting used much. It was too large for me alone, and the kids and the wife really didn't care to get out much. It was also very expensive and timeconsuming to keep up and run. I had always wanted a canoe and a kayak, so building my own seemed to be a natural.

What method did you use and why?

Canoecraft...cover to cover....because the instructions are so well done and I could get good support from the BBS.

How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'.

Makes me pretty proud. People walk off the street to look at my canoe and skiff.

What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?I think I read every book available on canoe and kayak construction. I wrestled with what design, I wondered where I would get the materials. I think it was the first chapter of Canoecraft, that I read and re-read, where I kept seeing myself and figured that if I just started, I could do it.

kwoodman
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building boats

Post by kwoodman » Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:53 pm

Love the water and love woodworking... it was a natural fit.
About 15 years ago built a Redbird using Canoecraft as the manual. Had limited tools back then, but improvised.
Finishing an Outer Island kayak (stripper) at the moment. Will be ready before May. How can you beat the look of a cedar strip boat?

You're not going to put that in the water? Only the first scratch hurts...
The joy of building one of these has so many dimensions. If you build a beautiful piece of furniture, you can use it, look at it... But a canoe or kayak can take you places. And places other craft can not venture. To paddle your own creation is awesome on so many levels.

Joining the 2 halves of the kayak was the most demanding part of my build.

What should I build next? A baidarka?
Take time for the things that count.

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Jim Dodd
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Post by Jim Dodd » Sat Apr 01, 2006 6:43 pm

Hi Joan

The why? I saw my first stripper being built at Mid West Mountaineering's, Spring sale. I think in 1989!

Members of the Minnesota Canoe Assc. were stripping up, I believe a Merlin, a Bruce Kunz design!

I would walk by and watch. The more I watched, the more I knew that this was something I could do! No, something I HAD TO DO! I'm on my 18th!

Method? Cedar Strip! Is there a better method?

Responses? When you pull into a gas station, people come over and ask the same questions!
1. Did you build that? Yes I did.
2.How long did it take? A Summer of spare time.
3.Is it heavy? No
4.Looks like a lot of work! No. a lot of fun!
5.That's beautiful! Thank you!
Once in Ely Minnesota, an Outfitter came out to look at my stripper, he asked if I was going cry when I scratched it? I said that I had driven for 9 hrs to bring it up to the BWCA and paddle, not to cry over it!

My biggest concern when I first started building a stripper, was the glassing! I was the only one, that I knew in Iowa, that had ever tried to build one of these. I was lucky to find two guys with a little experience with fiberglass! It was like jumping off a high dive board! It's scary as hell, but once you do it, you got to do it again! They helped me make the plunge!

Building cedar strippers has been one of the most moving experiences in my life! I learned that I CAN do things!
I've met SOO many good friends! Many from this very site!
Thanks SOO Much!
Jim
Keep your paddle wet and your seat dry!

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why build?

Post by Rick in Pender Harbour » Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:05 pm

Why have you built your own boat? I Have mobility and strength problems and our 75 pound canoe was too hard to load on and off the car, and too much to portage. I built a wee lassie canoe, came to 30 lbs. best thing I ever did...
What method did you use and why? Cedar strip. I live in BC, can buy rough cut cedar from my neighbors, and am attracted by the use of local materials to produce something both funcitonal and beautiful.
How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'. That used to be a problem, not so much now as my first two boats have taken my wife and I around the Bowron lakes chain several times, and are starting to show some dings and scratches. They are clearly veterans...
What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?] I set up a strongback and forms for a kayak and never progressed past that point, the wee lassie was a smaller project, only 12 ft strips, not so much sanding etc. Once I built one, I just couldn't stop. Have built several canoes, couple of kayaks, and a dinghy..
rgds
Rick[

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Doug
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Post by Doug » Sun Apr 02, 2006 4:23 am

Why have you built your own boat?
-There is a lot of water out there.

What method did you use and why?
-To date; I've have primarily used, what I call "the Kayakcraft Method" to build all of mine.

'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'
-The first scratch or two is painfull, ....but I want to paddle.
-good reason to build the next one.
-it's not the water I worry about, but the rocks. I lift it out, no draging here.

What was your biggest concern before starting to build it?
-Logistics.

how did you overcome this?
-A good year of pre-planning, reading "Kayakcraft" about three times.
-The planning is half the fun, ...well almost.


All the best,
Doug


.
"Some people hear the song in the quiet mist of a cold morning..... But for other people the song is loudest in the evening when they are sitting in front of a tent, basking in the camp fire's warmth. This is when I hear it loudest ...." BM

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Post by Rick » Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:33 am

Hi, Joan,
Why have you built your own boat?
Mainly because I could build into it exactly what I wanted - the hull, seats, yoke, trim, appearance, etc, are exactly the way I want them, and all those add up to create something better than a factory-made product. Also, the value of something that's hand-made and one-of-a-kind is higher than factory-made.
What method did you use and why?
Cedarstrip construction described in CanoeCraft, because of others' comments that the technique results in a light, rigid, and easily repairable canoe. Cedarstrips have been used in racing and a higher-performance hull interested me.
How do you respond when people say to you 'thats nice but I would never put it in the water'.
Tell them it's easily repairable and they should try building one to see how enjoyable paddling something you've built yourself really is.
What was your biggest concern before starting to build it? how did you overcome this?
Gluing the strips onto the forms without too much trouble, I chose a design that was described as easy to plank. Also glassing the hull, I had some problems with the epoxy not behaving as I was led to believe, but that was solved with some extra scraping and sanding, and became part of the learning process.

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