Thursday, August 01, 2013


Ok so i havent done anything in the shop all summer...
too busy fishing, kayaking and goofing off...
but summer is such a short lived thing up here in the great white north. Im sure ill be back as the temperatures drop..

Monday, June 03, 2013

Next Project

A thousand bricks, does a pathway make...
Ok, so it was 1260 bricks but who is counting?
It is nice to have this project done. Now it is wide enough for the snow blower to pass without picking up rocks and throwing them at the house. I need to bring in a little gravel to put on the right hand side in the picture above and a little more sand to lock things together, but overall I think this one is done!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

on the water

So here we are, on the water. after 120 hours I finally get the boat in the race. It handled really well without any major issues.

Top speed during the race was 6.8 mph. We went 60 miles on the Missouri river in 14 hours with 30 mph headwinds...

that my friends is a long day...


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Final Details

Ok so its been raining and humid. I don't dare put another coat of urethane on the yack, because it will never dry before we have to haul it to the race on Thursday.
Here are some final detail pictures that I took yesterday.
I hope the next set of pictures shows it on the water!

Rudder is installed
Sea Turtle for the journey
Sun-n-swirl for Sun over water
Light Check, all systems GO!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Almost there...

lots of progress this weekend, and lots of interruptions.
 Hunnie, i know the race is only in a couple of days, and i know you need to spend time on the kayak, but can we go to town and buy 1000 bricks for you to stack one by one? it will only take... i don't know... 5 hours? sure dear, whatever you say...

so, progress wise. painted hull, check. one coat of varnish, check. seat backs and cushions, check. foot pegs, check. rudder, check. control cables... awww crap..

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Painted Hull

Because the hull turned out so blotchy, I decided to paint it. I found an old can of latex enamel paint

 from a long lost project that never happened and mixed it up to see what it looked like. Here are a couple of pictures that show the first coat....

p.s. the race is in 10 days.....

Monday, May 13, 2013

Getting Closer

Finally the epoxy has dried and I have finished the last of the fiberglass tape in the shear seam. The cockpit coamings are installed, the lights are on. Next is to start the finishing process, and install the seats, battery and charger. I just might have it done by race time!

Friday, May 10, 2013


People ask me, "why do you have so many clamps?"

simple.... i need them.

Thursday, May 09, 2013


The final coat of epoxy is still tacky. I ended up sticking a small heater inside the boat to try to dry it down. Spent an hour preparing the coaming pieces and setting up the lights.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Going faster

Lots of progress this weekend. I got the seal coat on and fiberglass and the first fill coat on the deck of the kayak. It doesn't sound like much but it takes soooooo loooonnnng for the epoxy to dry enough to work with it.

 Like any true obsession, I go through periods of love and hate. I just cant wait to get to the shop, but I hate how long it takes to get anything done. Today is a good day, now that I can see the final color of the hull. I like it again and wont have to paint it.
Im loosing track of hours but I think I put in a total of 8 this weekend.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

How do I ???

Hmmmm... how do you move a 20 foot kayak by yourself?
I wonder how good this will work. The idea is to put the kayak on the pipe about halfway up the hull and strap it on to keep it from sliding. Initial tests last night were not good but with a little help I think I can figure out a way to make this work. I scrapped an old 10 speed bike that hasn't been ridden in at least 12 years. Bought a couple of 2" pvc end caps for a piece of 2" pvc that I had on hand. I drilled holes in the end caps and used the existing bolts and nuts to tighten it all together. The end caps are removable for storage.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Its all one piece

Add another 10 hours to the project, the kayak is all one piece now. Some serious progress has been made but i still have a long way to go. The ice on the lake is turning a deep blue color, so it wont be long before open water starts calling me.

 So i found some plastic tubing to use as conduit for the electrical wires and i hot melt glued them to the underside of the deck. i think i got enough glue on them to keep them from ever coming loose.
A neat trick i found is to use a water proof container to house the switches and connections. I have three circuits  one for the nav lights, one for the lights in the cockpits and one for the clearance/docking lights on the middle outside of the hull.

 Funny story, i have been using big syringes for putting epoxy in the gaps between panels through the whole project. well yesterday the temp finally reached 70 degrees outside and everything was warming up nicely. then the syringe in my hand started getting hot, really hot! i tried to hurry but then it went off and turned solid.
 So here is where i am now, next step is to fill cracks, sand and get ready to fiberglass the top of the deck.

80 hours thus far?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hull is complete

The Hull is now complete. The final fiberglass has been put in and a fill coat of epoxy applied. I now have 70 hours invested in this project and am feeling pretty good about it. I am still having issues with drying time of the epoxy, yes i know i live in the great white north and that epoxy  cure time is based on a low humidity and 80 degrees. It is now time to clean up the inside of the hull and deck, strap the deck onto the hull and glue it together. Pretty exciting to reach this major milestone. On a side note, i suppose this would also be a good idea to install some conduit or tubing to run wires for the navigation lights.

Wetting out the hull glass with my trusty library card.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Progress update

The deck is now glued together and I did manage to fill the gaps without making a huge mess out of it. I am waiting for a delivery of fiberglass tape to reinforce the under deck supports (this week?).

The inner temporary supports have been removed and fillets of epoxy have been applied to the but blocks and I have applied a sealer coat of epoxy to the inside. I think I am ready for fiberglass on the inside the hull.

I do need to go shopping for a few more items; navigation lights, battery charger, and various rigging things..

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Twisting wires

Just a quick update,
the hull wires are twisted tight and the deck is taped to the hull and is now ready for some glue. 2 more hours spent.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Action Photos

So here we are again on monday morning. The past weekend was very productive, although I still seem to be having trouble with the epoxy drying fast enough. I did borrow a neighbor's Knipko heater, that thing will bring the shop up from 50 to 90 degrees in about 10 min. Because I hate to pay for something that I can make myself so I used a plan out of the "Strip Built Kayak" book to build my own rudder.
Action Photo!
So now the hull is in pretty good shape and ready for final sanding. The deck is now stitched together and draped over the hull. There is still a lot of tweaking to do before the edges are glued together.
Now we are looking like a kayak.

Hours thus far... 60

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Fill coat

I put the first fill coat on the hull last night. After checking it this morning it is still a bit sticky. I didn't see a lot of sags or runs but I will check it out in more detail tonight. I am pretty sure I will need to put on another fill coat to make sure the fiber glass is totally protected and give me something to sand against. I am hoping that I can get this thing flipped over and work on the deck this weekend.

Funny thing I noticed, while working with epoxy you need to have a respirator and gloves for safety. Murphy's law clearly states that while you hands are full of sticky mess and your face is covered with a breathing apparatus  you are going to need to sneeze, and you nose will start to dribble  and then your cell phone will ring....

50 hours spent this far.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Ghost Ship?

Finally reached a major milestone and laid out the fiberglass on the outside of the hull. I used about 40 oz of epoxy to wet out the glass, the process went fairly well and took about 2 hours. The temperature is slowly rising and it is easier to maintain 70 degrees in the shop. I did switch from 3:1 epoxy to 4:1 epoxy because of the faster cure time. With a cold shop, cure time is critical.
No pressure on this build but the South Dakota Kayak Challenge is only 52 days away!

time spent thus far, 49 hours...

Monday, April 01, 2013

First Sanding

The first sanding always sets the tone for the rest of the build. Questions like, how do the joints look? Are the curves fair? Will I need to chop off the stems and replace with solid wood?

After the sanding process i did stain the hull with some Early American stain by Minwax to see if it would blend in with the epoxy mess that you can see on the joints. It did turn out blotchy, so we are still on for a paint job. The hull is now ready for fiberglass and I hope to get that done sometime this week.
4 more hours added to the project. That brings us up to 47.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pulling Wires

Now after I have spent all of that time putting the wires in and twisting them... It took about two hours to pull them all out. The hull is now ready for sanding and final fairing, with any luck I will be able to put the fiberglass on this weekend... but Easter might get in the way.
I did spend a bit of time yesterday thinking about navigation lights, hard wired vrs small battery operated. I still don't know what way to go, but if I can find something reasonably priced I might lean that way.

time spent thus far... 43 hrs

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Filling in

Spent another hour last night filling in the gaps between the panels with epoxy and wood flour. I didn't realize I had so many, in fact it was pretty discouraging. But not to worry, the paint guy will fix it up.
I finally made a decision on the rudder issue. There are a lot of nice commercial kits available but they come with a nice price. I could build the whole thing from scratch but time is becoming an issue. I settled for purchasing rotating foot pegs for the aft seat and a rigging kit from Duckworks Boat Building supply. I plan on building the rudder and mounts, this should save me a few bucks and it should look pretty nice.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hull glue up

Spent a couple of hours tweaking the hull and trying to get it perfect. I got it flipped over with a little help and squirted epoxy into all of the seams. One of the things i noticed while working on it, is that the  stems really suck. i think once i get the hull fiber glassed and the end pours in place, i will cut off the stems and replace with a single piece of hardwood and carve it to fit. i just don't like the look of the plywood stems. I have also decided that this boat is going to get a paint job. The quality of the plywood is just not good enough to clear coat and  there area a lot of tear-outs from drilling all of the holes.

so here is my idea of a fun paint job. and if anyone has ideas for other graphics like a sea turtle or orka or something that has to do with a "mother-ship" let me know.
time spent thus far... 40

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

We have Hull

About the only nice thing I can say about this weekend’s blizzard is that I got about 4 hours to spend on the kayak. The rest of the time is spent on Etsy projects and shoveling and shoveling and shoveling. As you can see in the pictures I have managed to get the rest of the hull pieces wired together. The hull is starting to look pretty good, and I am surprised at how wide this thing is. I bet you could load a lot of stuff in this thing for an extended trip for two. I still need to tweak the wires and tighten up some areas and trim some pieces to get a tighter fit. Then the final wires on the temporary supports. After that, I will attach a couple of scrap pieces t the supports and flip it over in preparation for epoxy. So the time spent thus far brings us up to....37 hours... just not in a row.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Not all interruptions are bad. Yesterday I had to fill a quick ship order of wooden toys to send to Manhattan Kansas. That's the stuff that funds the kayak project. If the kayaks paid for themselves I would be tempted to turn this into a business and then it wouldn't be fun anymore..

Monday, March 04, 2013

Weekend Progress

I did manage to spend some quality time in the shop this weekend. The stitching has begun. It has taken a little more time than I anticipated to get the hang of the best way to put the wires in and twisted tight. I am using construction wire instead of the recommended copper wire, to save a few bucks, but I'm paying for it in time. The other little glitch I ran into was the temporary frames, they didn't fit. Not only did they not fit, but were so far off I had to start over and plot them out again. Apparently when I put the numbers in the computer to print out the shapes I messed up the scale factor and ended up close but no cigar. Just goes to prove that doing some things by hand pays off.
I added 8 hrs to the project this weekend, which brings us up to 33 hrs so far. The lake still has over two feet of ice on it still, so I have a little more time...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Panels Complete

Deck Panels
 This weekend was pretty productive, I just wish it was a day or two longer. I spent Saturday running around town doing the weekly shopping and errands. Saturday afternoon was dedicated to ice fishing for northern pike, of which I did manage to land 3 beautiful fish.
Sunday I expected the weather to be bad so I planned on spending the entire day in the shop. The major tasks for Sunday was to prep all of the panels for stitching  after hours of sanding edges and beveling the edges on the shear line and drilling holes, I think I am finally ready to stitch the hull panels together.
At this point I am willing to mention that the plans and manual from Pygmy boats does leave a bit to be desired. While the instructions and plans are complete, everything is there, they seem to be lacking in more depth and in-site to the project that would make the process a little easier. After spending the majority of my life as a professional draftsman, whoever drew up the plans could have spent a little more time improving readability. Again, the plans are complete, just lacking a bit of style.
Eight hours spent on Sunday, which brings us up to 25 hours so far.... not bad for a first build.

Hull Panels

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Had a great four day weekend to work on the kayak. It started on Friday with a terrible cold (cough cough ;) and ended Monday with the presidents day holiday. At this point, all of the major pieces have been cut out with the exception of the coaming pieces. I have to admit that i didn't spend every available hour on it. I did manage to go catch a couple of fish, take care of some book work and various other tasks. Cutting out 12 twenty foot long pieces with a jigsaw has not been the most fun task that i have done on this boat so far. that works out to about 480 feet of cutting, no wonder i went through 3 blades.
As of this weekend I hereby dub this kayak the "Mothership" because it is one mother of a big boat.
I added about 10 hours to the project this weekend which brings the total up to 17 hours thus far.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A little more

Made a little more progress this weekend on the kayak. The lofting is now complete, next step is to cut out the pieces and smooth out the final shapes. Then will trace out the shapes on the other panels for the other side, cut and smooth. I would have spent more time on it but we got hit with a blizzard and the shoveling was a lot of fun.

hours spent so far...  7

Monday, February 04, 2013

First steps

The first challenge on this kayak build is putting together long enough panels for the length of the boat. Butt joint two full sheets plus 53 inches of a third. I used a trim bit in the router to true up the edges and with a 3 1/2" brace, I glued the butt joints with epoxy thickened just a bit with wood flour. You can see the weights used to hold everything down while the epoxy cured. A good use for paint cans full of bent rusty nails! With the average temp in the shop around 65 deg, it took almost all of two days for the epoxy to dry. The next big issue was figuring out how to turn the 20ft piece of 1/4" plywood over by myself...not happening.. With the help of the neighbor we got it flipped.
Now I can draw on the sections to be cut out.

Hours spent thus far.... 3

Monday, January 28, 2013

K3 The next kayak

And so we begin. This kayak is a Pygmy design called the Osprey double/triple. I purchased plans from them but not the entire kit. This build has started pretty slow, I had hoped for more shop time but you know how life gets in the way. I do have most of the materials on hand, and I will gather the rest as we go along. The epoxy and fiberglass I purchased from U.S. Composites. I used their stuff on the first boat and was happy with the result. The plywood is not the fancy okoume marine grade plywood that cost 60 bucks a sheet... I am using luan plywood from Menards at 7 bucks a sheet. I like the grain patterns and once you put fiberglass on it, it doesn't matter what the material is. All I managed to accomplish this weekend was setting up a 20' table to start work on. Hmmm, I think I feel the flu coming on....

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Happy New Year

Wow, what happened to December? Its not like I have been slacking or anything, I had 19 orders for things on Etsy, lots of toy fences, gates, paddle boats and cutting boards. Had to take a little time for the holidays and do some ice fishing.
But now I'm back in the shop, I have the wood on hand for the next kayak and I ordered the fiberglass and epoxy. The space is clear for the the 20' tandem, I just need to move the snow blower back to the garage where it belongs.

I have a couple of projects to ship out this weekend; 2 paddle boats, 6 cutting boards and a farm set (fence, gate, water tank and hay bales). After that I should be able to do some fun stuff right?