Monday, April 25, 2011

Redwood Boogies

OK, I'm skipping ahead here, but I thought I would catch everyone up on where we are with the canoe just to whet your appetites. It's out of order in the scheme of building progression, but I wanted to get this out there. This is the boat as of this morning before my Dad and I eventually got 4 more strips on her. She is starting to look like a real pretty lady. Gluing these bottom strips isn't so bad. Some wedges here, a few screws in the forms there and all was well. It's even easier now that we are full on to the bottom. We eye up where the strips are going to cross the centerline and cut them off an inch or so over where they cross it. We can use those lengths of strip for the ones even more in the center. My Uncle Rich suggested we just make it a glass bottom canoe and market it towards the Floridian fisherman market. LOL It would be cool, I guess...
We got two strips on "The Pretty Lady", went to my Pops house and had leftover ham that I cooked on Easter yesterday and came back to do some planing of the Redwood for my next surfboard project. I bought 3/4 planks 12 foot long and my Pop split them in half. Well they weren't 3/4, they were closer to 5/8" but we still managed to get them to 1/4" with a few sawblade marks still in them, but overall, it worked out well.

232/1000's !!!!

7/1000's left to plane! Better flip that puppy over and do the unmilled side!

Unfortunately on the first pass we hit a stone embedded into the wood and nicked the blade! But it was to one side and we were able to get all 16 planks planed. I'm gonna have to sharpen those blades,,,,more like my Pop is gonna have to sharpen those blades! LOL, he can show me how.
The guy knows how to make the best of things! We had a long day of work and he's a trooper. I had to bust out the saw horses to lay the planks on while milling because they started to get so thin that they would sag and that raises or lowers the plank on the cutting blade eliminating a nice flat finish like we want.

8PM after 11 hours of working on boats, surfboards, air conditioners and the garden, Pop is still smiling. He's looking forward to a nice cool glass of Admiral Nelson when he gets home!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wissinoming Brewing

So like another hobby of mine is brewing beer. I love it. I would like to pursue it as a career eventually. I have been accepted to UC Davis into their brewers program, which is actually an accomplishment to me since I had to have a list of pre-requisites and they liked them! Getting money for tuition is going to be a challenge. If I can't get a loan, I can't go to school and it is back to the drawing board looking for other schools like the one in chicago or the one in Colorado, but still there is that money thing again.

OK, so one of my ideas was to get a website going to try and make connections, contacts, and maybe a little money. I bought the rights to both the names, Wissinoming Brewing and Be Green And Flow ( and and would like to get something going.

I'm not sure if I should use either of these of if I should use both. I was wanting to combine the two, but that may dilute the purpose. If I do two websites, how do I proceed? Begreenandflow could be oriented towards educating people on how to do wood projects and WissBrau could be for homebrewing. But how to make a little cash off of either? TShirts? Keychains? Contests?

Any ideas are really appreciated! Even help setting the sites up is appreciated as it is no where as easy as I had originally hoped.

Shoot me your opinions!

Stay green! Stay cool!


Stripping for Freedom

Alright, take it off! Actually, stripping this canoe is putting it on! Putting on cedar strip planks!
To the left here, you are seeing Pacific Redwood from Redding, California, those planks are actually for my next surfboard, a ten foot log designed by Grain Surfboards in York, Maine.

Here is the first cedar strip being attached to the forms on either side of the picture. The strip is running the entire length of the canoe and attached at what will actually be the gunnel, or "rub rail" of the canoe when upright. Planking is actually being done with the overall form of the canoe overturned.

At each form overtop of the first plank (strip) layed down, two more strips are placed atop it with glue in between each strip. In this process, the strips are layed down with a convex side [U] on top, and a convex side [0]down. The convex "u" is filled with glue the entire length and then the strip is pressed into place with the "L" shaped bracket clamped to the form and wedges pushing down on the plank (strip) from the top and the side.

Here is a better pic of the forms with the planks held in place with the L brackets and wedges, better pics to follow.

My Uncle Rich and my Dad watching the glue dry.

Boat Beginings

The Freedom 17, an asymmetrical trekking canoe designed by Bear Mountain Boats is the project my Dad is taking on. The forms were given to he and I by Geoff McKonly. Thanks Geoff you saved us about 200 bucks! It's not exactly the boat that I wanted to do. I like Bear Mountains' "Bob Special" and my Pop I think wanted to do "the Hiawatha" or some other Native American inspired design, but hey, these forms were free and we are experimenting so no big deal! The project actually started 4 years ago when I moved back to Philly. It's been most of that time just organizing the shop, which isn't easy when many different people have their "stuff" in there. We have actually had the wood for the project close to 20 months now, but there are constant interferences and delays. But now we are neck deep into the project and I'm hoping that we can speed up the process to make this years' boat shows in time. I'd love to be able to bring a canoe and another surfboard to Mystic this year to show them off! Mystic is pretty cool although last year it seemed about 30% or more smaller than the previous years events. So my dad, Cork, and I are about 2/3's of the way through the planking which is probably about 1/4 of the way through the entire project. Maybe more. Sanding comes next and that should go pretty quick. Then it is on to epoxying, which may prove to be tough for a few reasons, one being the large surface to fiberglass and epoxy, the other being that the epoxy itself has been sitting on the shelf for two years and may be losing it's fluidity. I am not sure on that. It has not been opened, but it has been exposed to temperature extremes. Past experiences lead me to conclude that there is a good chance that it may not be as good as it should be. Let's cross our fingers.

One of the longest bits in this process was the beginning stage of setting up the strongback. The strongback is a frame that runs the length of the canoe in which all of the forms are attached to. And to the forms go the planks along them, the planks taking the desired shape of the individual canoe and being held together with Titebond 3 glue but not to the forms. This way the planked canoe can be lifted off of the forms before fiberglassing and epoxying.

That is called a strongback. It is made level and everything is squared off at 90 degree angles for the placement of the frames or forms that form the shape of the hull. The taught line on top helps line up the frames better. This is my dad's baby. He's really getting into it now. Setting up the strongback and the frames seemed to be the biggest pain in the azz so far.

Me Da just after we clamped up the steamed oak stems for the the bow and stern of the canoe. The bow and stern "stems" are made of oak because it is a really tough wood. The oak was cut into 1/4" thick strips and then piled on top of each other so they can steam better and faster than just a solid piece of oak. Also notice two of the forms on the strongback at the bottom of the photo.

Here you can make out the layers of the wood. This will actually be an inside AND outside stem for the bow of the canoe. The layers will be epoxied together to make two solid pieces out of these 6 or 8 layers. The inside stem are what the planks will be glued to and the outside stem will add protection to the bow and stern of the boat as well as give it a nice look from contrasting colors.

This is our makeshift steambox. A steel can sits atop my beer burner and the water inside is heated till it steams up into the PVC pipe inside which we have our oak strips to be bent. They sat in the steam for 15 to 20 minutes and were placed on the frame in the above picture and clamped into place. After letting them sit there for a day, they were removed and let to completely dry before they were epoxied together. The whole process up until they were epoxied took us about two weeks off and on, with the strongback and all combined. But to work straight through it was probably about 20 hours of work. Something to think about if you want to take on a project like this someday. Also keep in mind that you will have to procure all the tools as well if you don't have them, which is time consuming.......and money consuming! My recommendations, get them at a flea market if you can, then try ebay and craigslist. You most likely will find used tools that are of better quality than that of 80% of the new ones.