Saturday, 29 June 2013

Patient Anticipation

The new boat is well on its way, at this point it has been sanded and is having varnish applied to the hull, when that is completed, at least three coats  it will be turned over and the deck varnished. When the deck has been varnished then the deck can be outfitted, the seat and foot braces installed.  None of these steps whether it is a coat of varnish or the installation of the boats outfit take much time, but the varnish has to cure between coats, which means that no matter how strong the desire is to just get the boat in the water you are not likely to be able to apply more than two coats of varnish a day. Working part time you are more likely to be applying one coat a day which means that it will take a week to varnish and install deck rigging, seat, foot braces, and hatch closures.

This is the time of patient anticipation, you need to take the time to finish the boat off right and while it is very possible to take the boat out for a paddle without its finish applied it is much easier to apply the finish without the outfit installed. The Aulavik 18 which is the boat in the shop now is one that I really want to get on the water it was designed to fit me which does not usually happen, most boat series begin based on a place in the market or requests and suggestions from customers. This boat began as a discussion with a paddler looking for a particular boat style, nothing ever developed from those talks as far as a boat for that particular individual, but the idea stuck and the Aulavik 18 was developed. The computer tells me this boat will be easily paddled, but it cannot tell me how the boat will handle, that can be guessed at or surmised from previous designs but the reality will only be known when the hull hits the water.

I sit here at the computer looking out the office door at the upturned hull waiting on the varnish so the next coat can be applied, exercising my not so patient anticipation, filling my head with thoughts of miles to be covered, lakes to explore, of natures beauty, solitude and silence.  Come on varnish dry!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Strip Decks and Stress

This weekend I am doing what I believe is one of the most stressful parts of building a hybrid stitch & glue kayak glassing the strip deck. There are many parts of the process that are simple, that allow for change or adjustment particularly when you are constructing a one off or the first of any design, most of the time what I am building is a prototype with generally only small changes that most would not notice being made to the final product as a result of this first build. These things are expected and don’t cause too much stress, you just make the modification and move on.
The changes are usually as mentioned simple, and may not even have anything to do with the boat as it will be seen. An example is the Aulavik 18 which is the boat nearing completion in the shop and is having its deck covered in fiberglass today up until this point in the construction process things have gone along well  with the boat coming together pretty much as expected. The changes that are being made are to the building method in order to help ensure a consistent final product no matter who it is that is building the boat.  The change is that we will add more forms to be used when constructing the hull to give more control over its shape until the time comes to install the deck.
Getting back to where I was headed when I began to write this, this is the point in the construction process where what you will see as the final product will be locked in under a coat of resin and glass cloth, any spots missed in the preparation of the deck will now quickly become apparent. Not only will they be in all likelihood glaringly apparent but they will also be difficult to remedy, this does not change whether the boat is a prototype or a later version built from the plans or a kit. If you have problems and decide to paint in order to hide any flaws that are driving you crazy many people will guess why the deck is painted not many would take the time to install a strip deck so they could hide their work under a coat of paint. If it where a hull built of plywood that was painted no one would ever guess that you had not planned to paint it in the first place.

Time to head back into the shop and see how the epoxy is curing and if it needs one last coat before we let it cure then move on with getting the boat finished and on the water. It does look like it will turn out alright in spite of today’s other stressing factors heat and humidity.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Boatbuilding and Boat Shows

When I decided to start a blog I made myself a promise it  would not go more than a week without a new post, as is obvious post two is already more than a week after post one. I am blaming this on that seemingly inevitable part of boats and boa tbuilding, promotion and in particular boat shows a designer I worked for in the past often talked about shameless self promotion as a large part of the business something I have never been comfortable with. I am coming to grips with the need to be out there promoting those boats we have to offer and the fact that as the designer and builder they are to a certain extent a reflection of me. Even if you happen to have a better mousetrap if you’re the only one who knows about it there will be only one. So it is off to the shows we go hope to see you there.
 We try to exhibit at a few shows each summer , they are usually smaller ones and we tend to favour shows that feature wooden boats as we are most likely  to find like minded people there, those who seek not only to get on the water but want to do so in a wooden boat. This year we started off on a different tack with the Boat, Cottage and Outdoor Show, in Orillia unfortunately the weather only saw fit to co-operate on one of the three days, tainting rather significantly our experiment in this type of show exhibition. While the third day was enjoyable at 20 degrees C and sunny the rest of the weekend was a sullen gray 14 with a cool wind off the water.

We do need to thank those hardy souls who made their way down to the show and we did appreciate your comments and feedback on our newest design the Steel River 12 which is aimed at the kayak fisherman, the local CTV news channel also deserves a mention and thanks as they used shots of our exhibit in their coverage of the show and it did drive some people down to the show specifically to look at our boats.  Our next try will be in Gravenhurst on the 6th and 7th of July at the ACBS show, if you love wooden boats it is a great place to be as there many gather there.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

First post

Welcome to our blog which we hope will be a place where we can share our passion for the outdoors in general and for getting out on the water in particular, it will also be in part about boat building and design.  Where we can share a bit about the boats that are still just paper dreams, those that have to some degree be committed to drafting vellum as sketches or are in some preliminary way being worked out in CAD.  It will be also a place where we can share the joys and some of the not so joyful moments that come in boat building and in particular when working out the details of a new boat.

Should you go to our website you will see that w e have been focusing mainly on kayaks but as illustrated by the small trimaran though we are branching out a little the focus still is backyard boats. That is boats that may not only be kept in the backyard but in many cases will also be built there. Sailing is where I started and have cruised and raced around the Great Lakes from Montreal to Mackinaw and now with the canoes and kayaks many of the rivers and lakes between those two points. The other two Great Lakes are calling as is the endless list of lakes and rivers yet to be explored I do hope we will see you out there somewhere.

To give you a bit more history I have spent about ten years working for a builder of fiberglass boats, worked in the drafting department of a commercial boat builder for a short time then spent a couple of years working in a design office where the focus was at the time on custom boats, with some production and semi-production work thrown in for good measure. Somewhere in the midst of this I also completed the Westlawn course on yacht design.