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Leo De Bruyn

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    Friday Harbor, WA

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  1. You know, I did do some rounding on it, but since I am light on tools for that sort of thing it could probably have been a lot rounder. For future projects some kind of router with roundover bit and a grinder would save time and compensate for my lack of patience and lack of free time for endless sanding and filing to get a much rounder effect overall. It turns out to be pretty important. Incidentally it seems like a more v bottom shape like Ravenswood would be a bit less vulnerable to this kind of damage. There's just less hard edges available for things to rub on below. On the other hand, I appreciated how stable the rounded bottom felt when I ran aground. There was no question of me tipping over.
  2. On my fourth trip out in the new kayak, I was out at sunset. I had carefully considered the currents, tides, and prevailing winds and selected my put in spot accordingly. It was beautiful and the boat performed well. I spent a little while messing around some waves and getting a feel for how the boat handled them at various angles. Eventually, I headed down the shore, doing some exploring as the sun went down. I know the area well from hiking on the shore, but lighting conditions made it hard to see down into the water ahead of me, and I became a little nervous. I was just about to call it a night, when I passed between some rocks and the nearby shore and I suddenly felt a vibration and heard a prolonged sound kind of like the zipper on a tent, or someone running a fingernail along taught fabric. In that first panicked moment, the sound seemed to last for years until finally I came to a stop-- lodged in place. Looking down, I could now clearly see that there was a large reef connecting the above-water rocks to the shore, and the calm water and lighting conditions had prevented me from seeing that the water was only a few inches deep. I could also see all kinds of barnacles, musssels, and other terrifyingly sharp things under me. I took a few deep breaths, wondering if I would start to feel water seeping in around me. It seemed fine. I wasn't really in any serious danger. I knew that it was shallow enough to just pick the boat up and carry it to shore but I didn't fancy trying to walk on that terrain barefoot as the light was failing. Eventually I started feeling around with the paddle and managed to get myself off the reef -- wincing at each little bump and scrape-- and find my way out of there. In open water, I opened the spray skirt, and also reached into the water, to try to feel on the bottom. It all seemed fine, and so I paddled themile and a half back to my starting point. It was too dark by then to properly inspect the boat, but I confirmed that there were no holes in it. At home, I cleaned the boat up and inspected the damage. It's a little hard to see with the white paint job, but worth taking a look at. I learned something from what I saw. In this picture, you can see that the marks run several feet along the boat, on the keel and both lower stringers. With that much of the boat dragged over the reef, if the fabric had cut open, it would have been pretty catastrophic-- duct tape wouldn't have saved me. Basically, what people who haven't used skin boats imagine will happen at first sign of collision with anything. You can see that there are long sections where the paint is just scuffed a bit. Here you can see up close the worst spots where the outer layer of paint has been scraped off completely. The worst spot is at the end of one of the seat/floor boards (which, you may all recall are made from strips of cedar on this boat-- not pieces of ply). My overall impression is that the durability profile of the boat is perhaps not what you would expect on first consideration. Obviously, when it comes to puncture from a collision with a pointy spear-like object, the wood parts are stronger than the fabric parts. But, when it comes to running over sharp things such as reefs covered with barnacles and shellfish, which is much more likely in a marine environment, as far as the skin is concerned, those big soft open panels of fabric are the most durable part of the boat because they just flex out of the way when something runs across them. I can see where the marks just kind of run off the stringers and then disappear as they get out into the panel. On the other hand a stringer will prevent the fabric from getting out of the way, effectively grinding it across the cutting surface. Even so, the fabric (which is a loose-weave 8 oz I got from Dyson) doesn't seem to have any severed threads-- it's just roughed up in places and a lot of paint removed. Pointy bits, like corner on the end of the floor/seat stringers are the most dangerous spots. That's where the worst damage, that most approaches the appearance of a "hole" was found. In the previous picture, that corner is where that large gash is. The rest of the mark kind of fades out into the panel to the right, beyond the end of the floor board. Besides learning something about safety and preparedness (and to spend a bit more time with the charts, and stay further from shore in bad light conditions), I also learned that on future boats it will be a good idea to do a more thorough rounding of the outer edges of the stringers to reduce the sharpness of the corners even more and put less area of wood against the fabric. Special attention should be given to the seat boards, on the edges and corners that face downward. Overall, I was lucky and learned some useful lessons at what I consider to be a low cost. My repairs at least will be cheap and easy-- it's just white Rustoleum. And it was a beautiful evening. Here's a picture after I landed, with the lights of Lopez Village across the bay.
  3. I finished painting it a couple weeks ago, and wanted to try it out and make sure it was watertight before I finished rigging it. I also only had a day left before leaving for a week long business trip, and was feeling impatient. And it was sunny. So, I took it down to Eagle Cove which is shallow and sandy and was protected from the light northerly winds we had that day. I was pleased with what I experienced in the limited time I had, staying close to shore. When I got back, I finished rigging it up with life lines all the way around and a bungee on the front deck and a set of toggles on the back for sticking my paddle when getting in and out. I took it out on Griffin Bay for a bit, and pushed it a bit harder. It performs well and is very stable when leaning over. It feels so alive compared to the fiberglass kayaks I have used, and I am very pleased. I do need to do more stretching before I can get the most out of it, though, and to make a few comfort tweaks and make a spray skirt. It's my first time with a Greenland paddle, and I got a lot of water in the boat. I think there may also be a bit of leakage on the deck seam, but I'll wait till I have the spray skirt to verify that it wasn't all just from my paddle. It's got three coats of Rustoleum gloss white on it.
  4. Here is the Short Shot I am building out in Friday Harbor, WA. It has taken a while. When I started, I had no woodworking tools at all and almost no experience. Now, I have the beginnings of a respectable collection. Acquiring tools and learning to use them has obviously added to my cost and time, but learning to do this stuff is a major reason I decided to do this in the first place, so I am content. Here on the island, what I could get my hands on was MDO for the frames (ugly, but seems to work fine), and Western Red Cedar for stringers. I was lucky enough to find some full length clear fascia boards for the gunwales and keel, and there are only a couple scarfs I had to do for a couple of the stringers. If I had wanted I could have ordered clear finished 1"x8"x18' boards at the local yard, but I didn't want to spend the money, so I picked through the fascia pile and hit the jackpot. Good cedar is one of the few things that it is easy to get out here. The boat is a little more heavily built than plans-- initially because I didn't have an easy way to plane the boards from 3/4" to 5/8", but after some thought, I realized I don't mind it being a bit sturdier in the sometimes rough conditions I can encounter on the ocean. I will only be using it in salt water, and we can get some decent wind, waves, and tides here. It's still not too heavy for me to easily pick up and put on the car. I also did my first ever lamination on the deck beam, which is far from perfect but seems very strong. Having climbed into it, I concur that the laminated beam is the way to go. I will try to improve on my technique for the coaming. All they had was red oak, at 3/4" thickness, so I had to rip it into 1" and 1.5" pieces, put those on their side and push through the saw with featherboards to hold them straight to get three roughly 1/8" strips per piece. The stuff is not cheap, either. In case you are wondering, I will be skinning the frame as-is-- bare wood with no finish applied.
  5. On my frame I have written 7'10, which puts it 22 inches from the previous frame 6', and 8 inches behind the next frame 8'6". I imagine I copied the 7'10" from the pattern, which I can't find at the moment. Since the seat slats are 26" long, the 22 inches gives a couple inches overhang for the slats on either end, which makes sense. BUT... In the back of the manual, the frame is listed as at 7'1" for the Short Shot (and in the drawing, is shown in that position). This would make the seat 13" long, and who knows what to do with the extra slat length. My gut said 7'10" is correct because it makes the cockpit floor slat length make more sense, but the frame does have kind of a snug fit against the stringers and looks a tiny bit funny to me, so I want to double check. Thanks.
  6. Hi all, I am building a short shot, and I intend to finish the frame with some danish teak oil before skinning. However, the climate I live in is cool and moist enough that I have some concern about mold forming inside the boat over time-- especially during the winter time. I will definitely be using it often, including in cold weather, so it may be damp on the inside on a regular basis in cool conditions, which is a recipe for mold. I have read that the folks over at Sea Wolf in Seattle spray a borax solution over their frame and let it dry before applying oil to their frames, and this is supposed to prevent mold. I know that borax does kill mold and prevent it from growing, and is not really dangerous to humans unless you eat it. Unlike bleach, there are no fumes and it persists and inhibits future mold growth. I guess you might also spray some of this into the boat if the skin ever has any issues on the inside. Has anyone had mold issues? Have you tried something like this? What are your thoughts.
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