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Hal Hammond

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Hal Hammond last won the day on July 25

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  1. For me the attraction of the laminated coaming was the flash of varnished wood. It highlights that the kayak is different from everything else out there—especially the plastic boats. It’s overkill if you just want to get on the water. They are pretty though… Very glad to hear that you’ve enlisted the help and support of your wife. My wife and I truly had a good time building ours. HH
  2. Congrats, Shridhar! Boatbuilding is one of the most gratifying projects you can undertake and Jeff’s designs have a great ratio of fun to work to results. Getting your boat out of the building jig onto the grass yields a huge sense of accomplishment and the FROGs are so beautiful you almost hate to cover them. My wife and I built two Ravenswoods in June. We both really enjoyed working together and she’s extremely proud of her accomplishment—I am too! As for fuselage vs bent ribs, I think there’s still some prejudice against using plywood. Its too utilitarian for purists. Also, the time spent cutting, sanding, routing frames adds up if you’re building boats for sale as Brian at CFK does. Plus a sheet of plywood costs more that a chunk of bending stock. Since you’ll soon have the plans, but perhaps not yet the space, you might get started by cutting your frames. You can also start hunting wood for your stringers—if you’re patient and willing to pick through lumber piles at Lowes and/or Home Depot you can find useable stock. I had better luck there than at specialty wood dealers where the wouldn’t let you pick the piles. Unless your dealer stocks clear S4S ($$$), you’ll have to overbuy and do a lot of scarfing. My local Lowes stores in Denver had cedar 8 ft1x4, rough one side that measured 11/16x3 1/2. A few strokes with a hand plane yielded 5/8”, perfect for the gunwales, chines, keel and deck beams. I could usually find 1 or 2 8 ft boards each time they restocked and sometimes I hit multiple stores. We did laminated coamings —ripping thin stock out of hardwood was too much for my table saw so I had it done at Rockler. I bought African mahogany and they ripped and sanded the strips to 3/32nds for me. I could give the strips a light soak and bend them around my jig. If you laminate, estimate how many buy clamps you need then buy twice as many! Or just use plywood according to plans…in retrospect, I’d use plywood and just paint the coamings. There are a lot of efficiencies in building two. We cut all the frames and stringers but then assembled the FROGs using the same strongback, one after the other. We also used the same jig for the coamings. You’re much faster the second time you do something. We’ve used the kayaks a lot already but I need to finish fitting deck rigging, carry handles, float bags, skirts etc. We also started building Greenland style paddles. Hand planing cedar is a lot of fun but we’re waiting for cooler weather to finish them. I also want to learn to roll and build skill and capabilities for bigger water. Maybe next summer we’ll plan a trip to the Apostle Islands or Pictured Rocks National Seashores on Lake Superior. Good luck! Hal
  3. Looks good—do you travel far? I was worried about wind buffeting on a longer trip. Since taking the photos, I’ve upgraded a bit. I now use Seals cockpit covers. The 1.7 seems ok. The deck isn’t drum tight but they stay put, even on the Ravenswood laminated coaming without the lip. I haven’t gone on the highway yet though.
  4. I really liked the Short Shot too. I was planning to build two until I found that here was no short shot LV. 165 is on the line so it depends on how you plan to use it. If you’re going to load it, go bigger. If not, then maybe LV. If I were starting over with the knowledge I have now, I’d probably go with two LVs since we paddle pretty light. Btw, this is what Jeff said… HH
  5. Scott, I had a chance to paddle my wife’s Ravenswood LV. I like it a lot! I’m 5-9 and 165. The LV sits a bit lower and is less stable than the STD but the tighter fit is nice. It’s more like you wear the boat instead of the boat wearing you. Two pics, me in the green LV and then me in the blue STD with my wife in the LV. If you’re anywhere near Denver and would like to try either one, let me know. HH
  6. Nice setup! Fitted cradles—I did something similar for one of my rowing shells Denver to Michigan. I also used fore and aft tie downs. 25ft long. In this case, I wanted to support the kayaks for more than the 30” between Thule bars, hence the v cradles mounted to a long support beam. Rowing shells use a similar design for cartopping. See https://burnhamboatslings.com/1x-single-boats/ My kayak version uses a 9 ft 2x4 for the main beam and the cradles are made from bent steel 1/4”x1.5” flat bar stock. The blocks raise the cradles to allow clearance for the coaming. The 2x4s have some flex which smoothes the road vibrations quite a bit.
  7. I’ve been wondering what the best approach is to cartopping skin on frame kayaks. We’re headed back from the UP of Michigan to Colorado with two Ravenswood kayaks on the roof of our minivan. They traveled ok from Denver to Michigan sitting in 9 ft long racks with V saddles mounted to Thule square bars. Initially I had 1/2 rope running through pool noodles to span the V saddles but the noodles left impressions on the decks when the kayaks were cinched down tightly so I switched yo 1 1/2” nylon webbing. Ok so far. For long distance travel on the interstate, add a binge around the bow to help dampen vibrations and buffeting. I also shrink wrap the cockpits to keep wind and debris out. What’s you solution—any advice or tips? I feel like I might be overdoing it but I was concerned about shaking the lashed joints and/or having the wind blow up the skin like a large ballon. HH Sorry—images loaded upside down. I’ll take some more pics…
  8. My only other experience is in tubby plastic boats and super tippy flat water rowing shells. The Ravenswood LV and STD are certainly less stable but not a problem once you’re in them. You do have to take care entering and exiting though. My wife is 105 lbs and the LV feels really comfortable for her. Same for me at 160 in the STD. They point and track very well. Basically they goes where you point them, regardless of wind. They’re really easy to paddle and inspire confidence, even in mild whitecaps. In a rowing shell, you simply tip over if you let go of the sculling oars. In the Ravenswood, you can sit comfortably with the paddle resting on the coaming, even in wind and waves. My wife has less experience on the water but adapted to her LV within minutes. She loves her kayak! We wet launch in knee deep water. The trick is to get one leg in and extended and drop your bottom into the boat quickly. If you hesitate, you’ll likely roll unless you have really good balance or if you’re bracing on something solid. I dumped it once but my wife, being more flexible than me, hasn’t had a problem. I haven’t tried her kayak yet but will once we return to Colorado. We’ll weigh them both too. Guessing they’re pretty light. I can easily lift them into the cartop racks on our minivan—that was one of our critical goals, that they be easily cartop-able. Mission accomplished. HH
  9. The green one, now named Kermit, was skinned and primed in time for our trip from Colorado to the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. The blue one (Grover) made the trip as a bare frame. We skinned it after arriving and then painted them both. We used Rustoleum Farm and Implement paint in John Deere green and Ford blue. Frame weights were 18 and 19 pounds respectively. We haven’t weighed them fully finished with foot and back braces but I’m guessing they’re sub 25. They are extremely responsive in the water and the low volume Ravenswood fits my wife well.
  10. We’ll, we got the frames skinned and painted. They turned out very nice and they’re a pleasure to paddle. Thumbs up from my hardworking wife who wondered what she had gotten into with the hours of lashing and sewing.
  11. Ravenswood—low volume and standard. The LV has been varnished with poly urethane and is ready to be covered. With the frames cut and stringers made, the second on went together quickly—three days from frames in the jig to FROG. It’s startling how fast they come together when everything is prepped. Laminating and then sanding and finishing the coaming is the slowest part. Takeaway from the coaming is to use very thin, straight-grained stock. I used African mahogany (wood store had a nice piece of 8/4) but next time I’d use maple or oak as Jeff recommends. Also cut it very thin. The book said 3/16ths, I went with 1/8, but next time I go for 3/32s. 1/8 was as thin as I could get on my table saw but if you have access to a band saw set up for re-sawing go thinner. The mahogany looks great but the grain was a little squirrelly. I don’t think it was worth the extra effort. Looking forward to getting them launched now! Hal
  12. Thanks for the feedback! I started with something similar but they were a little too short to insure that the stringers would stay straight. I used news paper around the glue joints. Cheap, planes off easily when you clean up the glue line.
  13. Working on Ravenswood Standard frame now after finishing my wife’s LV. Once you have the frames prepped and stringers scarfed, it goes pretty quick. The most frustrating part was finding decent, knot-free cedar. Typically my stringers ended up with 2-3 scarfs and I often had to cut them apart and reglue because of hard spots, or small kinks. If the stringers are kinked, you won’t get a fair curve when you assemble the frog. Heres an example along with my solution (middle of three). The trick is to clamp the scarfs against a long piece of steel or aluminum angle. Once I started doing this, ALL my glueups have been straight. Give it a try if you’re struggling to get straight stringers with multiple scarfs. HH
  14. We finally finished lashing my wife’s Ravenswood LV. It’s astonishingly light at 18 lbs minus coaming. Next up, assembling my Ravenswood Standard. Frames and stringers are done so we’re hoping it will go together more quickly.
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