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Lapwing #27 Lula


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14 hours ago, Kennneee said:

  Planing ATC is a true pleasure (assuming you are a wood nerd).  Planes like butter.

That is an understatement. I have made West Greenland style kayak paddles and oars out of ALC and it works great with a draw knife as well.


Looking good.

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Dave-  A bit off topic but a friend sent this picture taken a few years back.  There is a kayak race in San Francisco called the SeaTrek Regatta that I would do every year, often in a double with my friend Paul.  Early on we raced with native paddles and skin boats and did pretty well.  Other racers would laugh until we passed them with our skinny blades.  When this pic was taken I rode my motorcycle down from BC to do the race for “old times sake”.  I built a couple of 2 piece Greenland carbon fiber paddles  that I could fit on my bike. Eventually I gave in and started using wing paddles but still have a warm spot for the native blade. Fun stuff!



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You can't accelerate with a skinny blade as quickly, but as you get older especially, the lessened impact of a thin blade entering the water is appreciated.  I also find I can keep a pace longer. And since you paddle closer to the boat, there is less force wasted on turning the boat like the side stroke of a Euro paddle. If you can master the sliding stroke, it gets really efficient.


I haven't paddled in a while, too busy rowing these days.

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A few years ago I was talking to Graham at the Woodenboat Show at Mystic Seaport. I was metioning that I might want lighter masts down the road and he suggested an option.  A thin wall birdsmouth mast covered with a carbon sleeve/epoxy. Dunno that it will ever happen.  I hate sloppy/messy work. I like wood.


Nice kayaks.  

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Hi Guys-  Both masts are ready for sealing.  The main mast glue up went really well and didn’t require any help to get it done.  A huge time saver was clamping the staves together and applying the glue all at once.  On the mizzen I did them one at a time and it took a surprising amount of time.  I coated the inside of the staves the night before the glue up which made it a lot less messy.  Using hose clamps and zip ties seems to be the way to go.  Also having jigs to hold the staves in place is a real help.  On the main I installed a plug from the butt end to slightly above where the tabernacle will end.  This also helped with the assembly since it kept the last 2 staves from falling into the mast as it was assembled.

If you are contemplating a birds mouth mast I would try to have a sharp jointer plane available for the shaping.  It made the process so much easier than it could have been.  I just walked along the strongback and beautiful shavings curled off and there was no concern for a wavy line. From the previous pics you can see that I went from the #7 jointer to a bevel up smoother and then a block plane.  After that I used a scraper plane and finally some sanding.  The sanding was minimal since the planning left me with a pretty nice surface.  I set up the masts in V blocks so I could easily rotate the masts as I worked.  Using my RO Sander in one hand and rotating the mast with the other acted a bit like a lathe, if that makes sense.  The final sanding was done with a soft pad on the sander.  If you are really fussy you can feel some irregularities in the masts, but I am quite happy with the end product.  I keep repeating my mantra “perfect is the enemy of the good”.

I really enjoyed fabricating these masts.  Is it practical compared to aluminum masts?  Probably not since it is a lot more work and more expensive.  That said, if we wanted to save work and money we would buy a used plastic boat.  









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I forgot I had the sprits in my garage at home (I had put my boat in storage.)  


Main sprit, forward end, has an eye strap to which the snotter attaches with a snap hook. 


On the mizzen sprit rigging, I took out the snap hook and D ring from the snotter to have less sprit sticking out forward of mast (to help avoid a repeat of catching the mainsail on the mizzen sprit.). 
The short rope being held between fingers ties to the mizzen mast (two strap eyes.)  You can see the line going downward toward where the cleat would be. 

(A bit out of focus… this is better.)



Both aft ends of the sprits have a pin and a sheet block. I added a little loop of elastic cord that will keep the pin in the clew loop of the sail, so it doesn’t fall out (which happens when I raise the back of the sprit with an extra halyard -t topping lift.)


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Ted- Thanks for posting those pics.  I guess there are at least 3 different ways to deal with the mast end of the sprits.  A fork,  a 7 degree bevel and a cheek block and the way you did it. I think the way you did it is the way I will go with mine. 


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Had some time to work on the masts and got a couple of coats of epoxy on them.  I made a crude “lathe” to be able to apply the epoxy evenly.  Worked really well to roll and turn them as I went down the length.  

I glued some AYC scraps together for one of the sprits and have a length that is the correct dimensions for the second one.  I am leaving BC in a 3 weeks to head south and should be able to have the masts, centreboard, sprits, tabernacle ready bring with me providing I get all of my other chores done.  





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Dave- A few years back I had a chat with the owner of Bristol Finishes and he recommended epoxy under Bristol which is a 2 part finish.  I used it a lot on my kayak builds and it held up well.  I used Bristol on Rosie and the results were not as good.  I didn’t apply epoxy under it and I think that was why.  Bristol is a tough, hard finish but it is brittle and the epoxy helps with that issue.  I know some other varnish manufacturers also recommend epoxy under varnish for more longevity.  Certainly the epoxy companies do but they love to sell the stuff.


While on the subject, I removed all of the Bristol from my rub rails and tried Cetol teak and Clear.  I was surprised how nice it looked over Sapelle.  I always associated Cetol with a horrid orange color. It has been improved.   Fast forward it is the end of the season and the plugs I put in all of the screw holes are getting dark discolouration indicating water intrusion. I might strip all of the Cetol off, coat with epoxy and then varnish. Not happy about that!

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There are two schools of thought regarding epoxy under varnish.  You may well have woken the sleeping giant.  I like it, but it has a down side.  Every several years, varnish should be stripped off and redone.  If the base is epoxy, it’s not so easy.  On the other hand, what about all those strip-built and varnished canoes?  Are they all wrong?


I would not do it on your masts.  The wind and snotters induce a lot of bend into the masts.  I’d be concerned that the epoxy-varnish would check.  I’d just use varnish.  

Your masts are gorgeous, by the way.

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Hi Don- Yep, nothing is without more than one way of doing it.  I will report back in a couple of years since my masts have already been epoxied.  I won’t remember unless the varnish fails early….  My understanding of the concept is that the epoxy stabilizes the wood somewhat and hence less stress on the varnish due to wood movement.  Of course wood will always move but the epoxy decreases it.  Can’t say I have done any real testing to speak with confidence.

I have had good luck on at least a dozen strip kayaks.  It is not exactly the same since it is varnish going over epoxy and fiberglass.  Thanks for the compliment on the masts.

Any other thoughts and opinions welcomed.

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Bristol Finish is as hard to repair as epoxy resin when either it discolors, or physical damage is done. 


Here is a picture of my transom. It has 3 coats of epoxy and many, many coats of real varnish.  The blotches showed up at around 2 years.  At that point I had close to 20 coats of varnish. I tried sanding down and hoping the yellowing was in one of the varnish layers, but it was not.  I decided to leave it alone. trying to sand through 2 years cured epoxy and not go through the Sapele vener of the transom seemed way too risky.  It hasn't gotten any worse, this picture is today. Varnish can be removed with a heat gun and a semi sharp scraper down to the wood easily and safely.  2 part anything is another story.  For painted surfaces there is no real issue. Epoxy filler can repair all damage.  But when it is supposed to stay bright, it is a different issue.


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Dave- Any idea what damaged the epoxy?  It almost looks like epoxy that has been damaged by UV but with 20 coats of varnish that is unlikely.  I wonder if there was some contamination in the epoxy or on the surface of the transom.  Does it appear to be lifting off of the wood?  Strange.  All that said, you are the only one that will really notice (except for anybody reading this post).

Anybody that has brightwork on a boat has to be a bit of a masochist.  The beauty of bright wood makes the sanest of men do silly things.  I am going with a bright transom as well.


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It is simply discoloration. If it were under paint you would never know or care. I have no idea why it appeared after 2 years, and if it was UV damage, how it got through so much varnish. I do know, that if there were no epoxy it would not have happened. And if varnish discolored, I could easily remove it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Loaded the van with 2 surfskis, 2 inflatable paddle boards and a lot of tools for the trip south from wet and cold BC.  Not to mention the 2 masts and sprits for the Lapwing as well as the centerboard.  I have the tabernacle parts made but not glued together. I even threw in a folding rocking moaning chair I build some years back.   With all of this stuff in the van Luanne had the nerve to want a bag of shoes included as well.  What fun is that?

Graham and Alan plan to have the parts cut and ready to ship to me in San Diego in the near future.  With all of the floating toys  I am bringing south I will have to discipline myself to actually do the work to create the next one (Lula).  If past is prelude, I should have no trouble finding the desire to get going on the rest of the build.  Here is a link to more pics.





















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  • 1 month later...

The 575lb crate arrived this week here in San Diego.  A lot of strange looking parts that will someday be a boat.  Not quite as easy as adding water and stirring but certainly a lot of work saved with so many pieces of plywood already cut perfectly to size.  Alan sent a preliminary video showing me the 3D modelling he and Graham have done to facilitate the building of this new kit.  Looks like black magic to me but it certainly seems to work.  Alan will have a final video and the rest of the plans to go with the kit done shortly if anyone out there is thinking of a Lapwing kit.

I unpacked the crate and set up the building jig in about an hour.  I used some of the crating parts to build a glueing table for the cockpit sides and the planks which are joined together with finger style joints.  Even though the joints are cut very precisely, it is important to have measurements where the ends and center of the planks are in relation to each other.  A small bit of misalignment when doing the glue-up could lead to problems down the line.  I have a couple of the planks done but am stymied waiting for the epoxy to kick since I can only do one set at a time in the space I have to work.  Fast hardener would be the way to go on this for me but my kit came with the slow.  For more patient builders the slow hardener might be better since it gives more open time.  I usually only use slow when doing cloth lay-ups.  Of course it depends what the climate is like where you are doing your build.  Surprisingly it has been a bit cool her in San Diego the last week or so only one set per day.  Forced me to go out paddling yesterday and a bike ride today.  At this rate I will be much fitter but the Lula will come together a bit slower.  A reasonable trade-off.











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I am sure this project will be first rate. And FWIW you can make fast hardener out of slow hardener by enhancing the chemical process with a cheap microwave. On small batches, just hit the mixed batch up for about ten seconds , which will nudge the curing process a bit.  But I do this only on the resin in many cases, which will transfer the warmth to the room temperature of the hardener. Experiment with a few mixes now and you will get the hang of it and know about how many seconds for certain amounts given the ambient temp that works in your favor. You ain't got time to go bike riding feller.?


And of course in those zero tolerance joints for those planks that takes on their own shape when they end up upright and full size, make sure you wet out the end grain several times, which I am sure you know, but wanted to throw that in for anyone working with simular tolerances. My stringers needed some cabosil , but being straight the slight bit of added length does not bother the shape or fairness.  

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