Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kayak Spray Skirt/Spray Guard Thing

As of my lunch hour, today, I've completed my idea for a spray skirt or splash guard on my kayak. The kayak, with it's open cockpit and my complete disregard for the designer's suggestion of not using a Greenland paddle with said open cockpit kayak, gets a few drips in my lap. That's fine for summer, but with fall and winter approaching, I decided to make a little modification.

(On the disregard thing. I just REALLY wanted to make a Greenland paddle. I'm stubborn, slightly obsessive compulsive and probably a little stupid at times.)

Anyway, I started by sewing a leftover piece of 8 oz. polyester fabric. The same stuff we skinned the kayaks with. Luckily my buddy Brian kept a bunch from the builds. I sewed seams along all four borders, in kind of a tapered rectangle shape, doubling up the seam that was to be closest to my body. Hopefully making it so water will shed to the sides and not into the boat.

just completed sewing the edge seams by hand

just completed sewing the edge seams by hand

Then I coated it with the same varnish as the build. Luckily there's about a pint leftover.

before i decided ton how to attach it

It's really hard to find silver colored or stainless grommets. Not wanting brass, I opted to sew some in. I should have done this before coating the fabric, but I didn't think of it till afterwards. It would have been easier and probably more structurally sound in the long run. I made a practice run of the procedure with some hemp I had in the garage, working from a diagram in The Arts of the Sailor by Hervey Garrett Smith.

practice sewn grommet eyelet

practice sewn grommet eyelet

practice sewn grommet eyelet

making sewn grommet eyelets

making sewn grommet eyelets

Finishing things off today with some shock cord and carabiners. I may switch them out for hooks when I find some.

completed idea for a spray skirt/splash guard on my kayak

completed idea for a spray skirt/splash guard on my kayak

completed idea for a spray skirt/splash guard on my kayak

It's untested, I should get the chance to see how it works sometime next week. Hopefully it will keep the drips out and me dry.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Finally Legal!!!

Finally legal!!!

I got my outrigger canoe's registration in the mail today, I'm very happy about it. The three month wait is over. You're about to see more sailing posts.

Monday, August 20, 2012

James River/Springfield Lake, 8-19-2012

A quick Sunday evening paddle on Springfield Lake with my friend Theron. He had his white water boat out, a bit of a contrast to my skin lake boat. Cool to check out the difference in handling, though.

James River/Springfield Lake 8-19-2012

James River/Springfield Lake 8-19-2012

James River/Springfield Lake 8-19-2012

James River/Springfield Lake 8-19-2012

James River/Springfield Lake 8-19-2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Making an Arrow Quiver for My Longbow Out of Natural Materials

my wife's uncle's pond, where i cut the cattail

A couple of Sundays ago, I went out to my wife's uncle Eric's house to cut some cattail from his pond. He lives in Fair Grove, about 15 minutes north of Springfield. I cut a bunch of reeds from the pond and helped him clean up a maple tree that fell in the previous night's storm. I kept a few sticks off of it, as well. With everything piled into the car, I headed home to prep materials to make a basket quiver for my longbow arrows.

a bunch of cattail and some maple from a tree that fell in a storm the night before.

cattail drying

I was wanting to make something out of natural materials, harvested locally, for the most part. I already had a ball of hemp from another failed project and searched around online for ideas on how to approach the making of a quiver. I could have gone with leather, but decided a basket type was more me. With a leather shop five minutes from my house, if the basket came out like crap, I could always fall back on it.

I started with the maple sticks as the longitudinal pieces, but none were straight enough for my liking and I quickly dropped that idea for the straight cattail pollen shoots.

false start with maple sticks. too funny of a shape. started over with cattail stalks.

a start

a start

Weaving the cattail was interesting. I haven't woven anything since elementary school. I started by letting the blades dry out a while, then rewetting them to cut down on shrinking in the final basket. Since the hemp was stronger than the cattail, I started with a hemp clove hitch around each piece, forming a ring in the one end and then setting it on a piece of pipe I had in the garage for a form. Then I just went at it, learning as I went. I made sure to put hemp in the middle and top for areas I thought might take more stress and wear. I also added a spiral basket insert to the bottom to stop the arrows from falling through and a ring of river cane bamboo at the mouth, that I cut down in Arkansas on a hiking trip last year. I had a small amount leftover from a cane pole I made my daughter a couple of months ago.

close up

a small coil basket insert for the bottom of the basket arrow quiver

cattail quiver for my longbow arrows. about where it sits, as of this upload

i added a ring of bamboo around the top rim. it was leftover from the cane pole i made my daughter a while back. i cut it last year in arkansas.

i added a ring of bamboo around the top rim. it was leftover from the cane pole i made my daughter a while back. i cut it last year in arkansas.

i added a ring of bamboo around the top rim. it was leftover from the cane pole i made my daughter a while back. i cut it last year in arkansas.

Since taking these pics, I've varnished the whole thing to toughen it up. I had about a pint leftover from the kayak projects. Now I need to weave a strap for it. The cordage pic is there just because I wanted to see how easy it was to make cattail cordage. Pretty easy, but not really the strongest of fibers. Eric also gave me some deer antlers and box turtle shells I might use for something else down the line. Particularly if I make the fixed-blade or flint-knap camp knife I want to make.

playing with cattail cordage.

abby's uncle gave me these. found on his property by the dogs. i'll think of something to use them for later.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lake Taneycomo/The White River 8-11-2012

on the way to branson

putting in

the dam a the start of the trip

starting out the day

Saturday morning, 6:30 am, I met my friend Brian in Ozark and followed him down to Branson for a day on Lake Taneycomo and the White River. We put the kayaks in at the trout hatchery at Table Rock State Park. Right away catching the attention of a river guide and his clients launching a drift boat. We chatted with them a bit about what the boats were made of before helping them push off.

me, tying a lure

me

in an eddy

The lake, barely deeper or wider than the river it's formed from, I'm guessing is fed from the lower thermoclines of Table Rock Lake and it's a very chilly 55 degrees or so. Perfect for rainbow trout, not so much for a capsize. We kept our PFDs on most of the day. Just precautionary, the Chuckanut 12 kayak is really stable. I stood up in mine a couple of times in shallow water to check just how much. In warmer water, I might have even tried paddling it that way a bit.

me

brian and a rainbow trout

brian

the wee island we stopped to snack on

the wee island we stopped to snack on

Our ten mile float trip weaved through the hills south of Branson and right into downtown, where we took out at Branson Landing. It was strange, really. There were huge houses lining the river in areas, as well as very wild stretches. There was also plenty evidence of the flooding a year or two ago. Mansions boarded up, docks bent into pretzel shapes and sitting high and dry, etc.

the view from brian's boat

brian, me in the background

me

a waterfall below college of the ozarks

a lug rigged canoe, just below college of the ozarks

Lots of wildlife to be seen. Dozens of kingfishers zigzagged back and forth from shore to shore. Blue herons and green herons took to the air, coughing their annoyance at us interrupting their fishing or rest. There were plenty of martins, too. But the highlights of the day were spotting two river otters. One running the muddy and rocky shoreline, the second sunning and preening itself on a dock. I was grinning like a six-year-old both times we saw them.

the kayaks

river otter, one of two we saw saturday

river otter, one of two we saw saturday

river otter, one of two we saw saturday

blue heron in flight

blue heron

The boats did really well in this type of setting. The stream had no difficult riffles or turns to navigate. The only hazards were fishing boats, docks and the occasional downed tree. The wind hitting us right on the nose for the last couple of miles, we could have done without, but it wasn't too brutal. If you kept straight into it, there was little windage.

train bridge

more bridges

It was cool to finally see "The Landing" from the perspective of being on the water. We pulled our kayaks up on a dock right in front of Joe's Crab Shack, packed our gear up while talking to a couple young guys that worked the paddle boat rentals, sat our boats where we could easily watch them and got lunch on the balcony of Old Chicago Pasta & Pizza. They had less of a wait than Joe's, a better beer selection (or in Brian's case, Mountain Dew) and more honest sounding hostesses (as in the wait).

coming up on the landing

fountain at branson landing

the dock we pulled up on, branson landing

enjoying a post trip beer and burger at old chicago, branson landing

UPDATE 8-22-2012: The "river otters" very well might have been mink.