Monday, December 29, 2014

Valley Watermill Park & South Dry Sac River Greenway

After I cooked four huge meals for the family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, my wife granted me a few hours to kill on the 26th. I took them north of town to Valley Watermill Park and the Dry Sac River Greenway. With only a short amount of time to blow through, Valley Watermill park can be nice quick fix if you want to take a walk or cast a Tenkara rod and fly. There are plenty of bluegill in the pond and some below it in the creek. This also seemed like a good time to test out the GoPro HERO camera a little further.

Valley Watermill Park

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Dry Sac River Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

Valley Watermill Park and the South Dry Sac Greenway

I'd like to explore more the South Dry Sac Greenway. I might have to ride my bike up that way soon to cover more ground in a quicker manner. I only saw one other person while I was there, a woman and her Vizsla dog.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Kidyak Kayak Update: 12-15-2014

Untitled

I managed to spend a few hours in the garage on Saturday, shaping my daughter's Greenland kayak paddle. A draw knife is so much easier to shape a paddle with than just a hand plane, spokeshave and palm sander. I managed to do a much niver job on her paddle than I did for mine a few years ago. It came out very light and pretty.

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Dave Gentry Kidyak Kayak

Dave Gentry Kidyak Kayak

Dave Gentry Kidyak Kayak

Dave Gentry Kidyak Kayak

Friday, December 12, 2014

Kid-size Greenland Kayak Paddle

Following the specs in the build guide for the Kidyak kayak, I'm now working on the paddle to go with it. I managed to get it glued up from build scraps this week. Now onto the fun part, shaping!

Glueing up Gwen's kid-size Greenland kayak paddle.

Greenland kayak paddle blank, scaled down for a six-year-old. Now the fun part, planing and sanding it to shape.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Kicking Boat Ideas Around

Teaching myself to loft a boat from a table of offsets.

I have been thinking hard about a rowboat for about a month now. I thought I'd settled on a design in the form of a rowing version of the Delaware Ducker in Howard Chapelle's "American Small Sailing Craft", but now I think I might need something with a little more capacity. I've contacted Ducker owners and asked them their pros and cons. It's really more of a one-man boat than I need.

American Small Sailing Craft - Howard I. Chapelle

I'm wanting a boat to row solo about 75% of the time, but having the ability to row two-up with a load of weekend camping gear and provisions. Something I can fish from, row for fitness, row out to some Midwestern lake islands to explore, à la Arthur Ransome's "Swallows and Amazons" or just messabout in the fashion of the Water Rat in Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows".

One thing is fairly certain, I plan to build the boat in skin-on-frame. I kicked around cedar strip and lapstrake construction, but have decided to convert an older working boat design to SoF. It'll cut weight significantly, allowing me to easily cartop and pull ashore a boat in the 15-16 foot range. The key to making a boat useable is making it easy to use. Cutting ready and setup time makes it less of a chore and gives you more time on the water. That, the lack of registration and the added exercise is why I'm leaning towards rowing over sailing.

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Monday, December 8, 2014

So Much for That.

Beard today, gone tomorrow...

Off with the beard

Off with the beard

Off with the beard

Kidyak Kayak Update: 12-7-2014

I wrestled the rubrails onto the Kidyak kayak last night. Then I carried it into the living room to check the fit. Kid tested and approved. She's very excited to hit the water with dad this coming summer.

Checking out her nearly completed kayak. Needs some touch up paint and varnish, but it pretty much done.

Now to make her a small kayak paddle.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

From Firewood to Utensil

About 20-25 minutes with a band saw and palm sander and you can take a piece of white oak firewood and make yourself a spatula or spoon. The firewood was cut a couple of weekends ago. See November's cabin post.

From firewood to spoon

Method: Take a log, make it into a board. Take the board and sketch a pattern or just eyeball it on the band saw like I did. When shaped, sand it with coarse grit sandpaper, followed by fine grit. I went 85 to 220, I think. Then clean your spoon in a mix of one part vinegar to 3-4 parts water. Let it soak in that for about 5-10 minutes. Dry and then oil with olive oil and Bob's your uncle!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It's Growing on Me

I entered a "bearded dad" contest at my daughter's school a month ago. Funny what a month can do to a man.

Pics 1&2 for a bearded dad contest at my daughter's school.

Pics 1&2 for a bearded dad contest at my daughter's school.

Springfield Sunrise Coffee & Bicycle Club - Nov. 24, 2014

Springfield Sunrise Coffee & Bicycle Club ride to Hebrews Coffee. Temps in the 30s with a little snow on the return trip. We've brought the destination indoors for the winter. It's also easier to make the meeting times before work, as they are well before sunrise.

A little more adventure this morning than usual when we tried to find a way across Galloway Creek to the Greenway on the return trip. It may or may not have involved train tracks and skirting some land above the Nature Center. No dead hobos to report along that stretch.

Springfield Sunrise Coffee & Bicycle Club ride to Hebrews Coffee. Temps in the 30s with a little snow on the return trip.

Springfield Sunrise Coffee & Bicycle Club ride to Hebrews Coffee. Temps in the 30s with a little snow on the return trip.

Springfield Sunrise Coffee & Bicycle Club ride to Hebrews Coffee. Temps in the 30s with a little snow on the return trip.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cutting Firewood & Cabin Camping

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Friday, after work, my friend Brian D. and I loaded up his truck with camping and firewood cutting gear and drove down to a cabin in Cape Fair, Missouri. About every six months or so, we head down there to check on the place, camp for an evening and cut firewood or put the kayaks on the lake below the place. The cabin is extremely well build with no drafts and very little sound passing through its walls, even with its close proximity to the road. The owners, a couple Brian knows through church, have been extremely gracious to allow us access so regularly. So, we always try and leave it better than we found it.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Friday night, we got down there, unlocked the gate, pulled in the truck and trailer and hooked up the electricity from the post out front with a long extension cord. Then got to cooking dinner out on the porch. Brian made steaks with potatoes, bell peppers and onions. A feast for kings. While we were out on the porch we heard something rustling in the leaves on the hill above. I broke out my spotlight and shined it up in the woods. A large gray fox was slowly making its way along the hill above us. It was really pretty and easily the biggest fox I've ever seen. The red ones we have in our neighborhood are always about a third smaller. If it wasn't the color and shape it was, I might have mistaken it for a small coyote.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

After that, we played some checkers on my DIY camp checker board made from garage scraps and we hung out on the porch for a bit before calling it. Brian got the loft, I crashed on the futon downstairs, reading for a little while before turning the light out.

Up Saturday morning at dawn. Coffee and breakfast on the porch. Brian saw a handful of deer moving through the property before I got out of my sleeping bag. Two of which were good-size bucks. Breakfast was bacon, eggs and biscuits that I made scratch on Thursday night for the trip. Can't beat bacon from Horrmann Meat Co. in Springfield. Easily my favorite butcher shop in town.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

After breakfast, with rain looming on the horizon, we got to work on the white oak tree that had been felled behind the cabin.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

It didn't take us long to fill up the trailer. Luckily for us, the white oak was much less difficult to cut and split than last year's red oak. We had a couple of fun points dropping the larger limbs to the ground. At one point, Brian cut through one with the chainsaw, only to have it fall to the limb below it and pivot horizontally across it perfectly balanced. The way it was bent, it took a little thought to bring it to the ground and cut it some more.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Around noon, as we were throwing the last pieces on the trailer and lashing them down for the return trip, the rain really kicked in. We moved back under the porch for a lunch of chili dogs and watched it come down for a while before loading the gear into the truck and cleaning up and locking the place behind us.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

It's odd how a thing like cutting firewood can be so much fun. Here it is Monday morning and I'm still feeling the effects of it in my back and shoulders, but in retrospect, the work seems way more rewarding than a pain.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.

Cutting firewood and cabin camping.