Launch day - video to follow

Here we are heading down to the lake. This was the most nerve-racking part for me, as the trailer was made for longer boats, but these looked rock steady. The 'official' launching was not very. After a quick set of instructions to the two groups of guys, we all just got on the water and tried out our boats.

A bit of comic relief ensued when we discovered that Phil Brady's rigging was in backwards. If you look close at the photo below, you will see his feet pointing toward the bow of the boat - not good for rowing. This was easily fixed, and it seemed like a good time was had by all as people started to get used to their boats.

Alex Bartell

The new boathouse


This is it! The boats are done, and we will transport them down to the lake tomorrow morning.
Everybody gets a chance to try them out, show them off, etc.


We will do some final finishing touches later today (Memorial Day) and the launching is on Wednesday.



Oxford Shells: with one final coat of epoxy on Phil Brady's boat, all the shells will be 'done'. Now comes sanding and varnishing /painting.

Skin-on-frame boats: the two 'older' boats have paint on them, we just need to build up coats, then attach the rubs. It is unclear whether we will have time to do paddles.

Chris Ross's boat is getting the thwarts today, and we will spray the frame with polyurethane, to speed up the process.



This is where the Recovery Kayak is so far. The cockpit rim is finished and drilled. The stringers are soaking overnight. Two short deck stringers will span between the masik (deck beam) and the bow. On the bottom, there will be two chine stringers - more or less round - and two slightly smaller ones to keep the skin from hitting the ribs on the sharper curve of the sides.
After that, the only things left to do are oil the frame and skin it, which is a process I have NOT done before and involves sewing the skin in place .

With luck, I might have this done in time to test when the boys test their own boats, during the school's exam week, but that's not a priority.

The yellow object in the kayak is a float bladder, made of heat-sealable fabric, but modeled after a skin bladder as might be used by native Amerindians.


Skinning starts

Skinning is underway. Anyone who has ever stretched an artist's canvas would have a clear understanding of how this proceeds. We start amidships with a few staples on each side, then work toward each end, alternating sides and pulling the canvas down and diagonally toward the ends as we go.

At the bow, the fabric has to be slit and overlapped on the stem and knee. All the cutting of the nylon canvas is done with a hot knife (we use an old woodburning tool with a sharp edge, and it works great), so the fabric won't fray.

Oxford Shells

In a perfect world, all of these would proceed at the same pace, and we would have 4 identical boats, and would all be doing the same steps at the same time, which would probably be more efficient.

But things are what they are, so two boats are getting their cockpit trim and bow wash today, while two are having the mounts for the Pantidosi Row Wing installed. In any case, we are well on target to finish them all before school is out. Coming up: lots of sanding and varnishing. We will have to either move the boats out or thoroughly clean the work room.


Recovery Kayak

The Recovery kayak cockpit rim is completely glued up. In retrospect, since I almost had to laminate this one layer at a time, it might have been just as easy to make a longer steam box and make the rim by steam-bending. I have the form, for future projects, at least. This is six layers of .1 inch ash, 1.5 inches wide (so the rim is nearly .75 inches thick) with an additional .5 inch rim two layers thick.

The piece above is the assembly that started out as in the photo below: