Saturday, June 15, 2019

Against the Flow

... back to simpler times...

... all ya' need is your boat, paddle and river shorts (also a life jacket - it's in the boat - don't wanna' get a fine - think it's $80)...

... for a change of pace, we dug a few old open boats out of the mothballs last weekend...

(Google Earth photo)
 ... and paddled upriver to an old play spot to run some laps, rock hop, hole surf and hang out in the sun along the shoreline boulders...

... boy - it sure is a pleasure workin' with individuals who you only have to show once and they run with it... by the time we paddled the half-mile upriver, while demonstrating some requisite paddle strokes along the way, these guys were forward strokin', J-strokin', drawin', sweepin' and pryin' like no tomorrow... nothin' serious, but still, a bit swift current and choppy water, with a few small playholes and eddys to catch...

... very good for their first exposure to (old school) whitewater canoes...

... a few old Royalex boats - (L-R) Nova Craft Ocoee, Mad River Outrage X and (beat up but still in good shape) Dagger Impulse...

... we posted this before, but will post it here again...

(You Tube Video)
... lest we forget Noll's simple philosophy...

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Riverboat Rigging Part III

... finally got the 'Firefly' out on the water last weekend...

... great tracking and stability... responsiveness and speed suits our expectations... plenty of room for gear if needed even with the 60" airbags - and we can always trim it down to as small as 32" bags or remove 'em completely... nice boat...

... we like that drop angle seat performance-wise but man is it tight when entering/exiting the boat wearing water shoes/boots - we wound up paddling barefoot... we're probably gonna' replace it with a traditional seat but before we do that we wanna' take it out and perform some wet exit testing - didn't feel like doing that last week - we'll hold out for a nice and sunny 80º - 90º day - have gotten a bit lazy these days...

Saturday, May 25, 2019

It Don't Have To Be Fun To Be Fun

... temporary tie wire fix to a busted Jeep KJ upper control arm that (eventually) got our ass (and wheels) out of the woods (literally) last week...


... now the challenge of extracting some nearly impossible to reach (and expected to be a bit seized) engine bay fastener bolts for repair...

... not bragging, but we have a heck of a perfect (nearly half century) streak of gettin' ourselves out of backwoods jams that include busted bikes, ruptured rubber rafts, snapped skis, mirings in muck, torn tendons, broken bones, wasp attacks, one venomous snake bite, two hard ground falls, three near drownings, two pissed mother black bears with cubs - not to mention  "gettin' confused" on occasion... probably should have not mentioned any of this as we now have just possibly jinxed all our good luck...

... one favorite episode was when we were a good ways "back in" ridin' MTB's with our buddy 'Professor Howie' when he snapped a seat fastener bolt on his ride... we had no replacement and the prospect of continuing the route ahead (or behind) - several miles of extremely rugged terrain - was a bit grim if having to stand the entire distance... we knew that a local timber company was engaged in some forest clearing a short distance from our route so we took a ride over to see if they could provide any assistance in the form of spare bolts... it was the weekend and the crew was off, but there was heavy machinery about... we walked over to the nearest log skidder, opened the door, and believe it or not there sits a coffee can full of bolts of numerous shape and size! - we found a near exact match for the broken bolt and continued on our way... to this day that same bolt is fastening his seat to the post...

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Angry Birds

... well it's Spring nesting season again which means the local bird populations annual aerial assault on all things feline...

... role reversal - protagonist sizing up the prey...

... Bluto the Bluejay (think that's still him after all these years) - he's relentless...

... dive bomb - one of hundreds - all day long - dawn to dusk...

... Ig the cat... these photos are from yesterday... it's around 6am as we type this - had just let 'em out and we can hear the commotion has begun for the day...

... don't know what's gonna' happen if he eventually latches on to one of those guys...

... he doesn't seem to mind - more of a pesky annoyance than anything else - though they do get a strike every once in a while...

... if he goes near their tree though, look out - he's met with a barrage - like stirrin' up a hornets nest... we've counted up to eight Bluejays in that tree and they all come at once if they think their tree is imperiled...

... this year there's a second strike force - this male Northern Cardinal...

... and his mate...

... he's a bit of a dive bomber himself...

... she hangs back a bit - has a punk rocker hair-do (feather-do?)...

... linin' up another run...

... found a line...

... Bluto has a gal himself - that's her...

... that's him scowlin' at the camera - he don't like anyone lookin' at his girl... he's pretty mean...

... got himself a good lookin' gal, though...

... don't mess with Bluto nor his tree!!...

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Riverboat Rigging Part II

... finished product...

... came out pretty good (see 'Riverboat Rigging')...

... old school cross lacing, closed cell foam knee pads and foot rests, nylon quick release thigh straps - we color coordinated the tie-downs and lacing - almost looks a bit too city-boy - but looks good none the less (our opinion)... now in dire need of some scuffs and scratches for personality - maybe even a dent or two...

... not a mistake - we like to position the rolled edge of those knee pads to the outside for lateral stability - with age they have a tendency to get a bit slimey and slippery when wet (especially with bare knees)...

... 2" D-rings fore and aft (nautical talk) - we bonded the whole system using West System G/flex 655-8 thickened (two part) epoxy adhesive... concerned with a comment or two from individuals "who know" ("... you'll never get those vinyl patches to adhere to that HDPE plastic...!!...") we really researched the adhesive and followed directions to a 'T' - that included sanding all bond surfaces, flashing the plastic surface, and clamping (w/ sandbags) the bonded components for 24 hours - we also stuck to ambient air temperatures > 50ºF... now finished, the whole assembly appears bombproof and passed our stringent post fabrication system testing (hoisting the boat by the D-rings with additional manual tugging force on the D-rings and grommet patches)...

... 1" flat nylon webbing w/ slide buckles for air bag tie down...

... we hitched the upper thigh straps to the seat rail and the bottom to adjustable grommet patches - we included optional adjustable grommet patches for the upper thigh straps (just because we had 'em) but will probably never use 'em... we're still up in the air regarding that drop angled seat - it's a bit foot constrictive when entering/exiting from a kneeling position - seems a bit hairy if having to bail from a capsize - especially if in a swift current... have a feeling we're either going to trim back the angle a bit or replace with a traditional parallel-style seat - we'll see once we test it in the water...

... the 5ft length 'Light Weight 210D Thermoplastic Poly Urethane (TPU) High Tenacity Nylon Airbags' (couldn't have said it better ourselves) were separately purchased along with the boat... they are damn nice, tough looking (damn near tenacious) airbags with a brilliant inflation/deflation system - fabricated by 'BPM Whitewater' (some English guys from England - good work)... we go back a long ways with air bags, beginning with old 'Voyageur' vinyl airbags with twist lock valves which would usually impose hyperventilation before ya' finally got 'em inflated by blowing up like a giant balloon - these bags you can inflate with a modern small hand pump with correct fitting...

... not a high performance "whitewater charger" but a great flatwater to moderate whitewater cruiser - was fun puttin' it together...

... another of life's challenges lived...

Sunday, April 14, 2019

What Not: Projicts is Guud, Tyr'd o' Tyrs, Stoopid Haard

... spreeng has sprunged...

... re-zoom'n 'Chronic Aspenitis'...

... a bit acclivatated...

---------------
... un-sully'n the forastashun...

... hawlin' tyrs...

... and hawlin' tyrs...

---------------
... infreekwently endevor'd...

... 'Stoopid Haard'...

... only ben sukcessified twise (that wee no of)...

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Riverboat Rigging

... been awhile since the last time we outfitted a canoe...

... recently picked up a new 'Firefly 14' (14'-3" length) solo canoe manufactured in the UK by British boatbuilder 'Silverbirch Canoes' and distributed in the US by 'Gnarlz Outdoors', located here in PA... composite high density polyethylene (HDPE) - has pretty much replaced the extinct composite Royalex (ABS) plastic when it comes to hull construction... not gonna' get into the specifics of the boat - haven't paddled it yet but we're confident it paddles fine - and if it doesn't we'll adjust (wouldn't be the first time)...

... came as pictured above... not one to leave well enough alone, we wanted to soup it up a bit with some added flotation, foam knee pads and adjustable thigh straps ('cause we have an unused set lying about) for paddling nothing more severe than some local Class II+ water with (possibly) some casual intermittent Class III - what it was made for...

 ... the stock boat came with no hull or gunnel attachment system for lacing airbags - that's OK - we'll do it ourself... above the boat is laid out and marked for drilling holes for a hull lacing system...

... beginning near the rear of the deck plate, we opted to just follow the gunnel attachment screw pattern (roughly 5" c-c) with intermittent screws in between, resulting in a lacing pattern roughly 2-1/2" c-c...

... zero margin for error - a few production drill holes (5/32"⌀)...

... we used clear flexible tubing (0.170 ID - 1/4" OD) cut to 6" lengths for the attachment loops and black 4mm paracord for the lacing...

... some knotted angler fly line leader sure made it a heck of a lot easier to fish the paracord thru the tubing...

... lacing in progress...

... one side done...

... when we got to laying out the opposite side of the boat we found that the gunnel screw pattern was not symmetric along the bow-left side to bow-right... as such, our lacing would be off side-side by as much as 1/2" if we proceeded - hardly noticeable - however, we'd know it (and would forever bug the sh*t out of us)...

... we solved that problem by picking up two rolls of adhesive measuring tape (L-R/R-L) and laying out both sides...

...we're now good, side-side, near as 1/8" we'd bet...

... lacing completed...

... no painter loops on the stock boat either - we added those too - x = 2-1/2", y = 1/2", measured from stem of boat and bottom of deck, respectively...

... painters installed - don't know what size, we had some unused poly cord laying around - fit very snugly in the 1/4" drill holes... trying to bodily squeeze in the narrow stems of the boat and tying double overhand stop knots in the limited space was the toughest part of the project - we achieved painter lengths of 7" bow/stern, however (after multiple attempts each)...

... lacing/painters done...

... preliminary check of air bag fit and knee pad/thigh strap layout...

... we read that polyethylene plastic can be problematic with regard to adhesion and the correct epoxy - we consulted with several "experts" with regard to the right adhesive and installation of the foam pads and vinyl anchors and are comfortable we've found the right epoxy, which we plan to order within the coming days - we also plan to order color coordinate blue paracord and 1" flat nylon webbing for the bag tie in lacing and anchor straps...

... we expect that it will paddle as good as it looks...

... we'll post some images of the completed boat when done - if you see or hear nothing else, you'll know we f*k'ed somethin' up completely...