Saturday, March 28, 2009

First step towards a new boat

Well, kind of...  This new shed will allow me to get the yard stuff out of the garage, making room for lots of new boats!  Here is a slide show documenting the shed build:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

On Hold

Well, boatbuilding is on temporary hold due to cold weather and other stuff that needs to get done first.  First of all, my shed should be arriving tomorrow, so I will need to take some time to get that taken care of.  I need to clear a spot behind the garage for it to go, build a "foundation" for it, and then assemble the shed itself.  Then I can move all my yard stuff into it and give the whole garage a proper cleaning.  I've also got some spring yardwork to take care of, like raking up the leaves left over from fall, de-thatching the grass, etc...  And finally, I can get rid of any other junk I've got laying around on Project Pride day.  Every year in the spring, the city of Holland opens up the city dump and allows the residents to dump as much as you can for free!  It always amazes me how much stuff I bring!  I load up the truck and wonder to myself, "Why on earth did I keep this stuff?!?!?!"  I am trying to reform my pack-rat ways, but change is hard, and you never know when you might need that random piece of scrap wood!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


As with many projects, just getting started can be the hardest part.  This one is no different.  In order to have room to build in my garage, I need to rearrange some things, and move some things out.  So I have actually ordered a small shed that I can put behind the garage with all my yard stuff; lawnmower, rakes, shovels, etc...  Until that comes the garage is just going to be really cluttered, oh well.

The next big step is that I am planning on picking up my marine plywood this weekend.  The first major task after that will be to scarf the sheets into two 20 ft. long x 4 ft. wide panels.  I am planning to add some temporary support to my strongback and use that as my scarfing table.  I am a little nervous about the whole scarfing process, but it has to happen!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Watertribe UM

I now have a really good reason to finish my boat ASAP.  I am planning on doing the Watertribe Ultra Marathon (UM) in 2010 with my dad.  This is a 65 mile sprint, and coincides with the first leg of the Everglades Challenge.  Shown below is a map of the course:

View Larger Map

Saturday, March 14, 2009


So of course you need paddles to make a canoe go... And of course I can't be satisfied buying a pre-made paddle, I need to make them myself!  I am planning on making a pair of bent-shaft marathon racing style paddles to use with the XCR.  The pictures show the plan and a full size template I made of half the paddle blade.

My plan is to make the bent shaft using 7 laminated strips of wood (species unknown).  That way, it should be relatively easy to build in the 14 degree bend.  The blade will be made of high density closed cell foam with two layers of carbon fiber on each side.  All in all, the paddle should be very light, but also very strong.  I am hoping that I will be able to work on the paddles in the near future, since they are small enough to be worked on inside.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cut out

I got the frame and bulkhead templates cut out.   One of them doesn't quite look right, so I am going to go back and double check all dimensions.  See you soon!  Sorry for the crummy pic, but I used my phone.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A cardboard boat?

No, I'm not building my boat out of posterboard... but I am laying out the building forms and bulkheads on posterboard.  I can then just trace the cardboard templates out onto my plywood whenever I want and in any arrangement.  In order to most efficiently use the marine ply, the forms are scattered around the main hull panels wherever they fit.

Well, it isn't much progress, but it is something!

Monday, March 9, 2009


Anyone who knows me, knows that I can't build a boat according to the plans.  What fun would that be?!  Anyway, this is my plan.  

My ultimate goal for the XCR is to use it for the Everglades Challenge.  The Challenge is a small boat "race" down the Gulf coast of Florida, from Tampa Bay to Key Largo, with three checkpoints in between.  There are two primary routes between the second (Chokoloskee) and third (Flamingo) checkpoints.  One can go "outside" and stay in the Gulf, or take the Wilderness Waterway (WW), a twisting route through the rivers of the Everglades.  I think it would be a great experience to paddle this route, and that is where my modifications come into play.  Since the WW can get pretty narrow in places, it would be a lot easier to navigate without the rigid plywood amas (outriggers) that are specified in the design.  So... I am going to build the amas as aluminum and fabric skin-on-frame (like a Yost kayak).  That way, I can take the amas apart and stow them in the boat for paddling the WW.  At least thats the plan for now!

A slow start

Now I have the strongback (mostly) done... I guess its time to start working on "boat" stuff.  Unfortunately, the weather has turned wet and cold again.  My next step is to cut out the three building cradles and attach them to the strongback, making sure they are square, straight, and level.  Then, its too the store for some nice marine plywood!

In the meantime, I am keeping myself busy following the 2009 Everglades Challenge which started two days ago (Saturday morning).  The winners are probably finishing up about now... check it out!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Well, it isn't much to look at, but I finally got around to making a strongback for the XCR build.  I used some 5/8ths chip board I had around, ripped to 1 ft. x 8 ft. for the top.  For the sides, I used some left over 10 ft. 2 x 6s.  Finished size is 1 ft. x 16 ft.  It doesn't have legs yet, but I think I will just screw the whole thing to a set of sawhorses.  Hopefully, more to come soon!

Friday, March 6, 2009


Here are some more views of the boat, showing my ideas for a color scheme:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why does it have to be so cold?!?!?

I really want to get rolling on building my XCR. But then I remember it is March, and I live in Michigan. Boatbuilding and 15 degree air don't seem to work well together. I am hoping to get the strongback put together sometime this week, it is supposed to be in the 30s or 40s later this week. After that, I can probably get started making the small parts inside, like building cradles and bulkheads. As much as I like to plan, I have thought about this too much! I need to get started!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Slight change of plans

So, after some discussions, it looks like I am going to skip the SOF canoe for now. But not to worry, it is so I can build a bigger and better canoe! About a year ago, I purchased plans for the XCR sailing canoe designed by Chris Ostlind. So the XCR it is! I am excited to get started, but will probably start with a very unexciting strongback. Check back soon!