Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Lakes bakes!

I cashed £30 worth of Tesco vouchers in for £90 of Youth Hostel credit what seems a long time ago, and realising that they were due to expire at the end of May offered a 'free' night in the lakes at Eskdale to my good pals the Jones Brothers.

We met up at Ravenglass in good time to unload, and move the cars to the station carpark which unfortunately isn't free anymore, but very handy for the beach.

We set off out to sea, almost getting to the bar when a chap waved us over having got out of his MOD Landrover...'you lot do know you are paddling in a danger area don't you?!' Of course we did; we were just poking our noses, but about turn and we went up the Esk, a lovely trip which I have only done as part of the annual Seaquest event. 

We got to Muncaster Bridge and carried on until the ebb, seeing Grey geese and their babies, listening to the warblers hidden in the reeds, but no otters or kingfishers unfortunately. I had never been past the bridge before due to the urgency of Seaquest, but look forward to doing it again.

Dave at Muncaster Bridge,
Scafells in the background..

We popped over to Wasdale originally planning to have a quick paddle, but it was really windy and choppy so we settled for a quick early bite to eat at the first beach and Dave went photo mad...

Ga just gazed..

Britains favourite view..

After settling in at Eskdale YH we ambled down to the Woolpack Inn, somewhat different from my last visit, but still highly recommended
The next day we were up early for an assault on Scafell from Wha House Farm with a return down from Foxes Tarn to Cam Spout and back along the Esk.  11.2 mls on the hottest day of the year, it was a hard long walk, but highly satisfying when we got back to the hostel    

Looking over to the was very, very busy
Dave and Gareth on Scafell summit..sponsor: Tilley Hats.

After a shower we forced ourselves back to the Woolpack for dinner, cider beer and fun, making the most of the free wifi to take silly pictures, call the family on Skype [no phone signal in Eskdale] and even update Facebook (Dave = FB addict). We marvelled at the people with awful sunburn too. We were slavered in Factor 50 and nay a spot of redness!

A wonderful couple of days only spoiled by the knobhead who decided to make his bed up in our room in the hostel at 11-30 pm. A cyclist too. Ought to know better.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

re-fibreglassing a cedar strip kayak

After the recent job 'I wish I had never started mk1' [fitting rubber hatches] the comments along the lines of 'ooh.. I thought cedar strip kayaks were supposed to be quite light'...started to annoy me and reflecting on my usage of boat and the Sherman tank like 'Expedition' layup I used when I built it 4 yrs ago I decided to remove said 'exped' fibreglass and epoxy resin from the hull, as demonstrated in a YouTube vid by Nick Schade of Guillemot Kayaks, one of the worlds top builders... to make Tootega a bit lighter so my pals have less to whinge about when they are lifting it off the car and down to the beach...

To be fair, removing the old glass and resin only took a couple of hours with a hot air gun and a paint scraper, but may have contributed somewhat to global warming.

Removing the resin left stuck to the hull was a pig of a job. 40 grit sanding discs only just about doing the job [B+Q own brand...I have a healthy suspicion they are nowhere near as good as discs made by Bosch.] It now weighs 4.5kg less, so I hope for a finished weight of 25kg inc hatch covers and electric pump

Hull was eventually sanded off, new cloth and resin arrived so on a nice warm day I got to work. Against all the advice I give to others, I decided to use MAS, a different epoxy resin than the normal West System I have used in the past. I ordered the 'Fast' variant and believe me it is. I'll stick to west System in future.

The resin went off so quick I had to replace some of the glass as it didn't wet the glass out, however the rest of the job went quite well and apart from a slight cosmetic fault, I've got the fill coats on and now doing the boring wet+dry stuff.

 All the sanding completed and the boat rinsed off with clean water. 
Total wet out so no greasy spot or fish eyes..ready for varnishing!

First coat of International Compass varnish. It's the best varnish I've used yet. I'll give it 3 coats  to protect the epoxy and re-coat it over the winter. 
I'm going to fit a graphite keel strip in the next week or so.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

New hatches? [Job you wish you had never started mkI]

Once again in a fit of 'I must do something to the boat as it's soon going to be the start of the season,'......I must fit some new Kajaksport oval hatches to fit to Tootega.. 

The original cedar ones aren't 100% watertight and I wanted something reliable, and prefer the Kajaksport ones to Valley covers as they are easier to get on and off especially with cold fingers.

It was a big hole at the front...
and a smaller hole at the back...same enormous hatches though..
Got the hole boxed in to the level the rim will locate into. Suddenly it doesn't look so severe, I'll be filing the rest with Fomex strips, and then a bit of body filler, which will create the mould for the fibreglass insert. I built in a flat panel for a compass insert.
Hole now filled with Fomex strips, superglue and car body filler. As it's a one off I won't have to get a perfect finish as this surface will be on the inside of the boat. 
The exterior will be a layer carbon fibre.

Internal mould removed
Hatch rim in place in the surround. I beefed up the hatch surround from the inside with a couple more layers of cloth and tape. A pig of a job, but a bit easier as the holes are so big.

Finished at last. 
Boat now weighs 28.5kg including the electric pump; not exactly lightweight, [but it is a big boat similar in size to a Tiderace XploreX]
I've since replaced the seat with a P&H Cetus seat

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Carbon fibre Greenland paddle 1

Finally got off me backside and made the plug for 'BlackFinger' the carbon fibre version of the Formby Finger.

I shaped it from MDF [cheap] sanded it as smooth as possible, filled any rough areas with Polyfilla Fine surface filler and gave it a couple of coats of epoxy resin. The wet and dry paper came out and sanded down to 600 then I stuck it onto to a backing board which also has a coat of epoxy on, both sides to eliminate warping.
A couple of days later the wet and dry came out to smooth it even further, and after 8 coats of Honey Wax the mould popped off in a jiffy. The paddle consists of 4 blade shells each consisting of 3 layers of carbon fibre cloth [pictured] bonded together and finally joined in the middle. 
the tape stops the edges unravelling

First layup in the mould the next day..

out of the mould; a few dints to fill with epoxy
I'm trying to use the absolute minimum of resin at the layup stage and it was a swine to get the round end to conform to the mould, and eventually I had to use clamps and a former to press the cloth into place. 
When it came out of the mould it weighed 80g , but it was a bit flexible so another internal layer was added to make each part 4 layers thick, I'm aiming at a final paddle weight of around 600gms. [The original cedar Formby Finger weighs 815gm]

 Finally finished all 4 components and epoxied them together tonight.
I have tried out a method of joining them similar to a biscuit tin. It has taken me some time to perfect the method and for now I'm keeping it to myself.
Total weight so far 600gm/ materials cost £70

All glued, filled, sanded, and satin varnished..

The 'Formby Finger' and 'BlackFinger' 
Photo by Dave Jones