Add a Woodstrip Deck to a Kayak

Today someone asked me how I added a custom woodstrip deck made out of Western Red Cedar, to my Mill Creek 13 kayak. What follows is the process I used.

The process involves making some forms to support the deck, give it some shape and allows for a place to staple the deck in place while the wood glue dries. Once the deck is finished being built and sanded,  I remove the deck, and thus removing all of the staples, flip it over and sealed the underside with epoxy and glass. Once it’s cured I use fiberglass cloth and epoxy to glue it onto the shell.

First, create the forms. I used MDF I had around the garage left over from some cabinets I made. The forms are only temporary so use what ever you have available. I used the original templates used to shape the shearclamps to transfer the arc onto the forms, and then cut them to shape with my bandsaw (if you have a jig saw that works too. I used hot-melt glue to hold them in place in the boat shell.


A close-up of the forms during a test-fit

I spaced the forms about 12″ apart   Continue reading

Kayaking Chicago

Lisa and I just returned from a trip to Chicago. While there, we thought it would be interesting to take a kayaking architecture tour on the Chicago River. I guess when you live in a place for a while you don’t always get out and see some of the things you think about after you move away. We asked our friends and family about such a kayaking tour but nobody was familiar with the idea. Lisa searched around and found Kayak Chicago. They had several tours available and, since we’ve done none of them, we picked a 3 hour architectural tour leaving from the Magnolia and Le Moyne location. We arrived to find that we were the only people headed out with the guide that day, so if you want a trip with fewer people but don’t want to go on your own, it appears that a Thursday in mid-September is a good time to go. The weather was perfect.

Our guide, Brian gave us a few required instructions and we headed out.

Soon after launch we could see the Sears Tower (or, whatever it's called these days)

Soon after launch we could see the Sears Tower (or, whatever it’s called these days)

At the southern tip of Goose Island we paused for a selfie . . . .  Continue reading

Missouri River Breaks

I finally edited/updated my 2011 Missouri River Breaks trip from a few years ago. It was a great trip, but I had only just began to blog again and only posted a paragraph and three photos.

Check out the edited/updated version . . .  Missouri River Trip 2011.

Having lunch while floating on the Missouri

Having lunch while floating on the Missouri

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Colorado River – Ruby Horsethief Canyons, 2015

I was invited to join in on a Colorado River float which was from August 4th through the 7th.

The group of river rats ready to head out

The group of river rats ready to head out

Monday afternoon we travelled from Colorado Springs to the Island Acres section of the James M. Robb state park, east of Grand Junction. It’s a nice, clean state park and campground, and not too far off of I-70 (use Exit 47), with enough sites to be able to just drive up and grab one without reservations (at least during the week). This trip included two   Continue reading

Woodstrip Canoe Build – Redbird 17

I took a break from blogging back in 2010, but always wanted to add this to my blog. A friend of mine saw a a photo of a wood strip canoe on my desk one day and asked if I could make him one. It was a Bear Mountain Boats, Redbird 17. I agreed that I would, bought the plans, and got to work.

To make the stems, you bend, glue and clamp the wood strips around the end forms.

Bending, clamping, gluing the stems around the end forms

Bending, clamping, gluing the stems around the end forms

You need to build a strongback, which is the box looking support, and then cut out a series of forms which make the pattern   Continue reading

Kayak, Canoe Shed

I’ve got 4 kayaks, which I built myself, and one canoe. Storing them has become a bit of a problem as two of them have been taking up one of my two garage bays, sitting on the canoe strongback I made a few years ago when building a wood strip canoe for a friend.

I designed the shed last fall, visiting home improvement stores to learn the various construction techniques. Then, in January my second son and I built the floor and walls, but it was too cold to do anything with it. So, it sat outside over the winter. This spring it was rather rainy so it delayed the construction even further. But, summer is in full swing and I’ve been able to make great progress with it. It’s 18 feet long, by 4 feet wide, by 4 feet high and a bit higher at the peak.

The floor leveled and walls framed

The floor leveled and walls framed

As soon as I got the roof on, I moved the boats   Continue reading

Eleven Mile – Trails, and quick trip to Brush Hollow

We were struggling with the decision of what to do yesterday. The weather forecast didn’t look promising, but we wanted to get outdoors. Go for a hike or load up the boats and go paddling. Lisa doesn’t enjoy paddling in strong winds so a hike would be okay. But, if it turned out the weather was nice when we arrived at our destination paddling would be nice, maybe even in addition to a hike.

I’ve been going to Eleven Mile State Park for years. It has a large reservoir and some relatively short hiking trails, in addition to lots of camp sites, including a backcountry camping area. Every time I’ve been there I’ve thought about hiking the trails but always end up doing something else. On Saturday,   Continue reading

Colorado Spingtime Kayaking – Brush Hollow and Eleven Mile

Last weekend I went kayaking/fishing in Brush Hollow Reservoir near Penrose, Colorado, and yesterday, I went to Eleven Mile Reservoir near Lake George, Colorado.

I prefer to use my CLC Mill Creek 13 for fishing and river trips, but when I’m just out to paddle I use the sleeker/faster CLC Chesapeake 17LT. I built both of these boats myself (see previous posts).

For both trips I followed the popular wisdom of, “When heading out in small boats, dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature”. The water in Brush Hollow was cool so, I wore mostly neoprene, however the water at Eleven Mile was quite cold so I wore neoprene gloves, sea hood, top, pants, and boots and then added a dry top and dry pants over that. I was warm.

Dressed for cold water at Eleven Mile Reservoir

Dressed for cold water at Eleven Mile Reservoir

Brush Hollow is a State Wildlife Area and is pretty small. The water   Continue reading

Kayaking – Chatfield State Park, Colorado

For the first time on my life I had a company paid holiday on the day after Easter. So, Monday April 6th, I decided to go kayaking, and since nobody else I knew (meaning paddlers) had the day off, I went alone. It was a gorgeous day. One of those where the air temp is 70 degrees, but you’re not so sure about the water. The reservoirs in Colorado get most of their water from melting snow up in the mountains, so   Continue reading

Green River, Labyrinth Canyon, Utah – Canoe Trip

Back in 2010 I went with a group of guys on a float trip, using canoes and my kayak, down the Green River from Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom. The float is about 44 miles and the section is called Labyrinth Canyon. This time I went with only two other guys, Jeff and Roger and the small group was just fine by me.

The Green River at Bowknot Bend, Utah

The Green River at Bowknot Bend, Utah

Getting There

We departed Colorado Springs around 3:30PM, and I figured that the drive would take between 6-1/2 and 7-1/2 hours depending on weather. Well, the weather wasn’t so great so it was more like 7-1/2 hours. In fact, we encountered   Continue reading