Friday, February 29, 2008

Expedition Update

I've been awfully busy the past few weeks but I should have some time this week to concentrate on the expedition details. I will continue to work on the menu, It's about 90% finished. I've just got to tweak it a bit more.

This week I will continue to test recipes and dehydrate food items.

In the picture I am working on the expedition budget on the laptop and working on maps on the other monitor.

Paddle Update

Using a rasp and belt sander I shaved down both sides of the blade taking care to keep them symmetrical. I found that the rasp worked a lot better than the belt sander, it was easier to fair the blade. I intend on laminating carbon fibre on both sides of the blade so I will take the blade down to almost waffer thin. At this stage I've just roughed in the blade. I then taped a template to the rough blade. The design is based on a Greyowl Paddles, Otter tail paddle. I vectorized and redesigned the shape of the blade on my computer, then printed out the template. I finished off this lunch break by tracing the paddle shape onto the wooden blank.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Canoe update

Today work on the boat started off with cleaning the shop. The floors were swept and the benches were cleared because it was the day to start fibreglassing. After a final wipe down with a rag fibreglass cloth was rolled over the entire length of the boat. The overhang on the ends were trimmed and a plastic drop cloth was laid on the floor to catch drips. With Martins dad mixing the resin and hardener, Martin and I first brushed on the resin then went along with a plastic spreader and smoothed the whole thing down, removing excess resin as we went. Tomorrow Martin will apply two more coats of resin with a sanding in between each will be applied.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Canoe update

Today the stems were shaved down and rounded. Then it was time to do some more sanding. First a spokeshave was used to shave down any filler before the whole boat got a rough sanding with a palm sander. After the palm sander a sanding board was used to fair the hull. At this point the whole thing is wiped down with a wet rag. A funny thing happens, when the cedar is dampened it soaks up the moisture causing the staple divots to pop back out. Then it's back to sanding again. The whole boat is again palm sanded only this time with a 220 grit sandpaper to remove any scratches.

Tomorrow it's time to start fiberglassing.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Canoe Update

Today the stems and outer hull got some attention. The stems were glued on and are now ready for shaping, which I will do tomorrow. All the staples were removed from the hull and a lot of dust was created when sanding began. But before we could sand a spokeshave was used to take down the raised edges.

Carbonfibre Canoe Paddle

I've decided to take the classic Otter Tail canoe paddle and give it a face lift. Using cedar I am going to build a paddle from the beginning. So far I've got the wood glued up in a rough shape of a paddle. this is a lunch break project so my progress will likely be slow but that's fine. Because I am using cedar which is a soft wood I'll have to leave the shaft a bit thicker. Many paddle shafts are roughly 1" in diameter but I will take mine down to 1 1/4". The blade length will be 25" long and 5" wide. The paddle will have an over all length of 57". To finish off the blade I intend to laminate carbonfibre on either side. This will make the paddle very light and look great!

I intend on using this paddle for my expedition.

I am also planning on making a matching whitewater version.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Paddle to the Bay, The canoe

I've just started building my first canoe this morning. It is a prototype expedition canoe with an unconventional hull design. Over the last few weeks I've worked closely with a local boat builder, Martin at Kisseynew Canoe Company, to come up with a very exciting design. It is loosely based on a Freedom 17 and a C1 racing shell. The gunwale starts from the bow with a bit of flare to help ride over the waves then as it moves to the centre the gunwale is pulled in to just 23". Just think of a conventional tripping boat but with an extreme amount of tumblehome. This design will allow me to paddle comfortably close to the boat without having to reach out over the gunwales. The design should be fast on flat water and fairly maneuverable in moving water. The hull will be made of expedition kevlar with a layer of S-glass on the outside. The boat will be outfitted with wood gunwales, a sliding webbed seat, removable carrying yoke, Northwater spray deck and kneeling pads.


Length 17'

Waterline 30"
Gunwale 23"
Overall 32"

Bow 3"
Stern 2"

Bow 17"
Centre 13"
Stern 15"

After the stations were bolted to the strongback they were leveled, aligned and trued. Only after this painstaking task was complete could we start laying up the cedar strips. A bead of glue is applied to the previous strip then the next strip is set in place and stapled to the station to hold it. As you work your way up the side of the canoe, alternating sides to keep the tension on the whole thing equal, care must be taken to ensure that a smooth and natural flow is a achieved.

Paddle to the Bay, Expedition Sponsors

A speacial thanks to Martin at Kisseynew Canoe Company for supplying this boat and agreeing to sponsor me for my up coming expedition this summer. Kisseynew is fast becoming known for their very fast, high quality, cedar strip and composite canoes. Team Kisseynew - Denesuline Dalutweh smashed the voyageur class record at the 2006 Yukon River Quest! Check out their website.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Paddle to the Bay - Menu

I am up to my elbows in dehydrated beef! One of the toughest parts of going on an extended solo canoe trip is preparing a well balance menu. I think that the toughest part is being able to bring and consume enough protein to sustain my body. Red meats don't exactly keep all that well without being refrigerated. One of the techniques that I use to keep meat for a long time is to dehydrate ground beef. I first cook it, then rinse it and dehydrate it. After it is dried I vacuum seal it. When prepared this way beef will stay good for months even with out refrigeration. And when it's rehydrated for cooking it's just as good as fresh beef.

On extended expeditions lasting more than 2 months, the bodies vitamin supply becomes depleted so it is important to bring a good quality multivitamin.

I'll post a copy of my menu shortly.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Paddle to the Bay, Solo Expedition 2008

Many of you may know that I'm leaveing on an extended canoe trip this summer. Paddle to the Bay, Solo Expedition 2008. I am scheduled to begin on June 15th and will finish up at the end of August. The plan is to paddled solo from La Ronge, SK to the Hudson Bay in Northern Manitoba. I will be gone for 70 days and will cover over 1400 km's. My route will take me across Lac La ronge and down the Rapid River. After portaging around Nistowiak Falls, my route will follow the Churchill River all the say into Manitoba. Shortly after passing Leaf Rapids, I’ll turn northwest to paddle/pole upstream along the Barington River to Barington Lake. After following a few small creeks fruther north, I’ll portage over the height of land onto the South Seal River, which will lead me to Big Sandy Lake andeventually to Tadoule Lake. From there my route lay dues east along the Seal River Proper. The goal of the trip is to end at the coast of the Hudson Bay, where I will be picked up by a barge and transported to Churchill. The stretch of coast line from the mouth of the Seal River and Churchill is much too dangerous to attempt paddling by canoe.