Fat Wood

Spring is almost upon us

Spring is almost upon us

I spent some time today tromping around in the forest, watching red-tailed hawks and searching for some fat wood.

Have a look at my little video:

 

 

 

This stuff burns like napalm

This stuff burns like napalm

For an upcoming project

For an upcoming project

That’s it for now.  Hope you liked the video.  I was actually surprised by how easily it took a spark.

Till next time.  Kat

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Deadwater Slough

A muddy launch

A muddy launch

The launch, if you could call it that, was so muddy that I had to poodle-scooch down the bow of the kayak to keep from squishing into the knee deep mud.

And that is how my kayaking trip on Deadwater Slough began.  A beautiful crisp winter day and light wind made for a very relaxing and enjoyable paddle.  Unlike the beautiful waters of Puget Sound, this was real “brown water navy” stuff.  Tight and twisting, each bend in the slough flushed a new raft of ducks.

Headed into the sun

Headed into the sun

There was no real destination, I just paddled to the end of the slough and then backtracked to a place where I could scramble out and climb up the bank.  Then I found a comfy place to sit and brew up some cowboy coffee and munch on my chocolate chip cookies.

Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy Coffee

Swirling the grounds to the bottom of the cup

Swirling the grounds to the bottom of the cup

Living Large

Living Large

That’s it, job done.

See you next time.  Kat

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Axe Porn

The Carpenter's Ave

The Carpenter’s Ave

Ok, hold on there.  It’s not what you think. This story is for my friends (virtual and real life) who enjoy the study of bushcraft skills.  Or anybody that likes the idea of finding something old and broken, and then refurbishing it into a workable item again.

For many years I’d been using an old Vaughan shingle hatchet for small work like splitting kindling.  But lately I’ve been having some fun carving green wood, mostly spoons and spatulas, and I needed something with a little more heft to hack out the spoon blanks.  The carpenter’s axe, as the name implies, was the perfect tool for the job.

Low and behold, craigslist provided the perfect specimen only a few miles down the road from my house.  I negotiated the asking price for the unnamed axe down to $10.00.  The handle was cracked, but that didn’t matter because I was gonna replace it with a much thicker handle anyway (that is it in the center of the picture above).

New handle shaped and fitted

New handle shaped and fitted

Boiled linseed oil

Boiled linseed oil

The new handle had a nice wide shoulder area, which made it perfect for choking up  on the handle for carving and shaping work.

Shaping a spoon blank

Shaping a spoon blank

 

 

 

 

 

Layout for an axe mask

Layout for an axe mask

Next up was to fashion an axe mask, or sheath.  With NO experience in leather working it was time to hit the UYT… University of YouTube.

The stitching pony

The stitching pony

I learned that many people used a device called a “stitching pony” to help hold the leather pieces together for stitching.  Well, I decided to make one of those.  I’m sure a lot of the decision was based on the fact that it was after all, a PONY!  Who doesn’t love a pony.  It was made from the same salvaged oak that I used for the wannigan.  The red cam locking lever is from a Yakima bicycle rack.

I ordered a little snap fastening kit, and a speedy stitcher with some waxed nylon thread, and got to work.

 

 

Speedy Stitcher

Speedy Stitcher

The axe mask

The axe mask

Well I think my first effort with leather working turned out to be more cub scout – less eagle scout, but certainly very functional and built to last a century.

That’s about it for now.  That’s for following along.  Kat

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The Winter Racing Series

Dinosaur Skeletons

Dinosaur Skeletons

Well we’re off for a winter VanSlam to the sunny side of the state.  We loaded up all the dude’s bicycles and headed over to Wenatchee Confluence State Park.

The weather was clear and cold, with nighttime temperatures below freezing, but the the afternoons felt downright spring like… As long as you didn’t mind lounging around in your down jacket.

Here is a little movie we made.

And as a parting shot, one more look at that sunset.

Red Sky At Night

Red Sky At Night

Thanks for following along.  Kat

Posted in Bicycle, Camping, Dudes, Music, Photography, Ukulele, Video | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Wannigan

The Finished Wannigan

The Finished Wannigan

Right, What’s a wannigan?  The name comes from the Algonquian first nation people and it is a box that would hold a camp kitchen.  Traditionally they were used in canoes by the Voyageurs, but they were also used by wood cutters and winter travelers.  

I’d been exploring some pretty interesting DIY wannigan projects with my canoe restoration research.  I was thinking I might want to build one when Teresa (my daughter-in-law) asked me to go over to her dad’s house and chop up an old armoire that her father wanted to get rid off.  The chopping was going to be necessary because the giant oak cabinet was so big that they had to remove the decorative arch in the entry way just to wrestle the monster into the front room.  Now, nearly two decades later it was time to upgrade to a flat screen TV and the armoire had to go.

For my efforts I was “awarded” all the oak pieces I wished to salvage.  Perfect! I’d build a wannigan for Travis & Teresa made from all the oak scraps from her father’s old TV cabinet.

The salvaged oak

The salvaged oak

I reused the mortises

I reused the mortises

I had a bunch of oak rails with mortises to hold the door panels.  After trimming off all the fancy stuff and most of the old stain, I fabricated them into 1×2 rails and stiles, but kept the mortise to hold the new 1/4 inch birch plywood sides.  I’d have to cut tenons into the rails, and try to match them to the fancy coves in the stiles.

I tried to reuse as much stuff from the armoire as I could but I wanted to make a top out of cedar.  The top was going to be a “shoe box” style with a lid that lifted off to be used as a table or a tray.

So it was back out to the “lumber yard” to hack out another chunk of old growth western red cedar.

The lumber yard

The lumber yard

Cedar Shavings

Cedar Shavings

Once again my whole world smelled of cedar shavings for weeks.

There is something very satisfying about salvaging a slimy green log from a soggy marsh and extracting a beautiful piece of wood from within it.  It is kind of a massive effort for a small hunk of wood but in my mind, it’s totally worth it.

 

 

Cutting the tenons

Cutting the tenons

Slowly but surely I laid out and cut the tenons… 8 cuts per joint, times 8 joints…

 

 

 

 

 

The storage tray

The storage tray

I built a little nesting storage tray for the wannigan.

Smoothing up the cedar edges

Smoothing up the cedar edges

Next was the glue up

Glueing the cedar top

Glueing the cedar top

…and more planing

The top

The top

Lots of sanding and several coats of spar varnish

Varnish

Varnish

Wooden dice

Wooden dice

Susan bought a bunch of nifty camping necessities like hot cocoa and extendable marshmallow sticks, and I made a set of wooden dice for the “games and toys” section.

That’s it for now, but I’m going hiking tomorrow so who knows, maybe there is another episode of the Adventure Journal right around the corner.

Kat

 

 

Posted in Camping, Canoe, Photography, Projects | Tagged | 2 Comments

Part II of the Frontiersman Canoe Restoration

Abbotsford BC Canada Border Crossing

Abbotsford BC Canada Border Crossing

So one of the key elements to finishing up the restoration of our 40 year old canoe was the ability to get replacement gunwales and end caps.  The originals were basically destroyed by many years of sunlight and hard living.

Fortunately Western Canoe & Kayak, just north of the border in Abbotsford BC had the parts.  Just after the New Years holidays we took a road trip to Canada.

Is that Bill Mason?

Is that Bill Mason?

Pretty easy to spot the canoe shop with this big mural.  I think it is a likeness of Bill Mason,  the dean of the modern day canoe traveler.

PVC lined tie down points

PVC lined tie down points

One little improvement I added to the boat were PVC pieces epoxied into the hull.  This will allow for a line to be tied through the stem and stern for lashing the canoe to the van or securing it on shore for the night.  (Yep, we did have a canoe camping trip back in the day, where a wintery storm rolled in at night and blew the canoe away… fortunately we found it up in some trees).  But I digress…

I made a little video of the project.  Lets have a look at that now:

 

That was Delbert McClinton providing the musical background, with a cover of the Otis Redding song I’ve got Dreams. 

Here are some Before and After images for you:

Before

Before

After

After

Now before you start gushing over how pretty the canoe is I should explain – I’ve been a photographer all my life, so I’m instinctually going to always look for the best light and the most flattering angle of my subjects.  When you get right up close this old canoe stills looks like a 40 year old beauty with some lipstick on it.

Launch Day

Launch Day

So after many months of labor it was time to get out and put the first scratches on her new paint job.  We headed over to Lake Cassidy.  It is a small little tannin colored lake with a wonderful marshy shoreline and very few houses.

The weather was brilliant for a January day.  I had a chance to test out my bent shaft paddle for the first time as well.  While nothing will ever completely replace those big Sawyer Voyageur paddles, I was really pleased with the laminated bent shaft paddle I made.  It was light and nimble, and it was made from cedar that I’d salvaged from a saltwater marsh.

Susan - enjoying her day

Susan – enjoying her day

Kat - goofing off with the GoPro

Kat – goofing off with the GoPro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well thats a wrap for this one.  Thanks for following along.  Kat

 

Posted in Canoe, Photography, Projects, Video | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Building The Laminated Canoe Paddles

The Lumber Yard

The Lumber Yard

Hiding in this log are several 1 inch x 1/4 inch cedar strips just waiting to be crafted into a laminated bent shaft paddle.  All I needed to do was cut em out, glue em up, and slap on some varnish.  Nothing to it, really.

The Blue Clamp Collection

The Blue Clamp Collection

Ok, there may have been a few more details that needed sorting out.

So I made a little movie of the project in case you want to follow along.

Let me share a few photos with you and I’ll drop the video in at the bottom.

 

 

 

 

The Dude's paddle

The Dude’s paddle

I was building two paddles at the same time.  A bent shaft big dude sized paddle and a straight shaft dude sized one.

some of the parts and pieces

some of the parts and pieces

After the blades were glued up I started to craft the handles.

The handles

The handles

There was way more “art” than “science” to this project.  I’d cut, plane, or shave for a bit.  Put it in my hand and pretend to paddle along, then cut, plane, or shave off some more.

The finished handles

The finished handles

Finished paddles

Finished paddles

I guess the paddles are finished… But I really won’t know until we get a chance to try them out in the canoe.  Ah, yes the canoe.  The restoration of the 40 year old fiberglass canoe is progressing as well.  Stay tuned for an update on that in the future.

A note of thanks to my brother-in-law, Jimmy Stone.  He was a wealth of information on all things “boat” and supplied the fiberglass cloth for the paddle blades.

 

 

Here is the video:

 

Cut, plane, shave, sand, sand, sand

Cut, plane, shave, sand, sand, sand

Thanks to Boz Scaggs and the late Duane Allman for playing the background music on the video, one of my all time favorites, the 1969 classic “Loan Me A Dime”.

That’s it for now.  Thanks for following along.

Kat

 

 

 

 

Posted in Canoe, Photography, Projects, Video | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments