Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha


Dio vs Yak rnd 5

Well, kinda.

More like Dio had to think his way out of a self inflicted wound.

When cutting scarf joints, you need to add the length of the cut TO BOTH PEICES to be joined. (and I am certain there is a carpenter or three out there than can say, “Duh!”)

Yeah,,, I’m a mechanic/welder. Things like this don’t come up much. Anywhoos, I scarfed the gunwales together today and immediately saw I was short by over a foot. As in the length of my scarf of 19″. I should have caught it before setting up glue joints, but my overconfident, smug side had kicked in.

Hammer to thumb, lesson learned.

Well, I did do one thing right; I made a jig that holds the wood to be scarfed, and has a guide screwed on top of that that leads the circular saw, so each cut is identical. Basicly, its a one-off miter box for only one angle. Its danged long though because of the length of the scarf I’m cutting.

So, I have two peices of foreshortened gunwale laid up in the rafters tonight. Letting that gorrilla glue cure. Its cool out, and I have a fire going so they should be beam solid tomorrow. THEN, I can ‘fix’ my boo-boo by adding on another joint. Measured out, I can make sure both scarf joints lay near the middle of the boat so they won’t have as much twisting pressure as they would near bow or stern. And I could still laminate them together, scarf joints staggered around, and recut the while bloody mess. It will take as many days longer to do that, but then again, I don’t expect this yak to see water before March, more due to seasons than time of build.

I could so kick my own butt over this, but its a lesson I won’t soon forget.



Ah-hah, now it makes sense!

I’ve said it before, and I fail to heed it myself at times. When the media is frothing at the gumline, about how horrible something is, be it weather or politics, you had best look under the curtain to see what the hell they are hiding.

In this case, the Kavanaugh ascendence. Horrid right wing conspiracy to undermine 100 years of lefty policy, blah blah blah,,,,

Ah, the sudden reversal of the senate committee that had been hung in the balance for weeks assessing the viability of a nut jobs sexual fantasy from 30 years ago,,,

Whats behind the curtain?

Remus links and quotes part of it here. And some elaboration here.


Can’t have the normies suckling the teat see that the house of cards just lost another prop. Oh no! Gotta keep ’em distracted from the reality thats about to smash everybody’s teeth in.

Alright, business as usual, same old song and dance routine, and the masses suck up the vomit like its a mocha latte from Chard-bucks. Hell, even I bought into the “Kavanaugh is a constitutionalist ” meme. Uh, no, he ain’t. The man had a lot of hand in writing the Patriot Act under the Shrub. You know, THE Patriot Act that wasn’t patriotic, had near zero accountability to ANY constitutional wording, anywhere, and yet passed with accolades of approval until sometime later when we realized it had pretty much gutted the BoR’s. Yeah, that one! It has Kavanaughs hand up its backside and thus his seal of approval by association. No wonder Zombie Ginsberg didn’t have an aneurysm within minutes of his swearing in; he’s one of them, heart and soul.

Sorry Dawg, we’ve been had.

Its back to scraping up a living (no change there 😒) building my yak while scraps of paper with dead presidents are still being accepted as ‘worth something more than wiping your ass with”, and carrying on towards whatever the hell our future holds. I think they are able to manipulate things enough, that BEFORE the financial house of cards implodes, they will kick off that little civil war they are brewing. Sadly, I don’t think they have anywhere near any idea how out of control that wildfire would get, nor how quickly.

But I sincerely hope to be one that is still around when the ashes have settled. I’m a realist though and think the odds of that are on the magnitude of hitting the powerball back to back 5 times.

SSDD. Carry on.

Sawmill day.


Wood is back from the mill.

11′ log 14″ diameter didn’t yield much, but I haven’t need for much. 7 very usable planks outta 9 total. The 2 oddballs will be cut down to something more usable, so no loss there either. What doesn’t get used makes killer kindling wood and winter is fast approaching. Net sum of zero loss on my end.

Cost $50. Might seem steep to some, but I managed to get more than enough for my project, and if I had had to order western cedar, the price would have gained a decimal place, to the tune of $500. ( more if I include the freight charges.)

Now, I need two pieces, 1″x3″x16′ in length and 3 – 1″x1″x16’and I have options on getting them. I can just run a scarf to join a pair end to end, or I can cut several, scarf them end to end and laminate them into one beam. Then cut the gunwales out of that. As soft as this wood is, the table saw should be able to handle that. I’ll likely make a test piece to try, before commiting to the whole deal. It certainly did not like that white oak. Either way, I have enough to make this boat, and at least one more.

Fun note: at the saw mill, the guys dropped jaws when I “manhandled” the log outta the truck to lay on the forks headed to the saw. One even came over to try it himself and dang near tossed the log off the forks in his attempt. They could not believe how light that log was. While not green, it is a touch damp, and will shed even more weight as that moisture goes. The tree we grabbed had been laying over for the last 3 years since the loggers came through, quite dead, but still very solid. Just a bit of rot at the stump end, and that was cut off before going to the mill.

Anyhows, Dio is about to start rolling forward on his yak attack: stay tuned.

Random tool thoughts

Where does the procurement stop and the gain begin? Buying tools for example. I’ve been buying tools for ages, always as an investment towards the future, even if that future is right now and work related (especially that, but I digress.) Since I started on building my own yak, I’ve bought a few more pieces for the ever growing list of tools. Not a complaint mind you, as they are not specific to building boats, but they are not cheap. (I’d rather suck on a rotten egg than use cheapshit tools, especially if they rely on a cutting edge, like woodchisels.) The yak specific tools are jigs and those are made from scrapwood, and not intended to last more than a few boats. Evolutions in design make that temporary life acceptable, and since they started life as scrap, no loss, only gain, even of they only make one boat.

As for ‘valuable’ tools(they’re all valuable to me), my most valuable, to me, tools, are the ones capable of making other tools. Lathes, mills, presses, etc. They are not limited to very much. They can cross platforms like metal working and woodworking, make the tools I need to make the things in my head, and the only real limitations are size and my imagination. A 9″ swing can’t do 9.5″ and thats just a fact.

And imagination is everything to a guy like me, so I usually hit the wall in size before I hit the stumped phase. LOL.

Sometimes, a tool isn’t a tool, until imagination kicks in. I am going to have to scarf and laminate my gunwales, and clamping a 16′ section of woodparts together was becoming an interesting complication. The solution is laying in my driveway: 8′ I-beams from the highway dept. I have 6 of em’ and planned on using them for a frame for some big tool or ‘nuther as the need arose. Bolt a pair end to end, and now I have a 16′ plate with sidewalls. Spray wax or wax paper will act as a release agent, and another pair will be the weights to clamp the wood tight. I can add to that, or use a few furniture clamps if I need more force, but by nature, I wont need as many clamps to achieve the same end. Forget the danged box, and you don’t need to think outside of it; you just need to think!

And I still have the I-beams for later use as I need.

Tools. We dominated this world through tools. The most defenseless species, at the top of the food chain. Tools.

And as some can attest, I haul a whole lot of ’em around with me, day to day. I have more in reserve at home, and I’m still working on that damned shop to get even more into play. (And that accounts for and answers the question at the start.)


Got tools?

Dio vs Yak rnd 4

I read an article written by a man that followed Chris Cunningham’s book entitled “how not to build a greenland kayak.

One point he stressed was that “the jigs move, frequently.” So I decided on a tact that the fuselage builders take; a strongback. Thats the 4×4 at the bottom. I cut notches centered on my jig points, then ‘locked them in’ with a deckscrew. A centerline ran down the back makes sure I am on center of the jigs and since the saw depth never changed, I’m at same height across the board. Granted, when I arch the gunwales, they will not lay in a straight plane, but rise, creating the ‘sheer’ familiar in yaks and canoes: I’ll have to adjust then, but will apply the same lock after adjustment.

The boards representing the gunwales are (s)crap wood, but work for this test. The long board along the left side, is my storyboard: it has the center and my contact points, for laying out both deckbeams and ribs. Doing this test also gave me a better feel for what the end product will look like and some ideas for how to layout the rib structure. Some of the ribs are going to be nearly bent over on themselves to get the cutwater I want. Others will be near box like (seat area specifically). Some of the other wood is there just for the visual aid; location and size may change before I actually start assembly.

By fluke of chance, the 4×4 actually seats the coaming at how high I was planning. The keel will make the boat about 1″+/- 1/4″ deeper than shown and the chines will fill out the angle even more, so it won’t appear as steep as it shows right now.

I’m very happy with the way the arched deckbeams turned out. (In the first image) I was guessing when I made the jig, and yet they fit the points perfectly with a nice gradual slope down. That third one forward may change to a flat beam with a riser on it as that will be my footbrace beam, or I may just add in a footbrace attached to the ribs or tenoned into the gunwale: ain’t made up my mind yet. I still have options there.

As for length, I am cutting my gunwales to 16′. I’ll set em up and decide then. I want to see how the lines look before I finalize that thought. I wont be able to go longer (much. I can add to the bow and stern boards to add length, but 17′ is my cut off as that puts me into high performance class. No thanks.) but I can go shorter. I’m actually thinking 15′ or 15’6″ . Again. Options remain open, and alot of my decisions will be based on appearance above the water line. What happens at and below that line is already decided upon. Long shallow entry at the bow, to cut into the water like a knife, steep and sudden exit at the stern with a keel line nearly skeg like in operation. Some of this is inspired by Brians F1 and LPB at Cape Falcon Kayak, some of it by Killiis‘ kayaks over at Seawolf Kayaks, and some of it from Chriss’ book. At the end of the build, it will all be my decisions and many years of others refinements applied as well as some modern materials, but it will be uniquely my kayak, built for my narrow backside, and to run a river race. (And to learn rolling, one reason it will be so shallow in sheer)

And I can see it in my head now, not just lines on paper.

Prepper thinkin’

So, before I begin my schpeal here, some points for clarity.

  • Things are getting weirder/worse as time goes on.
  • Even heads in high places are saying ‘be ready’.
  • The Dollar isn’t as reliable as it was.

Now, the travails of my convoluted grey cells while I was doing a most mundane and deplorable thing: stacking firewood in my woodshed.

Lots goin’ on at the woodshed

It ain’t much compared to my dads or uncles, but I have a tiny house, well insulated and it takes very little to keep it cozy and only a little more to cook your brains. Its a fine balance, and one where I have learned to watch outside temps before adding wood to stove. Anything above 45°f and I bank the coals.

But thats not the point of the post: my thoughts turned towards a (potentially not so much) fictional scenario. What if (and most good prep thought starts with that) the jackboots came up here to divvy up firewood to those “less fortunate” and for some reason unknowable, I didn’t triple-S them on the spot. How would the situation be best resolved without violent confrontation? Would an offer of taking in a couple of those “LF’s” diffuse the situation? How could I know if they were worthy of trust? Etc etc, the variables are as multitudinous as stray dogs.

And I came back to one answer only. Family, yes. Others, no. Deep six any that demand fruits of mine and my labors.

And that brought up other points. What constitutes ‘family’? And thats a much deeper question than the face value of the words. There are people in this world with zero genetic comparison that I consider ‘true family’ over some secondary kin. There are some secondary kin whom I’d deep six without a thought, care, or worry; and not lose a wink of sleep about it. So, what is family? (And don’t even quote the ‘blood is thicker than water’ thing. You’ll only show your ignorance. The actual quote is “The blood spilled among brothers in arms is thicker than the waters of birth”. Chew on that thought for a few.) Thats more personal than I care to share here, and it is one that each has to answer for themselves, preferably before it becomes the important topic of the day.

Anyways, chores done, woodshed is full enough and one less worry for a few months.

Dio vs Yak rnd 3 (cont)

Just a comparison of cockpits. They are lined up at the inner backstrap. The red boat is the Perception Carolina obviously, and you can see that not only is she a general purpose yak, she is also set up as a generic paddler boat. Anyone between 150 and 300 pounds could use this boat with minimal shift in comfort.

The coaming I built is for a boat sized SPECIFICALLY to me. 6′, 195#, XX inseam and XX waist size. Yes, all of those things get taken into account. The way the measurements are taken, even how I sit is accounted for. There is a measurement for the back, and one for where the ‘sit bones’ rest, and all of that is done on a balance board to determine my center of gravity while seated, and even that is marked. No, not truly scalable, as you can’t apply one build across the board. It is scalable in the sense that all the other measurements adjust from those of the person the boat is being built for.

Anywhoos, you can see how I have the coaming strapped down with a spanish windlass and spreader board. She is still drying and slowly taking the set I want. Last I checked, that windlass was feeling a touch floppy so the set is taking. We are expecting cool weather so I’ll likely have a fire and with this sitting in the rafters, drying should accelerate some. I won’t hang it over the stove as drying too fast will cause cracks and the like, may even cause it to warp if one side dries faster than the other. Nope, rafters on opposite side of house and airflow will do all I want and need.

Still zero on the coffeetree wood, so I’m pretty much at a standstill until then. Next step is making the gunwales (pronounced gunnels, old maritime speak for ya. Kinda like forecastle pronounced foke-sul and spelled Fo’c’sle in modern navy vessels.) Cutting gunwales to length, lay out of deck beam and rib mortices, cutting said mortices, then we start to really have some fun.

Some more history, obliquely: in the last post, I showed a GIF of Brian rolling his Greenland yak. I stated I wanted to learn to do that. (Note, the carolina is so rock stable she is a serious bitch to roll. She’ll fight it and fight it, then Bloop! She’s over and so fast she tosses me out of the cockpit. The cockpit is so wide, I can’t seem to get a good knee bracing anywhere. Yes, I’ve tried to learn to roll in my current boat and can tell, it may be doable, but not for a novice, and would likely give a pro issues) but there was a question of “why?” that went unanswered.

Greenland qajaqers had a saying ” roll or die”. They didnt have all of our safety gear, PFDs, bilge pumps, etc. The had a yak, a tuilaq (a spray skirt that covers the upper body and closes the cockpit.) and a pair of paddles, some hunting gear and maybe a couple of floats for hauling in the kill. Rolling meant that they could survive bad conditions. Rolling meant they could get out to sea through big waves. Ever go swimming in big waves? Best way out was under the wave. Rolling can accomplish the same thing, as well as put the energy of the wave where the boat can handle it best; the bottom. There is even a roll called the straightjacket roll. It simulates a boater being wrapped up in his hunting lines. Imagine, miles out to sea, that bull seal you just harpooned decides he’s not going alone and gets you all tied up in rope, and gets you flipped over.

Anywhoos, my reasons are its a part of the history and it could correct a bad situation, but only if I practice it. If I don’t practice, it could get me killed when something goes screwy and I dont have that ‘tool’.

And I just think its cool.