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A new pirogue project in Tallahassee

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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I built one boat that I fussed over and meant to be pretty. The rest were tools and function pretty much trumped everything else. To be honest I enjoyed the tools more, not that I minded all the complements I got on the pretty wood and varnish of the one that felt I had to baby. It was fun that people always wanted to take pictures or honked horns pointed at it and gave thumbs up.

On the other hand, the rougher tools with latex house paint over luan or pine ply still got complements if the design was nice and the workmanship reasonably clean. I know that even a 16' rowing dory that was knocked together from cheap materials in a weekend and painted with house paint got a ton of complements. I guess it was mostly the pretty lines of the design, but there were no glaring flaws.

I build musical instruments and like to make them with beautiful fancy wood with amazing figure and beautiful finishes. The difference is, I think, that the fancy wood and finish in a musical instrument doesn't impact how you use it. A boat on the other hand is likely to require a lot of care in handling and maintenance if it is to retain a high level of finish. I think another difference is that I can use small amounts of wood that I get from a local guy in the form of slabs with amazing grain for a great price for building instruments. I have to mill it from the rough slabs or planks, but I get really fancy wood without spending much.
 

Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Interesting. I played sousaphone (tuba) in high school bands. Now, my only musical instrument is my golden, melodious (not malodorous) voice. I’ve worked my way up to a five note range!
Mel Torme - step aside!

sigh
 

oldsparkey

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Aug 25, 2003
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Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
Now, my only musical instrument is my golden, melodious (not malodorous) voice. I’ve worked my way up to a five note range!
Mel Torme - step aside!

sigh
When Jack sings it gives folks the chills as the chills run up and down their spine. Best way to explain it is some fingernails on a chalk board but out of tune and half way between a base and soprano.
Signing engagements ....He can't keep up with the demand during the summers when it gets really hot and folks want to cool down. :cool:
 

jdupre'

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Sep 9, 2007
2,161
12
South Louisiana
Pete, i'm like that too about "pretty". Sometime it's worth it a sometime it's not. To me, the significant extra time it takes to make something really pretty and "perfect" is just not worth it for ME. To some, near perfection is an end in itself and that's OK too. An instrument can be babied and remain almost flawless for a long time. If you are really going to use a boat, it won't stay perfect for very long. Like I say .....that's why there's vanilla and chocolate ....and strawberries and cream .........and mmmmmm Butter Pecan!
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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I have the sides glued and nailed to the stems with bronze ring nails on my UJ pirogue. The center frame is temporarily clamped in place, but not yet glued or fastened with any fasteners. Would you make an effort to keep the frames vertical or would you just make them 90 degrees to the straight edge of the side ignoring any angle created by bending in the rocker? My inclination is to use a square to mark a line 90 degrees to the edge of the plywood an square the frames to that. I am not sure how close to vertical that will be. I am guessing close enough.

I am about ready to clamp the other two frames in place and check everything for any alignment issues before permanently attaching the frames with epoxy and bronze ring nails or screws. So far it all seems to be straight and without twist.

Edit:
By the way now that I am actually looking at the hull in 3d for the first time it looks wider than I expected. Funny, I knew the dimensions, but somehow the reality of it surprised me. It looks both wider and deeper than I expected (I went with 11" sides).

It makes me a little more optimistic that maybe I can get my wife to paddle it. If it is more stable than expected I might be able to fit a slightly higher seat which would allow her to get in and out more easily, perhaps with some assistance depending on the seat height and the launch site. If that happens I will probably build myself or her another one. I am not sure what the sweet spot would be in stability vs seat height for her. She paddles in the bow of my Wenonah Escapade and the seat there is something like 9.5" depending on where you measure. I think maybe putting one of those seat cushion pfds on top of the UJ seat that Chuck designed might be a good starting point for her to try. I am pretty sure she will balk at the UJ seat as is.
 
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beekeeper

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Mar 4, 2009
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9.5" for a pirogue seat seems high to me. The cushion idea is a starting point. If that works raise the seat in increments. Only your wife can determine what works.
What is the maximum beam width for your 11" sides?
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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9.5" for a pirogue seat seems high to me. The cushion idea is a starting point. If that works raise the seat in increments. Only your wife can determine what works.
Yeah I wasn't suggesting that I would go that high, just that somewhere between that and the UJ seat plans might be about right for her. My hope was that she'd be okay with something like maybe 7-1/2". I think that is probably about what the seat cushion would be.
What is the maximum beam width for your 11" sides?
It looks like about 30.5" at the rail without any rail installed.
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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The higher your center of gravity the tipper the Pirogue will be.
Yep. I am pretty sure that I will like the UJ seat I built as is, but I hoping that I can find a happy medium where my wife can get in and out and still not be too tippy.

I am anxious to see how tippy/stable the pirogue will be. I can only speculate at this point based on my experience with canoes and dories. I am still expecting it to be pretty tippy, but looking at it, it looks a little less tippy than I initially expected at least for initial stability. I had imagined pirogues as really skinny and without noticeable rocker. The straight sides of the UJ plans result in more rocker than some designs so this one has noticeable rocker. Also to my eye it isn't nearly as skinny as I expected it to look. Looks can be deceiving though and the proof will be when it is in the water. I am anxious to see how it is to paddle.

My brother who had no paddling experience when he built his first boat found the 15' - 6" four rib UJ pirogue too long and wide. He built a number of variations. He settled on 3 ribs and 14' with 12" sides as his favorite. He started with a milk crate as a seat, deemed it too high, and ultimately settled on one of those stadium seats and a seat cushion as a seat. I am guessing the stadium seat/seat cushion combo is probably quite low (3.5" maybe?). I never got to see any of them in person since he lived 1000 miles away, but I did see pictures and correspond with him. That is what got me interested in trying a pirogue.
 

oldsparkey

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Aug 25, 2003
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Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
Your wife should have less of a problem with balance in the pirogue then you will have. Women have a lower center of gravity then guys do , we have more body weight higher in the body.
This is why women can pull a trick on us guys for free drinks and win ever time. They can stand back from a wall , place there upper body at basically 80 - 90 degrees with the floor. Have the top of their head against the wall and stand back up without falling or using their arms and hands.
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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Your wife should have less of a problem with balance in the pirogue then you will have. Women have a lower center of gravity then guys do , we have more body weight higher in the body.
This is why women can pull a trick on us guys for free drinks and win ever time. They can stand back from a wall , place there upper body at basically 80 - 90 degrees with the floor. Have the top of their head against the wall and stand back up without falling or using their arms and hands.
I knew that but hadn't really considered it. Hopefully it will be enough of a factor to make the difference. Her motivation to paddle the pirogue may be the deciding factor and I can't usually figure that. She enjoys getting out on the water, but whether she will take to the pirogue is another matter. Either way is fine though.
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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The frames are glued and ring nailed in. I have to decide how to do the bottom. I can splice the plywood so the joints hit the frames or ignore the frames. I can use a piece on each end or a single piece. I think I can make the best use of the ply by using two small triangles one on each end ignoring the frames and letting the splices fall closer to the ends.

Is it a really stupid idea attach the 8' panel in the middle and then butt splice the end pieces of the bottom to it on the boat? If I do this, I'd add 16 ounce biaxial tape to the seam on the inside (the outside bottom is getting 6 ounce glass, but I could add extra glass to the seam if that was called for). Alternately I could add an inside piece of 4mm ply to the splice instead of the biaxial tape.
 

Kayak Jack

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Aug 26, 2003
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Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Pete, when you think of a pirogue as long, skinny, not much rocker - you are describing a mortar box. Mix up mortar with a hoe. That was the crowning acme of my masonry career. Only change came when I turned 10, they gave me a bigger shovel.
That part of my childhood wasn’t the funnest part. HOCKEY, in the winter we played hockey! A lot more fun than working a mortar box. sigh. ;-)
 

beekeeper

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Mar 4, 2009
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Using one 8' piece of ply in the middle of the boat is a good way to do the bottom. It places the splices in areas of less stress and foot traffic. Less waste of a sheet of ply. A little more work making an extra splice.
I don't do enough fiberglass to know if the tape on the inside and one layer of 6 oz. glass is enough. If so I would choose that over a ply backing just to keep things clean and smooth. If you are counting ounces then a scarf joint could eliminate all three.
Having the splices backed by a floor rib would also eliminate the backing and would probably be a stronger floor. It may take more plywood.
 

PeteStaehling

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Aug 23, 2020
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I have suspended work on the pirogue for today and maybe a few days. My dog Marley laid down yesterday during her morning walk and refused to get up. I knew something serious was wrong so I got the car while my wife stayed with her. It turns out she had a tumor on her spleen that ruptured and she was bleeding badly into her abdomen. The vet removed Marley's spleen. She says that 2/3 of these spleen tumors are malignant and the malignant ones have all metastasized by the time they are diagnosed. So we are waiting for pathology reports and worrying that she probably won't make it to her 11th birthday in May.

I just don't have it in me to do much today, but also I want to keep an eye on her and don't want her in the dusty shop. I am really worried about her. She has been my best friend and constant companion since I have been retired.
 

oldsparkey

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Aug 25, 2003
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Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
I still have her picture, and still miss Tippy, who passed away 65 years ago. She helped raise me. A beagle-terrier mix.
Michael of the Mesquite Manor for me. A registered Boxer we called Mike. I learned how to walk by trying to hold onto his stubby tail. Just after my 13 birthday he passed away at 13 years old. 64 years go and I have his picture to look at every day. Lots of others but he was and will be the king of all of them.
Mesquite Manor ???? Yes Jack , we were in Texas , Dad was the C.O. at Fort Hood.