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What Works / What Don't

Discussion in 'Serious Boat Building Questions' started by beekeeper, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. beekeeper

    beekeeper Well-Known Member

    For Me, for where and how I paddle. These are just my thoughts, ideas and observations. Not trying to make a point or argue. Hope this may help someone or someone may help me. I will also add some things I want to know or try. Please add yours. These are all “location sensitive” and pertain to my boats.
    To clarify ; I mainly bass fish in a protected shallow lake and small bayous in north La. Waves and fast flowing current are not “major” factors. I don't camp or carry a lot of gear. My tackle box and ice chest need to be close to me.
    My goals when I started building were; Loadable by myself in the back of my truck ( no trailer). Easy to paddle (no trolling motor). Launch and go fish (K.I.S.S.), stable?, boat.

    What's Working :
    My pirogue.:
    The 30 deg. flared sides give it a lot of stability. The reduced rocker really improved the
    tracking. It paddles much easier than my skiffs. The lower sides seem to catch the wind less. It still blows around but not as bad as the skiffs. Moving the load and sitting lower also helps. The rings
    for attaching points (bow and stern) are versatile and don't hang on limbs. The rib rails are nice to tie to and when packing, or turning the boat over
    My seat:
    The beefed up UJ seat is comfortable and fits me well. It is strong and not too heavy. The height adjusting base adds to it's adaptability. The seat is not fixed to the boat so it can move as needed. Siting about 18” to 24” behind center is working best most of the time. The base allows you to sit at about 9” or 12”. 12” is comfortable for fishing, but the boat paddles better sitting lower. Add a boat cushion and and you can have six different heights. I change often during the day for comfort or if conditions warrant.
    My truck bed extender. $29.00 at Harbor Freight
    My double paddle after I lengthened it 1'. Reaches the water from the high seat better and no water dripping on me or in the boat.

    I will continue latter. This is enough for a start.

  2. Wannabe

    Wannabe Well-Known Member

    I enjoyed that. I hope this is a start of a very interesting thread. Thanks.
  3. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

    Nice subject, and nice intro, Grandpa Bee. What has been working for me in my areas (Great Lakes in US & Canada) are:
    Hennessey Hammock. By far the most comfortable sleeping.

    Cooke Custom Sewing rain flys. I never - ever - needed one until I started camping with Kevin King. Now I always carry one. sigh Sewn in loops are far superior to pressed in grommets. And - these flys are quiet. I HATE the rattle of a poly tarp.

    Solo kayaks or canoes. If a canoe, decked is better. In this region, a semi-rounded bottomed boat will serve better to protect from excessive rolling or shipping of water in waves. They paddle a bit easier too.

    Eureka Timberline tent. This is a classic in tenting, and there are lots of reasons. Though not perfect, they have most of the wrinkles figured out. I prefer a four man version with two doors. A two man Timberline with a gear vestibule costs and weighs as much as a larger four man, but has less room inside and the vestibule blocks most of the ventilation.

    Werner Calliste paddle. There's a saying in paddling that we spend too much on our boats, and not enough on paddles. We who build have some money left over to buy a nice, carbon fiber/Kevlar paddle. I treasure a very light paddle. I use a double ender almost all the time in both kayak and canoe.

    Stowaway rain gear from LL Bean. Goretex is my friend. The stowaway jacket and pants have been with me on every trip - even in a car - for twenty years now.

    For washing camp dishes, I like Dawn or Palmolive dish soap, with ammonia added to the water. Ammonia cuts the grease and keeps it off the dishes. I hang them in a mesh bag, and pour boiling water over them. Hang the bag to dry under your Cooke Custom Sewing rain fly.

    Anodized aluminum cooking pans. Not as good as cast iron, but lighter to carry or portage.

    What hasn't worked so well:
    Hennessey rain flys. A catenary cut is a gadget meant to appeal to a camper from New York City. Rectangular cut does a better job of covering a given area. That being said, some folks like a hex cut rain fly offered by Hennessey, it seems to do a nice job. I rig a 10'X10' or 10'X14' Cooke fly over my hammock or near my tent to provide a covered patio for leisurely dining, sipping of single malt, smoking of seegars, and telling of true tales.

    Aluminum boats. Useful for scaring wildlife, tame life, and likely afterlife too. Appropriate when fleeing an advancing enemy, or some other national emergency. Cold and hard to sit in, noisy to ride or paddle, heavy to lift. But, they are durable. Note to self: granite is durable too.

    Plain aluminum cooking pans. If plain aluminum, nothing will burn and stick to food like aluminum. Good for boiling water.
  4. beekeeper

    beekeeper Well-Known Member

    What Don't:
    My Croc boat. It is a good boat but not for my use. Too heavy, too short, and too high.
    The swivel base for my seat. It turns fine and the graphite works. Not enough gain for the effort.
    Ribs with lap joints. Add gussets if your plans call for this type joint.
    My skiff, my son's skiff, when compared to my pirogue.
    Scarf joints in luan for a natural finish.
    Latex paint on bottom of boat. Need something harder.

    My Observations, Thoughts, Impressons, Opion, Or What Ever You Want To Call Them:
    Less than 3" of rocker will probably work best for me. 25+deg. flared sides add a lot of stabelity.
    A 4lb. bass can pull a boat! :D

    More latter
  5. oldsparkey

    oldsparkey Well-Known Member

    Taking the idea that this is about boats........

    The old standby for me , an open Canoe or Pirogue preferably in wood and glass and light weight.
    For propulsion a single blade canoe paddle and at times a kayak paddle for going back upstream , if needed and rarely ever used.

    Both boats are open and easy to get gear in and out of without a lot of fussing and are easy to balance the load in the boat for comfortable paddling depending on the weather conditions.
    The cane seat in the canoe with a sit backer chair attached to the seat for long distance paddling. That extra paddling is really nice. The pirogue , the lower seat with the back on it like I have been making and a lot of you have made.

    I haven't really found anything unacceptable with boats just some things not preferred if the above items are available. If the above items are not there then what ever will work for me at that time as long as it floats.

    Can't say anything about the Bayou Skiff since I have not used it on a camping trip as of yet. That is because of the one thing I hate with a passion ... HOT Weather Camping. :twisted:

  6. jdupre'

    jdupre' Well-Known Member

    I'll have to agree with Chuck on the pirogue. Other than whitewater or really open water, it'll handle everything else with ease and comfort. A yak with a large cockpit is a close second.

    Nice sized folding grill over the fire. Takes up hardly any room in the boat, will handle any cooking chore with the right pot or pan, grill a steak or sausage and will keep a kettle of water hot for hours.

    Double bottom hammock to hold a blue pad in place in conjunction with a mummy sleeping bag used in the top quilt mode. 1. climb into hammock 2. pull up sleeping bag/top quilt 3. go to sleep ..............Easy. No fighting, squirming, twisting, tugging or cussing.

    99 cent storage bottles from WalMart. Holds many liquids in small quantities, just right for a few day trip....... Alcohol, dish liquid, cooking oil, a little nip for after supper.

    Stuff that doesn't work. Just too much STUFF. I go into the outdoors to escape complexity... ......... don't want to bring it with me. A little food, a comfortable hammock, maybe a pellet gun or light fishing rod and good company and I'm set.

  7. beekeeper

    beekeeper Well-Known Member

    Thoughts, observations...etc.:
    Stability issues are probably a priority to new paddlers and builders. It was for me, and it effected my desisons. I should have tried to learn more about paddle boats, and sought experanced advice. A trial paddle or a borrowed boat would have helped. Seems stability, or lack of is directly related to how well you swim, your sense of ballance, and time spent in the boat. The more I paddle the more stable my boat seems.
    I leave the launch site into a head wind and I return into a head wind. :wink: Can't figure that one out. The strength of the wind increases as I tire. :roll: :(
    What Works:
    My open pirogue works well for fishing(lay the rods in and go). Easy to enter the boat from muddy shore. Aso easy to reach or shift tackle, and load as needed.

    What Don't:
    The arch on my chair's base could be longer. This would allow more fore and aft adjustment.

    Does a graphite coated bottom resist scatches and slides over objects becouse it is smooth and hard, or because it is slippery(lubercates)? If slippery, wouldn't it wear off (leave grapht on your hand when you rub it)? Does it?
    Is it better to sand the last coat or not? Why?
    If it works because it is smooth and hard, is there another additive that might be harder?

    The only boat I have weighed was my grandson's skiff, 59lbs. How much did yours weigh (no est., please)?

  8. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

    I think graphite works because it's hard and slick. Sanding it didn't produce any measurable difference for me. That is my opinion; to really tell, I'd want a controlled experiment.
  9. jdupre'

    jdupre' Well-Known Member

    My pirogue weighs 61lbs. 1/4" fir was maybe overkill. 3/4' x 1-1/2" bottom chines and top rail were definetly overkill along with stems bigger than they needed to be. I could have saved a couple of pounds by using a fiberglass patch instead of big honkin' ply butt patches. More clamps and less nails would have been possible. Realistically could have gone down to the low 50 lbs.
    I think the hardness of the graphite is mostly due to the epoxy matrix. It is a pretty tough mix. I sanded mine down and it is smoother to MY touch. Sanding and leaving minute sanding grooves front to back MAY contribute to less drag. Seems to glide through water plants well.

    It's still too early to tell, but made to choose, I think the open-cockpit kayak is better for my use, though not by much. The plain 3 panel pirogue is a pretty tough competitor for an all around boat.
  10. Jimmy W

    Jimmy W Well-Known Member

    I have not done any experiments, but I would guess that the West System folks have. They recommend graphite for a low friction coating and powdered aluminum for abrasion resistance. http://www.westsystem.com/ss/additive-selection-guide/
    It might be best to put on a coat or two with aluminum powder and follow that with the graphite mixture. Then put the bed-liner on the inside for protection from explosions and then adopt Jack to carry the pirogue to the water. That might be worth a Hersey Bar.
    I have read that the graphite works better after sanding and that would make sense to me as it would probably expose the graphite powder better. I haven't tested this either. Also I still haven't weighed my pirogue.
  11. beekeeper

    beekeeper Well-Known Member

    But is it slick because it is hard and smooth (like glass) or because it is lubricating? I was told some air boats dispense soap onto their hull to (lubercate) make them slippery. If the gaphite was lubricating wouldn't it have to rub off? If the final coat is not sanded, would not the graphite be encased in the resin and not be able to lubricate?

    I have not used it,but from the testimonies I believe it works. Something harder may work better? Could it be acting as a fareing compound and makeing the bottom smooth?

    PS: Jack, I once used grits as a filler in epoxy. The texture was too rough for fillets, but might work if you needed a nonslip floor for your boat. Tried cooking them first, but ... "never mind". :lol:
  12. jdupre'

    jdupre' Well-Known Member

    Bee, I would have to say graphite has a certain slipperyness on it's own. It's used for lubricating locks where grease would either freeze or attrack dirt. It does seem to protect better than plain epoxy. Here's a thought. Any kind of metal powder seems "soft" to the touch, but it's still METAL, just in smaller pieces. If you assemble all those smaller pieces back into a solid (epoxy matrix) they become a solid, laminated metal material. Soft fiberglass cloth becomes solid glass when suspended in an epoxy matrix.
  13. oldsparkey

    oldsparkey Well-Known Member

    The pirogue ( 2nd one I made) I use weighs in at 32 pounds and is a standard size one at 15 1/2 feet. Would of been 30 pounds if I would not of added the cain and ash canoe seat to it. Plan on removing it one day so I can use one of the pirogue seats with the back rest.

    I did better with the Sasquatch ( Canoe) at 14 feet since it weighs 30 pounds. Guess the 1 1/2 feet less does make a difference.

    The graphite on the bottom of the pirogue has not been sanded except for what sanding it has had going over sand bars which is very little. When I was studying the use of the graphite on racing sail boats they reported that sanding the graphite mix did add to the slipperiness of it when in the water. My guess is that by removing the outer skin of the epoxy more graphite is exposed and graphite is a lubricant. I don't plan on racing the pirogue so it is not sanded. Anyway I liked the idea of something slippery and hard on the bottom for protection from stumps , logs and all the rest , so far I am happy with the results since it does hold up and does protect the bottom.

    I tried it and liked it ...................
    That's the reason I passed that information along a long time ago. Especially when paddling threw weeds , they use to grab the bottom of the boat and make a squeaking sound as you paddled over them , with the graphite they just slid by.

    As far as the gear in the boat when paddling and camping , still working on taking less. Trying to get it as light as the boat. :D
  14. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

    The smooth surface of shiny-slick graphite/epoxy slips off rocks, gravel, and water lilly-type grunge very easily. I noticed no difference after sanding to "expose" raw graphite at the surface. Until I take the same boat, with the same load, pulling it with a spring scale through the same tract of water/weeds/rocks/gravel/sand to methodically test for differences in drag factor between sanded and shiny-slick, I'm unable to say which surface provides the lowest friction.

    But, I would intuitively expect the smoothest surface to provide the lowest friction, however little less. The lubricity of graphite is pretty much covered up with epoxy. Some graphite is released after sanding. How much, if any, effect this has over various type surfaces remains to be tested - not with toy boats, but with real boats.

    The hardness of a graphite & epoxy mix (I use a ratio of 20% graphite by volume) is easily demonstrable. I have marks in my boat where it rolled sideways on the edge of rocks. In the area of graphite mix it's a mere rub. As a mark travels onto just standard epoxy the scratch deepens significantly into a gouge. There are several of these on the boat, clearly demonstrating the difference in resistance to abrasion. Jimmy points out that aluminum powder is even better for abrasion resistance. And his thought of, say, two coats of epoxy with aluminum powder then covered with one coat containing graphite makes sense.

    None of this answers BeeKeeper's question about causative factors for just WHY it slips off better. But, then I'd need two things before I could answer him: a set of controlled conditions and a BIG HONKIN' HERSHEY BAR.
  15. beekeeper

    beekeeper Well-Known Member

    I know it is dangerous, but I was thinking, it would have to be in the powder form to lubricate. Aren't the particles suspended (coated) in the resign? Wouldn't that be epoxy rubbing on an object, not the graphite?
    It has been suggested to put two coats of powdered alu. and then two coats of graphite. Why not mix them?
    I bet seedtick tells me to put two coats of alu. and try that, and then add two coats of graphite if needed.

  16. WDfrmTN

    WDfrmTN Well-Known Member

    Hard and "slick" (but not due to graphite's lubricating properties, as the graphite is encapsulated and immovable).
    Aluminum powder, as mentioned, can be more durable, and just as "slick" providing the epoxy medium is equal to the graphite's.

    Will have to let you know. Still have about a day or so of clean-up & spot painting.
  17. oldsparkey

    oldsparkey Well-Known Member

    As far as camping with a boat.

    It appears to me as a process of evolution or evolving as time slips by. You start out as a kid with your dads aluminum boat and the basics... A sleeping bag , a tarp , fishing rod and a rifle , small pot to cook in over a fire and a can of beans for a meal.

    Then as you get older and some bucks in your pocket the boat evolves to something bigger and heavier , not necessarily better. The fire becomes a Coleman double burner , the old pot is tossed and becomes some frying pans and an assortment of pots. The sleeping bag is in a tent , usually one way to big. To take all the food a large cooler is required. Then there is all the rest you just have to have on a trip and just can't live without even if you do not use it on the trip.

    Before you know it you are trying to get two tons into a one ton boat. :roll:

    Time marches on and you realize that you are spending all your time trying to use things you never will use or need so the load starts to become lighter and things are left at home. You might say you get the backpacker mentality of The Lighter the Better.

    Before you know it you are back to the basics and taking less but enjoying life more.

    For a solo trip.........
    Like a few others on here for me it is something to sleep in , to cook with and some chow to enjoy if you are not able to catch what you want or as a side dish with the fresh fish meal.

    A hammock ( I like the side entry ones for the easy entry or exit ) , a small alcohol stove with the nesting pot or pots ( bottle of fuel ) , a sleeping bag ( cold weather ) some food , a light weight fishing rod , spinning or fly rod , camp chair and some possibles like a knife , pistol , flashlight ( mini-mag) with a change of clothing. Not forgetting the camera.
    If it goes on a trip and is not used then it stays home on the next one. Guess that is why I always have a gortex rain suite with me. :lol:

    Group camping , I take more with me in , normally in the food line to be shared and it does require a cooler and a grill to cook it over for the 1st night of camping. :D

    What works for me just might be the one thing that would not work for you. That is why there are so many ways to enjoy paddling and camping. It's all a personal choice.
  18. Bellybuster

    Bellybuster Well-Known Member

    friction is a strange creature and water friction against a hull is yet a totally different form of friction than 2 solids rubbing together.
    Most liquid lubricating compounds act more like a barrier between 2 surfaces so they don't actually touch thus reducing friction. Solid friction reducing agents like graphite coatings reduce friction by reducing the microscopic hills and valleys of the surface thus actually increasing the contacting surfaces. Solids no matter how smooth they appear are actually quite rough microscopically and when place in contact with each otherhave less of their surfaces touching each other than one might think.
    Anyone who has ever done any machining can tell you that 2 peices of steel machined to the flattest surface you can do will stick together like magnets but once you get them moving they slide like butter. The sticking is adhesion not friction. The sliding like butter is from machining the microscopic hills and vallys as smooth as possible in order to "increase" the contacting area, thus, reducing friction.
    I just reread what I typed and now I'm confused and give up. I know what I'm trying to say but can't get it into words. I do believe Geezerdom is coming sooner than I may think.

    From what I can figure from the whole epoxy/graphit thing is you actually do have graphite on the surface all the time unless you coat it with epoxy on top.
  19. oldsparkey

    oldsparkey Well-Known Member

    There is a coating of epoxy but that epoxy is incorporated with the graphite. Or to say it a different way the graphite is mixed and suspended in the epoxy so as the surface wears the graphite is exposed to whatever is rubbing against it creating less friction then just a plain old epoxy surface.
    Think of the epoxy as the prongs on a ring which are holding the solid form of graphite a diamond. Those little epoxies sure do hang onto the graphite. :wink:

    As you mentioned ....A coating of plain epoxy over the epoxy and graphite area would defeat the whole idea.
  20. tx river rat

    tx river rat Well-Known Member

    I am going to put my 2 cents in on the graphite mix,and these are my personal opinions.
    Graphite and epoxy does not mix ,the graphite is enclosed in the epoxy,aluminum doesn't mix.
    So you have changed nothing in the makeup ,it isnt harder,it is the same with or without it.
    Ok sit down Jack and let me finish, the reason it doesnt gouge as much is that it is slicker and slides on the graphite then it hits the the plain epoxy and digs in because it can get a bite.
    think about a concrete slab, you wash it down when it is wet and expose the rocks or pebbles
    they are harder than the concrete so it wears less.
    Sanding exposes more of the particles of graphite so yes it is slicker sanded . You have to remember these are microscopic participle of graphite and as you paddle you natural release them every time you rub on something. The metal exposed with aluminium powder will wear better but I would think that it would have a tendency to make the boat slower and hang on more stuff.
    Ok I am probably in trouble

    Location sensitive is a phrase I use a lot and there should be another thing added to it personality sensitive. I can get by with a bed roll and a tarp but I dont want to :shock:
    I am going to eat good sleep comphy stay in something that keeps bugs and critters out of bed with me. So I use a tent military cot an Ice chest single burner stove and carry my water.I carry one stainless bowl and a coffee pot and grill . Add food to the list and I can stay out a day a week or two weeks.
    Boat wise depends on where I am going with 12 boats they all are tuned to a little different environment
    for me closed decks ,a big cockpit, low wind signature reasonably fast. and I am figuring out 16 ft is going to be my shortest boa.

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