Coracle Launch and a Knotting Class
June 12-13, 2015

We've been away for a bit, doing a little adventuring as we sailed from Port Townsend to Victoria. Now we're back and getting to it.

Time to skin our second Coracle. We've done the frame up nicely, and for this final stage, we'll be using 8oz Polyester cloth, an electric stapler, a heat gun, and a hot knife.

Stainless Steel staples - wait, what's that in the lower right? Not for Marine Application? I used to be a Marine, I'm pretty sure I can figure out how to apply staples.

Drape the cloth.

Last time we did this, we attached the sides and ends and ended up having big folds in the corners. This time, I am trying for smaller wrinkles: Staple at front, back, middle left, middle right, then in just keep going to the middle of each section.

I ended up with a lot of small gathers. Kinda nice, maybe not perfect.

Flip it over and set the staples. I got a nice 2.5lbs sledge to use as a weight just for this purpose.

Hot knife to cut off the excess. You can pay a lot for a hot knife, or you can get a cheapo from Harbor Freight.

There it is before shrinking.

Short interruption as Fulton Miller came over to borrow a canoe for a bit. Fulton's parents own Pig Feathers, a heck of a good place to eat.

Heat gun. I wasn't able to completely remove the wrinkles, even though I tried heating from inside and out.

When making Skin-on-Frame canoes, I used regular latex house paint to paint the cloth and seal the weave. It worked great. This time, I thought "Maybe there is something better" and found this stuff. At $18/quart, I had high hopes.

This stuff is pretty thick. Following the manufacturer's instructions, I thinned it with 10% mineral spirits, hoping to make it soak into the fibers better.

Short interruption as Tommy, his mom, Trina, and their dog, Smokey came by.

"Do you want to leave Smokey here? I'd be more than happy to watch him." "No, he'll be OK." and off they went.

OK, this LeakSeal crap is . . . crap. It doesn't paint on very nicely at all. Of course, it is not designed for this application, so I can't really fault the product, but still . . .

Tommy and Trina had a pretty impressive canoe trip: Smokey jumped out, so Tommy got out to get him, and sank in the mud. Then Trina either got out or fell out, trying to help. No problem - a little rinsing and everything was fine.

OK, I got 'em painted. I tried really hard to get complete coverage, but LeakSeal was fighting me as hard as it could.

In the morning, I started putting on the gunnels - two layers of 1/8" ply

These pull saws are fantastic.

Joe and Mike showed up, so they were put to work - with a smile. I figured I could staple the first layer of gunnel on just fine, as the second would be screwed through it to the frame.

David showed up as we were finishing the second boat.

Nothing left to do but test it. (photo credit John Kohnen)

Entering was tricky - plus we didn't know which end was the front or the back. I tried the end I thought it'd be easier to row from, first.

After a bit, I turned around - the balance was much better. It was a little tricky - I nearly dumped it.

Sculling seemed to work OK, but I was taking in a bit of water as the LeakSeal was not sealing the leaks.

How well can a Coracle turn? Within it's own length with a single thrust of the paddle, of course. (Photo credit John Kohnen)

Sculling actually does make it go, which is nice. It'll take a little more practice.

Our good friend, Connie showed up with some of her friends, all ready to do some paddling.

An armada of brightly colored canoes, heading up the slough.

We had a knotting class put on by John Kohnen and Brandon - pretty good turnout.

John was having a grand time, teaching us splicing and whipping, while Brandon showed us how to make a soft shackle our of Amsteel.

The girls came back after a successful trip - a good time was had by all.

As they left, another family showed up, Josh and Jennifer, with their son, Luke.

The class continued.

I used John's excellent hot knife to cut the polyester rope we were using for out eye splice.

That's a nice shot of our projects.

I hope we do more of these classes - this was fun.