Anything I write that has to do with writing will be in From Pico's Pen, my author's blog. Everything that doesn't fit any of the sites I write on will be here. This is my practice. I could have kept it private and farmed out the good stuff but I found my readers like too much of it to do that. It isn't a diary because there are things I keep to myself but you can learn a great deal about me from the randomness you will find here.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Building a Boat

This was one of my all time favourite projects. I used to subscribe to a magazine called Wooden Boats and in its pages at one point they had an article on the “Peace Canoe”. At the end of the article you could order full size plans and build one yourself.

Well I'm a legendary cheapskate. In the magazine was a picture of the plans. All the measurements were there except for one. The missing measurement was an important one but I figured I could calculate out a good approximation. So, do you think I was going to shell out some hard earned cash for full size plans? Not a chance.

Bit by bit I bought the material needed and in some cases made substitutes. The main substitute was the piece of wood used for the bow and stern stems. I am not going to trim an expensive piece of wood down to the exact size of a regular two by four before final shaping. I just used a couple of pieces of two by four. I'm all for using quality materials but swapping clear pine for stud grade spruce where it makes no real difference is a choice I'd make anytime.

I pre-assembled the seats, sides and bottom in the basement of our house at the time. From there all I needed was a good weather day coinciding with a day off work. The whole thing came together well except I didn't have enough hands myself. Pulling the ends together and screwing them into place took help from the rest of the gang. When we were done, I told the gang the guy in the article said he performed that feat all by himself. Mieke exclaimed, “No way!!”

We painted it white. This was a mistake made with some thought. If you've ever sat on a surface that absorbs sunlight during the summer and accidentally branded yourself, you'd understand. Didn't burn anyone but we were going snow-blind paddling around in it. Halcyon has since been painted a darker cream colour. We have considered painting it up like a dragon boat, but just haven't got around to it.

The boat still exists but it is in need of some significant repairs. I would be more enthusiastic about getting her back into the water but we don't have a lot cash to do so. Besides that while we were stranded in government housing someone broke into our camp here and stole all our life vests amoung other things.

Maybe this year we'll fix her up and take her for another run.