Monday, July 28, 2008

Stapleless Boat Building

Today Glen posted on the Kayak Building Bulletin Board a link to photos from the recent joint WCHA reunion and Bear Mountain Rendezvous 2008. Going through a few of those photos, something caught my eye (aside from many beautiful wooden boats). It was a series of photos that depicted a novel method of securing strips for stapleless building. Building with wood strips requires that the strips be held tightly to adjacent strips while the glue dries, and to the station mold for the duration of the stripping. Typically, staples are used to achieve this. Staples are fast and effective, but they do leave behind a row of little holes at each station. Many builders use clamps, jigs, tape and bungee cord (or all of the above) to hold the strips in place while building. I tried this initially while building the Guillemot, but I decided to revert to staples in the name of speed and efficiency. The method shown in Glen's photos from the BM Rendezvous uses a wire device attached to bungee to hold the strips down against the previous strips, the bungee is tightened using a chain that can be hooked to the right length to the strongback. Meanwhile, a strap which goes around each form keeps the strips tight to the forms. This latter component seems to solve one of the perpetual problems of some stapleless methods which would allow the joined strips to move away from the forms. In areas such as at the bow of the Guillemot kayak which have a concave curve, wedges would probably be needed to maintain the pressure to hold the strips tightly to the forms.

The straps and jigs are being assembled and sold as a kit by Ron Frenette of Canadian Canoes. The kits are pricey ($375) but seem like a pretty slick system for building a fine piece of woodcraft.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Another Rant: How to Merge

Here is another driving-related rant from my old web site, posted in a slightly edited form.

First posted: August 4th, 2005.

Why do so few Saskatoon drivers understand what a friggin' "free flow lane" or "lane added" sign like thisor a merge sign like thismeans. Whenever I drive somewhere and am using an exit lane to the right that joins another road as an added lane, I end up behind some idiot who STOPS in the middle of the bloody road thinking they've got to merge with and yield to the traffic when what they should be doing is getting up to speed and then moving left into the adjacent lanes if they so wish. Many folks are just as confused regarding how to merge. Again, they STOP and wait for an huge opening in the traffic before they enter the lane and continue on their merry way oblivious of the frustration and danger they cause. If any car should appear on the horizon in any lane, they must wait for all traffic to pass before they too can enter the roadway. Often it seems that the problem is due to the person wanting to go directly over to the left lane. Here's an idea: get up to speed and do a couple of lane changes in quick succession after properly shoulder checking. Occasionally they're just going to have to resign themselves to NOT doing a left turn 100 feet after the botched merge, and just taking the next road. Rarely would this add more than a minute to the drive, it would be safer and quicker for everyone, and I'm less likely to blow my top when I'm stuck in peak traffic behind this goof and we'd all get home sooner.

I think I'm just going to go for a bike ride and avoid these idiots altogether.

You can find the
Saskatchewan Driver's Handbook here, including a section on signage here. It is disappointing that SGI does not include a section on the type of merging and driving discussed above in the guide, though they do discuss highway merging which is relevant. You can read the "Drive Right with Tim Felzak" column or watch the video clip

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Another Rant: Hold Up Your Right Hand

Another rant, copied from my old web site which will eventually either move or die.

First posted: May 10th, 2005.

Hold up your left hand. OK, now hold up your right hand. Good. So now why do so many drivers & cyclists out there not know their left from their right? The rule in this province is at an "uncontrolled" intersection you must yield to the vehicle on the right. Seems simple enough right? So why is it then that so many people seem confused by this? In Saskatoon we have many uncontrolled intersections, especially, it seems, on my normal cycling route to work. It has nothing to do with how wide the street is, or how fast you're going, or how big your SUV is, or how important you think you are, or whether your heading North-South or East-West, or whether it's a bike or a truck. About every other day I yield to a vehicle on my right, performing a precariously balanced track-stand and hoping they will hurry up and get through the intersection so that I can get on my bloody way, while they also come to a complete stop, look at me questioningly, then try to wave me on wondering why I'm stopped in the middle of the road where that truck behind me is surely going to run me down. Of course on the other days, someone else tries to run me down by blazing through an intersection, often at speeds way too fast for a residential neighbourhood, without heed to anything that may be coming, whether it's me on my bike or some other unlucky soul. I see so many near misses every week that it really makes me wonder why these people haven't weeded themselves out of the driving population yet. Too bad they're also quite likely to weed several other innocent folks out of the breathing population in the process. The cyclists I meet on the road are often no better in this regard than those operating motorized vehicles, but at least they are less likely to cause serious damage to anyone other than themselves.

So, please remember, if you are approaching an intersection and you don't see signage to indicate right-of-way, yield to the vehicle on your right [even at a t-intersection]. Of course, you must also keep a sharp eye out for the fool who skipped that day in driver's ed, or that day in kindergarten, when these lessons were taught in the first place.

To review the local rules, see page 45 in the linked pdf, a section of the Saskatchewan Driver's Handbook.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Rant About Traffic vs Bikes

While I'm away, a rant from the past. In other words, I'm making use of the delayed posting feature on blogger to move material from my old out of date web site to my blog while I'm on vacation.

First posted: March, 2005.

Why do I as a cyclist on the road feel I have to apologise to automotive traffic for taking up road space? I am not contributing to increasing fuel prices, I am not contributing to congested traffic (or do so only slightly), I am saving the healthcare system and in turn the taxpayer money by getting off my ass, I am not contributing to deterioration of the roadway and soaring infrastructure costs, I am not contributing to a myriad of environmental problems (CO2, CO, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, rubber, plastic, junk), I am not going to kill anyone if I fall asleep, I'm not going to kill anyone if I drink, I'm not going to kill anyone if I don't know how to proceed through an uncontrolled intersection. But I'm in THEIR way? Go figure. OK, so not everyone is capable of cycling/walking/taking a bus everywhere but imagine if 30% of the population biked to work or the store three seasons of the year in reasonable weather (seems pretty reasonable to me, especially in a small city like Saskatoon where most things are within a 30 minute ride). Suddenly the roads would be less congested allowing goods and commerce to proceed more smoothly, parking would be possible for those that need it, civic infrastructure costs would drop, we'd be physically & mentally healthier, the world would be safer. We'd be happier.

OK, tone down the rhetoric, I'll finish with a simple question.
When was the last time you had fun driving to work?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Song of the Fortnight

I have now disabled the player, but click on the picture and it should take you to the CBC Radio 3 web site and play the song.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Slow Bicycle Movement

I seem to be in a bicycle frame of mind lately so why fight it? The Slow Bicycle Movement has been launched & I herewith resolve to slow down. Not much I can do about style though.