Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So much to do, so little time

Winter seems to be on the doorstep and pushing it's way in (we have received a few inches of snow over the past several days) so it seems like a good time to evaluate all the things I want to get done in the coming season.

The Short-Term List
  1. Clean the garage - Somehow my garage has developed some rather bad personal hygiene issues. Time to put stuff away for the winter and generally tidy up the place.
  2. Oil the canoe - The wood components of our new canoe need a coat of oil to maintain their good condition. This should be a simple wipe down then the canoe can be put away.
  3. Build a canoe hoist - In order to store our new canoe out of the way and protected from the elements, I want to build another hoist similar to what I did for the kayak. The hoist I built was inspired by the nifty but expensive Harken Hoister. However, my version used too small of pulleys combined with too small of rope. The small rope is hard to pull on, and the small cheap pulleys eat up a lot of energy through friction. So, Mk II will have to use better pulleys and better rope. Getting the canoe up out of the way will go a long way toward helping out with the #1 item listed above.
  4. Varnish snowshoes - My snowshoes should get a coat of varnish before the season to keep them in good shape and to preserve the babiche. The earlier I get this done, the better in order to give the varnish time to better cure (and harden).
  5. Fix the foot brace on our fiberglass canoe - A metal bar with ends cut & squashed to attach to a bracket, one of the ends has broken.
The Mid-Term List
  1. Repair wear & tear on guillemot kayak - There are a couple of spots underneath the kayak that could use some repair.
  2. Varnish kayak - I've not re-varnished the kayak since I finished it a couple of years ago. The sooner these two items are complete, the more time the epoxy and varnish will have to cure before the paddling season starts again next spring.
  3. Repair wear & tear on the kid's kayak - The girls' kayak received a lot of use this summer. With all that use, came some wear & tear. The fabric has worn through at one spot on the bow and other spots show some wear. Interestingly, aside from that spot on the bow, most of the wear seems to have occurred during transport where straps would rub.
  4. Build a portable wood stove - I purchased a used canvas "hot tent" recently. Now that I have the tent, I need a stove to go with it. Commercially made stoves range in price from $80 to $800 depending on size, materials, construction style, etc. However, there are DIY plans out there so I might as well give it a go. See here for Dave Hadfield's version and here for a good discussion on some improvements or variations.
  5. Fix paddles - My wife's bent-shaft paddle developed a curve and crack on the blade during the last trip so that has to be fixed. I also have a kayak paddle from the canoe club that I volunteered to repair some months ago. My ulterior motive for fixing the kayak paddle was to use it as a template to make make my own version.
  6. Varnish the kayak moby latches. (Not to mention to write the promised follow-up post on how to build the mobies.)
  7. Build a crooked knife - Murat recently completed a similar project. I've started the process of turning an old file into a knife blade by removing the temper from the file and have started to grind it down. When completed, this knife would come in handy for the next item on my list.
  8. Carve some paddles - I want to carve some paddles for my kids and some for friends too, plus I'd like to build one or two for myself. I was recently in the store at Classic Outdoors and saw some absolutely gorgeous one-piece cherry paddles from Badger Paddles. They were light with a fine edge and flexed beautifully - it re-kindled the fire to build paddles again.
The Long-Term List
  1. Carve more paddles.
  2. Build a knife handle - A few months ago I bought a blade because I want to build my own camping knife. I have various pieces of wood that might be good for the project, but have not yet gotten around to taking it on.
  3. Build a toboggan - I want to build a long plastic toboggan that will be able to haul my new tent & stove over the snow into the bush. If it doesn't fit with my current arrangement then this item will get bumped up in priority.
  4. Build a canoe - But which one?
  5. Build a shaving horse - Useful for paddle carving.
Of course this is really just a sampling of some of what I have in mind. There are various projects on the "honey-do" list that should be cleared off before I undertake some of those listed above. I should also make some effort to finish the kids' playhouse before the snow really arrives.