Friday, September 25, 2009

Kayaks, canoes and lions and tigers, oh my!

Ross' Canoe

Ross really is just as bad as I am about getting crafty ideas and becoming obsessed with them, and then starting them but having trouble with the finishing. No, we are not a good combination in the "making things" department. We actually argue with each other over crafting time. Yes, we are both craft geeks. But we are not ashamed.

I am not really sure why he has become obsessed with wooden boats, but it's been a few years now that he has been talking about them and thinking about them and researching them. And, he likes wood, so there you go, I guess.

He started this kayak last year (or maybe it was the year before) from a set of plans he had been eyeing in his kayak building book.

Kayak 2008

It's a neat story about how he got the plans. Briefly, we had some dear friends visit us a few summers ago and Ross and Gene would stay up late into the nights watching movies and talking and talking and talking...these are two boys who can talk, let me tell you. Ross was telling him about his new idea making a wooden kayak and Gene was very interested. Ross was going on and on about what kind of woods he was saving to use on it and where he would want to take it when he was finished, and how he was saving to by these certain plans, etc... Our friends stayed for a very fun visit and then a week or so later, Ross received a long tubular package in the mail. In it was a set of the very plans he had been showing to Gene of the very kayak he had been dreaming about building for the past year or so! Is that not the coolest present ever? What makes it the coolest is that a friend was so impressed with Ross' passion and excitement about something that he took it upon himself to find that very same set of plans and also took the time to order them for Ross. We were both floored by their generosity and utter thoughtfulness.

Strip Kayak 2008

So of course Ross had to start on the kayak as soon as he was able - which with two small children and then later that year a third, meant he didn't get to it none too soon. But he talked about it and showed anyone who would listen his plans and his wood that he was saving. Last year he really got a good run of being able to work on it. And then - tragedy struck!

And contrary to poplar belief - it was not my fault OR Hot Rod's fault!! It was so sad that I couldn't even bear to take a photo. The pulley that Ross had used to hoist it to the ceiling when he wasn't working on it had broken and the shell of the kayak fell on his work table and broke. Not a pretty sight.

I thought Ross would be really torn up about it. But he took it surprisingly well. He said he had already regretted not starting a canoe first so he could work out some of his ideas and have something first that he could take the kids out in. He stewed on that idea for a few months and then drew up his own forms for a canoe.

Canoe plans

The canoe has become a bit of a family project - with Lil' Mermaid sweeping up the shop floors, Peelu sitting on the desk keeping her Papa company during long sanding sessions, and Hot Rod helping with whatever he can.

Hot Rod, Papa and the Steamer

Here they have finished the forms and are working on their homemade steamer contraption to help bend the strips.

Ross steaming his stem pieces

And here is a work-in-progress shot.

Other side of the canoe

And here's the latest. You can tell that the recent home re-modeling projects and work have cut into his canoe time.

Close-Up of redwood strips on canoe

But he's determined and a very hard-worker. It will get done. And he hasn't forgotten his kayak either. That's still his dream. He's still saving wood for it and drawing up designs for some inlays. Good thing we're patient people. HAHAHHAHAH!!!

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