TRI to keep it WILD - Raising funds for Nature Conservancy of Canada

Sunday, June 28, 2009


June 28, 2009. She's done. Its 95 degrees F today. A hot day for working, but worth it as I finished Thistle today. All that was left to do was install the seats and thwart and take some photos. Now I'm sitting on the back patio with a beer. ahhh. Its a bit unbelievable to me that I am done building. It was hard to imagine ever finishing at times. Now I'm just looking forward to getting up on a mountain lake. Lots of people helped me out along the way. Thanks to John Mould for lending me so many tools - sometimes for months at a time. Thanks to Andy Orsini without whose help I never would have been able to machine the red cedar strips from full boards or cut the gunwales. Thanks to our great (former) neighbours, Ben and Nicole, who never complained once about me taking over our shared garage. I really wanted to finish before they left, but I missed by a week. At least they only moved a few doors down! Thanks to my parents for getting me started with gift certificates to Home Depot. And most importantly thanks to Tracy for letting me disappear for hours into the garage for a year and half and also for helping me with the worst tasks (epoxying).
So after taking a lot of photos we conducted the inaugural weigh-in. And she weighs .... 55 lbs! A little heavier than my initial goal of 50 lbs, but really not too bad. I think I can portage her for a kilometre perhaps. I was afraid she'd be over 60 lbs near the end.
It will be a couple weeks before we get her in the water as we're heading home to Ontario for the long weekend coming up. I think the launch party will be the weekend after.
So, thats it. Welcome to Doneville, population me.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Penultimate Update

Varnishing is the least enjoyable process in the canoe build, but produces the most satisfaction. It is a constant battle against the forces of dust, fumes and drips. Dust is everywhere and I became obsessive about removing every last speck. That is a difficult thing to do when working in the garage of an old house, especially while Ben and Nicole (the other half of our duplex) are moving out. I swept and vacuumed repeatedly, including the walls and ceilings and the driveway outside. After sanding coats I would vacuum the hull and wash it with a wet towel and wipe it down with a dry one. Then before a new coat I would wipe it down again and then go over it a couple times with a tack cloth to remove the final specks. While applying a coat I would lower the garage door to about a foot from the ground and stuff plastic sheeting in the cracks between the panels to prevent dust from entering. Even doing this I had to wait until 8pm at night when the wind died down to keep dust from blowing in. Mostly closing the garage door brings up the next evil: fumes. An hour of leaning over the freshly spread varnish for an hour in the closed space could make me loopy in a hurry. I pilfered a desktop fan from work to exhaust air under the garage door for the first coat. Air could flow in over the top. This helped, but I grabbed a second fan from work for the final five coats and the two fans on high prevented me from getting high instead. The last scourge of canoe varnishing is drips or runs in the varnish. I found that the varnish would spread on nicely and evenly with no sign of drips until the coat began to skin over on the surface. Somehow at this stage it could still flow underneath and I'd get these wide sagging drips around the turn of the bilge. By the time these were apparent though, it was too late to do anything about it since the varnish was already half dried. The only way to prevent it was to ensure a thin coat to begin with. The badger hair brush was definitely the nicest brush I have used (it doesn't shed at all), but in the end I found it was easier to get a thin, even coat with the 99 cent foam brushes (and I didn't have to clean them!). Warmer temperatures also seemed to help because the coat would set quicker.
Well last night I finished the last of 3 interior coats and 3 exterior coats and I'm glad its over. The results will speak for themselves. Tomorrow I plan to wrap this project up - installing the seats and thwart and taking the victorious final photos! My Mom brought us a bottle of fine Champagne a couple weeks ago and I can't wait to pop the cork.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Weird Nature

It's a miracle! I made an exotic plant bloom!
This picture just doesn't do the pink color justice... The flowers are HOTT pink.

Puzzle Carrots!

They come apart and then fit back together.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Begins!

Even though the weather has been decidedly un-summer like, school is out so it's officially summer in my book. Just started my summer job through IISME ( at Lockheed Martin Space Systems and a new quilting project. I'm determined to ride my bike to work all summer. So far I'm 1 for 2. It takes about 25 minutes to get there.

Here are some niece and nephew pictures. Juliana was born on June 12th. And we have a nephew on the way too! That will make 4.

Just before that, we had a visit from Scott's mom, sister, and Michael. We spent the weekend in Yosemite and saw some parts we hadn't seen before, including Hetch Hetchy and Mirror Lake. We hadn't been there in the summer before!

O'Shaughnessy Dam holds back the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.
Mmmmm, our drinking water back in Mountain View comes from here!