The Helinox camp chair is a brilliant piece of deluxe camping equipment that one cannot be without.. but for one little detail: use in sandy terrain! The spindly legs arent very good in soft/sandy conditions! They sink into the sand!
Enter the fyzzy yeller ball! Drill a hole into the ball, insert ball in leg. Voila! El problemo solved!
I’d been so busy making paddles for others that I’d forgotten my own needs completely!
My new Beaufort being the shortest kayak I own has as a result a shorter fore-deck than the others. Normally I have a spare paddle stowed on the fore deck for quick and easyish access, in case of sudden need. My preferred spare paddles have been Greenland Paddles (GP) normally about 206-210 cm long, blade width of some 90mm and a loom length (on a shouldered blade) of about 50cm.
My normal GP’s were a bit too wide and a tad too long to fit the fore deck of the Beaufort WITH sail installed. So I needed make a slightly smaller stick.
I would need the spare paddle for the upcoming coastal paddle which was to start off in about 2½ weeks so I would be busy yet.
After some head scratching and dry fitting I deiced to make a simple shoulderless GP 200cm long, loom = 40 cm and blade width 88mm.
I found a ready made paddle blank I’d made some years back. It was made from two strips of nordic pine (pinus sylvestris) sapwood, with a touch of sapwood at one end. While heavier, approx 540 kg/m3 @ 18%, than the much raved Western Red Cedar (WRC) the benefit of the nordic pine is that it is easily available, cheap and alot stronger AND harder wearing than WRC. Perfect choice for a spare paddle which will get its fair share of bangs and misuse.
Since you’ve read this far its only fair to give some prize for the perseverance! 🙂
To finally finish the SUP paddle pair I started building way back when.. I needed to do the most annoying bit: sanding and varnishing !!! Basicly its a simple chore, so simple that its easy to botch and then the end result looks cheap… so much for all that painstaking woodwork! 😉
So its time to confess. I’m probably a laziest sander I know and my varnishing skills are pretty poor, but in my defence I only make things that get banged up, scratched, misused, and usually at some point broken… so if the varnishing isn’t top-notch I suppose it doesnt matter much in the end? 😉
So the sanding. Yes, its booring. I won’t go into that other than despite its tediousness.. Its actually an important part of the process!! Don’t skip it! I start out usually with grit 80 -> 120-> 180-> 240 after that its time to varnish! Sometimes I start varnishing after 180. Sanding between every 2-3varnish layers I use 3m scotchbrite pads (or similar).
For the past 5 years or so I’ve mainly used the following method for varnishing my wooden paddles:
4-7 layers of varnish, Le Tonkinois Brand. Light sanding between every 2-3 layers
redo varnishing as needed, usually after each season
This cocktail seems to work nicely. Le Tonkinois seems to hold on better than urethane-alkyd varnishes out there! ‘Le Tonk’ is more expensive, but on wooden paddles you don’t need that much! Varnishing approx 6 paddles with 4 coats I use slightly less than 0.5 liters of varnish! One of the greatest things about ‘Le Tonk’ is that the paddle shaft doesnt feel slippery when wet, when it has been varnished with ‘Le Tonk’!
‘Le Tonk’ is an natural wood oil varnish. Consists of linseed oil, Tung oil and some other ‘natural’ ingredients. It doesnt require hazmat suits, its quite easy to apply with brush, is durable, has nice UV protection. Works nicely on paddles! It is my “go to” choice!
I had an old packet of that wonder goo called Sugru, the best before date had passed by a coupla months ago and then some.. It was coloured black!
My new waterproof pocket camera, a Olympus Tough 860 was ok, but I had noticed that the gripping “handle” was abit on the small size. With wet fingers it wasnt very “shure” fitting..
So.. I decided, what the hell.., might as well try it..
Now I have a Sugru Customized camera.. As this is the third time during the past 3 months that I have used Sugru, I cannot say anything about how well it works on the long term.. thus far shows lotsa promise!
The extended “Sugru ramp” feels a bit better gripping the camera and thus far hasn’t hindered any of the other functions. So its an improvement!
Laying out the Sugru was simple. Easy Peasy! Some thin rubber gloves to keep the fingers clean, a coupla small “spatulas” (ice-cream sticks) and a lead pencil to help shape and mold the “sugru ramp”. After that wait 24 hours and presto!
A friend had taken up on Stand Up Paddling. After some time she asked if I could make her a wooden SUP paddle. I’d never made a wooden SUP paddle and was kinda bored or atleast looking for something different to tinker on , so I promised to try to make a paddle for her.
Making something out of bits of wood wasn’t a problem. The challenge in this case was the basic design, shape and dimensions. I had no clue. I’d tried SUPping awhile ago in Portugal, but I was having such a fun time at the time that I didnt really pay any attention to the details of the paddle. Thank ze gods for the internet!
After googling for about 45 minutes, I more or less had some basic shaky idea what I was going to attempt. Online, I found a basic template of a paddle blade shape (I’ve lost the link for the moment from where I found the template, sorry about that!) and some possible dimensions as well. Also I had a book (yeah, I know, such an ancient concept and with no wifi either!), about canoe paddles!! So I was all set to go.@
The idea was to make a bent shaft paddle. My plan was to make the shaft from laminated strips. Partly for visual effetct and partly to make it .. well stronger. I fashioned a glue press with a 10 degree bend. The materials for the shaft were 3 strips of nordic pine sapwood @5.6mm thick and approx 40mm wide. Length at this stage was unknown so I built the shaft about 2300mm long. The remaining 2 strips I decided to use Mahogany of same dimensions. Mahogany may not be the smartest choice , as it is on the heavyish side.. but boy does it look great!
To keep it all together, I decided to use single-component polyurethane glue made by Wurth. I’ve used it previously on a couple canoe and kayak paddles with good results. At the moment I dont trust it as much as 2-component epoxy, which I’ve used on several occasion previously, but I think it’ll do the job sufficiently. besides my finances were in the dumps.. polyurethane is soo much more cheaper than epoxy.
After some gluing, pressing, planing I had the shaft ready after which I glued the “cheek pieces” of the blade, ie. the parts that make up the majority of the paddle blade area. For my Prototype #1 which will probably end up being a wallhanger anyway I used some scrap pieces of walnut I had lying around.. yeah, I know. not smart choice = too heavy and probably not very durable in the longterm.. but I had a hankering to work on walnut and I was going for looks at this stage.
Prototype#2 is basicly the same as #1 but the blade cheeks are nordic pine-sapwood, and 100mm longer. Should be quite a bit ighter than the shorter walnut version.
The paddles still need to be sanded down to their final size and shape and varnished and then at some date tested! Follow up posts will follow….
I had some time to make a couple modifications on my tent. The Marmot Trailite 2P tent has served well the past 3 seasons and for the moment looks like it should well for the unforeseeable future. No fault there.
There are a couple additions that I have been hankering for quite sometime. These aren’t tent specific, just little addons to add versatility.
The first add on
Many a times along the rocky Finnish coast the ground is well, Hard! Granite tends to be that way. Even though the tent is self-supporting, it often needs to be anchored down, especially where its windy.. Short of having a diamond tipped drill bit and/or a power drill/jackhammer.. tying a tend down on a rock is next to impossible.
Many a times I’ve filled a plastic bag or an Ikea bag with rocks to make anchors for the tent. Plastic bags don’t last that long and I don’t carry around 8 Ikea bags.. So clearly this wasn’t the solution to be.
A friend who had seen another friend using something that is apparently called in the mountain climbing circles a “parachute” ! A lightweight but sturdy fabric that can be buried under snow and packed over with snow for guy lines for tents!!! These things aren’t very common in Finland, at least outdoors stores don’t advertise them at all.. so IF they were available in Finland, then I would surmise that a specialist product like the “parachute” would cost and arm and a leg plus your firstborn.
After seeing what these devices looked like I realized that they wouldn’t be too hard to fabricate ones self!
Here I must confess , despite initially planning to do the sewing work meself, I opted out to order the sewing work done by the seamstress students at the local vocational college. That was easy!
Following pictures hopefully are self explanatory:
The second add on
Keeping stuff organized in anyway at all inside a tent is /has and probably will always be mission impossible or the next best thing. Many a time I have wistfully gazed at neat and tidy tents at camp, usually someone else’s! What most of these neat tents had in common was a nifty organizer pocket hanging from the roof! Now just about most of the major brand names usually offer one of these organizer pocket doodads for the price of your second born…
Being a stingy sort and once realizing I had some left over deck netting and some 2mm bungee cord I decided to make my own organizer pocket! Hah! That made me feel good for a bit! Time will tell how this mod works out?
So.. If the above add ons work nicely this likely be the last post.. If they don’t then.. this likely be the last post on the subject matter! 😉
I’ve never been too excited about live picture/video capturing. Have always considered myself a “still image” type of guy. Looks like that may change…
Marko had recently acquired a GoPro Hero4 Session camera and attached Ram Mount hardpoints where to install the camera on his kayak.
The GoPro Hero4 Session is a camera produces to my uneducated eye actually pretty decent net worthy video! Also it is pretty darn small!! In addition it has only TWO buttons to operate!! This is borderline limit for my feeble mind to comprehend. Sounds like something I may learn to use?
Also the Camera can be operated with a separately sold remote control, OR a smart phone app. So if the camera is further away from the operator, one can still start and stop the filming! This can be handy on a kayak!
I have the understanding that these GoPro Devices are reasonably robust and actually may operate successfully in marine conditions.. so this might be working formula!
The 1 inch ram mount B- size balls are reasonably low in profile, yet sturdy for intended use , particularly this small camera and has a large selection of adapters, gadgets etc available and whats best these were all available from Finland without complicated, unsure, expensive “order from abroad and pay taxes” spiel!
I acquired the necessary parts from local company nearby with excellent service and which pretty much covers the whole Ram Mount catalog of parts available: Yepnet. Whats best, the whole package was under 100€!! This hardly ever happens in Finland anymore!
Installation of the hardpoints was easy/hard. I used SS M4 Hardware + White SikaFlex 291i to attach the Ram Mount balls on the bow and stern. Evereything else was easy apart from holding back the nuts while tightening the screws. Here and additional pair of hands was necessary.
So.. now I have another toy to play around with.. and if all goes well I might actually have some videos to post at a later date.. Ofcourse before that I will have to try to learn the complex world of digtalvideo editing! 😉
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