View topic - Wenonah Voyageur Rehab

It is currently May 28th, 2023, 2:27 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours

Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 16 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Wenonah Voyageur Rehab
PostPosted: September 12th, 2022, 8:18 am 

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2588
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Finished with the Rushton I rubbed the Magic Genie lamp and wished:
I really need to find another little boat to work on.

Well yes, I guess not, eh. The kevlar Wenonah Voyager isn’t beastly heavy, but it is 17’ 6” long. Yet another canoe comes full circle; this was originally a friend’s bought-new 2002 Wenonah Voyager.

“Full circle”; he sold to another friend on a semi “long term loan” if-you-ever want-to-sell-it-back basis. Absence makes the heart grow fonder; it came home to papa, or to papa’s boat fixer, some years later.

Not a rebuild, just a rehab. The Voyager needed some TLC, and I was old boat/old friend psyched, so psyched that I didn’t take any “before” photos. I scrubbed it three times, each time finding dirty spots of black urban pollution embedded grime that I had missed. A 17’ 6” canoe, even a narrow one, has a lot of surface area, and the bubble chines on the sides made the grime difficult to see in some places.

The gunwales were filthy enough to make me wonder if Wenonah ever offered mud-brown anodized aluminum. Even vigorously Scotch-Brite scrubbed with Dawn and vinegar solution they didn’t come fully clean.

In the shop to dry out before any repairs the Voyager got strap hung from the scale on the ceiling. Gel coated Kevlar, with minicel outfitting, foot brace, aftermarket seat pad and etc, etc the hull weighed in at 46lbs. A 2002 Wenonah catalog specs the Kevlar flex-core at 45lbs.

ImageP9060001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

It has many of the usual outfitting touches, and I have vague memories of working on it years ago. Kneeling pads and very custom knee bumpers, both a bit bedraggled from a 2nd owner canine companion claws.

ImageP9070003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Of course at 21 ½” wide at the gunwales I would go head-over-wales kerplunk in record time in a Voyager. I can’t imagine bringing a dog.

At 17’ 6” long with a 27 ½” waterline, with a length-to-width ratio of 7.63, it is the fastest canoe model ever to grace the shop, bested only by some long, skinny sea kayaks. The shop record holder is the Current Designs Nomad, 18’ 10” x 21 ¼”, with a L/W of 10.63. Same owner, he likes fast boats.

The Voyager had decent basic outfitting, definitely not by the second owner, who in 40 years of paddling has yet to so much as wash a canoe. Well, he washed one that he took to be professionally repaired, kind of like vacuuming the house before the maid comes.

Webbing loops for stem floatation bags.

ImageP9070005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Poorly installed D-rings, actually not plural, one is missing. I suspect, from the black epoxy residue, that the old-school hard plastic pads were installed using JB Weld or PC-7 epoxy.

ImageP9070008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That one, firmly tugged upon, may stay; I could perimeter bead a little G/flex for additional surety.

The missing one shows why those hard plastic pads are problematic; flat pad and curved stems, the black epoxy was in contact only at the edges of the corners. And yeah, that may have been my vintage, didn’t know what I didn’t know outfitting work.

ImageP9070007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That one needs to replaced with a vinyl pad D-ring.

The hull sports some historic self-adhesive artifacts. Twenty year old Team Springriver decals, and a rainbow of off-set year-after-year permits. No Duckhead sticker. Yet.

ImageP9070009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImageP9070010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The gel coat is badly oxidized, or something, in the unshaded areas. It kinda looks like owner #2 tried halfheartedly to wax it, maybe in full sunshine. Or it could be old Flood Penetrol, which I know he used on a few boats, or attempted to. Done correctly Flood Penetrol looks good for a while; done incorrectly it goes to white smeary hell very quickly.

The old now-new again owner may not care and I’ll leave that up to him; I’m not a fan of the buffing compound and the elbow grease necessary to revitalize oxidized gel coat. It sure would look really good all buffed out and waxed, hint, hint.

PostPosted: September 13th, 2022, 9:42 am 

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2588
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
There were a few things I could turn my attention to meanwhile. Both stems are badly worn, through the gel coat with fabric beginning to show. Fortunately the Voyager has knife-like stems, and 1 ½” Dynel sleeve would provide all of the protection necessary.

ImageP9070013 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Two pieces of Dynel sleeve, cut to length (13” bow and 15” stern), some release treated peel ply, the usual mix of West System 105/206 and G/flex epoxy with black pigment, with a bit of graphite powder added later. Taped & papered and ready to go.

ImageP9070014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I painted a heavy base layer of the epoxy mix with black pigment inside the tape box, laid and gloved fingers pressed the Dynel sleeve atop and top coated it liberally with the same mix. After that epoxy mix had time to thoroughly soak in and saturate the two layers of Dynel sleeve I added some graphite powder to the mix and painted that on.

ImageP9070016 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The graphite powder, even mixed in sparingly, thickens the epoxy mix, and the 105/206 combined with G/flex is already less viscous for sleeve penetration than I would prefer, but I like having some G/flex in the mix if only for the “flex” part.

I wanted decent epoxy saturation first; the two-layer Dynel sleeve, sometimes used for paddle shafts, has a tighter weave than single layer Dynel fabric, and the graphite powder might “plug the holes” and prevent thorough fabric saturation.

Dynel fabric and sleeve (and cord) here. Not available in Canada, although a certain “Paddling Peddler” may still have some left of a quantity that he imported.

I hope the old/new owner is OK with black skid plates. Eh, don’t really care; standard shop rules apply; if it is your canoe, and you are not here while I’m working on it, I’m allowed to make executive decisions.

Wait, if I’m an executive, why am I doing actual work?

After the initial epoxy coats had stopped dripping (the top coat thickened with graphite powder doesn’t drip much) I pulled the tape and paper, laid the peel ply and used a small hard roller to compress the two layer sleeve underneath.

ImageP9070017 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The folded sides of the Dynel sleeve are difficult to bevel flush with the hull, and the cut ends of the sleeve always want to rise up tall and stand proud. In addition to the hard roller I used a tongue depressor to bevel down the edges of the sleeve, using both roller and tongue depressor every half hour until the epoxy had firmed up.

As always, waiting is the hardest part. Waiting for the epoxy drips to stop running down the paper mask. Waiting to pull the paper and tape before the peel ply compression. Waiting until the next morning to pull the release treated peel ply for the big how-did-I-do reveal.

PostPosted: September 14th, 2022, 9:16 am 

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2588
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Peel ply pulled the next morning.

ImageP9080019 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Not too shabby, a little edge sanding and black paint topcoat and those skid plates will pass muster as near seamless.

While waiting for that epoxy to fully cure, before painting the UV protectant coat black paint, I turned to some gel coat repairs. The second owner’s canoe rack collapsed under a snow load a few years ago, damaging several boats; an already trashed Rendezvous, a Curtis Ladybug and a classic Millbrook Koyote, predecessor to, IIRC, the Howler. The Koyote was already damaged when he bought it and now sports rotted wood gunwales and brightwork mulch.

The Voyager suffered an area of broken out gel coat, and larger areas of fine spider cracks.

ImageP9080021 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Not the river. Not a rock. A flimsy canoe rack. I could at least fill in the missing chunk, and gutter out the largest open crack. Having no gel coat on hand I filled the voids with silica thickened red pigmented G/flex, hand smoothing the fill under peel ply.

ImageP9080024 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

It won’t be color matching, or pretty, but it will hold the worst gel coat cracks and voids together until the old/new owner can figure out what, if anything, he wants done with the other, finer spider cracks.

Next morning, peel ply pulled from the epoxy filled gel coat damage. As expected, it is not color matching, bright red, not burgundy, but trying to pigment epoxy to that faded burgundy is beyond my colorblind capabilities. I wanted to topcoat the epoxy with paint for some UV protection, mixing some brown, blue or black into a pot of red to see how close I could get to Burgundy.

ImageP9090026 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

PostPosted: September 15th, 2022, 9:07 am 

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2588
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
There are a few minor outfitting touches for which I’ll not await the old/new owner’s desires or acquiescence. See standard shop rules.

The last Voyager that came through the shop was outfitted by past master Kris Wolpert of Blue Mountain Outfitters fame. That Voyager was Kris’ personal “commuting” canoe, paddling to and from work on the Susquehanna, ie upstream and down. Kris had his outfitting dialed in.

Maybe it’s in the genes; the current BMO repair and outfitting Guru is his step daughter Sarah. Wait, that wouldn’t be genetics; must be nurture. She’s good, I’ve seen her work and it is top notch.

I’m not a fan of aluminum thwarts, but Kris’ concept of a below sheerline painter line roller cleat on a L-plate mounted to the aluminum thwart was cunning. I really like having a bowline near at hand, especially on a long canoe when it is a hike to the stems, but I’ll wait to see what the old/new owner thinks of that concept.

ImagePA240001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The seat pedestal outfitting on that Voyager was likewise cunning; bungee cords, tension adjustable through cord locks. One at the front to secure an upright water bottle, and a few lateral bungee runs across the pedestal base for a sponge/Pelican Box or etc.

ImagePA240016 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Kris’ water bottle bungee design runs through a plastic plate affixed at the front of the pedestal, with the cord lock less than ideally accessible on the back side.

ImagePA240020 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Kris had a reason for everything he did outfitting wise, but I had a slightly different idea. Friend Brian had installed peculiar float bag lacing points on the Rushton, which I removed as being superfluous. These little unfamiliar doohickeys.

ImageP9090028 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I don’t know what those are called, or for what they are typically used. Brian was a contractor, so I suspect they are used to anchor electrical wires or cables, much like a P-clip/cable clamp. And lookee there, the center hole accommodates bungee cord up to ¼” thick, and the attachment holes are perfectly sized for 3/16” pop rivets (some hardware store P-clip will not accommodate a 3/16” pop rivet).

ImageP9090031 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I have six and will use them all to outfit the seat pedestal. Two of them up front to secure a water bottle; the seat will still slide all the way forward. Or a pee bottle; you (guys or SheWee gals) could slide the seat forward for a hands free urinal.

ImageP9090033 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

To assure ample bungee length I used the largest water bottle we have, a 40oz Klean Kanteen with an insulating sleeve.

I had a few Brian doohickies left. I should probably keep one to take to the hardware store and say “I need a bunch of these whichamacallits”, but I wanted to create Kris-style bungee cage between the pedestal base rails while I was popping rivets.

ImageP9090034 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I like the idea of a sponge held there, lowest point in the bilge, under the seat, sucking up paddle drips. That cage could hold other things, a second water bottle perhaps.

ImageP9090036 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Nah, the sponge should be up front, there is plenty of room at the back of the pedestal base for a second water bottle, or small Pelican case secured under bungee. I need a supply of whatchamacallits.

A ha! Whatchamacallits are plastic conduit straps ... 116&sr=8-4

The smallest I could find on-line were ½”, which would allow me to use thicker bungee, the ¼” is pretty snug. I wish they were black, but I’ve got black spray paint, and I’ve started outfitting that seat pedestal, I mean to finish it. I could have used regular P-clip cable clamps, but I like that the conduit straps are double anchored and will not pivot like a P-clip.

32 cents apiece, I’m worth it. Oh, wait, it isn’t my canoe. It still deserves my best efforts, and I found another handy little outfitting doohickie to add to the stash of shop options.

What’s left for the day? The aluminum gunwales, thwarts and especially the pedestal frame, which I neglected to ever scrub, are still dirty and semi encrusted from salt water use. I don’t do a lot of aluminum work, evidenced by the jar of Burnside Aluminum Brightener that I’ve had for too many years.

ImageP9100041 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

“Instantly cleans and removes stains, oxidation and discoloration” reads the label on the front. “Instantly” my sweet patootie. Per the instructions on the back many areas needed repeat reapplication. Five coats in one stubborn spot.

Hard to tell, but the gunwales, thwarts and seat pedestal are much cleaner and brighter. Or maybe I just like using stuff I’ve had in the shop for years.

ImageP9100043 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

PostPosted: September 16th, 2022, 9:56 am 

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2588
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
The Dynel sleeve skid plates had a few days to epoxy cure, and I wanted to get a coat of black paint on them for clean edge lines and UV protection. I filed down any of the sleeve edges still standing proud. “Filed down”, epoxy and graphite saturated Dynel is uber tough, and a bear to sand.

Sandpaper did take off the faint weave left in the epoxy top coat from the compressed peel ply, so a single coat of black paint will sit smooth. That does make a fine black power mess, probably best not to snort it.

The epoxy saturation on the sleeve was perfect. With black pigmented epoxy used in the bottom and initial top coat the two layers of sleeve were saturated black throughout, with no resin starved white. In the inevitable launching /landing scratch or errant rock encounter the paint layer will scrape off, but the under layer is tough Dynel, infused with slippery, graphite powdered epoxy.

ImageP9100044 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Those may be among my finest, flushest and certainly smallest Dynel skid plates yet. It was worth the extra effort; the old/new owner laid up Dynel sleeve skid plates on two friend’s canoes. All done at the same time. Outside. In Florida heat. Under the sun. Lessons were learned; the epoxy cured faster than he could attend to compressing the peel ply. Bless a cool shaded shop.

I get a little better with every Dynel skid plate. I believe I’ve now installed more than 40 Dynel fabric or sleeve skid plates, and I wanted these to be among the best sleeve skinnies yet. Having nearly perfected Dynel sleeve skid plates for fine stemmed boat I need to finally put them on our MRC Monarch, one of the only boats on the racks without skid plates.

The bright red gel coat and crack patch on the burgundy (?) hull was offensive to my eye. I had used red color agent in the epoxy mix. Only because I knew where to find the jar of epoxy pigments; I had, some time ago, bought a 24 color set of liquid acrylic paints, which can be used to custom tint epoxy.

Bought that set and hid it good. Kept searching and found it, unopened, in a cabinet atop a box of old chargers, perhaps not the best organizational system.

ImageP9100047 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Of course none of those 24 colors is “burgundy”. A non-color blind assistant suggested that a 50/50 mix of Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna might be close to the Wenonah Burgundy. Acrylic paints are not especially waterproof, and should not be mixed with enamel paint (I had a can of red enamel), so my best option was to mix a small batch of G/flex, with colloidal silica to pick up the color

With the patch sanded down and taped off and it was time to mix some custom color.

ImageP9110049 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

It is difficult to control dispensing the amounts of pigment needed, with color agent liquids or pastes made for epoxy, or liquid acrylic paint, it only takes a literal drop in a small batch of epoxy, and I needed more like half drop each. An incautious drop of Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna in the epoxy mix seemed a too brown, admittedly a color I don’t actually see, but I knew I had dispensed too much of one of the browner Burnts.

That oopsie occured because I hastily neglected an adding-pigment trick I know best employed. In lieu of adding the pigment directly to the epoxy pot, instead put a drop on a clean popsicle stick and use that to stir the pigment into the mix. Need a little more, or a little more of different pigment? Just grab a fresh popsicle stick and add a teeny dab.

That sloppy mix was too brownish to my eye (?), so I added some Crimson red. Arrgh, a too much Crimson Red squirted out into the epoxy pot.

ImageP9110051 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Half as much Crimson red would have been better. Ah, to hell with trying to match faded custom colors. Old/new owner can try to find a can of matching Burgundy paint.

PostPosted: September 17th, 2022, 11:01 am 

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2588
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
A few minor touch-ups on the Voyager. I replaced the missing D-ring in the bow with a vinyl pad version. One of the D-rings I removed from the Rushton, installed with G/flex (The kevlar interior was thirsty and wicked some epoxy) and later perimeter beaded with E-6000 it is never going anywhere.

ImageP9140001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I didn’t much care for the hard pad D-ring in the stern, and it was slightly lifted at one end. After jamming a putty knife underneath and pulling I decided it wasn’t coming out, and I didn’t want to risk tearing out kevlar skin, so I fine-brushed a little G/flex under the lifted end and around the perimeter, and weighted it down. Also later perimeter beaded with E-6000

ImageP9140004 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I have a better recollection of installing those hard plastic D-ring pads. I remember drilling the holes in each side, on the theory that the PC-7 epoxy would push up through the holes and provide a better anchor. The absence of that epoxy squeeze action should have been my first clue that the middle of the hard pads were not in great contact with the hull.

I have a few of those hard pad D-rings left, from an outfitter’s going-out-of business sale 20 years ago; I can’t imagine ever installing one in another boat. Eventually some non-outfitting idea will come to mind.

The plan for revealing the Voyager to old/new owner Joel, who did not know I had it in the shop, or that I’d been working on it, finally came to fruition.

I was waiting to see his face when he walked into the shop and saw his beloved Voyager. I was waiting to see his expression when I told him what I paid. I was really waiting to see his face when I told him that, repaired and outfitted and shined up all pretty, I’m was sure I could flip it for $1000+. (A new Kevlar Voyager runs $3700).

It is his of course; I just like to torment shop visitors. To that surprise reveal I closed all of the blinds in the shop, and taped a piece of cardboard over the windows in the door, so his first sight of the Voyager was when he walked into the shop.

His expression was worth the effort.

ImageP9140005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

He really does have quite a love affair with the Voyager.

ImageP9150006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Please Joel, no tongue, no tongue. A phrase I never expected to utter.

We did not get much work done, although some of that non-work was happily the old/new owner deciding no laborious buffing of gel coat oxidation desired, thank goodness. No roller cleat on the front thwart, which I really wanted to try, but I’ll have other opportunities.

We, mostly he, did come up with a plan for something most open canoe peculiar, which I won’t yet reveal, but we found all of the (considerable) parts and pieces needed in shop stock, test fitted them, and are convinced our (his) plan will work.

We had to do at least a little work on the Voyager before calling it a shop day; some reflective tape on the stems, and a Duckhead sticker.

ImageP9150007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Every photo of that oxidized gel coat makes me want to (watch Joel) buff and wax it to a high shine. That’s two coats of wax, right Biff.

I had recently received a couple personal shop Gogetch stickers from our mutual friend DougD, a stylized Dragon he drew in 1993. I showed the sticker to Joel and his response was “A DougD Gogetch, oh I want one!”

ImageP9150009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That the last sticker for the Voyager, otherwise it will end up looking like Doug’s infamous OT Disco, the Hogbacked Saint. Well, old/new owner may be local until Florida cools off a touch, so it may need a 2022 reservoir permit.

The old/new owner has plans and places for the Voyager, and I believe he will see them all to fruition. I can hardly wait to get started on his peculiar outfitting desires in the usual shop partner fashion; I’ll ready the parts, pieces and tools needed, hand them to him to do the actual work, clean up the shop benches behind him and ready the next parts and tools.

With two people working in that fashion it’s amazing how much can be accomplished, and the shop stays tidy.

There will be a brief respite in the Voyager work while I attend to some Gen-Z activities with my young friend Eddie.

PostPosted: September 17th, 2022, 1:40 pm 
User avatar

Joined: May 5th, 2015, 2:14 pm
Posts: 77
Location: London, ON
This is amazing, thank you.

PostPosted: September 21st, 2022, 8:04 am 

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2588
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
I can hardly wait to get started on his peculiar outfitting desires in the usual shop partner fashion; I’ll ready the parts, pieces and tools needed, hand them to him to do the actual work, clean up the shop benches behind him and ready the next parts and tools.

With two people working in that fashion it’s amazing how much can be accomplished, and the shop stays tidy.

It might not look like we got a huge amount done, but we only had a few hours and there was a lot of thinking involved.

I had prepared all of the parts and pieces, nuts, bolts, washers, rubber O rings, drills for pop rivets and etc that we would need in advance, so we could get right to work instead of picking through boxes of parts and hardware.

Prepared them ready to go for Plan A. In the interim Joel came up with a much better Plan B.

A Plan B that required many different parts and pieces, nuts, bolts, rubber O rings, drills for pop rivets and etc. Plan B only briefly required two people/four hands, so I helped a little. I was familiar with Step 1, mounting the device to the stern using stainless steel gudgeons from Duckworks, many choices in style and design. Whaddaya know, I had two perfectly sized and shaped gudgeons in shop stock.

The mystery device was cunningly attached, at the ideal functional height.

ImageP9190003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The horror, the horror, a rudder on a canoe.

There are reasons, including but not limited to Joel’s life-long preference for single blading only on one side, recent physical infirmities that preclude repetitive correction strokes, running a small downwind sail and an abiding love of rudders acquired from guiding newbie clients in sea kayaks.

There are some funny stories about “accomplished” paddlers, two of them inter-net famous, who declared “I don’t need no stinkin’ rudder” on guided sea kayak trips and refused to deploy them. They eventually did, but it took a long wayward off-course time in the Gulf winds for them to be convinced.

That is a Feathercraft double kayak rudder, with a blade long and wide enough to be canoe effective.

ImageP9190005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I would have been clueless in deducing how the retraction line went into certain holes, around the pulley wheels . . . . . loop de loop there. . . . .through here. . . . .the rabbit comes back out of a different hole. . . .no, wait, that’s not right.

ImageP9180001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Joel has installed and repaired hundreds of rudders, and it still took him a few “No, wait, that’s not rights”. I tried my best not to distract him, and retreated to the shop office for a beer instead.

When retracted the rudder blade sits flat on the back deck cap, held in via the rudder rest. Which also serves as a guide for the retraction lines, along with a SS mini D-ring. The retraction lines need to be held straight at the stern, otherwise the rudder will cock sideways when retracted or deployed.

ImageP9190006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

It still needs a bungee across the top to secure the rudder blade in the rest during transport.

The rudder retraction lines are temporary 3/16” poly, to be replaced with black 5mm Guywire from Lawson Equipment. We just needed the line loop attached to verify that the rudder plan worked. ... 0111352964

The lines runs through the existing webbing loops under the inwales (we need to add a few more).

ImageP9190007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Those retraction lines are held in tension with a “Joel Special”; so special I have copied that idea on all of our ruddered boats. A short piece of bungee cord with a hook (need to find more closed bungee hooks) around the retraction line loop, run through a cable clamp/P-clip, with a beefy cord lock for adjustability.

ImageP9190008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

For out of the way behind the seat unseen tactile ease there are plastic balls knotted on the line. Rudder deployed:

ImageP9190009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Rudder retracted:

ImageP9190010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Pulling whichever ball is furthest back pivots the rudder 270 degrees up or down as desired. On our decked canoes the retraction line ball are further forward at the coaming edge and more visible, using different colored balls, red for deployed, black for retracted. One thing you never want to do is back paddle with the rudder deployed.

The major Plan B change was switching from old shop stock rudder pedals, adapted so they could be locked in place as a foot brace or unlocked to use as sliding rudder pedals. These could be foot brace anchored via anchoring the webbing straps, and released as movable rudder pedals. Releasing and re-anchoring the straps for foot brace action would have been a little finicky involved.

ImageP8140032 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That Plan A was kinda kludgy and kinda ugly. Joel’s solution was a pair of (knock-off, still very well made) Sea-lect rudder pedals. The Sea-lect rudder itself is overly complicated and widely disliked, with too many little parts and springs, but the pedals are far simpler.

The pedal assembly can be adjusted for different leg length, with the rigid lower pedal used for bracing. All the way forward.

ImageP9190013 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

All the way back.

ImageP9190012 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

When the spring loaded (the pedal “springs” are < shaped pieces of stainless steel) rudder control “gas” pedal held line tensioned it can be adjusted as far aft of the lower brace pad as desired for toe control.

ImageP9190014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Those pedals can be adjusted fore or aft for different leg length. An elegant and worthwhile Plan B.

and the shop stays tidy.

Despite cleaning up the benches and putting stuff away as we progressed, at the end of the day the bench was a mess. That was some complex work, but now that we know exactly how it’s done it will be easier next time. And there will be a next time; another friend has long wanted a rudder for her open water tripping canoe. That one will be installed in Florida, so I won’t be there to drink beer and watch. I should make sure Joel has all the parts and pieces he needs before heading south.

ImageP9190015 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I took the time to clean the bench and turned to one minor task before calling it a (half) day. The holes for the old Wenonah foot brace bar* were not spaced the same as the holes in the Sea-lect brace/pedals. We used one pair of old holes and drilled two new ones, which left 3/16” holes near the waterline. The HMS Leaky would not make a great tripping canoe.

With the Voyager back on its side I taped the underside of one existing hole, filled it with G/flex, covered it on the inside with a 1” square of epoxied S-glass and laid peel ply atop.

ImageP9190017 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImageP9190018 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Peel ply removed the S-glass patch is invisible.

ImageP9200021 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

While that set up enough to turn the Voyager 180 degrees and patch the other foot brace hole I made a bunch of webbing loops, in different length from 2” to 6”. We will need more for the Voyager, my pre-made shop stock was nearly exhausted and I’m hoping, fingers crossed, to eventually find a lightweight keeper canoe to bring into the shop next.

ImageP9200020 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

2” long flat folded (ie 4” of webbing folded over) loops, 3” and 4” loops with 3/16” pop rivet or machine screw holes, and a few longer straps with ¼” holes for under hood tie points. A 20 penny nail heated with a propane touch melts and seals perfect 3/16” holes, the Scotch tape is just there to keep my fingers distant from the hot nail point.

It would be nice to work on a canoe for me next; loaner Explorer OOSOBO went to the reservoir, loaner Mohawk YARR goes to a different reservoir next spring, I gave the Rushton to young friend Eddie and the Voyager is and always will be Joel’s.

Daddy needs him a 16-ish foot kevlar tandem to soloize as a 40lb big-boy lake tripper.

PostPosted: September 22nd, 2022, 7:42 am 

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2588
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
The Voyager is finished!

Our first order of business was to put the Voyager on a thick foam pad on the shop floor and have Joel take a test sit. It was instantly apparent that the knee bumpers, installed for longer legged Tom, were completely superfluous for Joel’s more diminutive stature.

ImageP9200002 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

A putty knife removed them relatively cleanly and they may be re-usable.

ImageP9210004 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Tom might want them back in his ultra-light Voyager; the dog claw marks could easily be cleaned up with some Dragonskin.

Joel sanded off most of the contact cement residue; the smutch discoloration on the hull is never coming clean, but at least the hull surface is now smooth and not residue encrusted.

Next up, running lines from the rudder housing to the “gas” pedals. Joel elected to use Zing-it cord instead of SS cable and tubing; with all of the rudder lines being rope or cord everything is far more field-repairable.

We needed a few more already made webbing loops as guides for the Zing-it and, after another test sit and fit, elected to install a cable clamp/P-clip to help guide angle the Zing-it from the inwale webbing loops towards the foot pedal assembly.

ImageP9210008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Even though that P-clip is well above the waterline we used a flange headed pop rivet with an O-ring, to help spread the pop rivet pressure on the Voyager’s thin kevlar gel coated sidewalls.

ImageP9210010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The foot brace/pedal gizmo is actually not Sea-lect as I thought, it is a Smarttrack rudder pedal knock off. Which came with zero hardware or instructions.

The cable, or in this case Zing-it line run, through the foot pedal assembly is even more complex than the Feathercraft rudder pulley bedevilment, and I again retreated to the shop office with a beer to mute the sounds of Joel muttering “Wait, that’s not it” and, slightly more frustrated “ WTF!”.

Those knock off Smarttrack (not SeaLect) pedals are seriously cunning and well designed. They are Novelbee’s, or some similar Smarttrack knock offs. ... 6847917098

The real Smarttrack pedals are twice that expensive, and come with SS cable already pulley strung. Hell they might even come with installation instructions. Still probably made in the same Chinese factory, a la Yeti tumblers and identical $9 knock off tumbler cups. ... GDEALw_wcB

I’m not sure how I feel about “identical” Chinese knock-offs, but my wallet, or Joel’s wallet, does weigh in on such choices.

The line (or cable) runs through a pulley in the gas pedal, down and through a pulley in the foot brace pedal and anchors though holes at the front of the foot brace rail.

There may be a two Turtle doves and partridge in a pear tree involved as well. Joel eventually deduced the complexity, and once properly strung those knock-off Smarttrack rudder pedals are freaking awesome.

With the line run through the pedal assembly pulleys and anchored at the end of the rails the pedals slide along the line, adjustable for different leg length along the rail, without losing tension on the rudder or needing cable/line adjustments.

ImageP9210011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The Voyager may stay in the water at Joel’s dock in Florida at times, to facilitate pre-dawn paddling with his coffee cup secured in the pedestal bungee. To that end he thought some High Intensity reflective tape on the rudder housing might serve as a good motor boater beware warning.

ImageP9210015 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

And we were done. Or almost done; we made a list of the parts and pieces needed to recreate this Feathercraft tandem rudder and Smarttrack foot pedal on his Florida friend Olivia’s canoe; rudder, rudder rest, aluminum spacer sleeve, 16 webbing loops, 3 P-clips, bungee cord, one mini SS D-ring, two beefy cord locks, two plastic balls for the rudder retraction line, 5 flange head pop rivets. . . . .

. . . . . and all my love to Olivia. I’ll pull it all together, bag it up and send it to Florida with Joel. I’ve never met the woman, but from Joel stories hold her in high regard.

As we were finishing up the (half day’s) work my neighbor across the street stopped by. A few days ago he had mentioned that he had some Yakima Hully Rollers he had bought for his since-sold Chesapeake Light Craft stitch & glue kayaks. Did I want them?

Oh heck yes; those things are now $160 a pair. ... lsrc=aw.ds

We need another set on the rear crossbar of Joel’s high roofed Transit van. As we were finishing the Voyager said neighbor came by with the Hully Rollers. I had figured he had a pair of rollers, which would still be Transit high roof rack helpful.

He came with a box full. A “box full” meaning EIGHT Hully Rollers, and a weird center roller gizmo. Some of those are going on Joel’s Transit racks, and some are going on friend Steve’s crossbars. Probably still have a couple leftover for other friend’s racks if needed.

ImageP9210016 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That was great, but there then followed the funniest shop conversation since two young Jehovah’s Witnesses stopped by while Joel, Doug D and I were working on outfitting a decked canoe. I figured they were friends of one of my sons, and with the shop garage door open greeted them heartily.

“Hey, how y’all doing?”

“Do you know Jesus?” came the reply, proffering a Watchtower.

Momentarily taken aback I pointed into the shop and said:

“He’s an atheist, he’s a communist and I’m a Quaker”. Fasted proselytizing exit ever.

While the neighbor was here the office phone rang and I answered. It was my son Tyler. We chatted for a few minutes and, I don’t know why, but I said “Yeah, he’s right here, wanna talk with him”, offering the phone to Joel, who asked “Is it Doug?”

I shrugged and handed Joel the phone.

“Hey Doug, long time, what’s up brother?”

Tyler, unsuspecting but non-committal, “Not much, what’s up with you?”

Joel proceeded to talk about his summer trips, and what we were doing in the shop, his Florida plans and at one point said “You don’t sound good, are you OK”

Tyler, catching on, and lacking any trace of a New Hampshire accent, replied “Yeah, I’ve got a cold”

Joel proceeded to talk to the faux Doug D at some length. I told Joel who it was after he hung up. He still had no idea. God bless ya Tyler, well played my son.

Joel should be here tomorrow to fetch the Voyager and take it out on an inaugural ruddered trip, and maybe leave another hull for us to work on. I don’t care which one, I’m just happy to have him in the shop.

PostPosted: September 23rd, 2022, 6:13 am 
User avatar

Joined: August 7th, 2022, 2:38 pm
Posts: 71
Location: North Florida
Great read Mike! I still need to play at outfitting my Prism; all I’ve done is tie some paracord in a loop around a thwart as a place to clip my GPS. This and Brian’s Voyager refit will help muchly.

PostPosted: September 23rd, 2022, 11:13 am 
User avatar

Joined: December 20th, 2003, 9:27 am
Posts: 1062
I can really related to your not knowing the name of various dohickies and the problems with trying to find and replace them. I friend recently taught me about Google Images. It has helped me with identifying items. Perhaps it can help you. Here are his instructions:
First, take a picture of the dohickie, then,

1. Go into the Google Search Engine, typed in "Images".
2. Click on Google Images
3. On the right side of the small Google Images search window there are 3 small icons.
4. Click on the middle small image – it looks like a camera
5. That will open a medium sized window that allows you to drag a picture into it or to upload a file into it.
6. Once you get your picture in the medium sized window, click on “Search” in the bottom right corner of the window
7. Presto – Google will search for a match to your image and show them. Hopefully you will find a match and it will even give a name to your match.

Hope this helps,
Good luck!

PostPosted: September 23rd, 2022, 1:40 pm 

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2588
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Since Joel has plans to recreate this exquisite rudder setup on a friend’s canoe in Florida I packed up a parts kit for him to take south.

Rudder and rudder rest. I am dependant on the kindness of strangers for rudders, and a friend gave me a few, identical to the one we put on the Voyager. Got two of each left, one set goes to Florida.

ImageP9210005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Foot pedal/braces. Joel can order whatever he likes. I like those knock off Smarttracks, and I am sure Joel will do vigorous paddle testing. If those prove suitable and durable I’ll want a pair along with the remaining rudder in some open canoe tripper/sailer.

Bungee cord. Joel can order some, or we may take a trip to Blue Mountain Outfittters, for quality woven sheath marine bungee and other little parts and pieces. The two lazy-Susan cabinets at the end of the checkout counter at BMO are a wonderland of hard to find little parts and pieces.

3/16” Pop rivets. An assortment, 1/4”, ½”, 3/16”, Joel can buy his own, I need more as well and some lengths are hard to find; we were desperately searching through the loose rivet dregs saying “Come on, I just need two more this length”. I was NOT making a hardware store trip, an hour plus roundtrip, just for two freaking rivets. We would have in order to finish, but sure didn’t want to have to; shop stock is a good thing.

Webbing loops. The Voyager used 16 webbing loops for the rudder lines and bungee. The Florida canoe getting a rudder is shorter and will need fewer. I made 20-some in case the owner wants Joel to install bow webbing loop ties for gear or float bag. Or, my favorite no-new-holes location, under any thwart, yoke or carry handle machine screw ends; that is a stoutly attached as a webbing loop can be, and as simple as taking off the nut and washer and slipping the loop in place.

ImageP9210001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImageP9210003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The cutting (melting) board is marked for 2”, 4” and 6” loop lengths. Just melted end “cut” one, flick it off the board ( found one orphan on the far side of the bench), heat the still hot putty knife for a second, cut another. Flick, flick, flick, it’s like fast chopping onions. The hole in the oft used webbing loop block is needed for the hot nail heat to penetrate fully through the webbing, and the crosshairs are so I can see where I’m aiming at the hidden hole.

A note on making the 20-penny melt sealed holes for under inwale webbing loops. The inwale depth matters for the melted hole location; on a narrow aluminum gunwale the melted hole need to be closer to the end of the webbing than on inch wide vinyl inwales. The length of the webbing loops matters in the same regard, for some purposes a longer loop – stake out poles, rod handle holder , poling pole sleeve - is better; in the Voyager we wanted the rudder lines held close under the inwale.

Zing-it cord and SS cable & tubing. I have virgin SS cable and used but still viable SS cable. Same for the tubing sleeve, both new in bag and used.

ImageP9210010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

In fact one new-in-bag SS cable is made for Smarttrack rudders/pedals. Depending on how well the Zing-it cord holds up that NIB Smarttrack cable may be needed, and with SS cable the tubing sleeve is a necessity, lest you saw through dry bags inadvertently resting against the cable.

ImageP9210009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

And, finally, all of the wee little parts and pieces. An Aluminum sleeve drilled for ¼”hardware, a needed spacer for bottom of the rudder housing bolt. A bungee hook for the rudder line tensioner. P-clips (2 each), cord lock, balls for rudder retraction line (2 each), flange head pop rivets (3 each).

Mini SS D-rings, three each. Wait, that’s only two each, I threw in the third, and a 4th extra, just in case, those things are awesomely handy. 3/16” flange head pop rivet and O-rings for 3/16”rivets (3 each, need to buy more for shop stock). Pop rivet washers.

ImageP9210007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Some of those are impossible to find at hardware stores, even pop rivets are getting hard to find, and other stuff is only available at the best stocked outfitter shops (BMO trip soon!).

OK, many of those, while existing here in shop stock, are equally hard to locate. Sure the shop stock is semi-organized, but it is in seven different boxes.

ImageP9220013 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That short aluminum spacer sleeve? I know I have another one, I saw it when we finally found the first one, but it’s not like there is a container marked “Short aluminum spacer”. It took 10 minutes of searching to find the first one, and another 10 minutes to find the second one.

The mini SS D-rings required the same hunt and peck. PPPPP (Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance), sometimes there is a 6th “P” that acronym.

That 6th “P” was deserved; the second search for wee bits and pieces would have been prevented had we simply picked out 2X of everything the first time around.

I blame Joel, but he’s got one coming. When we were installing the P-clip line guides we stood on opposite sides of the Voyager. One guy drilled the hole, from the inside, using a right angle drill adapter for lack of space, the outside guy stuck the flange pop rivet though and seated the rivet tool to hold it in place, while the front side guy slid on the P-clip and held the washer tight until outside guy seated the rivet.

Caution: Don’t pinch your fingers under the washer. Sorry for the fingertip blood blsters Tom. (No I’m not; what were you thinking holding it that way?)

I did the latter interior drilling, P-clip and washer holding when it was my turn. But someone (OK, that would be me) neglected to run the line through the P-clip first. I only noticed that once Joel had seated the flange rivet, mentioned that oopsie, and his response was “YOU WERE STANDING RIGHT THERE LOOKING AT IT!”

Joel did not understand why I burst out laughing. Segue story time:

I helped a friend build a cabin in the Chiricahuas thirty five years ago. Nice cabin, more like a one bedroom house with a loft, full kitchen, dining nook, living room, stone fireplace, built-in bookcases, etc. He had designed and laid out the orientation of the cabin so that each window framed some spectacular mountain view.

When we installed the first window he was outside and I was inside, and he took considerable time wedging and micro-adjusting the frame until it was (both of us John Prine fans) “Nevil-on-the-level”.

“OK, drill it and nail it in place” he says. I did so. When I stood back to admire our work I noticed something odd and tapped on the glass to get his attention.

“Uh, Dave, it looks great, but the window latch is out on your side”. Despite the fact that the damn latch was ON HIS SIDE, 6” FROM HIS NOSE, I was somehow to blame.

PostPosted: September 25th, 2022, 9:25 am 
User avatar

Joined: August 7th, 2022, 2:38 pm
Posts: 71
Location: North Florida
6th P indeed! I am guilty of using that P despite my attempts at planning. Distraction from helpers can sometimes be blamed, but is usually as Jimmy Buffett said, “it’s my own damn fault.”

Mike McCrea wrote:
“Uh, Dave, it looks great, but the window latch is out on your side”. Despite the fact that the damn latch was ON HIS SIDE, 6” FROM HIS NOSE, I was somehow to blame.

Great story!

PostPosted: September 25th, 2022, 11:20 am 

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2588
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Another sterling shop visit with Joel and the Voyager headed up the driveway for adventures soon to follow.

ImageP9230002 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Still wish he would buff and wax that sweet canoe to a high polish.

Bye bye Voyager.

ImageP9230005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Before the Voyager went up on the roof racks some other boat needed to come off. The QCC 500 sea kayak or vintage Sawyer Loon. The ’96 glass Loon needs a bunch of TLC, so make room in the shop.

But that will become a different tale.

PostPosted: September 30th, 2022, 1:15 pm 

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2588
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Joel sent me a bunch of photos of the Voyager on the water*, but for unknown reasons only one of them would load onto my Flickr account.

Image1EC8C4D4-5E8B-41D0-95C5-1466E932EC33 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

*WARNING: Rant forthcoming. That river, the Patapsco, while perhaps not the ideal venue for a water rocket, is one of the increasingly rare places that require no paid fee/permit.

Much of the local water (and not quite so local), even tidal water launches, now require a paid launch permit. Some permits are $12 a year, some $60 a year, some X a year with a separate “entry” fee every time you visit. I refused to contribute to paying that tribute for 30 years, and only recently broke down; two seasonal permits for different reservoirs at $60 a pop, two 2-year PA Fish Commission permits (different canoes) at $22 a pop.

I will give in and renew all of them when needed. Do the math. It is a math some a lot of people simply can’t afford.

In other places the recent parking restrictions now make launching impossible without hiking (carting) a mile or more from the car to the water. It is now illegal to park near a favorite put-in/take-out on my home river. There is parking available for 5 or 6 cars at the water’s edge, and room for another dozen vehicle 50 yards down the road along a tributary. All on State land.

Suddenly there are official County “NO PARKING, $200 FINE” signs at both locations. And – I drove the length to check – for nearly 3 miles further down the road. WTF?

I don’t understand that mindset; these are State waters. Public waters. Why make it costly and difficult for the public to access and appreciate them?

I am increasingly leery, suspicious even, of seemingly innocuous launch or permit fees for hand-carried boats. And increasingly pissed.

Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 16 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group