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PostPosted: July 18th, 2007, 10:53 pm 
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Location: Vermont
This is a request for suggestions, criticism, and advice on yet another version of Rushton's Wee Lassie. The goal is not to be different--it's to meet specific requirements efficiently. Some background is therefore essential.

I'm a little guy and pushing 70 years old. I canoe quiet waters in remote, lonely wilderness--that requires portages. I come to canoe, so doubling a portage is not where it's at. Gear and food come to thirty pounds, leaving only 15 pounds or thereabouts for a canoe. I've been using a single-blade paddle for well over half a century and prefer it to a double-blade but I concede, after several tries, that a canoe within my weight limits demands a double-blade. Hence the desire for a canoe that allows a shorter double-blade to be used more like a single-blade.

My proposed solution is to retain the design of Wee Lassie from the 6” waterline down but to introduce tumblehome in the midship section to 23” width at the gunwale and to increase overall length by eight inches.

I propose to strip-build with 3/16” strips, single-layer 4-oz. fabric and epoxy outside with graphite filler in the final fill-coat below the 4” waterline, and 2-oz fabric and epoxy inside. This construction requires some explanation, and I invite criticism.

For the last 20+ years my wife and I have been using a 14' 9” 44-lb. stripper of slender design with 1-1/2 layers of 4-oz. Fabric inside and out with graphite as above. We've hit some big submerged rocks at good speed, both head-on and off-center, and never sustained damage greater than shallow, easily repaired scratches. I suspect that the boat glances off, avoiding a rupture, cut, or gouge, because of the graphite. Theoretically, 350 pounds of loaded canoe at a given speed (the above example) produces much greater impact than 190 pounds at the same speed (the proposed solo). My guess is that the lighter, more lightly built boat will be no more susceptible to damage than the heavier, more heavily built boat, and that even if I'm wrong the result will be a repairable gouge or rupture, not a stranded-in-the-wilderness disaster.

I have a lines drawing of my proposed modification in bitmap but don't know how to (or if I can) attach it here. :-? [/img]

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PostPosted: July 19th, 2007, 8:59 am 
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I think it's quite doable....Since the original Wee Lassie was only 10'6", surely you can thin the cedar strips and put on a light glass with the graphite and get the boat down to the type of weights you are talking about (within a few pounds). As you state a smaller solo will not have the same inertia as a tandem, and usually is more maneuverable as well.

In my experience paddling small canoes with a load, they do better than most people think at carrying a load. I've tripped in my 13' Bell Flashfire at about 220# (my standard tripping kit of 50 pounds and myself). Laura tripped last year in a 12' folding puffin kayak with 30 pounds of gear and 40 pounds of water, putting her total weight up near 190# through Class III whitewater in Utah last year. Obviously 10' 6" is pretty small, and might feel sluggish, but your used to paddling a tandem of less then 15 feet, so you're not likely to be worried about traveling at 6 mph on currentless flatwater either.

Have you paddled any of the small pack style canoes... Hornbecks, Bert Hauthaways, Bell's Bucktail, or Charlie Wilsons interpretations (the Spitfire or Rapidfire). Seems that you might try some of the commercially available interpretations to make sure you are happy with that idea before expending the effort to build something you might not like.

Finally, consider what you will do about a seat. I personally like a hung seat (either a full seat or a kneeling thwart, and I've found many pack canoes being too shallow to effectively hang a seat and get legs underneath. If you sit, then maybe this issue is moot as likley you want a lower seat postion anyways.

Just a few thoughts... You might try doing a search here under Pack canoes pr Adirondack Pack canoes, as this discussion has happened here before.

PK


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PostPosted: July 19th, 2007, 11:09 am 
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Have you paddled any of the small pack style canoes... Seems that you might try some of the commercially available interpretations to make sure you are happy with that idea before expending the effort to build something you might not like.

Finally, consider what you will do about a seat.


PK,

Thanks for the considered response.

I wasn't even considering a solo until I came across Hemlock Canoe's 16-lb. Nessmuk, which is a Wee Lassie clone. Just looking at it opened my mind to the possibilities so I rented one for a day. Polio in '53 left me with shortened back muscles so I was skeptical about the kayak sitting position (I normally prefer one or both knees down). I found: a) a low center of gravity is essential in a canoe that size; b) raising the seat 3” off the canoe bottom is about the limit for me; c) at 2-3” off the bottom I can be comfortable provided I have firm back support; d) after a half-hour with the double-blade I was convinced that I could find it enjoyable but would find it much more enjoyable if the boat allowed a somewhat more vertical paddle during the power phase of the stroke—that's when the mid-ship tumblehome idea hatched; and with it, the question of the seat as you rightly point out.

Puzzling over the seat issue in the broader context of minimizing weight, maximizing comfort and convenience, and taking care of this aging body, I'm considering a three-birds-with-one-stone solution. A conventional external pack frame can serve as a comfortable backrest. If the load-shelf found on some pack frames could pivot 180 degrees, it could be designed as both a seat and a load-shelf. I've therefore been exploring a design for such a seat/shelf not unlike the Knu-Pac Portaging System that would function as a) canoe seat and backrest; b) substitute for a yoke; c) a camp chair. As the idea now stands the seat/shelf would pivot within the frame uprights and be held at the appropriate angle with web straps. The bottoms of the frame uprights would be fitted with bullet-nosed plugs that would fit into small foam, glass, and epoxy sockets stuck on the canoe bottom with either Velcro or double-sided foam tape (with added local reinforcement of the canoe bottom). The tops of the frame uprights would be fitted with similar but longer plugs that would fit into similar sockets at the balance-point of the canoe for portaging. At day's end the seat/backrest becomes a camp chair as a no-weight-added bonus. Seat height could be adjusted by pinning the bottom plugs to the frame via a choice of holes in the plugs.

As far as expending effort on this project is concerned, I'm not worried. I'm retired. My fortune is in time, certainly not money.

Bob

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PostPosted: July 19th, 2007, 12:26 pm 
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I've just got my John Gardener redraw of R.J.Turk's Cruising canoe on the water this year. 13' x 30", lapstrake. I have intended to sail it, so i was a little generous with the scantlings and added 2" to the freeboard stem to stern. Certainly not 15lbs. But very one-shoulderable to carry.

Not sure how short you want to go, but I'm quite fine with this one double paddled, even with the extra freeboard. I am disapointed at how wet I get in this compared to my kayak. My double paddle is 8'4" if i remember correct and it should really be longer or have shorter blades in order to keep the blade water from running down into my lap. Good encouragement to get the sailing rig done.

I found a Chinook canoe seat and have used that. I add a throw PFD cushion under at times to add a bit of height. Added a bit of webbing to tie it to the gunwale at the back. I really need to tie it to the front bottom edge of the floor in order to use the seat fully for support. Quite acceptable. The catch is, you won't end up using it at camp, because by the time you get there it will be wet.


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PostPosted: July 19th, 2007, 12:27 pm 
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Location: Clayton, NY
A couple of things struck me on reading your post:

First, using a shorter double paddle means your ride will likely be a bit wetter, as it is more likely to drip in your lap. Another thought is that you can make a small handle that, when the double-paddle is broken down, can be inserted into the ferrule, making a useful single-blade paddle.

Second, I was struck by your description and how, apart from over all size, describes an earlier Rushton canoe, his Model 120 hunting canoe. This is a canoe I have seen several examples of, and is near the top of my list of canoes to document and reproduce. Here are the lines from an early catalog, for your amusement...

Image

Cheers,
Dan

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PostPosted: July 19th, 2007, 1:11 pm 
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Graybeard,
although these designs lack the pedigree of a Rushton they may also be worth considering and would fit your intended use/requirements.

http://www.clcboats.com/boats/millcreek.php
http://www.clcboats.com/boats/woodduck.php

There are a few options to reduce weight.

I've built and paddled the 13' Mill Creek and it is a really nice little boat for what you are looking for. Even single bladed one and carried a canoe paddle below deck as a spare.

On the "wet lap" related to double paddles, there are drip rings available that help a lot with that issue. Well worth the cost.


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PostPosted: July 19th, 2007, 4:03 pm 
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Komatique,

Interesting boats, both, but at 40 lbs. they're not in the same category. My current 44 lb. tandem also solos quite nicely and a savings of only four lbs. would still leave me doubling the portages.

At my age, size, and fitness fifty to fifty-five pounds total weight of gear plus boat is the upper limit without doubling portages. My goal is to single the portages with 35 lbs. of gear. That leaves 15 lbs. for the boat if I allow five pounds for decreasing carrying capacity over the next five years or so.

There is considerable discussion in the forums about the featherweight trend including comments about performance with a light load, reduced speed whether loaded or not, and lack of versatility.

Rushton the designer and builder has a reputation for having listened carefully to the needs of the customer. In this case I'm both the designer/builder and the customer. As designer/builder I'm listening carefully to my own needs as customer. Ninety percent of my canoeing is with 35 lbs. of gear. If performance in the remaining 10% is seriously lacking I suspect that I'll be able to find 35 lbs. of rocks to rectify the problem. Reduced speed whether loaded or not is not a concern--I'm there to enjoy the environment, not race to the end of the trip. Versatility is a non-issue since I'll still have my larger boat. Come sundown, the question for me is whether I can single the portages. Others, with other questions, will have different answers--I applaud them for arriving at answers to their own questions.

Bob

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PostPosted: July 19th, 2007, 4:20 pm 
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Graybeard,
yes I caught your concern for weight in the opening post which I why I mentioned.....
Quote:
There are a few options to reduce weight.


.. not 100% sure you could get one down to 15lbs but very sure (having built the Mill Creek) that shaving quite a chunk of what they advertise is easily doable and suspect getting very close to 15lbs isn't unrealistic.

I mentioned them only because they were in the size you were looking, are quite nice to paddle and were designed for a double blade.

My apologies for butting in.........


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PostPosted: July 19th, 2007, 4:27 pm 
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Greybeard

I suspect you know your way around woodstrip... but I also, wonder if you could
realistically get down to 15 lbs.

The "Snowshoe Lassie", comes in at 12 lbs, and its fabric. Do a Google on
"Snowshoe Lassie", and maybe there is some sort of "Combination" possibility to meet your weight criteria?

Good Luck

Sundown


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PostPosted: July 19th, 2007, 5:12 pm 
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Sundown, check here, scroll down the page, there's a Rushton design Lassie at 20 lbs and shaving 5 lbs using the method Greybeard described in his opening post is easily doable.

http://www.oldetymers.com/pages/boatypes.html

Rushton built VERY light boats and was an amazing craftsman.


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PostPosted: July 19th, 2007, 5:23 pm 
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Komattiq

Thank you for the link... it has been added to my favourites. I certainly wasnt
questioning Graybeards woodstrip skills... sounds like a very determined
Master. I reckon if it can be done, he will be the one to do it. I just wanted to
plant the seed of a "Combination Boat" above the waterline, from the opening
post, as it might even lessen the weight restriction over time.

Thanks again for the link.

Sundown


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PostPosted: July 19th, 2007, 5:27 pm 
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Sundown,

You mention:
Quote:
I suspect you know your way around woodstrip... but I also, wonder if you could realistically get down to 15 lbs.


As far as I can tell, the answer is probably "yes." Rob Macks of Laughing Loon Canoes does a beautiful strip-built Wee Lassie that comes in at 17 to 18 lbs using 6 oz. fabric. He concedes that he was not trying especially hard to minimize weight and suggests that 4 oz. fabric should get the design down to 15 lbs. By dropping to 4 oz. exterior and 2 oz. interior I'm confident of dropping to 15 lbs. or even less and would still have the option of another half layer of 2 oz. on the inside bottom.

The Snowshoe Lassie is indeed interesting but GA construction leaves me uneasy. I admit that I have no grounds for that uneasiness, but it's there, inside, where I can't root it out. I'm inclined to pay the three-pound price for ease of mind, and appearance.

Bob

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PostPosted: July 19th, 2007, 5:36 pm 
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Komatiq,

I second Sundown's "Thanks" for the link to Olde Tymers. I, too, have bookmarked it. Magnificent boats!!!

Bob

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PostPosted: July 19th, 2007, 5:46 pm 
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No problem gents, I've got tons of them......... :lol:

Actually the Adirodack guideboat has been a favorite design of mine for many, many years and Rushton did a couple of VERY sweet versions.

He was an interesting man from all I've read and a sought after builder for years until the bicycle drew folks attention elsewhere. Kind of sad in a way, but really good to see interest in these old classic's making a come back, J. Henry would be pleased as well I expect. :wink:

The Wee Lassie is a winner Greybeard, hope you keep us posted on your progress.


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PostPosted: July 20th, 2007, 12:54 pm 
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Location: Belleville, ON
You might also look into one of Nick Schade's new boats... The Nymph
http://www.guillemot-kayaks.com/guillem ... noe_design

Falls right into your size and weight range...

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