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PostPosted: November 26th, 2021, 3:11 pm 

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2097
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
I love custom outfitting. There are dozens of little steps, and a best sequential order that requires some contemplation and planning. I started with the outfitting that doesn’t require a paddler’s custom physiology test sit.

A Wenonah adjustable foot brace first, taking measurements from my wife and younger son’s foot brace positions in their preferred canoes. Averaging those measurement positioned the foot brace bar 5” high and 28 1/2” distant from the front edge of the seat with the bar in the middle of the track. With 6 inches of adjustment fore or aft that should accommodate either of their legs, or anyone else. Ball of foot height is in the right vicinity, +/-.

ImagePB230004 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The foot brace bar still needs (er, ok, I wants) a length of split foam pipe insulation for sandy summer waters barefoot comfort, but I have no quality split foam pipe insulation with the correct inner diameter. Next hardware store trip.

A Surf-to-Summit Performance back band doesn’t need a test sitter either, I know how and where it best shapes curved behind the aft seat rail. The webbing loops on the stern thwart are perfectly located to attach the rear swivel clips. Nylon pad eyes pop riveted to the side of the inwale work well for the front straps. The weight bearing experiments showed that a single pad eye, pop riveted into no-insert vinyl gunwale, held 163lbs. Even I don’t press against a back band with 326lbs of combined force.

ImagePB230005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImagePB230006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The painter’s tape marks the current balance point for the strap yoke, which will be the last thing installed, after a final weight and re-balance check.

With the foot brace and back band installed the canoe moved to the floor on a thick pad and my test subject had a seat, got his knees, legs and feet comfy with foot brace adjusted and padding temporarily held in place, and I marked the locations/dimensions for knee bumpers and heel pads.

Cushy minicel for the knee bumpers. With the inwale edges only 24” apart at knee location it won’t need much narrowing to press knees against inwale. A 1 ¼” wide piece of minicel at knee location brought the “hull” edges flush with the inner lip of the inwale.

The shouldered tumblehome sides made contact cementing the initial minicel base trickier than usual. Instead of a large fill slab I cut two pieces 1 ¼” x 1” X 10” long. The shouldered tumblehome curve doesn’t start for the first inch below the bottom of the inwale, so I’ll have a flat, flush 1” surface there to contact cement the minicel “base” layer.

That inwale sized base layer got topper pieces of half inch thick minicel, cut 10” x 2”, glued on flush with the top edge of the inwale so the ouchie right angle edge is cushioned. I rounded the corners and beveled the edges of the “topper” pieces with the 1” tabletop sander, so there is less exposure to sheer forces when getting in or out.

ImagePB230007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Exercise flooring for the heel pads. Those are not as much for comfort as for non-slippery heel purchase in place of a slick wet vinyl floor (or in UL composite hulls so you don’t wear down heel scuffs). The embossed side is much more boot heel durable than minicel. Same rounded corners and beveled edges, again to limit heel-peeling sheer forces, and allow easy bilge water flow between the pads.

The usual timed multi-coats of contact cement, heat gun, press, clamp or weight.

While the contact cement and foam was setting up I installed Northwater double-D rings, for single strap ladder-locked D convenience, or for two straps pulling in opposite directions.

I need some extra G/flex mixed for the ongoing mystery dowel project anyway. Vinyl pads coated with G/flex, laid inside a marked pencil trace, wax paper, sand bag weights. Nothing to see here, and I can move along. And come back occasionally to check the vinyl pads, hard roller compress them to push out any bubbles or lift, and re-lay the sandbags.

ImagePB240010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Bags and clamps off the foam and D-rings look good. Once the contact cement had a firm post-clamp grip a few minutes of Dragonskin shaped the bottom of those knee bumpers so that in addition to pressing knees against the inwale sides, you can thigh brace them locked underneath the foam bumpers when needed.

ImagePB240017 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Before I moved on to the last couple things I had a wild hair, and tried the Cooke Custom Covers from the Wenonah Wilderness on the Yellowstone Solo. Oh lordy, they are a perfect fit*, and those partial covers are red, keeping in the color scheme.

ImagePB240011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

*They fit because the Wilderness covers were designed for tripping/sailing, the bow cover ends in front of the utility sail thwart, and the stern cover end a foot + behind the back of the seat to provide easier gear access.

I’ve put on a bunch of Cooke covers and know the installation is easy simple. 36 snap rivets, one every 8 inches along the covers, don’t weigh much, so yet another too-hard-to-resist thing added to the outfitting list. Those covers need to go on before I do any lacing points for float bags or gear; I can back up some of the pop rivets inside the hull with miniature SS D-ring tie downs instead of using just washers.

I’m confident in the strength of that stud/rivet/D-ring combination; I know how much weight it took to fail a single stud through Royalex affixed with a 1/8” pop rivet and mini D-ring backing. 124.5 lbs before the rivet broke. A few mini-D’s will do nicely. ... nt.107260/

PostPosted: November 28th, 2021, 6:12 pm 

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2097
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
(Unexpected) Spray covers

The spray decks in the photo above were simply taped in place to verify that they unexpectedly and delightfully fit on the Yellowstone Solo. They do indeed fit perfectly.

Fall or winter hereabouts is the ideal time to install nylon spray covers. The humidity level in the shop is 35%, plenty dry. If you install nylon covers in higher humidity , above 60% or so, the fabric will be relaxed, and they well be a PITA to snap on when shrunken drum tight in low humidity conditions. If they are too tight I just dunk the stuff bag of covers in the river and let them relax drenched in the bag while I pack the canoe. That always works.

First order of business, I left the covers draped loosely over the hull so the nylon had ample opportunity to retract, and set out the parts and tools needed. Studs, 1/8” dia pop rivets (needed different mandrel lengths), washers and, for the float bag/gear lacing multi-purpose, mini SS D-rings to back up the through hull pop rivets.

ImagePB250026 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Those mini D-rings hold more weight and have a larger aperture than plastic cable clips, ½” vs ¼”, so easier to lace and unlace, and I can use larger diameter line than 3mm cord. Mini-D’s for float bag/gear lacing it is. With the 14 machine screw webbing loops already installed I only needed four pairs per stem.

ImagePB250031 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The last and most critical piece, a pop rivet tool with a nose piece that fits inside the stud.

ImagePB250028 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Before taping the covers firm-ish-ly in place I marked the locations of the thwarts, to make sure none were in the way of the stud rivets and D-rings/washers.

This installation methodology is specific to partial spray decks; full covers, even multi-piece versions, install a little differently. One CCS recommendation is to run a length of duct tape 1” below the outwale and use that to press the spray cover sockets against, leaving a circular indent to drill for the pop riveted studs on the hull.

That uses a lot of duct tape, which become awkwardly foot-entangling as it is sequentially pulled free to dangle on the floor. It is a lot easier to make the indent using several layers of duct tape, so I use a multi-ply duct tape square, slide it under the cover assuring both sides are even, push the socket against that thicker tape square, mark the center with a Sharpie and drill through that dot.

ImagePB250032 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

(And then remove the duct tape before seating the stud oops overf the duct tape square. Not that someone as skilled and thoughtful as I would ever forget to do so. At couple times over the years. Don’t even ask how many times I have pressed the socket into the duct tape and then removed the tape before drill the hole. Dang it, more a couple times, once on this very canoe)

Starting at the bow end (again, this if for partial covers) press the socket closest to the stem on one side into the tape to leave a circular impression, flip the cover back, drill a centered hole and seat the pop riveted stud, holding the D-ring or washer tight inside.

Move to the other side, do the opposite stud and, while you are over there you can do the next one down the line before moving to the other side and doing another one-at-a-time two. Once again, moving repeatedly from one side of the canoe to the other with a bunch of tools and materials, bless the wheeled shop cart for keeping everything near at hand.

ImagePB250037 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Important - Always snap the cover sockets to the studs you have already pop riveted in place before marking and drilling the next hole, this helps keep the next studs exactly aligned with the corresponding socket. Check the side overlap distances occasionally; those can be corrected as you pop rivet studs along the line.

When the duct tape square becomes overloaded with drilled socket impressions just lay a fresh square of duct tape on top. A caution; some folks complain about their thumbs aching after putting a snap cover on. In the initial installation of a spray cover, done with best fitted always-snapped practices, all (in this case) 36 sockets get stud snapped and unsnapped repeatedly. It is a long thumb day; fortunately there can be break times, and IPA’s are proven analgesic.

With this style partial cover the last studs one each side at the open ends get pulled down and seated a little lower, so the drainage baffle is tautly raised.

ImagePB250039 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Even the drainage lip is perfect. With bow and stern spray decks snapped in place, the Yellowstone Solo is more beautiful, functional and comfortable than ever.

ImagePB260041 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImagePB260044 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I could install studs for the center storage cover on, but that’s more of a tripper canoe in-camp feature. When day paddling the partial covers are for wind, and shedding waves, rain or paddle drips or, under hot summer sun on cold waters, keeping the sun off the ice chest and some cool in the canoe.

ImagePB260046 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I hear my late friend Brian’s ghost moaning “Whyyyy diddd youuu nottt dooo thisss forrrr meee?” Brother, I’m thinking of you every day as I work on the canoe. You would look so good back in the improved Yellowstone Solo.

ImageEK_0003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Covers back off, the studs are nicely just below bottom of the outwale.

ImagePB260001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I now have the carry handle webbing loops and four SS miniature D-rings backing up the stud rivets on each side of the stems for float bag or gear lacing, although the NRS 3-D stem bags will need only the first three mini-D’s. Those are spaced, backing up the snap studs, 8” apart, not my preferred 5 or 6 inches for float bag lacing, but at most the Yellowstone Solo will see mild class II, and doesn’t need full on Mike Yee style WW bag lacing.

Before the float bags and lacing go in I used the hot glue trick to put a dollop of hot glue atop each of the pop rivet mandrels, protecting float bags or dry bags from puncture.

ImagePB260005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

NOTE: I am not a hot glue guru; I have a bag of mixed hot glue sticks in different shades of milky white. Some stuck tenaciously to the exposed mandrel ends, but the last glue stick I stuck doesn’t have much stick in that application.

I do like a blob of tenacious hot glue for that protective cover application; guess I should find some that adhere well and stick them not-for-general-use in one of the outfitting boxes.

PostPosted: December 1st, 2021, 5:25 pm 

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2097
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
DIY Strap Yoke and etc

One last batch of epoxy needs. Well, it is not the last batch ever, but I think the last wee batch for this canoe. The mystery dowel dookickies need a transition bead at one end, as does the D-ring pad perimeter, and the DIY strap yoke would benefit from doubled webbing under the inwales, with a stiffening insert to help spread the load.

The DIY strap yoke consists of a two inch side-release buckle, a good one - ITW Nexus – short and long lengths of 2” heavy duty poly webbing, a couple stiffening pieces of old Royalex with edges rounded to tuck inside the webbing end fold over (thanks again DougD, still finding uses for those RX piees), and a bit of epoxy to hold the webbing folds together for later drilling.

ImagePB250020 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

For those various epoxy applications I used G/flex 655 thickened epoxy, mixing enough to glue the strap yoke webbing folds to the RX stiffeners, fill in the dowel transitions and run a bead around the edges of both vinyl D-ring pads with the leftovers. Sure I hope I like where I put those D-rings; water/dirt/grit infiltration and edge lift protected, they are taking vinyl skin with them if coming out now.

ImagePB250024 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The G/flexed strap yoke pieces can sit overnight, wax papered and binder clamped, before getting drilled in situ, then webbing hot-nail webbing sealed prior to installation.

ImagePB250022 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Weight-wise the last of the permanent outfitting has been installed, and the balance point for the strap yoked didn’t change. I used the same little block of inwale depth wood to scribe a line, and since the strap yoke is also weight bearing I used the wider flange washers again.

ImagePB260008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Drilled in-situ with the strap yoke ends clamped below the inwale, I took the pieces back to seal the raggy drilled webbing holes, plunging a hot nail through the drilled ends to melt seal the webbing.

ImagePB260010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I love the smell of melting webbing in the morning. The smell, you know that melting webbing smell. The shop, the whole shop. Smelled like victory. (Usually “quoted” incorrectly)

Victorious I put everything away, and then remembered that I needed to melt a 3/16” hole in the center of a piece of double-sided Velcro. I continue to suffer from premature put-away-itis.

ImagePB260011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Male buckle end with the usual stainless hardware overkill below the inwale. The longer strap female buckle end gets the double-sided Velcro strap slid on the machine screw end first.

Attached the strap yoke is always there, always available and clips together in a few seconds; no knobs, no threads, no parts to drop.

ImagePB260013 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

When not in use the short end dangles free, and the long end rolls up, held secure under the inwale with the double-sided Velcro. I left the top Velcro flap a little long; I’ll fold over and G/flex together a half inch tab at the end so I don’t have to pick it apart with my fingernails.

ImagePB260014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImagePB260015 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Now that the last of the drilled mess has been made I can vacuum the detritus from the hull (again) and have a look at floatation bags.

PostPosted: December 4th, 2021, 12:50 pm 

Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2097
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Float bag and/or gear tie down points.

From late friend Brian’s gear collection I have an immaculate, never used Voyager-brand floatation bag. I knew at a glance it would not have fit his skinny Wenonah Voyager. Too wide, it doesn’t fit very well in the Yellowstone Solo either. A mutual friend of Brian does paddle a WW canoe; I’ll give him the bag as a memento of their friendship.

ImagePB220001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The NRS 3-D end floats I installed in Sexy Thang do fit agreeably in the YS, and I had positioned the Northwater D-rings for those bags. I can use the webbing loops on the carry handles and other tricks, but needed a few more lacing points on each side, and by using the mini-D’s to back up the riveted studs I didn’t need to drill any new holes.

ImagePB220002 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The NRS bags have a webbing loop near the stem tips, which is a boon for float installation and security. A length of paracord from that webbing loop, up and out through the deck cap drain holes, wrapped a couple times around the carry handle and hitched, so the tip of the float bag is held far forward in the stem.

ImagePB260016 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Blindly poking paracord at that drain hole, up in the wee-est tip of the stem is an exercise in floppy fumble fingered frustration. Fortunately there is a tool specifically made for that purpose. On-sale from the fabulous McCrea Workshop & Testing Lab, The Long Pokeythingie. Only $14.95, order yours today and we’ll double the offer.

ImagePB260019 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Piece of coat hanger wire, make a loop on one end small enough to pass out through the drain hole, run a length of the cord through the loop, poke away ‘til the wire finds the hole, pull the wire out and the line comes with it.

Float bag ends secured far in the stems I did some lacing. Since I had the wide, easy to lace through mini D-rings I used some thicker cord, softly woven no-stretch poly tarp line that came with some tarp. Black tarp line? I think not.

Same end cords and minibeeners (which need to be replaced with smaller ones) from the Sexy Thang installation, stretched down to the D-ring and up to the lacing forms, a rudimentary end cage. Then, what the hell, keep adding stuff Mikey, an overbag webbing strap from D-ring to carry handle.

ImagePB270021 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I still have the second of the Northwater Double-Ds available, for a strap pulling in the opposite direction, and a couple of unoccupied mini D-rings. Easy enough to strap down/lace in some gear with the stem float bags in place.

ImagePB270024 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Knowing that, for our home river or other nearby non-highway speed trips, I prefer inflating and installing the float bags in before leaving home for a quick escape at the launch, I might as well do a final weigh-in with them in place. Bell speced at 44lbs with wood gunwales, a hair under 45lbs as a vinyl gunwaled un-outfitted canoe. Fully outfitted, with spray covers studs & rivets, strap yoke and float bags, mini D-rings, lacing straps left in place, hanging balanced under the shop scale. . . . .

ImagePB270028 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

. . . . . .48lbs, 4oz

Yippie, I kept it under 50lbs fully outfitted and fully equipped.

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