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 Post subject: Bell NorthStar Retrofit
PostPosted: October 2nd, 2022, 4:38 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2478
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
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Hoping this brings me good karma, or at least a warm fuzzy feeling.


Good karma indeed, my ship has come in. I love my soloized OT Penobscot, but it was a factory blem, the “blem” part being that it was always absurdly heavy. The story was that, while some manufacturers would reject Royalex sheets that didn’t meet their specs, Old Town would take anything they could get their hands on, and some of their blems were take-a-lifetime-to-wear-through-that “forever” canoes with crazy thick, heavy RX.

So the Penobscot, even single seat soloized, weighs 75lbs.

Wonderful big boy/big load tripper, but my back is less and less up to carrying that load. I have long wanted a lighter composite tandem tosoloize, something close to the comfortable for sloppy me Penobscot dimensions

I missed a used, underpriced Souris River Quetico. Second caller. Lusted after a Bell Morningstar, but never saw one used at any price. Out of the blue Barry, a friend from another message board, sent me an e-mail, saying he was divesting some of his fleet and asking if I was interested in his Bell NorthStar.

He had enjoyed some of the past rebuilds and retrofits, and offered me the NorthStar at a crazy low price, perhaps just to see what I would do with it. The current version of that canoe, the Northstar Canoe NorthWind 16 Starlight model runs $3200 in kevlar light.

https://northstarcanoes.com/canoe/northwind/?option=16

(Ted Bell likes stars and winds and woods. . . . .who doesn’t)

Barry described some bottom scuffs and gentle use, and I didn’t even ask to see photos. Hell, if most of the canoe is still there I can put it back together. An 8 hour roundtrip later and it was in the shop.

Yeah, it does have bottom scratches. All superficial, and fewer than any other canoe I own. The NorthStar is practically pristine. The interior is pristine, other than one easily filled dent in the foam core.

Barry removed the bow seat to allow room for his Chesapeake Bay Retriever and gear load. It was coming out anyway.

ImagePA010006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The stern seat and kneeling thwart remain, and the yoke and front thwart are there.

ImagePA010009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImagePA010010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Hanging from the shop scale, 39lbs on the nose.

ImagePA010005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

All of that is coming out eventually, except the aluminum front thwart. What is going back in is the custom laminated wide butt Conk seat, which fits perfectly, to be hung on slender Bell style truss hangers.

ImagePA010012 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The wood yoke will be replaced by a DIY strap yoke, held taut when needed by a SS cam buckle.

And, twenty some inches lean forward in front of the seat, a utility sail thwart. Probably not the usual 5 ½” wide platform, I could go as skinny as 3 ½” wide. The new flush mount Scotty rod mount/sail mount doesn’t need as much width. Much as I like the wider working space all I really “need” is the sail mount, two hooks on one side for a deck compass, and a bungee run on the other for miscellaneous keepage.

Flush mount and top mount on clamp-on utility thwart, both on 5 ½” boards.

ImagePA010014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I need to find a nice, light 3 ½ to 4 inch piece of wood, ½” x 36”, oughta do. While I’m planning the parts and pieces needed I might as well take a looksee at what I have on hand.

I need gunwale hung seat drops. I have a virgin pair of skinny walnut Conk drops that would fit that narrow aluminum inwale.

ImagePA010016 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

They are 2 inches deep. Which is about 2 inches to shallow for my inattentive sitting; I want to paddle the canoe, not swim along beside it.

I have deeper DIY trusses, but the Conk seat needs 9 inch center-to-center holes . I have a set of plastic Mad River hangers, which would be maintenance free if ugly. But they are drilled for 8 ¼” spacing. Those are a no go.

I have a bunch of curvy individual wedge hangers, in 2 ½” and 3 ½” depths, three of the four deeper ones already drilled and varnished.

ImagePA010017 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Those are easier to DIY, drill and install than a full truss hanger, but are ½” thick and I don’t like the overhang.

ImagePA010019 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I could round off that overhang easily enough, and I’ll have some spare urethane work coming eventually, might as well hit those wedge drops a lick of three while I’m at it.

What else might I need? If I go with 4” truss drops I’ll need four 3/16” x 5” machine screws, washers, nuts, etc. Pretty sure I have all that in the SS boxes. I can reuse the eight flange washers from the double hung yoke and kneeling thwart, and use the remainder for the utility thwart and strap yoke. Always minicel and contact cement for knee bumpers and a blue barrel trapper wedge.

Still need a Wenonah adjustable foot brace, but at worst – or enjoyable best – that is a run to Blue Mountain Outfitters.

What else? Beyond my dimensional paddling comfort level I had another reason for wanting a canoe similar to the Penobscot.

Old Town Penobscot 16
16’ 2” long
34” wide gunwales
33” waterline – at 160 lbs (34 ½” max beam)
13 ¾” deep
58 lbs (Bwahahaha)

Bell NorthStar
16’ 6” long
31” wide gunwales
31” waterline – at 160 lbs (34 ½” max beam)
13 ½” deep
39 lbs (for real)

BTW, note the length-to-waterline ratio, and the 2” waterline at 190lbs. The NorthStar listed a 2” waterline at 160lbs. I’d need to be solo, naked and 100lbs lighter to achieve a 2” waterline. The NorthStar L/W was calculated at 300lbs burden. So me, a case of beer and a can of Spam?

The NorthStar’s extra 4” in length and 3” less at the gunwales will not only be faster and easier paddling, it will allow me to install something near and dear to my windy tripper heart; the custom Cooke Custom Sewing partial covers.

ImagePA010001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Taped in place to check, those custom partial covers will work just fine. I just need the snap studs to install on the Northstar. I could make another DIY heat sealable cover, but those don’t hold a candle to what CCS makes.

I will be going slowly and deliberately on this retrofit, dedicated both to keeping it light and showing my best work. Slowly and deliberately; why that just allows me more time at the keyboard. Bwahahaha!


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PostPosted: October 2nd, 2022, 9:28 pm 
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Joined: August 7th, 2022, 2:38 pm
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Location: North Florida
Mike, the Bell Northstar’s reincarnation is the Northstar Polaris. The website says (or maybe it was Bear in a video) that the boat was so popular they named the new company after it, and of course Polaris is the North Star! I really love my Polaris. I have it set up with a third seat in the center position, hung high for kneeling. But I sit on it as well and the boat is very stable. It really feels good, and she goes in shallower water than I can paddle! Definitely pole territory.


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PostPosted: October 3rd, 2022, 7:16 am 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
woodpuppy wrote:
Mike, the Bell Northstar’s reincarnation is the Northstar Polaris. The website says (or maybe it was Bear in a video) that the boat was so popular they named the new company after it, and of course Polaris is the North Star!


So I have heard, and read.

https://www.paddlinglight.com/reviews/n ... is-review/

The important takeaway from that review for me was this - “While some will find the stability of the Northstar Northwind 16 or 17 stronger”. Accustomed to the soloized Penobscot more stability is better for seated and occasionally inattentive me.

And, soloizing a tandem with a single center seat, I don’t need the extra length; the Penobscot is 16’ 2”, the Bell NorthStar 16’ 6” and the Polaris 16’ 9”. I can fit a massive gear load in the soloized Penobscot; the extra 7” of length with the Polaris isn’t needed, or in the oft windy places I favor desirable.


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PostPosted: October 3rd, 2022, 4:45 pm 
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Location: North Florida
Guess I’m confused about which boat to have there.


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PostPosted: October 4th, 2022, 1:11 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
woodpuppy wrote:
Guess I’m confused about which boat to have there.


I can be inattentive while paddling, or sometimes just sitting and not paddling, and appreciate primary stability. My “acid test” for primary stability is “Can I turn my torso 90 degrees, pick up a day bag from the stern, bring it forward over the outwales between my knees and not go ass over tea cups?

I was once able to turn almost 180 degrees to stern. I’m not an owl anymore, those days are long gone. Add to that soloized NorthStar will have a utility thwart for a simple downwind sailing.

I had a mental list of composite canoe models with similar-ish dimensions to my favored RX Penobscot for potential big boy/big load tripper soloization; Wenonah Solo Plus (meh, no rocker), Souris River Quetico 16 (dimensionally nearly identical to the Penobscot), Bell MorningStar or NorthStar, etc.

A Northstar Northwind or Polaris would certainly fit the bill, but my chances of finding one of those newer iteration canoes used, at a price I could afford, was nil. Actually my chances of finding any of those candidates in a light weight composite, at a Scot’s frugal price, was slim; Barry done me good.

Having decided to single seat soloize the NorthStar step one was to remove the kneeling thwart & drops, the stern seat and all four of the L-bracket seat hangers. I left the yoke and aluminum thwart in place for some lateral stiffness while I work on the canoe, which is destined to be flipped sideways and upside down for face-your-work ease.

OK, the old Bell catalogs capitalize the STARS, WOODS and WINDS. Sorry Ted, I’m not holding down the caps lock for that long.

ImagePA020020 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

ImagePA020021 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Out with the old brightwork.

ImagePA020024 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The kneeling thwart unfortunately is not quite long enough to re-use as a slender utility thwart.

ImagePA020022 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Removing the stern seat was surprisingly challenging. With the tumblehome sheerline curves I couldn’t fit a drill & driver in there on top, even with my right angle adapter, so it was Phillips screwdriver hold and ratchet the nuts off.

The machine screws were an inch longer than needed, perhaps so the seat could be raised via spacers, which does make me think of some “adjustable” seat hanger solutions, like a Mohawk aluminum plate with spacers. In any case that was a lot of nylock to remove to free the stern seat. Which still refused to lift out. Even when I hit it from below with a roofing hammer.

“The machine screws are gone. Why won’t the damned seat lift off the L brackets?” he mutters. He found out why. Some of the pop rivet pins from the seat bracket were drilled and embedded into the ends of the seat rails.

ImagePA020004 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

No washers under the nylocks, no thread protectors on the exposed shanks. I expected more attention to detail with a ’98 Bell.

That soon to be superfluous brightwork is out. I wonder what it weighs?

ImagePA020026 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Jeeze Louise, that’s 3lbs 13oz, not counting the 16 drilled-out flange washers. And I haven’t taken the yoke out yet. 39lbs minus 4+ lbs, offset by some weight conscious outfitting; I am more confident than ever that I can comfort outfit the soloized NorthStar, with a slender utility sail thwart, at under 40lbs.

I cleaned and taped up the old L-bracket holes on the exterior. Tomorrow I can turn the NorthStar sideways, fill those 16 pop rivet holes with G/flex, and epoxy a strip of glass tape & peel ply, hard roller compressed for a belt and suspenders patch.

Meanwhile, before calling it quits, I dribbled a little epoxy into a slight dent in the interior foam core. That very slight dimple in the kevlar over the foam, not through the fabric, which still seemed “canoe mistreatment” to Barry. I suspect all of his canoes are in immaculate condition; he would shudder to see me sling gear into my canoes from on high at steep launches and ledge sites. I can fix boats, I can’t fix my back.

I filled the wee divot with some G/flex 655, the thickened stuff. Also courtesy of Barry; he gifted me a bunch of stuff at the NorthStar transfer; packs of G/flex 650 and 655, maps and books, a virgin flat webbed bench seat, and an unopened can of graphite powder. I kinda lost count of the swag after a while, and probably didn’t thank him enough

It will all get used someday on some canoe. A wee tiny dribble of G/flex thickened 655, a squib of peel ply and I called the foam core dent “repairs” good for the night.

ImagePA020028 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr


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PostPosted: October 5th, 2022, 1:18 pm 
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Forty total minutes of work, twenty minutes at a time, is my preferred shop work schedule. I tape plugged the old pop rivet seat bracket holes on the exterior and turned the NorthStar on its side. A 10” long piece of 1” S-glass tape*, perimeter boxed with painters tape, a 12” piece of release treated peel ply and a small pot of G/flex 650.

I useed the less viscous 650 to fill the old pop rivet holes and wet out the S-glass tape. Could have used West 105/206, but I did not need a full pump, and on those sidewalls I like the “flex” in G/flex.

ImagePA020001 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

With a tiny paintbrush I dribbled G/flex in each of the holes. Dribbled twice, it seemed to seep into the foam core and required a second top fill. Then coated inside the tape box with more G/flex, laid the S-glass tape, and top coated with the rest of the G/flex. That S glass patch was probably superfluous, but why not.

ImagePA020006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

*The 1” S-glass tape is a sparingly used treasure. A guy from a guy in the aerospace industry came by the shop to do some boatwork. He brought a sleeve of 10 or 12 rolls of that 1” S-glass tape and asked “Want some?” “Sure, I’ll take a roll”. He suggested taking more, but I didn’t want to be greedy.

I should have taken a couple rolls; I have searched far and wide and never found 1” S-glass tape anywhere. 1” E-glass would have worked as well, but that fine weave S-glass tape disappears nicely under peel ply, thin selvage edge and all.

Perimeter taped for placement and sloppy brush prevention. Base coat of epoxy, lay the S-glass, topcoat with epoxy and take a break.

Let that G/flex sit for a few (10-15) minutes to seep in, pull the tape box, lay the peel ply and roll it down.

ImagePA020007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Later that day I flipped the NorthStar 180 onto the other side and repeated the process. Since the tape over the 8 pop rivet holes was now on the upside and the epoxy firmed up I pulled those tape squibs.

Meh, even tape plugged and epoxy filled those holes looked a little drilled kevlar raggy on the exterior. I mixed up some thickened G/flex 655, dabbed a wee drop onto each raggedy spot and covered that with a squib of peel ply.

ImagePA030011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I was initially surprised, disappointed even, to find that the thickened 655 came in “toothpaste” tubes. I have come to like it so much that I am running low. Luckily I have the full tubes Barry gave me; that viscous no-run stuff, especially in pea sized amounts, is the way to go in some applications.

ImagePA030010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I made extra; I had a couple other G/flex uses prepped. Always prep something secondary in case there is excess epoxy, or mix a little extra for some other job standing at the ready.

The little disposable medicine cups, the 30 each for 97 cents WallyWorld nylon brushes, and the toothpaste tube squeezer keys are all a huge shop boon for tiny epoxy jobs and squeeze tubes.

As are cloth tapes and release treated peel ply in rolls. The three and four inch wide rolled peel ply makes glass, Dynel or kevlar tape jobs snip-snip easy. With the caveat that peel ply more than an inch wider than the glass tape will wrinkle more along complex stem curves.

https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/ ... -15200.php

I have no idea how this G/flex dab and peel plied exterior fill is going to going to look tomorrow, never done this before. Every time, every boat, “Never done this before”. . . . .

I did not see a “Do not remove under penalty of law” anywhere on the mandatory CAUTION label. I didn’t read it all that thoroughly to be honest. Don’t care, it is an ugly pimple inside a beautiful canoe; I’d prefer the inside of a canoe be aesthetically pleasing.

ImagePA030013 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

A little heat gun action and that blemish pulled off cleanly. I can understand the manufacturer’s compliance with mandatory regulations but, thanks, I’d prefer to put my own stickers on, and those go on the exterior. I don’t want to see some cautionary label while I’m out paddling.

ImagePA030015 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr


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PostPosted: October 5th, 2022, 6:00 pm 
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“I did not see a “Do not remove under penalty of law” anywhere on the mandatory CAUTION label. I didn’t read it all that thoroughly to be honest”

THEY’RE GONNA COME GIT YOU!


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PostPosted: October 6th, 2022, 6:32 am 
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woodpuppy wrote:
“I did not see a “Do not remove under penalty of law” anywhere on the mandatory CAUTION label. I didn’t read it all that thoroughly to be honest”

THEY’RE GONNA COME GIT YOU!


Have you seen a new ladder recently? There is no space left for warning labels. I leave those on, but still don’t bother reading them.

The next morning’s “big reveal” is usually just pulling the peel ply. The interior S-glass tape and peel ply “patch” came out nearly invisible as expected

ImagePA030019 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The next peel ply reveal was the infilled holes on the outside from the seat flange pop rivets. I wondered how the once fuzzy epoxy filled holes on the exterior would appear.

ImagePA030011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Less kev fuzzy better.

ImagePA030020 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

NorthStar flipped the other way I elected to skip top filling the eight pop rivet holes on the other side, those holes somehow came out more flush filled and unraggy. Wish I knew what I did differently on that side; still learning even if I don’t understand the lesson the first time.

Time to have a look at the hull bottom. It was raining when I picked the NorthStar up, rained all the way there and all the way back, and the canoe came into the shop wet. Wet hulls always look better. The bottom scratches in the Northstar are more numerous that I had noticed when gleaming wet, but still fewer than nearly any of our other canoes.

Eventually, when I have added 1000 scratches of my own, I may roll and tip a coat of epoxy from the waterline down, but that can wait.

ImagePA030022 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The stems do need attention. It appears that an attempt was made to protect them with a coat of epoxy alone, no cloth. That epoxy is chipped and dinged rough, and an easy fix; sand it smooth and lay Dynel sleeve skid plates.

ImagePA030024 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Skid plates may be premature, or prophylactic, but the NorthStar is upside down in the shop and I am at a standstill until I decide on the seat drops.

I have written the description of Dynel fabric or sleeve skid plate installation often enough before, so mostly photos this time.

Taped and sanded

ImagePA030027 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Cleaned, re-taped & papered, ready for epoxy

ImagePA030028 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Base coat of 105/206 and G/flex 650, about a 50/50 mix, Dynel sleeve laid/pressed in place, heavily top coated with more of the epoxy mix. Heavily because I want that top coat to fully saturate the two layers of sleeve.

Hence the tape and newspaper. There will be drips. I Sharpie mark the ends of the epoxy drips, repeatedly, until the drips no longer creep past the Sharpie mark. That’s my sign that I can pull the outer row of tape and the paper mask, with the epoxy ready for peel ply compression.

ImagePA030030 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Acetone and paper towel squibs at the ready in case I discover any epoxy creep or errant drips, the outer tape and mask comes off. The initial run perimeter run of painters tape left behind gives me a second chance at catching any still creeping epoxy drips.

ImagePA030032 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I don’t care about the show-through not-black on the edges, I have topcoating plans.

Perimeter tape removed and the peel ply goes on.

ImagePA030035 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

And then the babysitting begins; every 10 or 15 minutes hard roller the Dynel sleeve under the peel ply and tongue depressor bevel down the edges. Either will work, although both in conjunction work better; the tongue depressor does a superior job of beveling down the 2-lay edges of the Dynel sleeve so they don’t stick up proud and perhaps catchy.

ImagePA030036 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Compressing the Dynel took less than a minute per sleeve. Two minutes work, wait ten minutes, two minutes work, wait ten; my kind of shop day. I wonder if folks who do this for a time-and-material living, who can’t leave the shop for babysitting purposes, charge as an ‘hourly” rate?

I could be rich if I included babysitting beer sipping time. Of course I’d be paying myself, and there would be tax implications. . . .maybe I could write off the shop and office spaces as work expenses.

Back to babysitting, time to tongue depressor the peel plied sleeve edges again. And a few more times, until the epoxy had firmed up. It became a two beer job.

FWIW hand laid and epoxied Dynel fabric wants to “float”, and will become rough texture swollen when epoxied, so peel ply compression is beyond helpful there. With the 2-layer sleeve, even applying a drippy heavy epoxy top coat, I think - actually know, having seen the cut in half insides of some test pieces - that the peel ply compression helps fully saturate both layers of sleeve, pushing the epoxy inside.

Oh boy, another peel ply reveal tomorrow.


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PostPosted: October 6th, 2022, 6:45 am 
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Mike, I’m always a little surprised you don’t carry the skid plates up around the curvature a little further. A specially on boats with abrupt fine ends like a Wenonah. The Bells and Northstars seem to have rounder ends.


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PostPosted: October 6th, 2022, 9:25 am 
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woodpuppy wrote:
Mike, I’m always a little surprised you don’t carry the skid plates up around the curvature a little further. A specially on boats with abrupt fine ends like a Wenonah. The Bells and Northstars seem to have rounder ends.


I usually bring skid plates an inch or two further up the stems than the wear pattern, and an inch or two further back on the bottom. That wear pattern varies a lot from canoe to canoe, and from various use and abuse. The wear is often different on the same canoe between the bow and stern.

The Dynel sleeve skid plates on the NorthStar are 23” long, covering 19-ish inches of wear.

The further up the stem curves the more difficult it is to get fabric to lay flat without puckering along the edges. Regular single layer fabric, like S-glass or Dynel is tricky enough if extended far up the stem curve, but possible if some >’s are cut from the fabric along the edges at the steepest part of the curve. In my hands those > fillets typically become a mess of strays and frays, especially when wetting out S-glass; the cut edges of Dynel fabric hold together far better than S or E glass.

E-glass tape can only fray at the cut ends, but with the selvage edges tape becomes even more challenging to lay unpuckered along a sharp curve.

The NorthStar got 1 ¾” wide Dynel sleeve skid plates, which on the sharp composite entry vee was wider than the stem wear. Sharp vee curves and two layer sleeve is best done with peel ply, a roller and lots of babysitting. Actually any skid plate fabric benefits from peel ply; even the kevlar felt crap wouldn’t look as bad if the rough textured surface was smoothed out.

If there is a good thing about using that awful kevlar felt it is that the fabric, when applied correctly, better accommodates stem curves without puckering. I’ve seen kev felt skid plates installed that literally reached all the way to the deck plate.

One DIY installer proclaimed he did so in case he ran headlong into a vertical cliff face. That was on a canoe with recurved stems, so maybe slamming into an undercut cliff face? Those were some ugly and unnecessarily high skid plates.

I just try my best not to bash the stems into cliffs. Not saying that I have never oopsie done so, just not often enough to need skid plates wrapped far up the stems.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Otm4RusESNU


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PostPosted: October 7th, 2022, 1:05 pm 
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With the peel ply removed the Dynel sleeve skid plates look as good as expected. The blotchy black epoxy overlap along the edges is not a concern; I usually topcoat graphite powder infused skid plates with black paint. But I did not add graphite powder to the topcoat epoxy mix this time. I had a two step skid plate plan in mind.

The release treated peel ply imparts a faint weave pattern in the epoxy, and there is often a slightly raised lip along the sleeve at the tip. Rather than sand/file or fill those edges before painting I laid a thin epoxy topcoat over yesterday’s skid plates.

Even with the sleeve tongue depressor beveled there are, as usual, a few tiny crinkles and voids along the epoxy edge. And the ends of the sleeve, at the sharpest vee tip of the skid plates, always want to stand a little tall. I knocked the tips down with a few minutes of file work; the tape is just to prevent “Ooops, filed into the hull” miscues.

ImagePA040002 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I did manage to chew that perimeter tape up with the file. No scrapes or scratches on the hull though.

Another tape and paper job, fortunately I am increasingly fast at that masking task. One trick to paper masking; a sheet of newspaper is a rectangle, and the Dynel sleeve, or most any skid plate, forms a curve at the stem tips. A curved slice cut off the side of the newspaper and, presto, the paper mask fits.

ImagePA050003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Another small batch of secret sauce; 105/206, G/flex, black pigment and, this time, graphite powder. No peel ply, extra pickles, hold the mayo.

With the graphite powder added to the mix, even at less than the 10% by epoxy volume max, the epoxy becomes considerably thicker, evidenced by the lack of drips. In this application, not needing epoxy penetration into the Dynel sleeve, that is a good thing.

ImagePA050004 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That graphite powder mix covers the once smeary translucent black edges almost as well as a black paint top coat, and is tougher and slipperier. Plus I had another anti-paint rational; the more I look at the bottom scratches the more I realize I’ll eventually want to roll and tip a scum line coat of epoxy on that bottom.

“Eventually” may be sooner rather than later, perhaps while I have the NorthStar in the shop this time around. I’d rather not roll the epoxy over paint. Those scratches bothered Barry, I should make them right.

Paper mask and outer layer of tape removed.

ImagePA050006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Initial run of perimeter tape removed.

ImagePA050007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjQtzV9IZ0Q


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PostPosted: October 8th, 2022, 1:12 pm 
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Time to turn the NorthStar back upright and contemplate how to affix the seat. I am torn between truss drops, curvy wedge drops or aluminum L brackets. There are plusses and minuses to each.

Truss drops would be stiffer, almost like another thwart. Wedge drops easier to install if I were off by a hair. But the shouldered tumblehome at most radical S amidships where the seat would hang from any drops. I’m concerned that a big boy’s weight, one who occasionally plunks down heavily on the seat at troublesome launches, might not be the best idea for gunwale hung seats with shouldered tumblehome on a UL kevlar canoe with thin aluminum rails.

Aluminum L brackets would relieve any weight on the tumblehome, and on the slender aluminum gunwales. But the brackets on the OEM seats each had four flange rivets, drilled through foam sidewalls. If I DIY new L brackets there is no foam sidewall amidships, and I would need to beef up the sides.

I’ve never done foam, not sure I want to start with this canoe. I’m thinking a length of 1” glass tape, covered with a length of slightly longer 1 ½”tape, covered with longer still 2” tape might provide enough extra rigidity of sidewall thickness.

I need to look at fore/aft seat placement first. If I use the two forward gunwale holes left from the double hung kneeling thwart the seat will be 9” back of center. That is agreeable to me; from years of paddling tandems bow backwards I am accustomed to solo seats set a ways back. Slightly bow light is good for tripping purposes, the heavy food barrel almost always goes up front, and running a downwind sail definitely sinks the bow.

ImagePA050009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

For cogitation starters I’ll mark both sides at 4” depth.

ImagePA060010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Those marks are not necessary if I go with truss or wedge hangers, but I will need to have the depth marked if I use L brackets and beef up sidewalls.

With the depth marked on each side I could cut the excess rail ends off the Bubba Butt seat. Bubba is webbed 27” wide, so the rail ends are quite short. But not quite short enough, I needed to cut 3/8” off each side on the front rail and ½” on each side in the stern.

Bubba is unique in design. The stern rail is flat, but the front rail is both contoured and canted, with the rail itself angled downwards. I don’t even want to think about the number of times I have calculated cant angles on drops incorrectly. “Nope, that’s bass awkward dummy”. Cut more drops and try again.

The Bubba butt resolves that lack of craftsmanship issue by using a pair of angled nylon blocks.

ImagePA060012 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Lordy that will be easier than cutting (oops, wrong, recutting. . . . dangit, still wrong) angles on wood drops. I have admittedly given up wasting wood and just re-cut everything a half inch shorter. “They’re whittling ya down pretty good, there, Mister Merriweather”.

If I go with aluminum brackets those angled spacers will work just as easily.

I am still undecided on seat drops. Wood truss hangers would be more aesthetically pleasing; aluminum brackets would be light weight, relive stress on the tumblehome, and be maintenance free. Good thing I’m not in a hurry; I need to think about those options a bit more.

If I was charging by the hour could I include thinking time? The results would be all kinds of screwed up without some stop and ponder the possibilities.

Think man, think. Think about what tapes are in the FRP box. Sometimes “thinking” doesn’t cut it, I needed to go have a look. I have ordered some oddball tapes from Sweet Composites to help fill out a $25 minimum order.

https://sweetcomposites.com/Seamtape.html

ImagePA060014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

1” S-glass, 1” E-glass in different weights, 1 ½” bias woven (thick, 10oz/yd) Twaron tape, 2” E-glass
2” Carbon Fiber, 2” kevlar, 3” kevlar (from Barry), Dynel sleeve.

I may have to do this first by process of elimination:
Not the areo-space S-glass tape, that one is too precious. Not the 4” kevlar tape, that one is too wide. Not the carbon fiber, that one is too black.

Definitely some 1” E-glass for the first layer; I have two rolls in different weights.
Definitely some 1 ½” bias woven Twaron for the second layer. That stuff is thick, and alternating plain weave/bias weave/plain weave in 3-layer sidewall reinforcement can’t hurt strength-wise.
And a top layer of 2” kevlar. That bracket reinforced sidewall oughta be tough enough. The seat, installed on L brackets will be about here.

ImagePA060017 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr


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PostPosted: October 8th, 2022, 3:26 pm 
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Joined: August 7th, 2022, 2:38 pm
Posts: 59
Location: North Florida
I’m about 225 and the Polaris handles my eight fine with the center seat hung on trusses from the gunwales. I can’t say if the Bell has similar stength. My boat is Blacklite, CF over Kevlar. I don’t recall there being vertical foam ribs, just the football in the floor.


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PostPosted: October 9th, 2022, 12:00 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 2478
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
woodpuppy wrote:
I’m about 225 and the Polaris handles my eight fine with the center seat hung on trusses from the gunwales. I can’t say if the Bell has similar stength. My boat is Blacklite, CF over Kevlar. I don’t recall there being vertical foam ribs, just the football in the floor.


Your eight what? I am heavier than you, but still only about a six.

I may be over thinking this, but I only want to do it once, and do it right. I suspect that with the thin UL kevlar NorthStar build Bell put foam side walls from the sheerline all the way down to the foam diamond in the floor because it was needed to support the L brackets.

Time to make a seat support decision. The ¾” thick wedge drops are a no go; I had previously drilled machine screw holes located to fit under wide vinyl inwales, the existing holes are not even close.

I test fitted the short walnut truss drops; those are not deep enough, but at least I can have a look at how they might fit. Those walnut drops are thin, 5/8” thick. Which is still 1/8” too thick to slip under the inwale lip. Cutting new 4” drops from half inch thick wood might work, but for me, even with a drill press vice, drilling long perfectly aligned machine screw holes has occasionally been less than successful.

Which leaves aluminum seat brackets. The OEM brackets are 9 ½” long. The Bubba Butt seat is 10 ½” deep. New brackets were as simple as anodized aluminum angle, and I had some shop stock from making wing-nutted foot brace bars. 1/16” thick x 1” L’s.

ImagePA070002 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Hmm, those new brackets are 13” long. Why? Here’s why

Quote:
In any case that was a lot of nylock to remove to free the stern seat. Which still refused to lift out. Even when I hit it from below with a roofing hammer.

“The machine screws are gone. Why won’t the damned seat lift off the L brackets?” he mutters. He found out why. Some of the pop rivet pins from the seat bracket were drilled and embedded into the ends of the seat rails.

ImagePA020004 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr


One rational for using brackets is that I could easily raise the seat height by adding spacers atop the brackets, or even lower the seat by attaching the rails under the brackets. But if the flange rivet pins are embedded in the ends of the rails that becomes problematic.

But if the L bracket is a couple inches longer than the seat rails presto, no pop rivet interference.

ImagePA070005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That pop rivet pin interference may come up again later. If (when) I install studs for the Penobscot cover it is beneficial if the stud rivets and back up washers are not smack against the butt ends of any thwarts. The thwarts I have in mind can easily be located an inch or two fore or aft, so the spray cover will need to be taped in place to check thwart locations. I’ll use a few mini SS D-rings instead of back up washers on the snap rivets for tying in float bags or gear, so I need space for those as well.

So many puzzling considerations when soloizing a tandem; rebuilding a canoe, solo or tandem , with everything back where it was and how it was is a lot easier. And not half as much fun.

A 1/16 x 1” X 36” piece of anodized aluminum L at my carries-everything hardware was $11. Seat hanger decision made.

The layered sidewall reinforcement is 1” E-glass tape, a bit longer than the brackets, 1 ½” (thick) bias Twaron tape, a bit overlapping longer still, and finally a 2” piece of kevlar tape overlapping the rest of the FRP sandwich. I did not add sidewall stiffening all the way down to the foam diamond; if that proves necessary I can add it later.

ImagePA070007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Tape box for the outermost layer of 2” kevlar, laid and epoxy topcoated one at a time.

ImagePA070009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That can rest easy for a spell, and so can I, a little time for the epoxy to settle in, a little time for me to retreat to the shop office and, you know. . . .

. . . . .I meant peck at the keyboard, but I had a beer. Better not to rush the settling in I always say.

Tape pulled and peel ply laid and rolled.

ImagePA070011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Started the epoxy work early enough I could flip the NorthStar and lay the cloth reinforcements on the other side. Well, take it outside to do a 180 degree end reversal, then flip onto the other side; it was really convenient to have the open side of the canoe facing the bench where all of the materials were prepped and laid out at the ready instead of walking around the hull for each step.

Gawd I’m lazy. Wait, no, I meant efficient.


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PostPosted: October 9th, 2022, 9:17 pm 
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Joined: August 7th, 2022, 2:38 pm
Posts: 59
Location: North Florida
Arg… my eight was missing it’s w. What of your 6 though…?


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