Seams taped, rails on and misc work ongoing

I gave the jump-stitching plenty of time to dry since I had to go to Iowa for 10 days.  When I returned home I got busy on the boat first removing the bolts and cutting the wires to be sure it all stayed together.  Next I did the fillets for a day and let that dry for two days before light sanding and the taping of the inside seams which I then also let that dry a few more days.   Today I finally got the rails on the boat and opted for a simplified rail system of just inner and outer rail with no spacers.   I’ve also cut out the motor mount re-inforcements and some brackets for a bench seat should I decide to go that direction.   All in all a very busy week of boat building.

I’ll finish up the rails tomorrow, start sanding the corners of them and get the inside corners and the few small gaps filled with EZ-Fillet material.  Then I need to build some corners, do a good sanding job on the interior and rails, add another coat of epoxy on the interior seams and finally finish up the seat whichever route I decide to go.   With any luck I’ll have the interior wrapped up next week and can flip the boat over to start finishing up the exterior seams and put the bottom fiberglass on.  Time to order the last of my hardware and paint soon.   Trout season is only three weeks away but I’ll be turkey hunting the first weekend of it.  With any luck I’ll have a boat ready in early May to launch and start fishing from.

It looks like a boat!

In the last 10 days I went from a pile of wood to something that actually looks like a boat.  After getting the panels all lofted, cut out and marked up I began putting it all together.    I first wired in the two side panels in an afternoon, spent the next day cutting and preparing the bow and transom panels and then an afternoon wiring those in.   I then spent an afternoon getting in more bolts and wires to just make sure it was coming together well and another afternoon ripping my mahogany into strips for the rails.   By the time this was all done I had what looked like a hull.

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Ready to start assembly

Panels beveled, marked and drilled for assembly

It has been a busy four days since I picked up my wood last Friday.  Over the weekend I managed to get the plans lofted and luckily caught and fixed my lofting mistake.  Yesterday I cut out the sides and bottom panels with my new pullsaw and went to pickup epoxy supplies at SystemThree.   Today I have beveled the edges of the panels, marked them up for drilling and fiberglass tape and got holes drilled on the bottom panel for wires.   This afternoon I am going to a friend’s house to use their table saw and cut rails.   So, I’m ready to roll on assembly tomorrow which is video #5 in the series of 30-odd videos on building this boat.    Hoping to get the sides wired onto the bottom tomorrow so I can loft out and cut the transom and bow pieces and then get those prepped and wired in on Thursday.   Within a week I’ll have gone from a stack of wood to something resembling a boat hull.   Hopefully by then it will have warmed up enough that I can start with epoxy work.

Measure twice (no three or four times) before you cut

Oops, a few mistakes but I caught it early and fiberglass will cover these extra holes anyway

I’ve spent the weekend lofting my plans onto the panels for the bottom and sides of the boat and finally have everything marked off and ready to cut.   This process involved making 1′ station lines across the boards then plotting points on offsets either from the bottom of the panel for the sides or the center line for the bottom.   The corners were a bit tricky on the sides since they involved offsets from the bottom as well as the side (transom) or the last 7′ line (bow).  I went through and re-measured all the offsets on the station lines  on both panels to make sure they were golden.  After I got the lines drawn in for the sides I started on the bottom.    With the bottom lines in and looking good I measured the arc length of the bottom, 89 3/4″ on both sides, perfect.   Then I measured the arc length on the side panel which should have been 90″.  Nope, it was 87 5/8″, what the heck?

So, I spent a half hour going back over all the measurements and found I had not double checked the bow and transom points on the side, my transom was fine but the bow was off – I had measured the horizontal offset wrong and had to move things to the correct spot, re-measured the arc length and had to move it just a smidge more to get it right.  Whew, glad I didn’t start cutting before triple checking all these measurements and making sure to check arc lengths.

Now onto cutting these panels and then starting to stitch them together before lofting and cutting out the transom and bow panels.  At this rate I should have something resembling a hull later in the week.

I’m gonna build me a boat with these two hands…

After last season at the lakes I decided that I wanted a boat so I could take Lira out fishing with me and keep from being so cold in my float tube.   I spent a lot of time looking at my options – a used jon boat, a small plastic boat or a wooden fly fishing pram.   I finally decided that a pram was the way to go and that instead of buying one I’d just try to build it on my own.  I haven’t built a boat before but have been in a homemade boat before and years ago read up on the whole process and now have the time to go for it.

The boat I’m building is called the Nymph 8 and was designed by Warren  Messer of Red Barn Boats.  I like the looks of this little pram, it appears it will fit in the back of the Tacoma no problem and there is an entire video series on YouTube where Warren builds the hull so I’ve got not only plans and instructions but videos to show me exactly what to do.

I downloaded the study plans and model, watched about half the videos then got the full plans and instructions last week and began planning out the project.  This week I picked up the materials to build the work platform and just ordered all the epoxy products from local SystemThree as well as the few tools I need still.  I will pick up the wood from Crosscut Hardwoods in Seattle in the next week and then can get building.   I’ll post regularly so you can follow along with the project.   Hopefully I can have the boat ready to launch around the time of the Western Lowland Lakes opener at the end of April.

Tips for the adult-onset hunter

I was given a shotgun the day I was born, that is how much my dad was into hunting back in 1960.   I grew up having him teach me to shoot and ultimately tagged along on many a hunting trip going after squirrels, rabbits and pheasant.   By the time I was 14 or 15 I was going out with friends fishing or hunting, sometimes both in a day.  My parents would drop us off in the woods with loaded shotguns and come back to pick us up hours later, it is amazing no one ever got hurt.  I did my last hunt as a teen home from college break, some college friends wanted to go bird hunting so I went along and bagged a pheasant which was possibly the first thing I ever shot on my own.

I stopped hunting shortly after that trip and didn’t do it for decades.  I kept fishing most of my adult life but it was almost all catch and release trout fishing.  I even gave up fishing for part of the time but ended up back into it since I just loved it so much.  When I got sick and needed to eat meat I got back into hunting which was a bit of a challenge as an adult even having grown up doing it.  Now there are aspiring adult-onset hunters or fishers out there and they face a big challenge getting into the sport.  Having done it I hope I can offer a bit of advice.

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Pheasant Thai Coconut Soup

While I usually pluck birds and roast them whole there are times when I either have one a bit shot up or too many birds to process that way in which case I breast them and take the  hindquarters (along with the heart, liver and gizzard for Lira.)   We use the breasts in place of chicken breasts in recipes and usually slow cook the the hindquarters in a creole, cacciatore or some other similar dish.   This last week I have had a bad cold and was in the mood for a Thai Tom Kha Gai soup so decided to try and make one from pheasant.   I merged together a few recipes I found on the web and came up with something delicious and  cleared out my sinuses.   The recipe is totally Paleo, Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free.

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2017 – A lot of firsts!

My seasons of 2017 – spring lake rainbows, spring turkey season, tenkara trout,  summer fly fishing, summer steelhead fishing, pheasant hunting, elk hunting, late deer season,  chukar hunting

I can hardly believe that 2017 is drawing to a close already, where did it go?   As I sit back and look over the year I realize that I have had one heck of a year with a lot of firsts.  For the first year in a while health was just not an issue, as you can tell from my lack of health related blog posts, so it freed me up to get back into fly fishing, to really get into hunting and to finally reach my goal of stocking my freezer by myself.   On top of spending almost one-third of my days in the field I was able to get out for daily hikes (and later runs) with Lira and still find time to work all year long.

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Getting the lead out

Growing up all we ever shot was lead and when I started hunting again I have to admit I used lead shotgun shells where I could and took my first deer with a lead bullet.  After that though I got religion and went lead free this season and found that non-toxic worked just as well as lead and is much better for the environment.  For more info on hunting with non-toxic ammo check out the Hunting With Non-Lead Ammunition website or this MeatEater blogpost.


Locally for pheasants I needed to use non-toxic shot because of the wetland habitat we hunt but this year I’ve only used non-toxic anywhere bird hunting.  I like the Federal Premium Prairie Storm FS Steel and that is all I’ve used now for two seasons.  The stuff takes down birds with either my 12 or 20 gauge shotguns.

For elk hunting I used a 140 grain Barnes TSX-BT bullet loaded with 55 grains of IMR 4831 powder in a .270 cartridge.  This bullet knocked my cow elk down in it’s tracks at about 150 yards no problem.  I had also loaded 130 grain Hornady GMX bullets for use with deer during Modern Firearm season, these use 56 grains of IMP 4831 and are great because I can use the lead SST bullet at the range and switch to the all copper GMX for hunting.

For muzzleloader I switched to a Federal Premium B.O.R. Lock 270 grain bullet and it knocked down the doe in its tracks no problem.   I had tried several bullets and found this one gave me the best patterns at 50 and 100 yards at the range plus performed well in the field so I am sticking with it.



Black powder deer

After filling my elk tag I kind of figured I was done with big game hunting for the year and that my Washington deer tag would go unfilled. I had hunted a few days during early muzzleloader season without so much as seeing a deer and figured that would be it.  When we thought we may have had a mix-up on the elk samples for CWD then I realized that late muzzleloader season was my last chance to put some meat in the freezer should I have to throw out my elk so I started looking again.  I put out cameras locally again but the farm was flooded so I started looking east of the mountains back to special unit 3372 by Sunnyside and unit 130 over by Cheney.  I opted for Cheney since I had seen no deer at all in 3372 so I made a plan and set up a trip in early December for a few days to hit unit 130.  I had scoped out the small amount of BLM land there and gotten a bit of intel and also found Miller Ranch which offered access to its private land mostly via guided hunts.  I talked to Scott Miller and he was very busy with bird hunters and another doe hunter but gave me an offer of a small trespass fee to hunt on my own and I took him up on it.  (I know this wasn’t a Public Land hunt which I fully support but I’m taking baby steps, on my own in private this year, on my own in public next and I’d so far struck out on public looking in early season.)  Of course a few days before the trip we finally got resolution on the elk, mine was safe, and I really didn’t need to do the hunt but decided to go anyway since it would be my first totally solo multi-day hunt and I had scouted out some nice looking canyons where I hoped the deer were hanging out.

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