An Outdoorsman's Dream

improvise and enjoy the view

Summer Bucket List – 2015

Excitement is a palpable emotion in Minnesota this time of year. Having seen and experienced rain, snow, temps in the 60s, and temps in the teens in just the last week or so, it’s safe to say that our annual roller coaster of Spring weather has begun. It can be mentally tormenting, but it’s also the impetus for adventure planning. In that same time frame, I have pored over BWCAW maps, scoured Google Earth for hidden trout streams, reviewed maps of Northern forest service roads, planned this year’s garden, and created a 2015 Bucket List of items and activities that for one reason or another must be accomplished before new snow flies this October. Yes, as yesterday’s late-March snow melts, I am actively contemplating the arrival of next winter’s first snow. Fact is, we have a relatively short window to explore and learn during the warmer months. Anyway, here’s a short list of what’s on the docket this year:

  • Finish the Canoe by May
  • Plant an Efficient, High-Yield Garden
  • Grow and Use Hops in a Beer Recipe
  • Build a Backyard Fence
  • When Possible, Bike Everywhere
  • Visit Ely
  • Get Lost In / Near Chippewa National Forest
  • Visit Forestville / Mystery Cave State Park
  • Visit Whitewater State Park
  • Canoe, Hike, and Camp at Hogback Lake
    • Memorial Day
  • Lebanon Hills – Portage Practice!
  • Superior Hiking Trail
  • Bask in the Glory of the BWCAW
  • Provide as many swimming opportunities for Nugget and Sally (our labs) as possible.
  • Run a Half Marathon
  • Help Mr. Beaver (family cabin neighbor) Clear Deadfall
  • Attempt to spend more time with family at the cabin.
  • Shoot Clays – At Least Twice
  • Harvest Wild Rice
    • Season: 8/15 – 9/30
    • Permit: $30
  • Harvest Morel Mushrooms
    • Season: Late spring – soaking rain, followed by warm temps (upper 60s to 70s).
  • Harvest Wild Berries
    • Season: Mid-August into September
  • Catch and Eat Trout (And release a whole lot more!)
    • SE Season: 4/18 – 9/14
  • Hunt Pheasants
    • Season: 10/10 – 1/03
  • Hunt Grouse
    • Season: 9/19 – 1/03
  • Hunt Deer
    • Archery Season: 9/19 – 12/31

Time to get started…

Red Cedar, Color All Around

A few photos of the canoe off the stations. The exterior has been fiberglassed completely, and the interior has been sealed – waiting for warmer days to complete the glass job.

Filler Coat

We’ve entered another mild cold snap, but managed to squeeze in some resin work before the chill arrived. Having completed the remaining sanding work earlier this week, we took advantage of a clear, dry night in the upper 50s to roll on the interior sealer coat. In addition, I also padded the stems with a thick helping of filler (epoxy resin mixed with a generous helping of cedar flour, almost peanut butter-like). Now, the cedar is showing its true colors throughout the boat. The sealer coat revealed quite a few sanding blemishes and leftover glue spots scattered throughout the interior, but we have come to terms with that. They could be removed in the next sand, but in some ways we enjoy the imperfections. They give the piece some character. Plus, this is a working canoe. We’ve had to continually remind ourselves that we are not artists, nor craftsmen, but are instead average folks with average woodworking skills trying to build an exceptionally functional cedar strip canoe. Certainly on pace to meet that goal! Here is a timelapse of our most recent progress:

Once the newly added resin cures completely, we’ll give it a light sand and then fill in any remaining cracks and uneven spots. From there, it will be on fiberglass finale…laying cloth to the interior.

What’s so good about the BWCA?

Now that I’m back to work on the canoe, I’m often lost in thinking about our weeklong trip to the BWCA that’s planned for September.  These kids have me jazzed up about the wilderness.

Back to sanding after a mild winter!

Spring has come early, and it’s certainly a welcomed development! With air temps in the 40s and 50s and the bugs a long ways away, it’s the perfect time for me finish sanding the interior of my canoe-in-progress. I’ll be working on a touch-up sand tonight, and will hopefully (pending warmth and sun for the resin) be applying a healthy dose of fiberglass filler to the interior cracks and blemishes after work tomorrow. Then, we’ll be on to laying the fiberglass cloth to the interior, which is looming as perhaps the most daunting phase of the project. Completion goal: Memorial Day. Let’s do this!

Dusty Hands

Dusty Hands

Cured Fiberglass, Vibrant Wood

I snapped a few photos of the canoe this morning, a little over 12 hours after laying down the fiberglass. In short, I’m ecstatic about the result. No bubbles, full contact, full wet out, and a nice, matte finish are the pillars of successful glassing, and we’ve got a nice showing of each. Up next I’ll give the glass a light sanding. Once that’s done, I’ll roll on a thin filler coat and sand that, at which point it will be time to take her off the strongback. It’s now a race against time as fall comes barreling into Minnesota in full force. However, if I can get the entire boat glassed by the first week of October, there will still be hope for getting it in the water this year.

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