Saturday, December 22, 2007

Do what to the who now?

I got up early to check the Weather-out-the-Window(tm) forecast this morning, and it looked promising:

Then I checked DUATS. Winds: something-in-the-teens gusting something-in-the-twenties. Too rich for my blood; I folded.

That decision, of course, left me with an empty day to fill. The kayak is just about done and is so close, in fact, that I've been hoarding jobs like a widow hoards cats. I only have a few minor things to do until there's nothing left but the varnishing. I decided to spend one of my projects today: the installation of the backband. The backband is a kind of floating cushion to acts as lower back support while paddling. You can see in the photos how it works. Note the bungee cord behind it that supports it in position, because I'm going to talk about it a little bit.

You run the bungee cord through four little hoops sewn into the back of the backband cushion, and then knot it to keep it in place. Here are the instructions for knotting it:

Next, tie the bungee in a loop which passes through all four loops on the back of the backband. Use a simple, loose overhand knot near one end, then follow the knot backwards with the other end and pull the resulting knot tight.

Ok, the first part was easy. The second part? Do what??

It took me 20 minutes to figure that out!

The final step is to screw a couple of clamps into the under side of the coaming, which could only be done with a stubby Phillips head screwdriver. At this point I encountered what I call a Tool Dispersal Issue(tm), which is when the tool I need is in the hangar and I'm at home, or vice-versa. That was an excuse to get the Miata out for a short drive, since it's been sequestered in the back of the garage, parked in my the snow plow/lawn tractor.

In any event, the backband is now installed:

The only two jobs left are installing the deck lines (more bungee cords that are mounted to the top of the deck and are used to hold things in place, like the bilge pump and possibly a packed lunch), and the hatch covers. Once those two are done, there's nothing left except varnishing and re-doing the fore end pour that I screwed up last month.

What's next? Good question. I'm still kicking around the idea of the sail boat, but I'm not sure I want to spend the money. The kayak was expensive, the sail boat would be more than twice what the kayak cost, once you include the sails and related gear. The project itself looks great, though, and I'm sure I'd enjoy it every bit as much as I did the kayak. It's a dilemma.

I also thought about some other things I could do down there (and yes, it has to be a basement project) that would be cheaper, like build an R/C plane, but I'm not sure of that either. The problem with an R/C plane, for example, is that while the kit itself isn't much, I would eventually want to put and engine and radio in it, and that alone would be over $400. And, well, you know, I have a real airplane to fly. So I'm not sure I'd actually use an R/C plane all that much. And that is a requirement: I only want to build things that I can use.

I'm taking a class at the A&P school starting Jan 7, so at this point I'm more or less waiting to see how that affects my desire to be down in the basement with a project. It might be enough just to be at school two nights a week. That will carry me through until Spring, when it gets a lot easier to do things outside. Like, you know, kayaking!

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