Monday, May 14, 2012

Visit our new web home!

This is the last post on Elsah Boat.  With our move we came up with a more mobile name.
Please visit our new web home at this link:
Sea State Marine
Elsah boat will remain up on blogger.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mississippi River Carp Tours

On Saturday morning we had visitors from Yarmouth, Colorado and a Elsah native take us up on a free boat ride in the skiff.  Eifel and I showed them a good time with frequent engine stalling in the shipping channel, two island stops and a fantastic carp frenzy.
Take a look.
The Elsah native (since 1953) had never been out to the islands 600 feet away!  I will not mention his name.  These locals need some boats.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Location Location Location

The house we were renting in Elsah just got a contract on it, so we have to raise anchor.  There is no place that is right for us in Elsah so we are crossing the river to a great house in Chesterfield, MO.
Oriental, NC. is a couple of years off.
The new place has a detached garage that will be the new boat shop. Plus, it is on an acre of hill top that has some of the biggest trees around. They are beautiful and a great substitute for a gantry.
For now we will keep the blog named Elsah Boat until the new name presents itself.  We will also continue to launch in Elsah often.  Our new location is very close to a bend on the Missouri, so we will find a good launch site here as well.
Here is a link to the area we will likely be exploring next:
Howel Island

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Back to business: paddles

Now that the river skiff is finished, we are turning our attention back to paddles.  More specifically, composite SUP paddles.
The plugs of our designs from Seattle are the guinea pigs for our vacuum bagging learning curve.
During the last few weeks we have made molds of one of the blades and also designed and molded two additional blades.
The newer blades are sleeker and redesigned with input from Hemel.  They are looking for a racing SUP blade with more width at the tip of profile.
Racers like maximum leverage on the water without too deep an immersion.
Here are some photos of what we have been up to...
The first mold of blade #1

Front of mold and it's plug

Sucking it up

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mississippi River Skiff: rowing like Lincoln

We had a trip out to Elsah Bar, a tiny island on the Mississippi. (It is the island above the "B" in the blog title photo.)
Patrick M. joined us.  He is a well known Abe Lincoln performer.   He said that one of the earliest stories we know of Lincoln was as a young boy, Abe was asked by two fellows for a row out to a stern wheeler.  Lincoln obliged and as they boarded the big boat, they turned around and tossed in two silver half dollars in to Abe's row boat.
Lincoln later said of the incident  "for a poor boy to earn a dollar in a day made him feel like there was maybe a future for him"!
The boat he rowed was most likely similar to the river skiff we got to row around today.

For all the posts on this skiff, use the search window on the right for "Mississippi River Skiff".

Here are photos of Eifel and Patrick rowing around the island...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mississippi River Skiff: Christening

We christened the skiff this weekend and had great fun trying it out with the Johnson 25.
The 1970 Johnson is a little more than is needed to drive the hull (an 8hp would be plenty).
But it is sporty!

We did get a little rowing in and tried rowing one oar per station.  It worked well.  We used the sculling hole with a paddle as a rudder.

Here are some photos and a video:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mississippi River Skiff update: Epoxy Primekote

This week we applied Interlux Epoxy Primekote to the hull.  I like this primer.
It does stink to high heaven but provides a very hard sandable surface with just the right amount of body.
We will give it two days and sand and spray a second coat.
After getting some hand's on experience spraying polyester gel-coat, I am now leaning toward Interlux Perfection Hatteras White for the top coat.
The gel-coat is awesome, hard and buffable to a high gloss, but this is a big boat.

We are using gel-coat on our new paddles and are learning the tricks.
The paddle blades we are working on are plugs.  We will fabricated the finished blades out of carbon, glass, and vinyl-ester.
It is a new wonderful world but it stinks, even with a great respirator.
This weekend the skiff gets it official christening.
We will be launching it in Elsah, under the River Road overpass.

Pictures of the day will be posted.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sea Horse comes alive

After a long sleep the Johnson 25 woke right up.
We cleaned out one of the steel tanks by putting in a couple pounds of nuts and bolts and shaking it up.  This scoured the rusty bits and sludge.  We then emptied it out, rinsed it out with some kerosene, then heated it up with a gas torch to burn out the nasty residue.
A couple pin holes turned up so we brazed them then repainted the bottom.
New fuel line fittings (Johnson fittings, filter and bulb) were added with a new hose.
Next we filled up a trash can with water and crossed our fingers.
Five pulls and it fires right up.  I was worried it might be a $50 lemon.  But even then, old 2 cycles are really easy to repair.
Fortunately, no repairs needed.  We will replace the impeller soon, but it is pumping water now.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Stump Lake

Nice weather and weekends rarely coincide around here, but they did yesterday.  So we flipped the skiff, dropped it on the trailer and headed up river to Stump lake.  It is an old slough off the Illinois river surrounded by low flood plain and forests.  The corps of Engineers  has small dykes in places that you can portage over to get to other sloughs and eventually the Illinois.
To see a map, click on this link: Google Map of Stump Lake
Duncan Eifel and I improved our rowing and covered some distance.  We pulled into an elaborate duck blind with a tin roof, a couple rooms and a dog kennel.  We also found a rollover portage put in by the Illinois DNR.  It was fun.
See the video below.

Rolling down the river!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

River skiff view

Here is a view of the skiff from the roof .
Today we are re-sanding and re-fairing the hull.  The plan is to get as perfect a finish as we can possibly achieve.  We are weighing epoxy primer then Perfection paint or gelcoat and buffing.
I'm leaning toward gel coat.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mississippi River Skiff update: Trials

In the rain and fog we launched the skiff at Piasa harbor and rowed out to the sand bars in the Mississippi channel.  The boat is great.  It has great stability and with it's flaired stern sections, hardens up in a heel.  We had 5 eager sailors and we calculated a total weight of 600 pounds.
Rowing was fun but we need practice!  With all the weight the boat had great carry and tracked straight as an arrow with the skeg.
We couldn't wait for the delivery of the epoxy primer so the boat still looks like an ugly duckling.
Beauty shots will follow soon.

Sand bar and duck blind in the Mississippi

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mississippi River Skiff update: Oar leathers

We needed some oar leathers for our new oars.  So I drove to S & T Leather in St. Louis city.  The place is a wholesale supply and has a small city sales area.  We just needed a small bit of tanned leather, some artificial sinew, and a punch for this project.
It was easy work with this punch.  It cuts in 4 perfect holes.
I just drew a straight line 1/4 inch in on each side of the cut leather and punched holes down the line.
The sinew was doubled and was easy sewing in front of the TV.
We watched "Exit through the Gift Shop"
It is a very good documentary about street graffiti artists and a film maker.
It was long enough to finish one leather.
Now I just need three more good movies...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sea Horse !

Through good luck and clean living we happened upon a well cared for, garage find.
It is a 1970, 25 horsepower Johnson Sea Horse.
Fifty Dollars!
It is a manual start and has high compression.  I'm slightly scared of it. The largest outboard I've had was a 6hp.  My favorite was a Yamaha 2.5.  So this one is ten times as powerful at least.
Someday it will make the Mississippi River Skiff fly.
We are getting close to sea trials for the skiff.  It will be strictly oars for the near future.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mississippi River Skiff update: Bow Eye

Today we installed the bow eye.  To do this, we drilled through the brass cutwater from the rear.  Before it was installed we drilled a centered hole through the bow stem.  Now all we had to do was chase it out to get a centered hole in the cutwater.
The SeaDog bow eye has two pins to keep it it from spinning.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


We purchased some great horned oarlocks from Duck Works.
They are beautiful bronze castings and at 17.45 bucks a pair, awesome.
The old oarlock sockets we found in Oriental, NC. are slightly oversized, too small for a 5/8 ths inch shaft oar lock, but a little loose for standard 1/2 inch.
The easiest solution was to pull out the hard stick silver solder and the torch.
This solder is about 10% silver and requires a fairly high heat.  It is not the stuff you find at the hardware store.  It can be found at professional plumber's supply.  HVAC guys use it as well.
I used the oxy/acetylene torch to get the bronze close to red hot then the silver flows onto it without any flux needed.
Once the shaft had what looked like enough material and cooled off,  we used the bench grinder and wire wheel to make the rough places plane.
Now the locks have a close tolerance and will make for more pleasant rowing.