The Online Magazine For Amateur Boat Builders

by Chief Redelk
Guest Columnist


Redelk is Chief of the Many Nations Tribe. Fortunately for us he often dispenses his compelling brand of practical, homespun advice and humor on the Duckworks Discussion Group. The following is an excerpt from one such exchange:

About the epoxy problem that you are having. QUIT using that stuff as of now. I gave up on that 25 years ago. I LIKE the old way of using Chines. To me it is faster, cheaper, and does the job. Like the farmer said about his wife. She ain't no Marlyn Monroe but she gets the job done. People make life too difficult. PL Premium glue, sheet rock screws, Tight Bond II or III, fiberglass tape, Porch and Deck enamel and a few cheap tools from Big Lots can take you a long way down the river in a nice boat and you can say, like the farmer, "I made er myself, yep she warn't much when first met but look at er now, a real beauty after all these years of hard docking".

A boat built strong and covered with that open weave 100 percent cotton straight from China found in Big Lots paint department incorrectly called Paint Drop Cloths will look great, float for a long long time and the wood can't and wont check. Those chines are covered also. Once not too long ago, boat building was like giving birth to a grandfather clock and the thing had to be water proof. In this day of cheap religion and fancy glues we can toss a boat together easy while the little wife sits and admires her man, muscles rippling, sawdust a-flying. Those dumb folks at the lake who still believe a boat has to be built by a magacian will admire you for what you built even if secretly they do feel sorry for you in that wooden boat and all. The Merchant Missionaries are still preaching that Wooden boats are a thing of the past, that they have a short life span and are not worth building, and for our salvation they offer Fiberglass bedded in Polyester resin and metal boats. Alumimum begin the high priest of them all. It is said that "Men die for lack of knowledge", but I say unto you, "They also live in misery and go broke for lack of knowledge.".

I love beating the system and like a chess player make my moves a few steps ahead of them and when I find a cheap way to build something and do it quickly then that is the trail I follow to the pond of peace. Chine logs can be cut on a cheap table saw and the money saved will make your wife fat since you can take her out to eat more often. Your kids will know that pie are not always round but equalls 3.14 since they went to college on the money you saved on buiding the ark. You will look half your age at 60 since you did not worry nor spend all your time breathing epoxy fumes like your long deceased buddy did and after all you may be able to purchase those boats he ain't using no more., That is if you talk to his very unhappy widow. After all she did not get to go out and socialize much with the cost of all those years of her sickly hubby coughing, with weeping eyes, while he was spending every dime they could rake and scrape on epoxy.

One of my favorite boats is built out of nothing more than Luan. That stuff tried to delaminate before my eyes, while I was building the boat. I just made repairs, let it get wet a time or two in order to find the weak spots and got the boat finished. Then I covered the bottom and both ends all the way up to the spray rail with cloth and 9 dollars per gallon porch and deck enamel from Big Lots. Oh yes, I hear they are going up to 12 dollars per gallon. Wish I had stocked up instead of taking my lovely wife out to the all you can eat resturant. Maybe if I had been spending more time fishing instead of grinding on a boat we would have had enough fish at home. Then again she likes all that fancy stuff they serve with the fish. Just messes up the meal. Once you get to eating all that other stuff you get full and can only eat half enough fish to get your money back. I always take a beating on those all you can eat places. I think they got me figgured out. WHY in the world would I sit and eat beans and corn bread when that is all I got at home. I guess maybe it is like a spider eathing a grass hopper, "It's all in what we get used to."

Anyway UNLESS you are just one of those sick people who really like having something to talk about and would never take the cure anyway even if one were invented, make some changes. AND If you want a fresh air breathing machine get one of those old 12 dollar fans from the dollar store, my other hang out, besides that, they got air conditioning. Those fans have several speed controls. That alone is worth 25 bucks. Toss those blades and hook it up to an old car blower. Intall that in a box add a filter and using a flexible hose like the one on my swimming pool for Wal-Mart. You know the one that the filter uses and you can see through it. Use a cheap swim mask. It covers your eyes and your mouth and nose. Blow that air into the mast but drill some holes so the air can excape and keep saw dust blown away from your vision. Those air holes will help you NOT feel the wind in your face so badly also. Then IF the pressure is to much, push a button and slow the motor a bit. While hooked up to that it would be a great idea to keep the Pit Bull on a chain until he gets used to seeing you that way. If you are a chain smoker it would be good if you would get a patch. Once you get used to this Constant Pressure device you may find you like sleeping while wearing it. Your wife will take some time getting used to it and kissing is out of the question, however the added romantic time due to not getting out of breath before the clock strikes 3 may sell you on the idea.

I have built a lot of boats using my "Cheaper is better" ideas and have never had to burn one yet. When a still a kid, and doing military duty in Japan I did get away from the "cheaper is better idea." But like an addict I went back a bit and found that with SOME THINGS Cheaper is the ONLY way to go. Have a great day, Chief.