Make Things Happen
by Mike Green firstname.lastname@example.org
There's one of those cute and sometimes intimidating quips that
goes, "Some folks make things happen. Some folks watch
what happens. And some folks wonder, What happened?"
I belong to the first group, I would rather do something
than watch it be done by others. I enjoy participating
more than spectating. I do it for the personal pleasure
I get by accepting the challenge to do something new.
|For years I have been contemplating
building a boat. Now you must understand, Iım not the handiest guy with a metal
tape measure and pencil. But I do enjoy puttering with wood, and saws and drills,
and glue and paint. I have managed to build a few things for use around the house
and yard without losing any of my fingers in the process. So, I consider myself a
||But building a boat was a bit
intimidating for me because it appeared to be too technical for my level of understanding
and experience. Yet the desire to do it continued to pester me for years. And
for years I kept promising myself, "One day Iım gonna build me a boat."
(One advantage of procrastination is that it keeps one from doing something poorly or
|Of course reading several
boat, canoe, and kayak magazines every month did nothing to reduce the desire and in fact
it fanned the inspirational flame.
more I read about "tack and tape" boat building, the more convinced I was that I
could do it. The magazines are full of boat kits one can order from the designer. I
wanted to find the simplest kit for my first attempt.
| I looked at many and sent away
for some of the plans. I finally selected Uncle Johnıs Pirogue (unclejohns.com). It was simple, inexpensive,
and Uncle John supplied all the difficult parts. I did not have to do any compound
cutting. Which was a relief because I have trouble measuring the same distance down
two different sides of a sheet of plywood!
|I had a chance to meet
John at a boat show in Biloxi. After speaking with him and seeing a boat he had
built I was convinced this was something I could do. So I did.
|| With a minimum of money
and a free week, I built and launched my first boat. My heart swelled with quiet
pride. The first couple of days I kept thinking, "Im really sailing my own home
built boat." I felt the same exhileration I had felt as a kid when I sailed
with a 6th grade friend on a boat he and his dad had built in their garage. I had a
ball building the pirogue! But sailing it was even more fun. It wasnıt
designed for sail but I found a good and easy sail plan from a canoe web sight and made a
sail from polytarp. I have sinced sailed and paddled Lilly in all kinds of weather,
during the day and far into the night.
|She is lightweight, easy to portage,
and she slips across the water like a leaf in a breeze. And for all her lightness
and apparent fragility, she has held up well. With her extremely shallow draft, she
has carried me to some quiet spots up the creek accessable only to the shore birds.
I cannot think of a way to have more fun and relaxation with less expense. (To see
more of my adventures with Lilly, visit unclejohns.com/boat/mike.)
|A funny thing happened to me by
completing Lilly. The desire to build a boat was both satisfied and intensified!
It was only a matter of time before I did it again. Recently, I
finished another one of Uncle Johnıs boat kits. This time it was the Skiff.
Building the skiff is a bit more involved than the pirogue. But it was by no means
difficult. I used epoxy and fiberglass to cover the bottom and to tape all the
This was a much
improved method over the polyester resin and glass I used on the pirogue. Knowing
nothing about epoxy, Uncle John put me in touch with Larry Steeves at raka.com in Delray Beach Florida. Larry was very
helpful. He sent me materials and a fact sheet on epoxy, itıs benefits and the
correct handling of it. For me, the biggest advantage of epoxy over polyester resin
is the lack of toxic fumes. And the epoxy was easier to mix in correct
proportions. I used a two to one ratio. That is, two parts of epoxy to one
part hardener. Pretty simple. I only had one batch go off too quick.
But, Iıll never use polyester resin again!
|When I launched the skiff (Guppie) she
sat very daintily on the water. She is primarily a rowing skiff. But I have
this addiction to sailing boats. So, I made her to sail. I simply followed
Uncle Johns instructions for the rudder and daggerboard and used Lillyıs mast and
sail. Lillyıs sail rig is eighteen months old now and is holding up just fine.
Total cost of it was about ten dollars!
||Guppie and I sailed across the lake
and spent the afternoon getting acquainted. She is a delight.Iım looking
forward to spending more time with her.
|Are you a spectator? Would you
like to join the ranks of participants? Maybe thereıs an affordable boat in your
near future. If the thought of building a boat is intimidating, let me encourage
you. I believe by using the simple plans available from folks like Uncle John, you
can. Go slow, take your time, and enjoy the process. Itı should be fun, so
donıt take it too seriously.
||I have no special tools, and no
workshop. I used common carpenter tools and built the pirogue on my upstairs
apartment porch! The skiff was built in my neighborıs carport. And now I have
two boats! Itıs pretty incredible really. And Iım already thinking of
building a third boat. Of course it will be bigger and more challenging.
|This boat building thing is
addicting. Iım happy to be learning that the old saying isnıt true. Old dogs can
learn new tricks! Cımon, you guys!