I’m exhausted

I just want to lie here and sleep for two days, but I can’t convince Vicki to spoon feed me. After buying my new kayak, I of course had to fix the canoe rack.

I build the rack a few years back to store the cedar strip canoe that I build when I was in college, and also a Peterborough canoe that I bought in the 1990s to restore. The Peterborough was a classic canoe from the 1930s and this one had been badly treated – the school that had owned it had slapped coat after coat of fibreglas over it, and patched it very sloppily. I had hopes of restoring it, but found that because of my knees I couldn’t stand at a work bench for hours at a time like I had when I’d built my cedar strip. So it’s been languishing, and I’m afraid I’ve mistreated it something fierce. It’s probably not salvagable for anything now, but I can’t bring myself to break it up and throw it away. When I built the rack, I was just starting to paddle my cedar strip canoe for exercise, and I had high hopes of buying a better solo canoe after I’d been doing it for a while.

The rack had a fatal flaw – the base cross piece and the uprights weren’t strong enough in rotation and the uprights fell down (they weren’t upright any more). Also, I originally designed it with dowels as cross pieces to put the canoes on, but I didn’t use big enough ones and they broke when the canoes got snow on them. So a while back I replaced one of the cross pieces with a 2×4.

So today, I decided to put a plywood gusset plate between the uprights and the base piece. I hope that’s the right terminology – we called them gusset plates when I was designing steel frames in civil engineering school, anyway. It’s a flat plate that helps to transfer the bending moment between a column and a beam. Vicki understood exactly what I meant when I said it, but she’s really really smart so that doesn’t help me knowing if it’s in common usage.

I also had to put another 2×4 cross piece so I could put both canoes and the new kayak. I had the 2×4 left over from when I put in the first one, so I needed to buy half a sheet of plywood, some nails, and some of those TimberLock things. Damn, they’re cool – you just put them up against the wood, press the trigger on the drill, and “voop”, they’re in.

Home Depot had half sheets of pretty crappy looking plywood for $25, and full sheets of this really nice looking hard wood plywood for $30. I decided to get the full sheet – I figured the hard wood plywood would take the weather better. I asked a clerk to cut it in half, and he did. Or at least, he tried to, but instead cut it so one piece was 44 inches and one was 52 inches. Unfortunately, I’m too honest to say “no, I wanted two 48 inch pieces, take this back and cut me another one”, and instead accepted one 48 inch piece and one 44 inch piece after he made another cut. I didn’t even ask for a discount. I’m such a wuss.

Once I got home I cut the 48 inch piece along the diagonal, and then cut 4 inches off the “top” point. I nailed the old base wood along the diagonals, and then attached them to the uprights. A couple of Timberlocks to put them in place, and then a bunch of nails along the uprights for security, and everything is working fine. I nearly burned out my drill doing it, and had to use a manual socket driver to get some of the Timberlocks all the way in when they ran into knots or other dense wood.

I got it all together, and cut and scraped myself enough that it got enough blood on it to make sure it will all work. I dropped a sheet of plywood on my foot and my toe is trobbing, and I pulled a muscle near my elbow, but mostly I’m just exhausted. My shoulders and arms are sore and tired. But man I’m glad I did it.

Doesn’t it look nice?