Kayak Construction, gluing the cockpit reinforcement

After a couple of days of it being too cold to glue, yesterday I glued the 4 pieces of cockpit reinforcement that I cut on Tuesday. The instructions said to mix in some wood flour into the epoxy to make it “the consistency of honey”, which is odd because I think of normal epoxy as being about that consistency normally. It also didn’t say how much to mix up, so I did one squirt of resin (1 ounce) and hardener (1/2 ounce).

Before I mixed in the flour, I used some of the epoxy to fix one of the joins where the cloth actually came up off the wood – I crammed in the epoxy with the stir stick and then put the mylar sheet on top and several brick on top. I wasn’t expecting perfection, but I’m hoping it will be less obvious that it was before.

The gluing went ok, but I nearly ran out of epoxy at the end. The first one had lots of epoxy running out the side when I put the bricks on, and the last had absolutely none.

This evening I checked on it and took off the bricks. The join fix came out about as well as I’d hoped – it sticks up a bit and it’s obvious if you look, but I think it won’t be horribly obvious to bystanders. I’m hoping it will be less obvious when it comes time to glass the whole thing. (But if you want to embarrass me, it should be on the left side of the deck very near the stern)

The reinforcement plates had the usual sorts of problems. One of them stuck to the table where the spillage missed the plastic I’d put under it, and I had to scrape off the stuck on table wood with the cabinet scraper. Another one had some scmutz from the brick stuck to the top, and I scraped that off as well. But the one where I’d used up the last of the epoxy seems to be stuck on good and tight, so no worries there.


One of the trials and tribulations and also one of the fun challenges of my job is that I get vague bug reports on something the QA person sees sometimes and not others. Our QA people don’t do a very good job of tracking exactly what they did and what they did differently between the ones that work and the ones that don’t. Ok, sometimes that’s our fault as developers for not logging enough, but it would be nice if they could tell you, for example, that the one that didn’t work used to be on the schedule before it was removed from the schedule while the one that does work has never appeared on the schedule.
Continue reading “D’oh!”

Java Exceptions

I swear, the next person I discovered declaring a method as “throws Exception” is going to get a kick in the balls. Serously, what sort of fucked up code are you writing that you can’t even tell what type of exceptions it’s going to throw? It’s head up your ass lazyness, pure and simple. And it poisons the code all up the line because your callers have to do the same, and then their callers, all the way up to whoever is handling the exceptions.

Hey bozos!

Our computers are put together for one thing, and one thing only – to run a theatre complex. And we give the users restricted logins that log them into a IceWM environment where they can’t do anything that they’re not supposed to. Everything on the machine is spec’ed for that purpose.

Today I get an urgent call – a site that is sort of a customer, and sort of a subsidiary had their system locked up, and when they tried to reboot, it complained that PostgresSQL wouldn’t start up. I’ve seen that happen before, so I asked their contact person to check if the root partition is full. Sure enough, it was. But of course they had no fucking clue how it could have filled up. “We didn’t do anything”, the constant cry of the clueless. I told them do to a “du -x | sort -n” on the root partition to see where the bulk of the files are. Turns out that there was 1.6Gb of stuff in /root/Desktop/Trash, and when they emptied the trash and rebooted, everything was fine.

I explained that our root partition is sized based on the premise that nobody would be logging into the console as root (I left out “unless they know what they’re doing”, because they obviously don’t.) They explained they “have” to do that because they have to preview the content that they’re preparing, and they can only do that as root.

I somehow resisted the urge to say “Either get a fucking clue or stop logging in as root”, and just responded “With great power comes great responsibility”. Next time they fill up the root partition and call me, I’m going to uninstall every desktop environment except IceWM.

Joining finished, on to cockpit reinforcement

On Monday I turned over the panels to do the last side. Once again, I had to do a lot of scraping with a cabinet scraper to deal with epoxy that had seeped under the panel, and cutting with the carpet knife to try to restore the original edges of the piece. Rob came over to see how it was going, and it was good to have somebody to talk to while I worked, although it did distract me. I actually mixed the epoxy and was getting ready to apply it when I realized I hadn’t put any plastic wrap underneath, and was in danger of sticking the pieces to the work bench. Fortunately with two of us working it didn’t take long to put the plastic wrap under.

This fourth side benefited from the experiences from the other three, so it went pretty quickly and well. The only problem was that it also was harmed by how ratty the mylar sheets were – I got some voids because of gunk stuck to them, and because they’ve started to turn up at the edges a bit. Definitely next time I’ll buy enough mylar to use new ones each time.

Tuesday I finished that job, again with lots of cabinet scraper and sanding block and carpet knife action. And it was too cold to epoxy, which was just fine because I spend another half hour or so trimming the pieces that are going to be glued under the cockpit to reinforce it. It’s kind of strange that the kit comes with all these CNC cut plywood pieces, and then just two chunks of uncut plywood and instructions to cut the reinforcement (and later the seat) out of them. You’d think they’d cut all of the pieces.

Next job is gluing those pieces on, and then bevelling the shear edges. I’m not 100% sure how I’m going to do that. I suspect a Shure-form tool would be too agressive.