Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Yoke's Final Touches

The finished yoke.

With the end fittings installed so the yoke can be attached to the gunwales of the canoe, this is what the finished yoke looks like.  (I don’t think you can beat the beauty of cherry wood.)  Instead of probably $110 for the commercially created yoke with shipping cost and hardware, I probably have less than $10 in this, plus the satisfaction of creating it myself.

End clamp detail.  To keep the bar from twisting and coming undone,
the outboard end is routed to grip the top of the gunwale, and the
inboard end is cut to sit over a brass key set into the step or post.

 The pads are two pieces of 4 X 8” by ¾” inch marine Harborlite plywood.  Harborlite is certainly not cheap, but I had this on hand from previous boat projects.  Any exterior plywood with the end grains sealed and the entire block then painted would provide good service.  I contact-glued four pieces of closed-cell foam together to fit on the plywood.  Two bolts were set through the plywood and epoxied in place, and the end grain of the ply was also epoxied.  The bolts are 3.5” apart so they will span the width of the yoke regardless of where the pads cross the yoke.  Two pieces of aluminum bar stock were cut and drilled to fit over the bolts and grip the yoke, and two wing nuts completed the need for quick but secure tightening.  The finishing touch was wrapping the pads in vinyl covered material.  I would have preferred stapling the vinyl on with Monel or stainless staples, but had depleted my supply on hand, and such things are not available in NW Oklahoma.

The yoke and pads fitted on Buffalo Gal, the Mohawk Odyssey 15.

Here’s something you may wish to consider if you haven’t already done so.  In the lower left corner of the picture with the yoke in place on Buffalo Gal, you will see a bright orange sticker.  This is a USCG “Vessel Identification Sticker for Canoe, Kayak, or Rowboat."  The one I have on the boat is an earlier edition of the one pictured, but the function is the same.  Before attaching the sticker to the boat, you should take an indelible marker and provide your name and a couple phone numbers.  The rugged adhesive holds the vinyl sticker in place for years. The Coast Guard, along with Natural Resources departments and police agencies, have had problems for years with finding small craft sunk, stranded, or floating down a river with no identification on them.  They don’t know if the boat has been stolen, if it simply floated away from the shore, or if it means that someone is in distress.  Being able to establish ownership and contact someone with knowledge of why the boat may be where it was found, and if they know whether someone is supposed to be paddling with it, goes a long way to returning lost or stolen boats, or to initiate searches and rescues if there’s no apparent reasons why the paddler and boat have been separated.  The USCG Auxiliary has had the stickers on hand in years past, so they may be the first place to find several free stickers for your craft.

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