Corbin's Treehouse - Corbin Dunn, Santa Cruz, CA
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The 'General' Category

Adventures of Corbin: Japan, Starring Lexi

Late last year, Lexi told me that she wanted to go to Japan. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and I figured this would be an awesome opportunity for me to go check out the country. I imagined I would eventually go with a my friends Nathan and Grace, who have a strong connection to the country and would love to do some type of cycling adventure (particularly, uni!). But that hasn’t panned out, and this was a great time to go. Lexi had images of skiing in super light powder in Hokkaido, and that was her primary goal.... [read more]


Chesapeake 16LT Kayak: It hits the water

In October 2016 I got a wooden kayak kit. In February 2017 it finally hit the water! It took a little longer than I expected, but I’m happy with the result! Here I am taking it in the water for the first time. I worked from home this day and quickly left for the Santa Cruz harbor as soon as I was done. It was a dark and stormy day, but I still wanted to try paddling in it. Lexi gave me a hand getting it in the water, and I took off. The kayak handles awesome. This is the... [read more]


Chesapeake 16LT Kayak: Part 14 – Finished.

Happy days are here! Actually, most all my days are happy days, but the kayak is done! I installed the seat and hatch straps. The seat is just some foam glued in, and in the picture below you can see a brick holding it down while it dries:   Later I added some elastic tie downs; I left things a little long so I can later tweak it a bit. The next problem I had was where to keep it. I fabricated some quick brackets out of old 2x4s and screwed them to my wall. I then topped it with... [read more]


Chesapeake 16LT Kayak: Part 13: Wet sanding

I did some wet sanding on the kayak after the first coat. The directions say to use 400 grit, but I wet sanded the first two coats with 320, and then switched to 400 for the next two coats. I grabbed my Go Pro Hero 5 Black and set it up to do a time lapse while I sanded. I edited the footage using my 27″ iMac using Final Cut Pro X. It chugged a bit, as there were a TON of pictures to process, but it wasn’t too hard to create a short little video. Griffin Hammond has created... [read more]


Chesapeake 16LT Kayak Part 12: Starting the finishing process

I was gone for a few weeks in Japan, so progress on the kayak has been slow. I’m back to doing some work on it. First I had to sand it a ton. 80 grit, 100, 120, 150, 220. I touched up some thin areas with a little more epoxy and then sanded some more. My plan was to spray it with my HVLP instead of brushing on the finish. I wanted to do it all in one shot, so I suspended it in the air: I just attached the webbing to the ceiling with a few screws and washers... [read more]


Chesapeake Kayak: Almost done (video)

   


Building the Chesapeake 16LT Kayak: Part 11 – Mark and Cut Holes

Okay! Progress is happening when I have spare time. I glued on the cowling around the opening, cut it to fit and sanded it smooth. The glue-up was a bit tricky…I didn’t have quite enough small clamps and had to use a bunch of big ones. I thought I took a picture, but I can’t find it! Then the hatch openings were marked and cut out:


Building the Chesapeake 16LT Kayak: Part 10 – Top Coat

I used 4oz fiberglass on top, per the instructions in the kit. I was afraid I was going to run out of epoxy hardener, so I only glassed half of the boat at first. This is fine..since the glass is done in two pieces. I jumped over to West Marine in Santa Cruz and got some more of their epoxy that has a “clear” finish (i.e.: non-blushing). I got home and cut open my container to utilize the last bit, and managed to get enough out from the original MAS bottle to do the rest of my kayak’s first coat:... [read more]


Building the Chesapeake 16LT Kayak: Part 9 – Rounding the top and sanding

I’ve been busy having fun doing other things, so the kayak progress isn’t too fast. Yesterday I finished rounding off the corners of the top, and sanded through all the grits from 80 on up to 220. It is ready for some fiberglassing!


Building the Chesapeake 16LT Kayak: Part 8 – Gluing the top on

The next big step in the kayak was to glue the top on. First you put a coat of unthickened epoxy on the bottom side of the top piece, and then use thickened (cab-o-sil) epoxy to glue it down to the top part. Using straps to secure it down in place helps form the curve while you nail it on. An action shot of me! Flip it upside down so the glue drips into the gaps, and fill in the edge gaps (there were quite a few…):     The next day it was dry. I flipped it right side up... [read more]


Chesapeake 16 LT Kayak: Part 7: Planing the end clamps

The next step in my kayak building journey was to plane the end clamps. These need a specific radius that changes depending on where you are along the top of the boat. The kit includes two guides to assist with this. The fore deck of the boat has a 16” radius. The aft deck has….well, I’m not sure! The instructions say the 16LT should have a 60” radius, but the kit included a 49” radius. I emailed Chesapeake Light Craft and John H. got back to me quickly and said “it original was 24” in the demo boat, and then... [read more]


Building the Chesapeake 16LT Kayak: Part 6 – The bottom side glassing!

The next big step is to glass the hull bottom. I sanded down the putty with 80 grit, and then went through all the grades all over the kayak: 100/120/150/220.   You then cover it with the fiberglass and smooth it out by hand. The directions said you could smooth it out over the bow (the front — away from you in the picture below) of the boat without cutting it; I was a bit skeptical about this, but sure enough…you can pretty easily get it to smooth over the front of it.     The next part was smoothing over... [read more]


Building the Chesapeake 16LT Kayak: Part 5 – The bottom side

The kayak is still moving along! I’ve been a bit busy enjoying the outdoors: mountain biking (yeah on two wheels!), camping, and rock climbing.  The next part was to glass the interior middle section; there is some heavy duty fiberglass added to re-enforce the passenger area:   This area had two coats applied, just like the front and back sections. Then the boat was flipped over:   I cut off all the spikes pretty closely with wire cutters and used a dremel to grind them down a bit. They said you could just sand them down..but I figured that would... [read more]


Building the Chesapeake 16LT Kayak: Part 4 – Leveling and Gluing Together

The kayak is starting to look like a real boat! First you have to level it, propped up on some sticks/sawhorses:   Then install the bulkheads:      And finally, start gluing it together with some epoxy/wood filler mix.    Things I’m learning as I go: I should have put the stitch holes a little closer together; this would have allowed me to use less filler; a smaller filler line (closer to ¾” wide instead of bigger than 1”) would weigh less.  Using tape to create smooth lines is pretty nice to do. The directions recommend this…but I practiced with... [read more]


Building the Chesapeake 16LT Kayak: Part 3 – Stitching

I got to the stitching part of the “stitch and glue” kayak build! It didn’t take very long….the kit was easy to work with.  I had to push my tablesaw off to the side to make some more room for things. Here are the sides; they are stitched on the ends with 18 gauge copper wire:  The bottom pieces are stitched together and then set on top to become the V bottom of the hull. I wasn’t sure which side was front…but then it became obvious (initially I had it flipped the wrong way). It only aligns up one way,... [read more]


Building the Chesapeake 16LT Kayak: Part 2 – Setup and Gluing

The kit came about a week after I ordered it. The delivery company received it in SFO, and was reluctant to deliver it to me right away — they wanted to wait an extra week or so because I was “on the edge of their delivery area”. I complained…and they rescheduled things and delivered it the next day. I didn’t want my fragile boat parts sitting in a warehouse for a week with the possibility of getting damaged. The kit arrived fine! The delivery guy almost forgot the second package. He dropped me off the big package and we started... [read more]


Building the Chesapeake 16LT Kayak: Part 1 – Choices

I’ve been wanting to build my own kayak for quite a while. Ideally I want to make a strip-style kayak; something out of locally sourced redwood would be awesome! For now, I decided to start with a stitch-and-glue style build. They are pretty easy to do, and will give me some starting experience with fiberglass. I’ve been eyeing kits on Chesapeake Light Craft for some time now. There are so many choices, so it was hard to choose exactly what would suite my needs. The first thing I had to figure out was what are my kayaking goals? The main... [read more]


I hate broken stuff

Exhibit one: A pot that was my parents. The plastic handle broke of years ago and I hacked on a wooden one. It wasn’t lasting….   Cross grain experiment was not strong, so I drew out one that was with the grain:            


Photography: Baby Rhino

What could be more adorable than a baby rhino? This was in Kaziranga National Park, north east India in 2014.


Videography with the Canon 5D Mark III

I want to record some video with my Canon 5D Mark III. I’ve done some basic experiments, but I really want to learn what the professionals do with this camera. First off, I upgraded to the latest firmware from Canon. I went to Canon’s Firmware page and downloaded version 1.3.3. I know there are some other hacks you can install on top of the standard Canon OS, such as Magic Lantern, but I’m going to ignore those for now. Updating is simple if you first install Canon’s EOS Utility app.  Vincent Laforet has been producing great visuals for many years,... [read more]


Corbin’s Treehouse on Facebook

I’ve succumbed to the pressures of social media and made a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Corbins-Treehouse-258636957809592/      Please like it! I’ll post things on my blog and the page..


Adafruit Bluetooth LE SPI “Friend” with data loss and stalls (infinite loops)

I’m working on adding bluetooth support to my LED cyr wheel.  A long time ago I picked up an Adafruit nRF8001 breakout board — I was worried it was too big to fit in my wheel, and once I started working with it I realized it sucked. Specifically, the API was limiting; you couldn’t even set the peripheral’s name to something longer than 8 characters! Luckily they now have an “Bluefruit SPI Friend”, so I got one of those. Well, I ended up accidentally getting two. The first one I had sent via USPS, and it took 3 weeks to arrive!... [read more]


Hacking duolingo to make flashcards with sounds using Anki

Use Anki to learn a language with sound enabled flashcards. 0. Buy a Mac if you don’t have one already 1. In Safari’s Preferences, turn on the Develop menu item (Advanced tab) 2. Visit duolingo, and go to a lesson 3. Click the menu item: Develop -> Show Web Inspector (note: this may have changed in later releases) 4. In the web inspector, expand www.duolingo.com, and you should see an “Other” section in the Resources tab: If you don’t see an “Other” section, reload the page. If that doesn’t work, hit the reload button that is shown in the screen... [read more]


On learning languages…

I’m working on learning Italian. When I was a kid, I hated learning languages, and had the terrible monopolistic language view that everyone should speak English. I have long since realized that was a really stupid opinion, and it really hindered me from learning another language. In high school, we had to take two years of a language as a graduation requirement. I wanted to take German, just because I thought it would be cool, but they stopped teaching it the year before I reached high school. So, the options were French or Spanish, and I heard Spanish was easier... [read more]


How to make a custom bee hive stand

I’ve been keeping bees for about a month now. I absolutely love the little girls! My friend, Stefan from A Jar Of Honey in San Jose, gave me a hive to get started. I needed my own bee stand, and here is what I came up with. Cut two 2x6s (2x4s would also be sufficient) long enough to hold two bee hives. Cut two more long enough for the width of the hive. Nail them together; the legs will later add strength:     The legs I made with 1.5″ metal pipe and angle iron. 1″ pipe would be sufficient,... [read more]


Nepal Unicycle Tour: Relaxing

Here is another fantastic picture of my Nepal trip by Dawa Sherpa from Himalayan Trails Adventure Travel.  I’m sitting admiring the mountains, while Michele is checking something out. Our other local guide, Ankit, is looking off into the distance. I hope to do a writeup on my trip at some point. Partially for myself to remember, and also to share my trip with others.


Nepal Unicycle Tour

Photo by Dawa Sherpa, the wonderful guide on my Nepal Unicycle Tour through the Himalayas.  


How much money does my YouTube channel pull in?

I’ve wondered why my YouTube payments never show up in my Google Adsense payments. I finally realized that it is because they have never hit the $100 minimum threshold for payment issuing (ever!). I enabled ads on my videos starting in 2012; mainly just to see if I could make any money from it. I really don’t get enough video visitors to actually get anything; although I’m pretty close to the $100 minimum! Here is a screen grab of the estimated earnings and stats for each video I have with ads:   I have gotten a few $100 payments from... [read more]


Downloading WordPress Content – “Maximum execution time of 30 seconds” error

I occasionally want to download all my blog posts from WordPress. This is easy to do in the web config – go to Tools -> Export and “Download Export File”. The download would max out at about 8 MB and just stop, probably because I have a relatively slow connection at home. I’d get a fatal error at the end of the file: Fatal error:  Maximum execution time of 30 seconds exceeded in... on line ... To fix this, I need to change the “max_execution_time=30”  to something higher (like 500), and then lower it back down to make sure the... [read more]


Portable solar panels

I do a lot of adventures. My last adventure was unicycling the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. I wasn’t planning on having a lot of access to electricity, so I wanted to get a portable solar panel for the trip.  I’ll share my notes and research in case you are looking to do the same. Goals:  12 volt output (for my DSLR batteries) Minimum 5 watt output (7 watts or more ideal) Fairly durable Ideally regulated voltage (but not essential) Ideally waterproof, or weather resistant Some type of battery system would be nice Optional: USB outputs The lighter the better The... [read more]



(c) 2008-2017 Corbin Dunn

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