October 2019 Archives - Small Boats Magazine

In our October issue We tag along with Phil Boyer again, this time canoeing the Barron River of Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park. Sam Devlin’s cozy gaff cutter, the Song Wren, and Iain Ougthred’s lovely faering, the Elf, are the subjects of our boat Profiles. Ben Fuller offers two easily released systems for securing a small boat’s main sheet, and our editor shows four ways to take a good look at what’s hidden underwater beneath boats and docks. If you happen to see something on the bottom that you’d like to have, we cover two grappling hooks. An inexpensive circular-saw-blade sharpener we put to the test failed to live up to its diamond-encrusted promise. Richard Nissen, boating on the River Thames in the Wind-in-the-Willows neighborhood of Ratty and Mole, shows us his latest build, a George Putz kayak.

Getting Beneath the Surface

Small boats provide a close connection with the water, but we can’t often clearly see what’s below us. There are number of ways to bring that fascinating world into view and the simplest is a bathyscope.

Song Wren

A Devlin gaff-rigged cutter

The Song Wren from Devlin Designing Boat Builders is a handsome gaff-rigged cutter with a comfortable cockpit and cabin. For easy trailering it has a tabernacle mast and can be built with a swing keel. The full-keel option opens up space in the cabin.


A plywood faering from Iain Oughtred

Traditional Norwegian faerings are elegant boats that require exceptional boatbuilding skills. Iain Oughtred’s Elf captures the form and function beautifully in plywood and makes the ancient type accessible to contemporary amateur builders.

Barron Canyon

Canoeing the Algonquin

Phil Boyer and two of his good friends paddled three of Phil’s canoes along the Barron River in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park, and portaged to nearby lakes where they contended with boulders by day and bullfrogs by night.

Cleating the Main

Two quick-release options

When you’re sailing solo, you’ll often have one hand on the tiller and the other on the sheet. Ben Fuller has two ways of secure the sheet if the wind is steady and moderate and both can be released quickly if a gust hits.

Circular-Saw-Blade Sharpener

Diamonds aren't always a blade's best friend

Carbide-tipped circular saw blades can have a long life, but they do eventually get dull. Sending one out to be sharpened can cost almost as much as a new blade, so we tried an affordable sharpening device with a diamond wheel to do the job at home. Unfortunately, it did more harm than good.

Grappling Hooks

Salvaging and scavenging

When valuable gear finds its way over the side and sinks, you might have a chance of getting it back if the water’s not too deep. We take a look at two compact grappling hooks to see if they can retrieve sunken trash and treasures.

A George Putz Walrus

An experimental skin on an old-school frame

Serial boatbuilder Richard Nissen, who already has a lot of ways to get out on his stretch of the River Thames, added another boat to his fleet. With the book, Wood and Canvas Kayak Building, in hand, Richard followed the instructions for the 17’ wooden frame, but struck out on his own when it came to using canvas for the skin.

Past Issues

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