Fatman Returns

DukeDeadReal72

I’ve got a Halloween tradition going — publishing a free serial novella featuring the exploits of Frogtown’s oddball investigator, Fatman. This year’s novella, Duke Is Dead, builds on Fatman Descends, a serial published last year beginning on Day of the Dead. In that story, Fatman discovers that light-rail construction has opened a portal to the underworld, where the vengeful dead … Continue reading

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Your kayak?

My wife points out that there are many things you can do with wood. Replace the kitchen counters, for instance. Build a tool bin for the porch. Replace the rotting back stairs. No denying any of that. To quote Andrew Marvell, there’s world enough and time for those things. Or maybe there’s not. I don’t … Continue reading

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Canvas, Reconsidered

It’s been years since I used canvas to skin one of my kayaks. Instead I’ve slipped into polyester, the venerable fabric of the leisure suit, which I then cover with varnish or paint. It’s light, it’s cheap, it works. But like almost everything, it has its drawbacks. It slackens a bit over time. And it’s … Continue reading

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Boat of Twigs

I started my latest kayak by strapping on a pair of snowshoes and heading for the shore of the Mississippi. I’ve got a spot not so far from my house where I harvest willow branches. I turn them into ribs for an Alaskan-style kayak — a baidarka to the Russians who once colonized Alaska, or … Continue reading

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The Four-Year Kayak

Here’s my daughter, Anna, with a kayak we started building back when she was in high school. She’s just about finished with college now, and we’re hunkering down to get this boat in the water. It’s probably safe to say that unlike most boat building projects, this one started with a high school philosophy class … Continue reading

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Serial Novel: Hitting the End

I’m no Charles Dickens, but like the great litterateur I’ve been laboring recently in the serial novel industry. My novella, Fatman Descends, ended yesterday with installment number 50. (Missed Fatman? You can find all the episodes in the Archive.) In case there are others out there considering a career in this racket, here’s a report on how … Continue reading

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Woodies!

Right before Christmas my wife, two daughters and I spent a night in a yurt on the edge of the Boundary Waters. The idea was to get away before the onslaught of the holidays, ski a bit, plod  in snowshoes and hang around. As it turns out, my younger girl, Anna, was born to ski. … Continue reading

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DIY

Recently I landed some sweet warehouse space in Frogtown, with the intent of putting together a kayak-building class for a few people who want to explore the roots of modern paddling. The roots of paddling, really, are about crouching on a beach amidst the black flies, building a kayak out of a few sticks and … Continue reading

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Searching for a Home

I’m coming down the home stretch in building a semi-replica of a Greenland kayak. It’s a little over 17 feet long, and just a shade under 21 inches at the beam. It’s a sweet looking boat with proportions that are generous enough for many modern Americans. I started building this boat because, well, I wanted … Continue reading

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This Kayak: For You?

Faithful readers know I’ve had a garage problem, which is to say too little garage for the number of boats I’ve made. I partially addressed that issue recently by selling off a skin-on-frame kayak. So needless to say, it’s time to start building another. After some chin-pulling over replicating a King Island kayak, I’ve decided … Continue reading

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