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October 1, 2001 Issue
October 15, 2001 Issue
October 1, 2001
Canoe Paddling ExplainedBy Caleb Davis
In 1992 1 started to make and sell canoe paddles as well as instruct paddle-making classes. Shortly after I added canoeing instruction. For years, I have addressed the issues of paddle selection and the proper positioning of the paddlers so as to get the most out of paddling with the least effort and stress on the body. This article is intended for (two) tan dem paddlers who paddle opposite sides and who are using the traditional method of paddling with a full stroke length while on flat-water (lakes or slow moving rivers).
When asked what is the best and most stable position in which to paddle, many will say that it is best for both paddlers to be seated and centered in the canoe. I might agree if you needed to paddle both sides of the canoe, such as in whitewater or sit-and-switch, but for most recreational paddling this position has some distinct disadvantages. It's understandable that people respond that the center (length) is the best position. It is hard to imagine coordinating a move to the edge (side). To most of us, the edge of the canoe means tipping and an unwelcome swim.
But if you think of a canoe as a seesaw, it is apparent that the canoe has two balance points. One is across the short axis (width) where the portage or carrying thwart is located. This balance point determines the tip forward and back and is critical in having the correcttrim. The other balance point is the long axis that runs bow/stem along the centerline. This line determines the tip side to side. You may feel comfortable sitting on this balance point if nothing else is happening, but if you add paddling and weather it can become a precarious balancing act.
In contrast, if you shift from the center, and opposite your partner, you will act as outriggers to each other, It will take some cooperation but the ride will feel far more stable. I strongly encourage hip to gunwale (edge) and knees to the floor with your backside resting on the edge of the seat. I get there by having one of the paddlers say: "What side do you want'? Ready to shift? One, two three, shift." Remember to shift back to the center upon switching sides or landings.
In addition to the issue of stability, there is the matter of technique. For centered paddlers you will find several things that happen that significantly impair your technique and heighten discomfort. Sitting centered means a longer distance to the water. This requires a longer shafted paddle, which puts more stress on your body. Imagine what an equal load feels like with a long handled shovel versus a short handled shovel, the same increased leverage and increased body stress is true for the paddle. I don't believe that recreational paddlers need that increased leverage and body stress.
There is also the issue of decreased angle of the paddle to the water, which makes each stroke a bit of a sweep. Remember (in theory) that the most efficient stroke would be directly along the long axis line. This requires no steering for a straight line and it is the most direct line to move the canoe forward. By paddling hip to gunwale, you improve your technique by getting the paddle perpendicular to the water, minimizing sweeping action, and your paddle closer to the long axis line, which helps reduce the need for an excessive shaft length. This position gets you closer to the working area and helps to reduce body stress. Seats. I'm sure that you'd agree that most seats are designed to center the paddler and that the seats are a real pain in the backside if you move to get your hip touching the gunwale. There are three distinct styles of canoe seats. Perhaps the easiest to manufacture are the bucket seats. These are usually made of rigid plastic and are almost always centered. You can imagine how thrilled I am with these! Next are the wood caned seats. These are usually an improvement both aesthetically and in comfort, yet the frame seat is often too narrow to allow one to comfortably move hip to gunwale. Paddling this way loses its thrill very quickly when you have to straddle the seat frame. Finally there is the bench seat. If this is made wide enough and has enough foot clearance, then the use of a thin sitting pad allows the paddler to comfortably be positioned exactly where it is best for stability and technique.
The bottom line for better traditional flat water stability, technique, and body comfort is to get your hip over to the gunwale. Be aware that the canoe manufacturers may be inaccurately determining our comfort and sacrificing good technique. I would love to see manufacturers provide seat inserts and removable bench top for bucket and caned seats. This would allow paddlers to move to the desired side as well as able to use the fixed seats for comfortable crossover paddling.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 603-532-5992 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Caleb's activities, please log on to www.wcha.org/builders/tremolo or www.traditionalflatwater.org.
October 15, 2001
Disposing of Fiberglass BoatsBy Bob Whittier
After considering [the MAIB] Commentary last spring about an attempt to remove an abandoned fiberglass boat from a local riverbank, I contacted my Congressman to inquire if the EPA had any sort of guidlines for this. The following is an edited version of the information that I received from him.
Dear Mr. Whittier,
Thank you for writing about the disposal of fiberglass boats. We are in agreement on the need to address this problem.
Enclosed is information from the Environmental Protection Agency's website. Although there isn't any official guidance for how to discard old boats, the enclosed material contains ideas from individuals on possible ways to recycle the material, as well as contacts in other states who are working on this issue. Please let me know if you have any further ideas for how to tackle this issue. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I hope you continue to stay in touch. William D. Delahunt
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is working with a marine salvager in the state who is considering purchasing a "proprietary" fiberglass processing system currently being developed in Florida. This process will yield a granulated fiberglass material that can apparently be incorporated into other, as yet unnamed, products.
This is a growing issue with coastal states. In Rhode Island, we have two major boat salvagers who assist distressed vessels, with only one who will assist uninsured vessels. When they assist a vessel, salvage law requires the owner to pay the bill on the spot. If s/he can't pay the bill (which can be pretty steep when you're pulling a boat off rocks), the salvager takes a first line lien on the boat (aka no cash, no boat). The salvager we're working with has amassed a big pile of boats in his storage yard and is looking for some recycling options. With the growing boating industry, this may be a large problem looming on the horizon for coastal states.
- 1. Has anyone ever heard of a process that can grind fiberglass boats (or other fiberglass stuff) into reusable material? If so, where can one get information on the process'?
- 2. What kind of manufacturing processes might be able to reuse a fiberglass material such as that described above? What are the barriers to reusing this type of material?
- 3. Do states have any policies, regulations, or laws governing the processing or landfilling of fiberglass material?
- 4. Does anyone know of a national association of boat manufacturers? Is that association, or any other association, looking at the growing problem of spent fiberglass?
Minnesota has a large boat manufacturing industry (along with skis, jetskis, spas, hottubs, and snowmobiles, all of which use fiber reinforced polyester (FRP) in their manufacture) that creates a large FRP waste stream. To illustrate, in the early '90s one Minnesota county applied to my office to expand its landfill. This expansion was justified by showing that over 30% of the new waste to go into this cell would be FRP scrap from local industry.
The OEA did fund a technical and economic feasibility study (copies available upon request for free) into this area. As a result of this project, a Minnesota manufacturer received a NICE3 grant to develop and commercialize a FRP recovery system. Many other similar ventures are ongoing around the country mainly within large FRP waste producers.
That is the background, now let me try to answer your questions as best I can.
- 1. Has anyone ever heard of a process that can grind fiberglass boats (or other fiberglass stuff) into reusable material'? If so, where can I get information on the process'? Grinding it is easy. In the abovementioned study it was found that a variety of size-reduction technologies can be used on the material. However, this does not mean that it is (re)usable. This begs your second question.
- 2. What kind of manufacturing processes might be able to reuse a fiberglass material such as that described above? What are the barriers to reusing this type of material'? The material has value as a filler and bulking agent in bulk-niolded compounds, FRP application systems, and in other aesthetically-forgiving processes. The Florida manufacturer you mention has a variety of "products" but I don't know how many of these are actually saleable commodities. The system being developed under the NICE3 grant will only address industrial scrap and will allow it to be reintroduced into the spray process.
The barriers to using this material, particularly old boats, is the inability to deconstruct the product so the whole product is shredded/ground/hammermilled and the material stream is less than pure. There are technical and economic barriers to reusing the material and a lack of markets for the product and the end-products, also. For the industrial scrap the barrier is still technical in reapplying it.
There was a facility in Ontario, Phoenix Recycling or Recovery, that was a product of the automotive industry. It was taking their FRP scrap and making automotive parts. It has, I think, shut its doors. Other large FRP scrap producers continue to explore utilizing their own internal wastestrearn.
- 3. Do states have any policies, regulations, or laws governing the processing or landfilling of fiberglass material'? No specific ones. It is MSW in Minnesota.
- 4. Does anyone know of a national association of boat manufacturers'? Is that association, or any other association looking at the growinq problem of spent fiberglass" The Composite Fabricators Association (in DC of course) is the most applicable I have found.
The CBOT Recyclables Exchange is a centralized exchange for recovered materials designed to remove some uncertainties from this difficult marketplace. Originally launched in October 1995, as an electronic bulletin board system, it is now completely Internet-based and has a much more reasonable pricing structure than it used to (it was $1,000 to join it now costs $10). While the main items for trading on the Exchange are paper, plastic, glass, and tires, there is an option to list miscellaneous items (everything from PVC to refrigerants) that do not have the same standards development as the main commodities.
The CBOT Recyclables Exchange provides a free "preview" function that allows web surfers to view which recyclable commodities are available in both sell and buy sections. Three separate sell positions are listed for fiberglass. Unfortunately the only details you get under the free preview function are the specifications of the sell listing and the state in which the seller is located. To get the rest of the info you have to ante up the $10 registration fee and then about $2 per listing.
The Clean Washington Center appears to concentrate on the waste material generated during manufacture. Nevertheless, results and information from it could still be of value for dealing with the end of life material. The following project description does not list an estimated completion date:
Recycling Scrap Fiberglass Composite Waste Materials in Plastic Boat Manufacture: The purpose of this project is to develop methods to recycle fiberglass composite waste materials generated in boat manufacturing operations. The project will seek to determine appropriate grinding techniques and fiber sizes for scrap fiberglass reinforced plastic. Two product applications will then be evaluated.
First, fiberglass composite waste will be tested as a filler for nonstructural molding and casting epoxy compounds. Second, the waste will be tested as a reinforcement in order to gain some structural properties when incorporated into an epoxy molding compound for compression molded stringers. This compound will be formulated to meet density, strength, and other material properties requirements. If polyester filled epoxy is accepted in the boat industry, an unlimited number of other markets (e.g., shower stalls, spas and hot tubs, and outdoor furniture) will create significant value for these recycled materials.
The administrator for the Hazardous Waste Management program in Florida, suggests this contact: Gary Powers, Project Director, Portside Development, Inc. 17051 Highway 31, Fort Myers, FL 33905, phone (800) 276-1331, fax 941 694-7883, email <email@example.com>. He gave a short paper recently entitled "Protection of Waterways and Water Aquifer Through Marine Salvaging', wherein he explained a new process they have developed to totally grind the fiberglass boat and make a reusable fiberglass material.
One company is attempting to use a ground fiberglass fill material in its manufacture of fiberglass ductwork for ventilation purposes. A potential barrier in using an excess fill of fiberglass mixture is brittleness.
There used to be a fiberglass insulation manufacturing plant owned by the Carborundum Company located in Niagara Falls, New York which had in-plant processes making ancillary products of the fiberglass materials of sub-performance quality or returned goods.
The Recycler's World Web site is at www.recycle.net/recycle/Glass/fiber/index.html.
Molded fiberglass, also known as fiber re-enforced polyester, recycling operations are mostly plant specific. The variation in chemicals and additives used from one FRP plant to the next make the commingling of these streams potentially hazardous and impossible to recover. A study into the technical and economic feasibility of FRP recovery a was done a number of years ago, but since the publication of the report, the technology has evolved and is much further advanced.
A company called Resource Recycling, Inc. in Elkhart, Indiana were taking material from the manufactured housing and recreational vehicle industry (which is big in Elkhart) and processing the material. Their original plans to grind it for use as friction material and sound-deadening material did not work out as well as they had planned. They have struggled (but seem to have turned things around) in getting the material accepted in overseas markets. How cost effective it would be to transport FRP to Indiana is questionable, it might serve as a market to some of your folks.
A site which has proved useful with previous fiberglass-related questions is run by the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center. Other fiberglass sources include: Fiberglass Fabrication Industry Resources at www.pprc.org/pprc/sbap/fiber.html. CWC in its "Advanced Composites" file lists the following recyclers: Plas-tex, Inc. Ft. Worth, TX; Phoenix Fiberglass, Inc., Toronto, ON; CGA, Sanford, ME; Amour Fiber Core, Inc., Sultan, WA (remanufacturer).
Maryland's Natural Resources Police are interested in exploring options for recycling fiberglass boats. The following questions are raised: 1. What technology is used to recycle the fiberglass? 2. Is the project on a pilot basis or on a commercial level'? 3. What is the end use of the fiberglass?
The JTR Web site is a starting point. Information under the heading SheetMolding Compound or SMC is also of possibel assistance. Plastics News ran some articles several years ago on SMC recycling. It's also an issue in the auto industry, which drove the interest. The term fiberglass can be used to refer to at least three different product classifications: Batted insulation as used in homes; fiber optical applications; and fiberglass-reinforced plastic, aka SMC.
MasterCraft Boats have a recycler for the fiberglass scrap that also serves several other boat building operations in the Knoxville/East Tennessee region.
I have supplied this summary of the information I received from my Congressman as general information only about the problem of fibergass boat salving/recycling, not as a specific guide to detailed information.
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