first stitch and glue advice

I have looked through many posts and without the opportunity to sit in a few and test them out I'll ask here.

I'm a strong paddler, 5'11'' , 165#, size 10 feet.

Well, I think I'm a strong paddler and have spent lots of hours in singles and tandoms.

I have the winter to build a boat as I travel lots and will be along the great lakes (hopefully with my boat) come march. I plan to put the time in and not to rush things.

I'm a better than average craftsman, lots of know-how with tools but can be a perfectionist at times as well. 

I would like a boat i could do multi-day trips but the primary use will be day or one night.

the Chesapeakes seem great but I feel like the capacity exceeds the weight i normally carry. So I'm thinking something more mid-road rather than a freighter. I am a fast paddler also. But stability makes me happy.

The three I'm thinking of, other than the Chesapeake 17LT, are the arctic hawk, shearwater 17 (or pos 16), and the night heron.

I have no experience guiding a stitch and glue through the water. I'm use to poly or glass boats with a rudder. I've spent lots of time in the Pacific NW but will be around the great lakes primarily.


I'm thinking the Arctic Hawk isn't right for me from other posts--maybe too advanced? input would be great. for a long time this was the boat I was thinking of.

The night heron is a good looking boat. Looks fantastic and i think the colored puzzle look is as nice as they come. Build seems a bit more challenging but not too much that I worry (or should I?). Seems to handle well in the 100% S&G model. Is that too advanced as an intro to building and paddling a S&G boats? I respect water and choose to remain above it knowing well, that won't always be the case...

The shearwater 17 looks good also. seems to be rated an easier build and fits my needs similar to the night heron. I have read more negatives on its characteristics in the water though. Mostly outside of CLC forums but some here as well.

So I'm thinking, unless I get strangely opposing remarks, that I’m down to the shearwater or the night heron S&G.

Lastly, I'm in MN for the winter. The build will be in a heatable (with Kerosene) garage. My first winter here and I'm told it gets cold here...well, it is cold here!

It might be possible to bring it into the basement for the epoxy once it's whole. Or at least to do some of the work.

enough for now, thanks for everyone’s help!


15 replies:

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RE: first stitch and glue advice


Any CLC stitch and glue kit will build into a nice boat. You don't need special skills but you do need to work carefully and follow the instructions. I have built a Shearwater 17 and three other boats and would recommend the Shearwater for your size and type of paddling.

As for the handling, the Shearwaters are not anything like the plastic boats you have been using. Their initial stability is low, so they feel very tippy at first. Secondary stability is excellent, though. Once you get used to the feel of this boat you will find it both stable and fast. The trick is to lean on the right cheek while paddling that side and lean on the left cheek while paddling that side. With a little practice, you will also learn to steer by leaning.


RE: first stitch and glue advice

The Shearwater 17 is a great boat! But...I must echo something that Wes has said before. Shoe size is an issue. I have size 9 feet and had been wearing thin paddling shoes till I lost one practicing self rescue. I then bought a slightly bulkier pair and found that my feet were now bound up under the deck. I got a replacement for the first pair and all is good. Just a concideration....


RE: first stitch and glue advice

I built a Shearwater 17, and have test-paddled a Night Heron. The only advantage I see to the NH is possibly more footroom. The usual complaint against the SW is "low inital stability", but it took me about 3 minutes to get used to it.

RE: first stitch and glue advice

 Hi Dan,

 I can't offer any firsthand advice on Shearwaters but just want to comment on the kerosene heat. I read somewhere that kerosene residue can cause 'fisheyes' in epoxy. Maybe someone with more knowledge cam chime in here? You may want to wipe the boat well with a solvent such as denatured alcohol before applying the epoxy.

 Great folks here with good advice, good luck to ya!

RE: first stitch and glue advice

i do recall reading something about kerosene but couldn't find it again. Anyone have bad experiences with useing them/it to heat a work area during a build?

I wonder if it has to do with moisture. Kerosene does produce a "wet" heat comparatively.

If the NH and the SW are so close is there any reason not to build the NH over the SW? Other than a possible easier build?



RE: first stitch and glue advice

The NH has a flatter bottom, which gives it more initial stability and makes it better for playing in surf. The SW is faster, tracks beautifully, and is easier to build, especially for a first-time builder. -Wes

RE: first stitch and glue advice

Yes, Dan, any unvented heat source that relies on combustion will produce humidity, and that can interfere with proper curing of epoxy, especially if the temperature of the work piece is low enough to result in condensation. That's true of kerosene, the much cleaner-burning propane space heaters and the 99 percent efficient natural gas "blue flame" heaters. That said, I have to say that I have used epoxy in a garage heated with a propane space heater and saw no ill effects. I'm about to switch to a natural gas blue flame heater, mostly because it will be cheaper to run and will hang on the wall instead of taking up floor space. I've been told that if moisture should become a problem, a small dehumidifier is the solution.


RE: first stitch and glue advice

Paint companies, spackle companies, ceramic tile adhesive and grout manufacturers, will not warranty their products when keroses temporary heat is used during construction.  I think it is because of pollutants produced by the combustion that effect the surface of each product.  I would only guess that epoxy could be effected the same way.  Propane open flame heaters do give off a good amount of moisture.  Last winter I purchased a "Big Buddy" catalytic/infared heater, and that seemed to not give off nearly the amount of moisture my gas salamandor did. Obviously all the other common sense precautions need to be followed.

RE: first stitch and glue advice


I usually let these things slide, but I feel a need to correct this one.  A flatter bottom does not mean greater initial stability.  In fact, in some cases, it could be less.  Initial stability is much more complex than that.  it is dependent upon the total displacement (weight), the moment of inertia of the water plane, and the vertical location of the centers of gravity and buoyancy.  All else being equal, the last two can be impacted by the deadrise in the bottom.


RE: first stitch and glue advice


I can't dispute your argument, as you obviously know a lot more about the subject than I do. My observation is made from sitting in the two boats.


RE: first stitch and glue advice

 OK, I read it here!

 Sounds more residue related than humidity. Got me thinking way back to my very young years and playing around the 'smudge pots' - looked like cannonballs with large wicks on top that burned kero. Those did leave a sticky, oily residue on our clothes and I can see how it could mess up some epoxy.

RE: first stitch and glue advice

You don't really need to heat up the ROOM, as much as you need to heat up the WORK. You can heat up the worktable considerably by using 100 watt light bulbs in metal reflectors. I tried this. Two 100-watt bulbs, 3 feet from a thermometer on the table, heated it up from 55 degrees to 68 degrees in one hour.

RE: first stitch and glue advice

thanks all.

I think I can do some work inside the house (basement). Actually, I'm hoping that I can do most though there are some concerns I see with that. All in all it's just a more pleasant atmosphere.

Just for a test i placed a plate of glass adjacent to a kerosene heater and ran it for about 3 hours. It did not leave a noticeable residue but did leave a light oil/scum that was visible when I ran water across it. Three hours isn't a long time but it was approx. two feet from the heater while on high. It's an older heater with the original wick.

Thinking back over 20 years, when i was younger, we use to use kerosene heaters (this one) while restoring cars but NEVER during the paint/sand/primer/portion. Makes good sense. 

Thanks again.

RE: first stitch and glue advice

I finished my first stictch and glue project for the boundry waters summer before last. It was the 15 foot sit on top model that toured well. Construction went very well with the factory instructions and plans being very understandable. I am a 240# guy with about 50# gear. You should not have any construction issues other than temperature control as I also did mine in the garage.


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