scraps in a kit, and ideas for painting the S&G night heron?

Well, I've filed my taxes earlier than in recorded history, and the refund should be on it's way to my bank account. After almost a year, it's almost kayak time. :) I win a bet if I can get her in the water by summer :)

So I'm going over the things I wouldn't let myself think about, like aesthetics. The Night Heron is a bit of an angular boat, and to my eye lacks some of the subtle grace of the Chesapeake line, but I think Nick was on the right track when he decided to accentuate the puzzle joints, and I was thinking that I'd love to do a stain version of the same, but I'd really like to test it on some scrap of the exact same type of wood before I apply it to the kayak.

So the short version is: Does the kit have any "scrap" wood when you prep everything?

and the long version is: Any other cool thoughts/ideas/suggestions for the S&G night heron?

Thanks. :)

-- James

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RE: scraps in a kit, and ideas for painting the S&G night heron?


There is no faster way to slow down a build than to consider aesthetics. You want it in the water fast, just slap it together, throw on the porch paint & go. A high quality finish can take longer than the rest of the build combined.

There's also no faster way to spoil the fun of a build than to impose an artificial deadline. As you build the boat, you'll learn things, get new ideas and want to try something a bit different. Fast ultra-planned builds are for production lines. Homebuilding is usually closer to the artistic process. Try and get that bet cancelled. Not because it isn't possible, but even if you win it you'll lose out on the fun of building.

Enough boatbuilding philosophy. Yes, there are scraps in the kits, but usually pretty small (wouldn't be much of  a money-maker for CLC if they shipped lots of scrap). There's also the hidden bits of the interior that's good for testing finishes. Just make sure it's a water-based stain. Do a search, the topic's been well covered.

Have you seen a Night Heron in person? Its angles have a sculptural quality which suggests great strength. Unfortunately, the visual qualities are hard to photograph well. I had the same experience with the SIS and the WD12. In the pictures they were funny looking, but in person they are stunning. The Night Heron, especially in a dark incarnation, is one of those stunning boats in person.

Have fun building,



RE: scraps in a kit, and ideas for painting the S&G night heron?

Hey Laszlo,

Thanks for the reassurance. I remember being surprised at how good it looked in person when I attended the show, but it had been a while, and the more I look at it online, the more I remember liking it, but not remembering why. 

This does bring up another question of etiquite. In the wonderful world of sailboats, I was taught that someone who loves their boat paints the bilge white. This ensures that it's kept clean, as anything will show up. Not only is it a challenge to yourself, but it's a point of pride when showing the boat. Does anyone do anything like that with the interior of kayaks, or is it pretty much a free for all? (and yes, I know people CAN do anything they want. The things I see done to and painted on perfectly good sailboats makes me weep sometimes, I'm more asking if there is any such tradition.) 


Regarding timelines, my bet is a good dinner, so even if I lose, I still win. ;) Were I willing to slap it together and go, frankly, I'd buy a $300 rotomolded 'yak and get out there. I'm in a bit of a twist regarding time. On one hand I rent kayaks to ease the pain, and I can not wait to get on the water in a real, sit-in kayak, that I built. On the other, while I realize that this, being my first boat, will have it's share of "character", I really want to endeavor to make it a beautiful boat. I've considered just painting the bottom, and varnishing the top, to save myself some time on the bottom finish, and I've seen some gorgeous boats finished this way, although I'm curious if that would just overly accentuate the talliish profile of the NH. Either way, I suppose I can worry about finishing after I've started. I think having her in 3d form in front of me will be better than anything else for deciding how to finish her out. Once she's together in rough form, I can weigh the call of the ocean against the desire to have another 4 coats of varnish, with wetsanding between them. 

 Thanks again. :)


- James


RE: scraps in a kit, and ideas for painting the S&G night heron?


Any slapped-together porch paint-covered CLC kayak will paddle a lot better than any rotomolded job :-) Sounds like you've got the bet in proper perspective.

Lots of builders paint the inside of their kayaks white. I never heard of this being a statement of love, just a practical step to make it easier to find things in the hatches. Having looked for an errant catfish in my wife's CH16LT's rear hatch compartment, I can see the point. It was like the black hole of Calcutta in there.

My favorite bottom finish is a graphite/epoxy mix. It's also s practical step in that it helps with scratch resistance and makes bottom maintenance easier. The result is also a glossy black bottom which works well with hard-chined full boats (like the CH & WD series, as well as any of the sailboats and skiffs). I imagine that if careful attention is paid to the boundaries, it should work well with theNight Heron.

Worrying about the finish after the boat starts coming together is a good idea. Just keep in mind that pencil marks, once epoxied, are pretty close to permanent. Guess how I know. :-)

Sounds like you have it in hand. Enjoy your build. Once last thought, I'll bet that if you call CLC you could work out some kind of reasonable deal to have them put some scraps into your kit for finish testing. If nothing else, you could always order a fillet tool set.



RE: scraps in a kit, and ideas for painting the S&G night heron?


 Actually, CLC, as always, went above and beyond. I was emailed by someone from the CLC staff who was reading the forum, and volunteered to send me some extras before I thought to ask. :) 


The Graphite epoxy mix sounds like a great idea, especially given that most of the beaches I plan on landing on are all rock, no sand type of places :(  I presume there's a thread somewhere about the graphite epoxy mix somewhere. How hard is it to create/apply? Have any pics of a boat finished in this manner? 

 Thanks. :) 


-- James

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