Kaholo plans - ease of build and tools needed?

I'm thinking about buying the plans for the Kaholo SUP. I've only tried paddle boarding a couple of times but loved it. I also love building stuff and figured buying some plans and building by own SUP will be more fun and financially easier than buying an off the shelf SUP. That said I have a few newbie questions:

1) How easy is the Kaholo to handle on the water? I'm not looking for anything fancy and I'm a newbie to SUPs so stability is more important than outright speed. I'd do almost of my paddling in the Puget Sound where the water is very calm. 

2) What tools are needed to build a Kaholo from scratch? I own a tablesaw, small bandsaw, router table, jigsaw, orbital sander and a variety of hand tools. Any other (pricey) tools I'll need? 

3) How detailed are the plans? I've done plenty of woodworking (mostly furniture/cabinetry) but fiberglass is totally new to me. I do consider myself to be pretty mechanically competent having spent years working in bike shops and as a race mechanic.


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RE: Kaholo plans - ease of build and tools needed?

I've never tried SUP, but since it appears you're in the Puget Sound area, you might consider going to the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend next weekend - CLC will be there and they have two of the Kaholos on the list of boats they've got.  I'm sure you could talk them into demoing one so you can see how it handles, and talk to them about the build process.  (http://www.clcboats.com/boatbuilding_classes/151.html)  Plus you can drool over already finished boats and cool woodworking tools that you can't afford. 

I'm about to build a Wood Duck from scratch (having done a Shearwater kit before) and I don't anticipate using any more tools than you have listed, but since I haven't done it yet I can't help there! 

I found the manual helpful for my Shearwater build, but I am more of a visual learner so I checked out online building logs/photos and asked lots of questions on this and the West Coast Paddler's boat building forum along the way. Pygmy kayak has a really helpful series of videos on the stitch and glue process on You Tube. 

Hopefully someone who's done one of the Kaholos will chime in here with more specific info. 

Good luck!

RE: Kaholo plans - ease of build and tools needed?

The kaholo 14 is a very nice SUP . It is very stable and easy to paddle. You have all the tools you need to scratch build it if you want. If you buy the kit it is a real bargain, as you would spend a lot of time and money chaseing down all the materials yourself. Assembling the kit would save a lot of time. The manual is well written and easy to fallow. Your finished Kaholo is worth much more than any glass and foam board you can buy and because it is wood it is much stronger and will last darn near forever if you take care of it.


Go to this thread and click on Shaper shack to watch step by step of a kaholo 14 being build.

RE: Kaholo plans - ease of build and tools needed?

Thanks Ogre! Your Shaper Shack posts answered a lot of nagging questions. My big concern was being able to easily join the panels but it looks like I could use one of my dovetail templates for the finger joints. 

Also noticed you used 1/8" plywood instead of the 3mm Okoume called for in the plans. My local yard carries 4mm Okume but no 3mm. I'm hoping 1mm won't make too great a difference?

RE: Kaholo plans - ease of build and tools needed?

cyclocross, I live on the island of Kauai in hawaii. It is not possible to buy Okoume plywood here at anyprice and to have it shipped here ,well forget it.. I have no complaints with the 1/8 plywood I used. All though I do think the side panels and bottpm panels need to be glassed with 4 oz glass cloth before trying to bend them to shape. I also think that buying the kit plus the shipping in the lower 48 is a good value. Again shipping to Hawaii is always a problem. But the important thing to me was building from scratch and the problem solving that goes whith it. I am waiting for the patterns for the Kaholo 12 1/2 to come out. With what I learned from building the 14 and my experience building hallow balsa surf boards I plan on building the 12 1/2 in balsa wood which I grew here on Kauai.

RE: Kaholo plans - ease of build and tools needed?

For me it's about the process as much as the finished product. Building from a kit would be quicker/easier but I'm in Seattle and pretty soon the weather will make it so that going out on the water will be an extremely chilly proposition. I have a very long and cold winter to spend building my board.

For your finger joint template what size bit did you use? Also what size router bit/bushing did you use for the fingers and sockets? 


 That Koa deck is going to look SHARP when it's done! 

RE: Kaholo plans - ease of build and tools needed?

Easy. Since I cut stringers out of my supply of 16' 4/4 cypress boards I use a planer, table saw, and a router, but skinny pieces of pine/spruce should be fairly easy to obtain. For cutting out panels from 3mm ply I used a Dozuki pull saw - quiet - fat (about 1 1/2' per minute) and no splintery edge! A hand plne took care of beveling for scarf joints, and beveling edges for the S&G part. An electric orbita sander speeds up finsh work, but often I revert to hand sanding because it is quiet, and kind of neat. Sidecutters come in handy to clip copper wire to length, and a small linesman plier is good for torquing the wires tight. Utility knife (box cutter) wil trim fiberglass easily after resin sets up a bit. Scissors for trimming raw cloth.

 Minimal tools, maximun fun!



Kaholo 14

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