Kit vs scratch build

I'm contemplating a pair of Kaholo's for my 2nd/3rd builds. Wondering if anybody has any thoughts/experience on the cost difference between buying a complete kit from CLC, vs just the plans/templates and sourcing the materials and doing all the cuts myself?

I haven't bought the plans yet, so I don't know what the bill of materials is in order to make a fair estimate. 

Any help out there?

12 replies:

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RE: Kit vs scratch build

Go to the Kaholo page, scroll down and click the box that says "Materials List for Plans Builders". It's blue and on the lower right hand side.

My son and I are building an Oxford Shell from plans, as I had a bunch of West System and knew of a local Okume supplier. I ordered plans and everything else from CLC. Their prices are competitive, and customer service is excellent.

This is my second build, the first being a Chessie 17LT kayak from a kit.

RE: Kit vs scratch build

I have done one from plans with some friends (we each built one, total of 4) and all ordered the products together and it seemed to save some money but in my opinion not enough to make it worth while.   Just speaking for myself, the fun of building these boats isn't the cutting out of all the pieces but the actually building and personalizing of the crafts.   Getting the pieces laser cut and perfect makes the builds go better and makes the experience more enjoyable.   The number of hours added to the process by ordering our own wood and cutting all of the peices wasn't worth if for me.   Plus, I built the second one with my son and the third one involved all my kids whenever they wanted to jump in and help, and having the kit just made it far more enjoyable for everyone.

RE: Kit vs scratch build

Ps.  finished the Kahalo last is awesome.   Can't imagine cutting out all of those interior supports by hand.

RE: Kit vs scratch build

For what its worth I saved around 400, but the time added was sufficient. I would definitely try to find a more efficient way of transferring the plans than the one recomended in the manual. I intend on building from plans again when I do another build.  Although I do agree with Klaver that cutting out all thebulkheads was rough.

RE: Kit vs scratch build

I've built a Shearwater from a kit and a Wood Duck from plans. Each was enjoyable.  It is satisfying to say that I built the Wood Duck totally by myself instead of from a kit, but that doesn't mean that I would choose to build from plans every time.   

I priced out doing the Kaholo 14 each way and decided to order the kit.  You can save some money by building from plans, but make sure you have a local source for good quality Okume and that spending the extra time is worth it to you.  (Note: if I was going to build the Kaholo from plans I was DEFINITELY going to order the pre-cut bulkheads from CLC). There are some easier ways to transfer the plans to wood and to cut out symetrical pieces than mentioned in the manual.  If you go the plans route search on past posts for ideas. 

You'll have fun whichever way you go; happy building!

RE: Kit vs scratch build

scratch build is way cheaper. I did a 14' Kaholo for not much over $150 for the wood. My source for marine ply is 44 miles away - easy. I used 3 sheets of 3mm for the hull parts. Scarf 2 sheets and from that I cut out the deck and both sides. 3rd sheet had aft bottom centered with wide end at the edge of ply and foward pair of panels to the sides of the narrow end of aft bottom. Made all the cuts with a Dozuki saw - Japanese pull saw. 

You will need about 1/4 sheet of 6mm for stringers and frames, but in hindsight I think buying the precut frames -  about $50 - from CLC would save time - they're a PITA to cut out. I had enough 3mm scrap left over I could have laminated 2x3mm to make the stringers. I cut the lumber parts from cypress which is plentiful and inexpensive down here in swampland. 

Got 4 ox fiberglass from Duckworks, but last couple builds I used 3.25 oz glass also from Duckworks. Resin was WEST, exterior 105/207 mix. I made the breather tube thingy with a rubber stopper and a couple 1/8" plastic tube fittings and a few inchs of clear tubing. The CLC style breather is kind of ugly if you stare at it but no one has ever commented or even noticed it since they all go ga-ga over the pretty wood SUP. It was a show stopper at our local SUP race, and Darling Daughter finished first in her class - GO KAHOLO!  

RE: Kit vs scratch build

I built from plans. I think it's only cheaper if you can source your plywood locally. If you have to have the plywood shipped to you it probably won't be cheaper.

I bought the frames precut from CLC. I was actually the one who gave them the idea of doing that. Cutting those out one by one would have been a nightmare. 

Don't bother transfering the plans as the manual calls - it's incredibly tedious and more likely to result in an error. A MUCH easier method is to simply get some 1/4" masonite or hardboard and glue the plans down with spray adhesive. Work the plans down a little at a time so you don't get any wrinkles. Then cut your parts out and you'll have full sized templates. Stick the templates to your plywood with double sided tape and then cut your parts out using a trim bit mounted to a full sized router, trim router or Rotozip. A Rotozip or trim router will be easier to use and have more than enough power. This ensures that you get perfectly matched parts and is much easier.

Take great care when gluing up the three bottom panels. If you're off even a little you'll end up with a noticeable warp in the bottom of your hull that can not be fixed. The manual does not put nearly enough emphasis on this, IMO, since it's written for people building from kits. I'd also skip trying to scarf joint the long pieces and just use butt joints reinforced with an extra strip of glass. Much simpler and I'm not convinved a scarf joint on plywood that thin adds much. I know several people who have butt jointed their panels with no problem. 

Don't bother trying to cut the top deck to the right size and then joining it to the hull as the manual calls for. I did that and it barely fit. In hindsight it would have been much easier to just roughly cut it to shape, glue it to the hull and the cut off the excess to ensure a perfect fit. 



RE: Kit vs scratch build

I've wondered why not print the plans on self-adhesive vinyl? I'd pay another 50 bucks for the easy accuracy of cutting right on the line.

RE: Kit vs scratch build

build a kit you problaby wont save any money building form plans. that kit goes toghther very easily put it toghether twice as FAST AND GET PADDLING

RE: Kit vs scratch build

I bought the plans but got the frames from clc precut, all the other wood from boulter plywood for less tan $200. A system 3 seller is about 20mins away so glass and epoxy was easy to get also, two weeks later I'm doing fill coats on the glassed hull.

RE: Kit vs scratch build

I bought okuome plywood from Boulter that was very poor quality. One piece was so warped I had to work around it. A year later I bought okuome from CLC for the same price and it was far superior quality. The cost of shipping was balanced by the savings in sales tax and gas. -Wes

RE: Kit vs scratch build

I've built three boats from kits (all CLC) and 3 boats from plans. From my perspective, the only reason to build from plans is if you want to modify the design in some way, which I did in all three of my scratch-built boats. If you're satisfied with the design, I say you are much better off with the kit. BTW, the 3 CLC kits were a WD12 and 2 Ducklings; the 3 built from plans were a Joel White-designed Shellback (I added a kick-up rudder, a swiveling centerboard instead of a daggerboard, a split keel for the centerboard to drop down through, and a slightly taller mast), and two strip-built Wee Lassies (I added a keel strip for better tracking).

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