Kaholo supplies for beginners

Hi everyone,

I've been reading the forum quite a bit over the summer and my 15 year old daughter and I have finally settled on building a 12'6" Kaholo as a mother/daughter project (she wanted to do the teardrop but I told her we had to start small)!  This is our first boatbuilding project.

We are both handy but beyond basic household repair tools don't have a shop or woodworking tools.  CLC has a huge list of "suggested supplies" one can purchase on the Kaholo page, but a lot of it is obviously optional and I would guess even the things that seem to be necessary may not be.  I also figure we can always purchase tools and other supplies as we go.

My question is can anyone suggest what we really have to have to get started on our build and that we would likely want to order from CLC?  Since there is a sale going on now, I might as well get items we will certainly need (varnish?) or that are highly suggested (for example I keep seeing people talking about how amazing the Shinto saw rasp and Bonsai saw are, but I don't know if they really are something we should have).

Thank you in advance for your thoughts and ideas.  Looking forward to learning from everyone here.

7 replies:

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RE: Kaholo supplies for beginners

I am currently stripping the deck of a Kaholo 12.5 Hybrid so I can give you a pretty good list.  I assume that you are building from kit.  If you are not, I would advise that.

Must Have

1.  Saw - The Bonzai saw from CLC is a good choice

2.  Block plane to level the shear clamps and frame prior to adding the deck.  The Low Angle Stanley that CLC sells is a medicre plane but good enough for this build.  Buying the water stone to sharpen the blade is a good idea but not absolutely necesary.

3.  A pair of wire cutters and needle nose pliars to stitch the boat

4.  Some kind of a sanding block.  CLC sells several or go to a box store.  

Most likely needed

1.  A drill with small bit to drill aditional holes while stitching

2.  If your daughter will do all the sanding, the sanding block will be enough.  If YOU are doing the snading, buy a random orbital sander.

Consumables - Personally, I buy my consumables (except for paint/varnish) from a local box store.  Your will use a lot of masks, latex gloves, squeegee, tape, chip brush, foam brush, sandpaper,  good brush, rollers, sandpaper etc.  I'd wait to buy the paint/primer/varnisg until you are scloser to that stage of the build.  It has a shelf life and may go bad if your build drags on.

There are a few optional items that you may want to buy while on sale.  Most experienced paddle boarder will tell you the the fin box is a must.  The Beckson hatch is also a nice option and of course you NEED the "Built By" onlay.

You may also want to consider buying some of the accessories that you will need.  Things like carrier, PFD, leash, etc.  

Good luck!



RE: Kaholo supplies for beginners


Thank you, your insights are extremely helpful.  Yes, we are doing a kit build.

Is there a different block plane you would suggest if we are willing to invest a bit more?   I have my eye on a couple other projects after this (I don't want to get ahead of myself, but while we are new builders, we do a good bit of flatwater kayaking and there are a number of people her who make this sound like building can become a bit addictive) and are open to some better tools if they are a reasonable long term investment (sounds like a ROS falls in this category).   We have plenty of pliers and wire cutters because another of my random hobbies is making scale and chain mail (similarly long projects but on an entirely different size scale).   Question about a drill.  I have a decent rechargable drill but the power is meh.  I've had an eye on a much better drill for some time, so am not opposed to getting a new one, but is there a lot of drilling involved (I thought all the holes were pre-drilled)?

Thanks in advance.  And, BTW, your workshop is immaculate.

RE: Kaholo supplies for beginners

   You don't need a whole lot for the Kaholo.  If you get a block plane, then get a stone and or a sharpening kit for the iron.  From the store the blade is usually crap.  Look up "scary sharp" sharpening tips on the 'net.  I have 2 stanley brand, one about 20 years old and the other about 5 or so.  The old one seems to hold its adjustment better.  For nicer ($$) planes look online for woodworking tool catalogs.  You can do without it but you'll need more sandpaper if you don't have it.

I find I'm using my little Weller brand butane torch kit a fair bit.  I use the hot knife for cutting cordage and the solder tip for heating stitch wires when removing ones that have gotten glued in.  

Get a HEPA filter for your shop vac or get a shop vac and HEPA filter if you haven't yet.  Use it to suck on your sander and also clean up all the sanding dust without spreading it all over.  Also, epoxy dust can be an allergic sensitizer, so keep it out of the air.

Get a utility razor knife and extra blades, and a small wood chisel that you can use to carefully cut off epoxy blobs and make that last little trim of wood.  Sharpen the wood chisel just like the plane iron.

Buy a whole box of brushes from CLC.  They're cheaper than buying by the handful at home depot and you'll use them.

RE: Kaholo supplies for beginners

   Ditto Mark's comments on tools. I happen to think the Stanley low angle block plane is just fine and has servedd me well for 17 boats over the last 25 years. As another required item. Don't forget your finishes....paint and/or varnish. Clc pricing is very good on these. I would also followup on mumichogs note and add the 3m respirator (or equivalent) with both dust and organic filters is an item that i consider a must have item. Mumichog is spot on about controlling dust with a vacume attached ros sander...but dust gets created and you don't want to breath this in. And when you finish a boat with paint or varnish....protect yourself from fumes with the organic filters A good collection of sandpaper for the project with some 60 grit,80 grit for the real rough stuff, 100 to 120 will be used a lot and 150 to 180 for final sanding works for me pretty well On the drill. Not a lot of drilling on ghese projects and a cordless has worked for me in almost all situations. I would wait on a new drill until after you start and see that what you have is not really doing the job H I

RE: Kaholo supplies for beginners

This is all very helpful.  Thank you!  

RE: Kaholo supplies for beginners

   Forget the bonsai, it's for small Intricate cuts get a small pull saw instead, a good sharp pair of scissors is needed  for fiberglass and fabrics onlays (look under tips /finishing) you don't need a block sander ,spray adhesive on the back of sandpaper sheets fold over and cut into squares I almost  ever use my random orbital sander anymore. You'll  need a drill and lots of clamps a cheap Pair of wire cutters  aka side cutters,a block plane which  will stay sharp enough for this entire project afterwards  worry about resharpening       

As for disposable items ,lots of foam brushes,lots of wax paper,lots of various grit sandpaper sheets,foam rollers (small ones) and painter's tape  .as for optional equipment a shop vac is great to have and you'll  find tons  of uses for

RE: Kaholo supplies for beginners

   As seen in Mark N's photo, a pair of sawhorses is really a necessity. Either buy a set at Home Depot or make a simple pair like these (i chose the latter as I have a pile of scrap wood just waiting for a project like this).



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