So many questions...

Hello all,

I have just received my Kaholo kit and I am excited but am approaching the project with trepidation as I am a complete novice to boat building, I would love to think it is genetic since there are boat builders in my past family but....

I will be reading all of the posts I can find and have already skimmed through the directions once. I think sometimes I really need to remind myself of the K.I.S.S. principle. But here are some of my questions to start so I cam properly plan.

First any big suggestions to start?  Not little details I will get to those, I am planning and laying this whole process out right now.

Next, I am thinking an attachment point for an anchor (small obviously) might be really nice.  What, how and where would you all recommend this being done?  A backing plate it probably really important at this location. Are there better or nicer designs for a leash attachment than a grommet through a piece of strapping? Thinking that a leash and anchor might be on at least one common tie down point.

Finally, I am hoping to paint some designs on the boat when should this be done? Before or after glassing? Having never done the finish work on a boat and I paint parts with decorative design do I also varnish over the paint as well?  The concept of varnishing over the epoxied glass surprised me so I am trying to understand the integrity and purpose behind all the layers of material.

Thank you all in advance I am sure there will be more questions!


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RE: So many questions...

   Oh two more things, curious about more durable designs for fins.  Can I put two smaller fin boxes in? I saw while looking around that some fins are only attached with two points intead of in a box.  I coached crew for a while (gained some repair experience but not much) The skegs on these boats are designed to break away easier incase of impacts they are attached with two long pins into the hull.  Is their an option like this.  I am concerned that the fins the boat came with are easily broken off?

Finally, where to put inspection ports?

RE: So many questions...

Welcome to the club Josh! 

Trepidation is natural before the fist build because it is all so new.  The Kaholo manual is very good so just follow the book and you will end up with a board to be proud of. 

My biggest piece of general advise is to read ahead in the manual so that you understand the overall build sequence.  If there is something that youi don't understand, either post the question here or give CLC a call.

A second piece of general advice is to watch John's 12 part video (Shop Tips » Building a Stitch & Glue Kayak [Videos] ( on building a S&G kayak.  The shape of the Kaholo is a bit different but the general steps are very much the same.  For my first build, I would re-watch the applicable video the night before each new step.

Just before the holidays I completed a Kaholo 12.5 Hybrid for my bride.  On that boat I added a brass eye on the bow as an attachment for a tow line and as a tie down for car topping.  There is a solid wood stem in the bow so no backing plate is needed.  This would also be a good anchor attachment.

For a leash attach point, I glued a Ropeye XS (Google it) to the deck near the stern.  They are expensive little guys but work great and I happened to already have a bunch of them.

I am not a SUP expert but we there are a bunch of them in the racing association that I belong to.  All of them recommended doing away with the small twin fins and installing a single standard fin box.  The twin fins are evidently good for surfing.  With a fin box, you can choose the best fin for the conditions.  We have a 9" which adds stability for beginners, a 6" which is the noprmal, and a 4" flexable fin for where there are underwater obstructions.  CLC sells a fin box kit that is much easier to install during construction than if you try to retrofit.  It goes in very early during construction.

I would also recommend adding the access port to the deck so that you can dry out the inside should any water get in.  This happens at the end of the build.

As for paint, that is definately after fiberglass.  You do not want to glass over paint because the wood/paint bond is very much weaker than the wood/epoxy bond.  Generally speaking, you glass first, then varnish the areas you want bright, then mask the varnish and paint.  It is good to have a gameplan for how you want to boat to look in the end, but sometimes you will have to use paint to hide a minor cosmetic mistake. 

This link should talke you to a small construction album: 

RE: So many questions...

And as for the layered materials I'll add this to what MarkN posted: epoxy alone, under the UV from outdoor exposure, is A Bad Thing.

Epoxy is after all a complex chemical, convenient for our purposes because it comes to us usually as a two-part set of components. Mixing them properly causes them to combine chemically, giving us a substance that provides us with properties unequalled by pretty much any other easy-to-use substance.

Upon exposure to UV radiation however, the bonds formed between those two components begin to break down. UV-inhibiting varnish on top of epoxy reduces this degrading effect very well, as do the opaque pigments and other additives in paint. Both finishes have a place in our kit but don't assume applying varnish over paint will do anything much beyond what each by itself does.

Paint over varnish is OK if necessary if you choose that path for aesthetic reasons as long as the underlying varnish is in good shape then prepared properly before painting.

RE: So many questions...

   What should I use for material for backing plates? Would pine work or should I find something else?

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