Staining North East Dory

I would like to stain my North East Dory using the Behlens Solar Lux. My build is at the point of putting on the last planks.  My plan is to stain the inside only. Should I plan on doing the staining before any epoxy is applied?  Other ideas?  Thanks for any help. 

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RE: Staining North East Dory

Interesting idea.  I have not heard of anybody using stain on a boat interior.  It definitely could be pretty if well done.  For starters, read this article from CLC (

Generically speaking, you stain plywood before gluing the boat together.  This is because the epoxy blocks the stain from getting to the wood grain.  I am not sure of the build sequence of the NED, but if you have already glued the boat together, the areas touched by epoxy will not take stain.  An alternative might be to just stain the seats or other components that are not yet glued in.

Stain definitely adds complications because you really have to be careful during construction to not scratch the stained panels.  Another problem is that the stain will highlight any sanding swirls, so do a good job sanding those areas.

I used stain on a S&G Petrel Play and a Shearwater Double following the CLC directions.  I am happy with how the boats came out.   


RE: Staining North East Dory

 I just finished up a NE dory.  Paint on hull exterior, paint on bottom and lower (glassed over) interior planks.  Blood Red Behlens on the upper 3 plank interiors.  Also stained the upper portion of the ribs and the transom. Also stained the dark-wood (spanish cedar) wood strips used in the seats, and the dark-wood plank in the stern seat. However, all stain was pre-planned, and put on as the very first step right out of the box, before epoxy got anywhere near the boat, including before doing the plank puzzle joints and seat edge-joints.  Every surface that was stained got a painted-on coat of epoxy just as soon as stain was dry, before any assembly.  From there on, throughout the build I tried to be carefull to to avoid sanding down into bare wood in any stained area.  And since that was impossible to wholly accomplish, whenever I did create "spots" I would re-stain and re-seal with an epoxy overcoat.  I was usually able to make the spots almost invisible with color match.  Had to learn to dilute the stain, never get things too dark too quickly, and keep the final color of the spot a shade lighter prrior to applying epoxy, as that darkened things up a shade.  Also, I found the stain will rapidly run into adjacent wood (like across the glue joint in the seat planks).  Additionally, I added stain to all the epoxy glue used in any joint that would show (puzzle joints, transom lamination, etc.). I used a syringe of stained glue to fill the inside plank longitudinal seams, thus I didn't really have to sand those edges.  (Thanks to my wife for continuously filling one syringe while I emptied the other.) Finally, I added stain to all the fillet fills that matched the stained wood. I only takes a few drips to stain a batch of glue or fillet glop. All in all a very tedious process that added the need for a lot of thinking ahead, time and attention to the build, but in the end I was happy with the result.

Now in your case where you have alreay done things like glueing puzzle joints, etc., you'll have to do some testing.  The stain will not take wherever there is already glue sunk into the wood fibers. (Test on scraps - even a spec of the stain on wood that shouldn't be stained sinks in too deeply to sand away.)  You might succeed, as I did stain the gunwales and breast hook AFTER gluing them on (with stained glue).  Then again, it just might not be possible to get the result you want. And that means you'll need to build another boat after you finish the Dory, with stain in mind from the beginning!  

I'm now doing a Shearwater Sport, with one stained panel.  Makes the Dory build seem like child's play.

Pictutre in the next posting, as I always have trouble with that and don't want to risk losing all this typing.

RE: Staining North East Dory


RE: Staining North East Dory


RE: Staining North East Dory


RE: Staining North East Dory

Hey BBH, that’s a substantial rudder, considerably more so than the stock kick up as you noted. How is it working for you? Does the length of the foil come to the same depth as the daggerboard? Have you tried the other types and do you notice increased drag, or substantially better performance. I guess one good thing about the kick up design is it’s easy to replace the foil section.

I particularly like your forward deck, or seat or whatever. Great idea, nicely executed! You likely have flotation in there, maybe storage?



RE: Staining North East Dory

   Answers for Silver Salt:

I desired a kick-up rudder, but (even though I recently met John in Port Aransas at the Wooden Boat Festival, and do trust him) I'm a life-long small boat sailor and the as-designed kick-up rudder just looked a bit too small to me, especially with the highly non-vertical angle at which the whole rudder hinges on this design (causing more drag and less turning force).  Thus, I built my own blade as a part of initial construction, with no particular technical specs other than "this looks about right."  I finished the as-designed kick-up blade at the same time, just to have it in reserve. The boat was only completed recently, so it only has 3 days' sailing, and (sad to say) I've never had more than about 8 knots wind for a few minutes (and usually much less).  With all that said, the rudder seems to work fine.  I did purposefully design it about 2 inches shallower than the dagger board, just because I'd rather have only one part of the boat grounded at a time (with the bad assumption of running into a flat bottom, etc., etc.).  Let's hope for no parts grounded, ususally...

Someday, after getting experience with the modified rudder in some real wind, I'll swap out to the regular rudder blade and report back.  Like you said, it will only take a couple of minutes.

The bow seat design is pretty much a mirror image of the stern seat, including the support bulkheads. (There is a very small partial triangle bulhead about 4 inches back from the bow.)  Filled with floatation.  I'm not sure if it will be enough to make any large difference, but floatation did play into part of the decision to build the seat in the first place. Total volume is probably somewhat less than one cubic foot, thus only 40-50 lbs. extra floatation, but maybe enough to mean the sail need not be lowered and still able to bail during a capsize recovery.  Water is just about warm enough to do my first test capsize.  With some rather minor modifications and a hinge it could be converted to a pretty nifty storage compartment.  With even more effort a bow seat could probably be made air-tight enough (gaskets, latch, etc.) to serve as floatation AND storage.

Adding the bow seat and the seat-back on the stern seat certainly added some hours to the overall build effort, but that is half the fun, right?

And now I'll take the time to correct something in the early post - reverse the words - the kayak build (my second build) is going down like child's play as compared to the dory (my first ever wooden boat build), not vice-versa.

RE: Staining North East Dory

   Thank you Mark and Bubblehead for your help. I think my best bet at this point is to not stain. As you point out, I should have stained before any assembly. Thank you again!  Dan

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