14' Kaholo - Notes from Phase 1

This is a really long post but I hope my notes help.

I am not a woodworker and this is my first kit from CLC.  Overall I am very happy.  Here are my notes from the construction of a 14’ Kaholo.  These comments cover stage 1; e.g., the deck is on.

1.        You will need a large space.  I built two 8’x4’ work tables on wheels and bolted them together into a single long mobile bench.  A little overkill but the lower shelf gave me lots of protected storage area.

2.       I mounted the hull supports that came in the kit on 4x4s and added oversized feet to stabilize them.  This worked well on both the table and sawhorses.  The sawhorses were convenient when working in the top of the hull.

3.       The supplied resin system is very easy to work with.  It has no smell which is great.  It seems easier to work with than West System, which I have used a lot of in the past on boat rehabilitation projects, including adhesion, fairing and glassing.  It does not kick fast so you have lots of working time, even with wood dust putty and cell-o-fill adhesive.

4.       When you glue the deck supports to the upper edge of the hull, take some extra time and line up the top edges.  This will limit some work later before the deck goes on.

5.       Spreading clear resin with a brush is easier and more economical if you cut the bristles back about ½ way.  The brush is stiffer and does not soak up too much resin so less drips.

6.       Buy lots of disposable plastic gloves and USE them.  I have done lots of resin work without gloves.  Never again.  The gloves are really useful and easy to wear.

7.       When spreading clear resin with the plastic spreaders, lay the spreader down at a low angle.  You get a better spread and less chance of pulling the fiberglass cloth.  Plus you will lessen the movement of the cloth in any direction, e.g. the cloth will slide on the wood surface if you spread too hard.

8.       Spread resin across the cloth from the center outward and off the edge.  Wipe the wet spreader on extra cloth off the edge so you do not drip on your return stroke.  This will minimize the resin applied on the first coat and give a nice even fiber glassed surface without pools of resin and pinhole bubbles.

9.       Do not glass the underside of the deck when you glass the side and bottom puzzle joints.  You will not be using the deck for a long time and having it glassed will only mean you have to put a flexible, and delicate 14’ board somewhere.  Leave it until you seal the inside of the hull since you will mixing clear resin anyway.

10.   The individual kit pieces are not perfect, especially the frames.  You need to adjust the frames to make the hull surfaces come together neatly, e.g. no openings at the seams.  You will most likely have to take about 1/16” off both sides of each frame for the hull to fit up and you will most likely have to take about 1/8” out of the notch on each frame where they mate up to deck supports on the side hulls.  The notch in the frame is not deep enough so the frame presses down on the bottom panel opening a space in the chine.

11.   You may want to adjust the stern plate.  I found that adjusting both the stern plate and frames was required if you want to bottom of the hull to be the bottom of the chine, e.g. the side hull sits on top of the edge of the bottom panel.

12.   When mixing putty, go slowly.  You want the putty to have enough wood dust to be putty, but still have nice even surface texture.  Using a tongue depressor worked ok.  You will use your fingers because of limited space in the bow and up under the deck support  to frame connection.  Did I mention gloves?

13.   Use mixed materials up.  When gluing, use the left over glue to seal or small fillet.  Sealing the strakes, frames, handle backers and nose piece are good examples where extra mix can be used up if the adhesive is not very thick.  Same with sealing the inside of the hull when you mix clear resin.

14.   You can always sand excess resin back.  I seems a waste of time, but sanding cleans up all your mistakes.  Sanding also reduces weight. 

15.   Get a multitool.  The sanding foot works great in most of the tight spaces.

16.   I have not figured out a good way to get into the stern area and do a good job.  Any ideas?

17.   Add lots of extra stitches where needed.  They really pull it together.

18.   Forget the stitch holes in the frames, use longer stitches and go up and around the frame for much easier installation.

19.   When mixing resin, go slowly on the pump.  A small amount is 2 pumps, medium is 10 pumps or less, a large amount is 25 pumps.  Smaller is better unless you know you are working a large area.  Smaller is also better when you add fillers because the volume doubles quickly.

20.   Glassing uses lots of resin, 25 pumps will do about half of one side of the deck.  I refilled the container 25 pumps at a time and then just did a small amount to finish off under coated areas and then used the leftover to seal the inside of the hull.

21.   Wax paper is ok.  Parchment and freezer paper seemed to work better.  It is tougher than wax paper.  I did not try plastic.

22.   Lots of weights are good to have.  Weights are needed to make sure the puzzle joints stay flat. 

23.   Do not throw anything away.  You will use the cardboard box and the panels marked “Not a part of the kit”.

24.   There is lots of copper wire.  Use it.

25.   I did not add a transom design, so I added a support on the inside top edge for gluing the deck.

26.   I used a hand speed file (some call it a board sander) to even the deck supports and rails.  The longer the sanding surface the flatter the surface.  Be careful where the frames are at deck level on the sides, you can break them easily when sanding fore and aft.  Putting a fillet at the deck level on the frames will support the frames at the edges.

27.   Level the hull supports first, put the board in the supports, makes sure the bottom of the hull is flush to the supports, then level all along the board to assure no twists and assure complete gluing on level frames and rails. 

28.   I used the second syringe to apply the glue for the deck installation.  It was cleaner than using a brush and could handle a pretty thick mix.

29.   I got some friends to help drop that flexible 14’ piece without smearing the glue.  I used the left over pieces from the kit box to distribute the weight down the deck.

30.   Too much weight on the deck can cause the board to go out of shape.  Nothing over 20 pounds at any one spot is probably a good rule.  Heaviest weight near supports.  Use paint cans and packing tape to make sure the edges are down.

31.   I used the Japanese saw to cut away most of the overhang.  Easy peasey as my GF would say.  Now the real sanding  and fairing begins!


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