Planning Ahead

So, I am wayyy excited to build my first boat. I have been pouring through many of the posts. I will be building a Shearwater 17 at the end of March in the Wood Duck Class in Annapolis.

I will be taking the whole week off. (obviously) My question is this: I am on the OCD side and will want to do the sanding, staining, etc. as soon as I can. Is there a time frame to where the epoxy has to dry (or whatever) before I can do the sanding, etc? If not, I am going to put in for leave for a few days the following week as well. If I have to wait, I may split the leave to where I take more time whenever the boat is ready for me to sand, etc.

I just want to submit my leave for work but want to do it the right way... So, can you tell how excited I am getting?


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RE: Planning Ahead

I have'nt been to a class yet but from what I've seen they get the glass on and wetted out on Friday . Any staining must be done before this step. The time between applications depends on the ambient tempurature. If your work space is kept arround 70 deg. F. you can aply the next coat of epoxy in about 8hrs. I would give the epoxy at least 18 to 24 hours before any serious sanding is attempted so the epoxy is hard enough not to clog the sandpaper.

The main consideration, especially in March, is keeping the work space warm enough so the epoxy will cure. 68-75 deg. is the sweet spot.

RE: Planning Ahead

If I understand the posts, you are planning to stain the wood before applying epoxy.  You cannot use an oil-based stain for this or the epoxy will not stick.  The problem with water-based stains is that it is hard to apply them smoothly over a large area. 

I have read that Minwax gel stain was used successfully for this purpose--went on smoothly and did not cause problems with the epoxy.  I'm sure many others will chime in on this, but wanted to make sure you know not to use oil-base stains.  (If you were already aware, please forgive me.)


RE: Planning Ahead


You really need to call CLC and talk to them about staining your panels.  The classes are very structured to enable the boats to be built in a week.  There might not be enough spare time in your class week for staining.  Your instructor would know and might be able to suggest a suitable workaround if there isn't enough class time for staining.  Good luck.

RE: Planning Ahead

Thank you for the responses..I have so much to learn about building a kayak! I have watched the videos, etc.

Based on the information below, I just wasn't sure of when I can start on the sanding and the varnishing. If I can start right away, I'll take that Monday and Tuesday off to work on it.  If I need to wait for it, then I'll take off time a week or so after the class ends. This is the piece I can't figure out yet. 

How much do you get done in a week?
Whether you're building a kayak or a bigger boat, results are about the same:  you will get major assembly done in the course of the week, including fiberglass work.  Sailboats will require assembly of components like rudders and spars at home.  In all cases, final finishing work---sanding, varnishing, painting, and final fit-out, will take place at home.  We go as fast as we can during the week, consistent with professional-quality boatbuilding work.  Some of the kayaks (Wood Ducks, for example) are finished enough for a quick paddle at the end of the class, but you'll still need to apply varnish and other bits.


RE: Planning Ahead

Staining can't be done through epoxy, so you must stain before using epoxy to stick kayak parts together.  When you get to your building class, some of the plywood panels will have been epoxied together.  That is one of the compromises CLC needs to make so you can build a kayak in a week.  You'll need to stain your hull/deck panels before they're epoxied together, unless you can work you staining ideas around the epoxy joints in spare class time - and there is very little spare class time.  If you really needta-havta-gotta-wanta get stain on your hull panels, you really need to talk directly to your instructor/CLC to find out if it can happen before or during a class.

You will be sanding in class, but not enough to go home and start varnishing.  When you leave there will be small tasks to complete plus finishing.  Finishing involves plenty of sanding and days of applying your finish, either paint, varnish, or a combination of both.  Don't shoot yourself in the foot by planning to finish your new kayak in a few days at the beginning or end of the next week.  You'll have a lot invested in your new small craft, spend the time needed to effectively protect it with a finish.

RE: Planning Ahead


Thanks so much for the explanation! It sounds like I will work on sanding and varnishing for a while. I guess I will save my leave from work and work on it at night. That way, I can save those leave days actually going out and using my new kayak. :) Guess I am just an eager beaver...


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