Soon we’ll be ordering up the 12’6″ kit.  I am excited and can’t sleep, so I’ve decided to catch up with the blog.

Last I left, we had taken to the fates and cut a rectangle into the perfectly good board and epoxied the frame for the fin box.  While we inspected the fins supplied in the kit we noticed they have quite the fiberglass edges on them.  Somehow Marc knew fiberglass rope existed and recommended we try using it to reinforce the nose of the board. This step is not included in the manual and so we winged it.

The rope was ordered from e-bay and we attached it with epoxy last night.  First off, it reminds me of embroidery thread.  It’s made to be peeled apart to the thickness desired. It was taped in place and then we put some epoxy over it.  The next morning Marc mixed up a batch of epoxy thickened with cell-o-fill (silica thickening sent with the kit) and applied it.  By evening it was ready for sanding and a little shaping since he was looking for a sharp edge.

Why go through extra trouble with this step? We figured it would help reinforce and protect the front edge of board when crashing into rocks and getting out and onto shore.  If it doesn’t really pay off, it’s not the end of the world.  Fiber glass rope is inexpensive.

First photo is actually a photo of the tools we made for spreading peanut butter.  We think they worked wonderfully.  Also visible is the boards emily-incuded-owwie.

This is where we make it more complicated.  Marc ordered a fin box.

If you are not familiar with a fin box here is the jist.  It’s a plastic piece that you can install  allowing removable/adjustable fins on your board.  Why?  If you think you may share the board with others it’s helpful to make sure the fin(s) are in the water or else the board has no tracking and will be a pain in the butt to try to steer.  The kit comes with two fins you can permanently fiberglass on.  Marc is going to install the two, but also a single fin box in the center between the two to add an adjustable fin.  You can both buy and make fins yourself.  Installing the fin box gives the user the ability to move them forward or back depending on what feels comfortable.  I want one in my kit also.

It has not been installed yet because it is scary to take a perfectly great build so far and cut a rectangle in the bottom.

Until now!

It was kind of scary, luckily Christy was there to supervise.  Marc measured out the center of the kit between the tail and last bulk head.  Then cut two wooden “frames” to sandwich around a piece of foam board cut to size.  After marking out the placement with tape and double checking it’s location several times it was time to cut.  To get the jig saw in  a hole was drilled .  It was some scary stuff kids. I will upload the scary and boring videos (as determined by Christy)at a later time.  Until then we have photos to share. Big suprise there.




I’m lucky, Marc so kindly took it upon himself to go ahead and finish up the sanding on the outside. :)  Rounding the edges was a little tricky as I mentioned previously because of how thin the ply is.  I think he did a good job.  This is where we make it more complicated.  Marc ordered a fin box.

While we waited for the fin box to arrive we got to fiber glassing the underside of the deck.  This was the first big foray with the fiberglass cloth.  It scared me. You will be happy to hear I did not do any further damage to the board, and fiber glassing was a breeze.

We set out a big plastic drop cloth on the garage floor after Marc cleaned it thoroughly.  Then it was wiped down with a sticky cloth to make sure it was free of debris .  The sheet of fiberglass cloth is really long so it needed to be trimmed up after we laid it out atop the deck.  Next we mixed a  bunch of epoxy up, got it all stirred up with a plastic knife  and got to pouring.


PS .  I did not drink any epoxy.

The epoxy that comes with the kit is odorless.  It’s nice to work with since it gets used a lot in the build.  We painted up the insides with epoxy.  The manual says to get the cheap bristle ones with wood handles.  We figured out why  you should not use the foam brushes.  After a while the foam deteriorates and begins leaving little pieces of itself in your nice epoxy job.  We added the extra pieces from the sheer clamps on for the handles to be anchored into as well as the stringers.

Once you get the epoxy on the wood it looks really nice, you begin to  see the great color in the wood.  Of course you could wipe denatured alcohol over everything if your in a big hurry.

I really love this kit.  I think it would make a great family-bonding project.  It’s really that simple.  As much as I want it to look and seem complicated to make myself look like a genius;  It’s just not.  It’s simple.  You can make it more complicated, and don’t worry, we will.

Hint: epoxy up the nose block now.  It will be glued in and is a total B to paint the underside with epoxy in that space with the first bulkhead in the way.


Don’t mind the blue tape on the top.  I’ll explain that soon enough.  But as you can see, it’s a tight fit.  Luckily I have small hands and was able to get in the space with a small brush.  Hopefully I coated everything.  I guess we find out when it sinks.

The paddleboard has an owwie.  The owwie is entirely my fault too.  I’m expecting Marc’s revenge to be pretty sweet.  In the mean time I will just keep peeking around corners.  While I was off doing the retail thing Marc used the peanutbutter (epoxy + wood flour) to fill the holes left behind from the copper wire holes.  The excess needed to be sanded off.  For that we apparently needed a new sander.  We hop into the car and head to Sears.  There we picked out a yellow one (details escape me, photo below), and some extra sand paper.

Back at SUP Headquarters (aka Marc’s garage)  I was sanding on the front underside. The sander was at two low of an angle, where I couldn’t tell I was even sanding and it went right through the first ply of the wood.  Which left a pretty sweet bullseye effect.  Not good.  PeanutButtered it up before getting a photo though unfortunately.

Be careful when sanding!! The ply is very thin, and along edges the middle-sandwichy-piece is darker and the grain is going in the opposite direction.  Practice on some scrap first if you are not sure.  It is bound to happen in some places no matter what you do I think though.  Edges that need to be rounded off a bit will have a little show.  Onto the photos!

This jerk got me into trouble.

  Well.  One photo.  I’m sure there may be more later added.

Marc’s board has a gender.  As the title suggests it’s a girl/busty babe.  So far she has no name.  I threw out a few suggestions, all quickly shot down.  Marc removed the copper stitches from the board while I was at work (big surprise).

When I was able to go over we mixed up some creamy peanutbutteresque wood flour and epoxy and began filleting.  Filleting.  It’s as awkward to say as it is to read.  Fill-it-ing.

Fill-it-ing.  Ugh.  At least we’re pretty decent at it.  We had to go back and make sure the little holes in the base of the bulk heads were clear (we think for water passage?) We had a good system of one person mixing, and one person juicin’ up joints.  We used a solo cup and a plastic knife to mix batches.

I went to work.  Christy and Marc used the syringe  sent with the kit to epoxy all the joints on the board.  Except the pesky tail edge that is narrow and slanty.

Insert lots of drying time here.

Stitching the bottom to the side panels.  Get it?  Sally from movie The Nightmare Before Christsmas? Anyways…  the Kaholo is a stitch and glue kit, and we’ve already glued quite a few things it’s time for high school home economics to come in handy-finally.

Like the bulk heads and side panels, the bottom has has pre-drilled holes.  All we needed to do was use that copper wire to twisty tie this baby up!

Not so fast, did I mention the wire is very pliable, the holes are close and in hard to reach places?  I’d say this was an exercise in patience and a good light holder (me) really helps.

When I said I thought we were excited it was looking like a board before… now we were really excited.  I think even Christy was excited about how far we’d come since our blundering on the first paddle.  Starting in front was a good decision Marc made.  It helped keep things aligned and we were able to adjust the boards fit by simple tightening or loosening of the copper wires.   The wires are pliable and break after being bent too much, so work consciously.  Or have plenty of spares and a lot of patience.


Marc is lucky.  He can work from home and admire his board.  Meanwhile I’m three towns away slaving away in retail  doing all I can to supress SUP fantasies. 

The 11 bulk heads need to be poked out of the frames and sanded, all done by Marc.  They remind me of dollhouse furniture pieces.   Then it’s time to take the 50 feet of copper wire supplied in the kit and cut it into three segments.  The kit comes with pre-ish drilled 1/16″ holes throught where the pieces are “stitched” together with the wire.  We did have to use either wire or a drill bit (they said we would break it, and we did) to throughly clear out a few holes.  Soon we had the side panels up on the cradles with the first bulk head in place.  Marc was a very proud parent at this point.  His little paddle board was growing up so fast.

 I don’t think that until this point we were very confident we could do this project.  Sure, we wern’t all talk.  We were fairly confident, others were not so sure at this point.   I must admit I was mildly nervous.  More nervous we would make a mistake we couldn’t fix and none of us wanted that.  I think it helped that we read the manual throughly.  It was a great boost.  On we went with the bulk heads…
 It’s all comming together. It finally resembels a board. 

Assembling tools was fairly easy.  Especially for me since Marc already posessed many of the items we thought we would ever need.  Marc did purchase a japanese pull saw off e-bay for like $15, then later saw it at a local Harbor Freight store for a few dollars less.  I think all I did was buy some gorilla glue, the big bottle.

Opening the box was very exciting and right off the bat we prioritized what we needed to do first.  According to the manual we needed to epoxy the side panels together.  Marc decided which sides were most attractive to be put on the outside of the board.   Very important to do that before you epoxy.

We laid out some folded up plastic drop sheets we got at home depot for like $1.99 and fit the joints.  A few joints needed a little help, and  so were sanded to fit just right.    The manual says you need clamps, many many clamps.  Weights will suffice, but clamps are a lot more handy.  Even if I did cripple myself trying to open so many.  We laid out the clamps every six inches like manual suggests.  Mixed the epoxy and set to work.


Clamping the sides

Hi. My name is Emily, and I'm a clampaholic.

These are the photos of the two side panels with the sheer clamps being epoxied on.  They said clamps every six inches or so…
Originally We took painting tape (the blue stuff) and put it over the joints where they met and cut around the puzzly parts.  The concept behind that idea was that we could put the epoxy on the two pieces that needed to be attached, then remove the painters tape and the effort would leave the wood clean from epoxy.  Not so.  Still needed standing, and there might be some blue tint to the epoxy.  Not sure.  We will know when we do it again or don’t do it on next build.
The side panels and sheer clamps were completed with some fiberglass cloth along the seam.  Onto the next steps.