Getting started

Hi - Just got my Shearwater Sport kit.  I'm equal parts excited and terrified.  I've watched John's video series.  Have a noobie question about gluing the scarf joints.  Any recommendations on what kind of plastic to use to separate the panels that are stacked on top of one another?  Looks thicker than saran wrap.  Also, do I just assume that the plastic will end up getting glued to the scarf joints?  Do you just sand off the plastic along with the excess epoxy?




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RE: Getting started

 Hi Jim,

I actually built the SWS myself over this past summer.  I have logged many miles in it since the launch in August.

I totally get your "excited and terrified" feeling.  The two most important  things to remember are to focus on one step at a time rather than the whole project, and there are very few mistakes you can make that cannot be overcome.

As for the plastic question, epoxy can't adhere to plastic, so it will simply peel off.  If you get really lucky the epoxy underneath will be smooth as glass meaning minimal sanding.  Saran wrap will probably be fine.  I personally used some heavier stuff I have easy access to here at work.  If you're worried about it just use multiple layers, or maybe use something like a trash or leaf bag.

Hope that helps,


RE: Getting started

Waxed paper works, too. Cheapest thing to do for plastic is to go get those cheap plastic paint drop cloths, a 9' x 12' one costs about 2 bucks and you can build a bunch of boats off one roll!

George K

RE: Getting started

Personally, I don't like plastic films like Saran Wrap because they can wrinkle and fold and get embedded in the epoxy. Then when you try and peel them away, they tear and you're stuck sanding the plastic out.

Wax paper has the potential for getting wax into your epoxy. Wax-contaminated epoxy joints can fail disastrously.

The polyethylene dropcloths that George mentions work best. 4 mil thick will not tear and is easy to cut with a single-edged razor blade or a sharp pair of scissors.

Have fun with the build,


RE: Getting started

For my skerry, i used the plastic wich was wrapped  around the boxes the kit was deliverd in. No problems, no wrinkles no tearing.


RE: Getting started

���Thanks all! Very gratified by the quick and numerous responses. Like the dropcloth idea. Doing some painting and happen to have some on hand.

RE: Getting started

The shearwater sport is an excellent kayak. As far as tips: your first alignment of the hull panels is a critical step to get right. After that, don't bevel 2 rights or lefts. If you get jammed up post a question on here and walk away for a while. Good luck. JRC   

RE: Getting started

   I went through the same thing a year ago with a Wood duck.  As others said go slow, read the Manual, write notes, read this forum.  But most important, keep moving on with the build.  I panicked at the first real Epoxy stage and then it got too cold and I lost 4 months.

Two key things that helped me was, FIRST "plan your work session"  if you are going to need plastic sheeting, cut it out first.  If you are going to need clamps, dry run before mixing epoxy to check size and number.  Walk through each step in your head and have everything laid out.

SECOND: wear multiple gloves when using epoxy, you can pull one off, and have a clean, but protected hand.  For example: If you need to use scissors to cut cloth pull a clove off, use scissors and then keep going.   I got this tip from a friend that is a "mechanic" in a chip manufacturing clean room.   On long sessions I would have 3 gloves on each hand; this really helped keep things clean.


RE: Getting started


Great advice!



RE: Getting started

Finally unwrapped by SWS and turns out the kit has puzzle joints rather than scarf joints.  The directions don't make a big deal about gluing the joints - just brush thickened epoxy as best you can on the edges, then put some on the up-facing surface, lay some fiberglass tape over the seam and put epoxy on that.  The directions don't say to make up separate unthickened epoxy to put on the tape, so I'm assuming the thickened stuff will work okay?  Also, unlike the tip concerning puzzle joints elsewhere on the site, no word in the instructions about clamping or weighting the joints.  Sound right?



RE: Getting started


you need unthichened epoxy to wet out the glass tape. This is a small job so I would mix up one pump of epoxy and then only thinken I little bit. I even think I did my puzzle joints with unthickened epoxy - they fit very tightly. I did have one joint that did not go together smoothly - that is why you are clamping or wieghting, just to make sure the joint is together smoothly. Otherwise you might have to sand through a ply of the wood to make the joint smooth.

Have fun!


RE: Getting started

Good point about keeping the joints nice and flat.  Thanks.





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