Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

I've been 80% done with my wood duckling for about 3 months now despite lots of recent work and have thus spent a lot of time thinking about how I can justify acquiring another kit my wife will resent seeing in an unfinished state in the garage for several more months.  I've mostly decided it's going to be a Kaholo and intend to build from plans (which is ambitious of me), but I have a couple of nagging questions.

Question 1:

Are there any tricks for identifying fabrics that look good as inlays (encased in epoxy beneath fiberglass)?  I've had bad luck thus far.


I've tested 6 fabrics for the duckling since the user-to-be would like a flower print inlay or similar, but I've found that most fabrics look unusably drab/washed out when wet (with epoxy).  White objects are the most hit-and-miss, in my experience, which is probably due to undyed fabric being a passable substitute for white dye/paint, but even the yellows and greens I've tried have mostly looked pretty bad under epoxy.  I would probably give up entirely on the idea of a fabric inlay for the duckling, but I *did* find one fabric that has great contrast on parts of white flowers (the parts that stand out seem to be dyed...if that's the right word).  If anyone has fiddled with this enough to know what makes a fabric a good/vibrant inlay fabric, I'd be grateful to hear your tricks.  It seems to me that good contrast (when dry) is probably necessary but not sufficient.  Maybe there is a class of fabric that looks great when wet (?).

Question 2:

Does anyone know who makes the deck pads with the light/dark brown, tropical weave-like (cross-hatch?) texture that two of the boards from the Lake Tahoe-area photoshoot had?  I would prefer that to the stock (gray) deck pad look.  They're in photo #1 on the Kaholo page right now (link below).  If anyone has used it and can comment on the traction they provide (especially compared to the stock gray pads), that would be really helpful.  CLC doesn't seem to offer them - maybe there's a good reason.  :-)




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RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

By the way, the only fabric (of the 7, not 6) I test that looks acceptably vibrant is the cotton fabric linked below (the pink version).  I think it's safe to say that the white parts of the flower petals are painted since they stand out really well.  I don't wanna get lost in the weeds here but at least thought I should share a little more detail about what (almost) worked for me.




RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

Thanks for following my stream-of-consciousness monologue.  My initial post inspired me to think new thoughts (much like e-mails often do).

After a little sleuthing, I've decided that the unique thing about the fabric I tested that looked vibrant was that it was labeled a *print*, so I should say that the vivid whites in my almost-suitable fabric are *printed*.  Maybe using printed fabrics is a good way (if not the only way) to get good contrast in a fabric inlay.  Apologies if this was obvious to everyone but me.  CLC's article on fabric inlays also uses the word print (https://www.clcboats.com/shoptips/finishing-tips/fabrics.html).

RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

1.  I do not know any tricks when it comes to determining how a fabric will look under epoxy.  With my wife's Kaholo, i did test samples with her choices and she made the final decision.  Don't forget to put some varnish over the epoxy on your test samples because that will also alter the appearance of the fabric. 

2.  The material that CLC uses for the deck pads is from Seadek.  They sell sheets in a variety of colors so you could cut your own.  Also, take a look at the many ready made SUP deck pads on the open market.  My bride found some black ones that she liked.

The Kaholo is a great board and I am thinking about building one for myself.


RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

   I ran a bunch of tests before selecting a fabric for a Petrel Play S&G I'm building for my wife. What I found essential is to paint the wood white before putting down the fabric. That brings out the colors nicely. The fabric is a very light polyester satin. 

RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

   Here's a photo of the test hull section. What I don't know is how colorfast this fabric will be. I'll put several coats of UV varnish over the glass and epoxy, but I understand that this doesn't guarantee anything. 





RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)


Thanks for suggesting putting varnish over the epoxy for test fabric patches to mimic the finished product better.  I hadn't planned to do it, but it's a good idea (once I whittle my choiced down to a fabric or two). 

I looked into deck pad options a few weeks ago and was a little overwhelmed by all the choices - thanks for pointing me to SeaDek (though they don't seem to have the brown cross-hatch/woven pattern I was looking for - I'll keep looking).


Putting white paint under the fabric is a clever idea that had definitely not occurred to me.  Would the film stack be as shown below then?  My only concern is that the non-standard stack could lead to adhesion/longevity issues, but maybe paint inside an epoxy sandwich would behave a lot like the typical film stack (with paint only on the outside of epoxy).

0. Wood
1. Thin seal coat of epoxy (only in fabric area)
2. Coat or two of white paint (only in fabric area) - sanded?
3. Fabric
4. Fiberglass fabric + epoxy
5. Epoxy fill coats 

RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

I forgot to add a couple of things:

Mark N,

That is a really lovely board, and the fabric inlay looks incredible.  Well done!  Glad to hear you think highly of the board.

And Woxbox,

I got a 404 error when I visited that link (so I wan't able to see your picture).

RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

   Here's what I'm doing:

1: Sand ply smooth
2: Apply white primer. I think it's important to use a flat, totally non-gloss paint. I used water-based Zinnser 123 primer.
3: Apply fabric and roll on a thin layer of epoxy. The very light material I'm using requires next to nothing to saturate it.
4: Squeegee out all excess epoxy.
5: Apply glass and finish as usual.
6: Several coats of UV barrier varnish.

I'm not concerned about adhesion over the paint. I've done many repairs and rehabs over the years with some paint under epoxy and I've not once seen it separate.

I can't figure out how to post a photo here, but if you follow this link you'll find a thread I'm running on the build over at the WoodenBoat forum. Photos of the tests near the top.



RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

Respectfully, this is not a good idea.  The strength of the glass/wood/glass structure results from the very strong bond that epoxy creates between the three layers.  When you insert a layer of paint into that structure, you insert a weak layer because paint is much weaker than epoxy from a structural perspective.  While you may get away with doing this in small areas where there is little loading, doing this on the deck of a SUP where a person will be standing is a recipe for delamination.  

A better approach would be to add a layer of tinted epoxy under the fabric.

RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

 Hi Mark,

I did some destructive testing on my samples. The weakest link is the glass to fabric layer. This is over a printed polyester. If I force both fabric and glass off the ply together, then small bits of Okoume come off the surface of the ply, sticking to the back of the fabric/epoxy/paint layer. The paint-epoxy interface is quite strong.

This doesn't surprise me from past experience. In any event, all the bonds are more than strong enough to stand on or serve as the deck of a kayak. But the fabric issue is important. I wouldn't use a nylon fabric, since epoxy doesn't bond with it. Cotton is perhaps the best choice for bonding, but I'd be concerned about getting it to lay down neatly given its physical qualities. 

I'd be interested to hear what others' experience with this are.


RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

   Have you considered using rice paper graphics?  I recently bought some from a website called boardlams. Mine are an American flag. They can print on rice paper with white ink. I haven't installed them yet, but they look great. Just an option to consider. I had boardlams design my graphics because I don't have those skills.

RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

Dave (Woxbox),

It's reassuring to know that you did some serious testing of the non-standard film stack.  Thanks for sharing those details.  I might still shy away from it because I'm afraid of messing things up at such a late stage and go with an option that looks good on bare (epoxied) wood.  I'll share any aha moments here.  It's a great option for the back pocket, though.


I had not seriously considered adding a graphical inlay printed on rice paper, but thanks for the reminder - I will be sure to consider it.  I've seen monochromatic examples that look really good, and it seems like multicolored patterns/graphics should also work well (though I will do some research).

RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

   It's been more than a few months, but the boat is complete. Here's how it looks with the light polyester fabric under the deck fiberglass. There are 5 coats of UV varnish on top of the epoxy to protect both the resin and the color in the fabric underlayment.

Petrel Play with fabric deck underlay

RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

   Let me take another shot at getting a photo to display

Petrel Play

RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

Well, I got it to work by right clicking on the link and opening that in a new tab.  This is with Edge.

Pretty wild lookin' boat, there.  <;-)


RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

That is one striking boat. You're never gonna lose that one in a crowd.


There a  

RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

   Michael -- Thanks for fixing the post. The original is in Google photos with sharing turned on, so I don't know why the link didn't work.

I had fabric to spare, so I made a scarf for my wife -- who I made the boat for, too, of course.

RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

I think it was Laszlo who grabbed the photo and put in a post.  My contribution was just figuring out that right-click-open-in-new-tab business.  Mysteries of the Cyber Sea....

Now we need a photo of your wife, in the boat, wearing that scarf.  <;-)


RE: Kaholo aesthetics (fabric for inlay, deck pads)

   The scarf and the matching boat...

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