The Top Ten Supplies & Accessories of 2013
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Our computer plucked these boatbuilding accessories out of nearly 1000 items as the Top Ten of 2013.  All the more fun for the apparent randomness of the list, these are items that boatbuilders cannot live without. -JCH


1. Interlux Schooner Varnish - $32.99Interlux Schooner Varnish

We haven't always done a Top Ten, but I'm pretty sure varnish has topped the list since the early 1990's.  We do an awful lot of varnishing at CLC, and we endure all the frustrations of boat varnishers everywhere. We have tried everything. Interlux Schooner Varnish checks all the boxes:  easy to apply, incredibly durable, and with a lovely, soft amber that makes wood glow.

2. MAS Epoxy Products - Kits Starting at $117
The glue that binds the universe...of the amateur boatbuilder.  Standard in CLC kits for most of our history, this blush-free, low-viscosity, low-odor goo is the secret sauce that makes a boatbuilding project go smoothly.  Combined with wood and fiberglass, magical things will happen.  

MAS Epoxies

Interlux Brightsides Paint3. Interlux Brightsides Paint - $35.95
As with varnish, we've tried just about every paint with a "marine" label over the years, sometimes with lamentably awful results.  This polyurethane goes on thin and glossy, and given time dries to a hard finish that will survive years of weather.  I ended up using off-the-shelf Brightsides for my 26-foot cruising boat years ago, and everyone thought it had been sprayed.  Not bad for a one-part brew that you apply with a disposable foam brush.


Foam Roller Covers4. Foam Roller Covers - $6.95
Well, this isn't very sexy, but there you are, in 4th place for 2013.  These foam rollers don't melt when exposed to epoxy or the high-solvent marine paints and varnishes we prefer.  The extra-thin nap is just right for applying epoxy, paint, or varnish.  And that's about the best prose I can manage for something as prosaic as a roller cover.

4. Plastic Epoxy Spreader - $1.00

For a buck apiece, this is your ticket for easy epoxy application.  Not sure what we'd do without them. 

6. Interlux Pre-Kote Primer - $26.25Interlux Pre-Kote Primer

We recommend this under Interlux Brightsides paint.  It does a great job of filling in minor blemishes in the hull, and improves the adhesion between finish paint and epoxy.   

Fiberglass Cloth7. Fiberglass Cloth - Starting at $6.90/yd

We buy fiberglass cloth by the truckload, so we've got great prices on the lightweight fabrics that are nearly universal in small, homebuilt boats.  We go to a lot of trouble to make sure this fiberglass has the right additives and the uniform weave necessary for easy application over wood.  This fiberglass will turn perfectly clear when wetted-out with epoxy..

8. Fillet Tools - Set of Six - $4.75Fillet Tools
A Top Ten Tyro mistake is to make up your thickened epoxy blend to create structural fillets in the boat, only to discover at the last minute that you have no epoxy applicator standing by.  As the epoxy heats up and precious minutes flit away, you scramble to find a scrap of wood and shape it into a fillet tool.  Not only is this a tedious routine, it leads to crummy work. Having fillet tools that are just the right shape, ready to go when you are, makes a huge difference in your life.  These inexpensive, disposable fillet tools are just the thing.


Okoume Marine Plywood9. Okoume Marine Plywood - from $38
I suspect the appearance of plywood on the Top Ten of marine plywood is related to our big year in plans sales. This is the best stuff that money can buy, the same plywood we use in our kits.  Of all the things to save money on, cheap plywood for your hull is the worst trade-off.  Nice plywood is easier to work and adds to the resale value of your project, to say nothing of the looks.

MiniCel Foam
10. MiniCel Foam - from $9

The humble raw material of 20,000 kayak seats, it's amazing how a little bit of this closed-cell foam, thoughtfully applied in a kayak cockpit, can transform your experience.  Because there's nothing worse in a kayak than a sore butt.  Check out our suggestions for fitting out your cockpit.