The Top Ten Supplies & Accessories of 2012

This was a fun data set to pull from the system.  The unvarnished list (pun intended) feels a little random, sorted strictly by popularity from 896 items in the CLC store.  These are the things that really earn their keep in your boatshop! -JCH

1. Interlux Schooner Varnish - $32.99
Interlux Schooner VarnishBut of course.  Chesapeake Light Craft is in the wooden boat biz, and who goes to the trouble of building a wooden boat without showing off the wood under varnish?  We've been using this product and its close cousins for over twenty years.  That's enough time in the hands of professionals to be able to say with considerable emphasis:  "This is the best sh*t out there."  Schooner Varnish has a lovely amber glow over wood.  It's the easiest to apply of any we have tried.  And most importantly, it holds up.  NO small boats are abused like the ones in the CLC demo fleet, yet we're able to stretch to three years between refinishing on many boats.

Filleting Tools2. Fillet Tools - Set of Six - $4.75
Um...okay!  That's what Excel tells us is #2 on the list.  We created these for ourselves after years of struggling to find a scrap of wood in the shop to smooth our epoxy fillets.  Apparently, all of you have the same problem.  At least, until you picked up a few sets of these cheapies.

3. MAS Epoxy Products - Kits Starting at $99
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

Happy Bottom Pad4. Happy Bottom Pad - $48.50
Some of us remember sitting around in the office trying to come up with a name for this molded kayak seat.  We agreed that nothing made us more unhappy than an uncomfortable kayak seat.  And off we went.  Always on our Top Ten since we first offered them in the mid-90's.  Just stick the Happy Bottom Pad to the floor of your kayak with ordinary contact cement, and happiness will be yours.  

Fiberglass Cloth5. Fiberglass Cloth - Starting at $6.90/yd
Well, okay, I can see that.  All but one or two of our 95+ designs use fiberglass for rigidity and durability.  It's included in the kits, of course, but everyone building from plans (or doing repairs, or composites work of some sort) needs high-quality fiberglass.  Carefully tested for finish and uniformity, our lightweight fabrics turn perfectly clear when soaked in epoxy.  The fact that we buy it by the truckload means that you pay loads less.

6. Disposable Nitrile Gloves - Box of 100 - $12
Oooh, how sexy!  But there you are, big Number Six.  Don't ever get epoxy on your skin, and don't overpay for this essential shop supply. (See the blue gloves in the photo above?  Those are the ones.)

Leather Oar Collars7. Leather Oar Collars - $28
Beautiful spruce oars demand a solution to prevent wear from the oarlocks.  These leather oar collars add a touch of elegance, and they are perfectly practical.  With the occasional dab of oar leather grease, they will last forever.
Fancy Grab Handles
8. Fancy Grab Handle - $6.50

Another random bit of kit, but no surprise.  These are mainly used as super-comfy carrying handles on the bows and sterns of kayaks.  But they get used for everything else, too:  drawer handles, lifting handles on shop fixtures, the list goes on.  And on.

Footbrace Mounting Kit9. Footbrace Mounting Kit - $14 
Okay, quick---study the first ten pictures of kayaks you can find on the web.  Every one of them will show two little bolt heads on the sides, securing the footbraces.  This just won't do!  You've spent all this time building a beautiful wooden kayak, and like hell will you drill holes through the sides to bolt on the footbraces.  This nifty kit allows solid footbrace mounts without the ugly through-bolts of yore.

Shinto Saw Rasp10. Shinto Saw Rasp 9" - $24
This one migrated out of our personal toolboxes and into the CLC store.  We used to fight over them in the shop---they are just perfect for shaping wood, epoxy, fiberglass, or even foam.  The weight, balance, and long-lasting sharpness of the blades make these an indispensable boatbuilding tool.

The Shinto Saw Rasp