I was initially unsure what to use for the final coat: varnish or polyurethane. The documentation on the net seemed a little confusing. In the end I’ve gone with a varnish from Altex. Not sure if this was the best choice, I suspect it’s more expensive than the equivalent products I could have just bought at Mitre 10 or Placemakers. Nevermind.
The can said 6 to 10 coats. I think I’ve run up 7 on the top and 6 on the bottom. Hard to remember!
I used the ROS with 180 grit pads and this seems to produce a good surface. I’ve still got a fair 250mls left so I’ll put that on sometime in winter.
I enjoyed this part much more than the epoxy. No special safety gear required and it could be done at an enjoyable pace.
I put the kayak in the garage – there was some dust but it pails into insignificance when viewed from a few feet. Runs were definitely a problem. Sponge applicators helped but invariably I’d come back the next day and find a few runs that had formed.
For the outfitting I’ve kept to a bare minimum, at least for the moment. I used window weather stripping for the hatches – seems a bit leaky but I’m sure I’ll be able to tune it better.
I used plastic foot pegs; very light but they also seem a bit flimsy. In retrospect I’d go aluminium.
The back rest provided in the Night Heron plans seems quite effective without any padding. In fact, I spent $80 on closed cell foam and so far haven’t put any in yet, but it doesn’t seem to be especially uncomfortable so I’m in no great rush to finish it.
For the spray deck I ended up, after a few false starts, with getting one made by someone (Gabi) in Nelson. You can get hold of them on TradeMe and I’d recommend the product. Other options include Rasdex and BackOfBeyond.
And the final result? Well, here I am on the inaugural launch in the Waikanae River at the Otaihanga domain. Beautiful spot; you can head out at high tide down the 2kms to the river mouth, play in the sea, then come back with the salt water washed off in the river.
In the end I guess I spent 10 hours / week from the middle of November 2008 until the first week of March this year. So that’s about 160 hours. The cost is approximately $1000. It’s easy to spend more if you don’t hunt around for good prices on ply, fibreglass, epoxy and varnish.
And performance? Well, I’m very familiar with the plastic sea kayaks that you can hire. My Night Heron is faster, feels more manoeuvrable (and it doesn’t have a rudder) and it’s much lighter. So all in all – I LOVE IT!