Why Drill Holes in a Good Kayak? plus Sanding - Petrel Play SG - E27

In this video, Nick continues the process of finishing a kayak build. He begins by cleaning up some drips and unintended epoxy spills from the previous fill coat application. Nick demonstrates the use of a rasp to remove the larger drips efficiently without damaging the underlying surface.

Next, Nick embarks on the sanding process to level out the surface in preparation for varnishing. He emphasizes the importance of using coarse sandpaper and long strokes to remove the high spots, creating a uniform and flat surface. Nick explains that low spots will take care of themselves once the high areas are leveled.

As the sanding progresses, Nick switches to finer grits, aiming to achieve a consistent scratch pattern across the entire surface. He advises against getting too focused on minor imperfections, as the varnish coats will help bury some of the smaller scratches.

In preparation for installing deck lines, Nick drills holes along the perimeter of the kayak and fills them with epoxy. He also marks and drills holes for mounting the foot pegs and back band, taking care to ensure proper placement and reinforcement.

Throughout the process, Nick shares valuable tips and techniques, such as using a dust-collecting sanding block, frequently changing sandpaper, and applying epoxy fillers with a piping bag for a clean application.


  • 0:00 - Introduction and Overview 
  • 0:52 - Cleaning Up Drips from Previous Coat 
  • 4:46 - Sanding Process to Level Surface 
  • 16:32 - Achieving a Uniform Scratch Surface 
  • 23:13 - Prepping for Deck Lines Installation 
  • 27:46 - Drilling Holes for Deck Line Mounts

Here is the pasted video transcript text capitalized, punctuated, and organized into logical paragraphs, with the complete, unabridged text kept and time code information eliminated:

Hey, welcome back to the Guillemot Kayaks Workshop. I'm Nick Schade. Bill's not here today, but I have some stuff I want to get done just to keep the schedule moving along, and so we're going to get right to it. In the last episode, we sanded and applied a fill coat, and I ended up applying another fill coat to the other side off-camera. Surprise, surprise, I forgot to peel the tape before the epoxy dried, so I have a little bit of stuff here to clean up. So we'll start out with that, and then we are going to do finish sanding, getting this ready for varnish. So let's get right to it.

So here I've got some tape, and if I can just get under the edge of it, usually the drips will peel up. But of course, I've got some drips that went over the tape. But first, we'll just get most of this tape off here. So this is what happens when I don't put a good enough drip edge on the tape. If I had folded the bottom edge of the tape up more aggressively, it would have prevented those drips from running down the side here. You know, if you make it wide enough, if it does drip off, it doesn't hit the boat. But I was sort of in a rush and just didn't do a good job. But gives you a chance to see how to deal with this. Last episode, I talked about using a rasp or something to take down big drips. This is a Shinto wood rasp, which is basically, you look at it, it's a bunch of sort of hacksaw blades riveted together. So this is a coarse side, and then there's a fine side, really pretty powerful tool. I could do the same with the four-in-hand, but let's show you how this works.

So you see these big drips here. So again, I'm just holding the tool flat on the surface here, and so all it's going to cut is the high spots, and I can be pretty aggressive with it, as long as I don't try to dig an edge in. It's just going to take the high spots off really effectively, and it's not going to dig into the fill coat proper. So you see that's quite fast and efficient. Obviously, it would be better if I'd done a better job with the tape and didn't have these drips, or if I just monitored it a little bit and came back and cleaned those up while they were still liquid. So I'll go over the whole boat and just take care of that sort of stuff.

This is a file card used to clean stuff out of the file. With all the tape here, it was getting a little gummed up. Useful thing to have, keeps your files working nice, cleans it right out. So now I'm going to start sanding. I've got those those high drips knocked down pretty close. I'm going to put some 80 grit on my longboard here and try to level out this surface with the 80 grit. If I find this is taking too long, I'll up the grit to like 60 grit just to make it go more efficiently. Again, we've got a fairly stiff board here, it's not padded much, and if I hold it flat against the surface here, I won't be cutting into the glass, and I'll just be leveling the surface.

So I know a lot of people are sort of afraid to touch this surface with a coarse grit. They think they're going to burn through it too quickly, and you absolutely could take this and a couple strokes. I could burn right through the keel line here or the chine line. But if I hold it flat against the surface, all this is going to do is knock down the high spots, and we want to get this leveled out. I want to do that as efficiently as possible with as little effort as possible, so that means using a coarse grit, and then the sanding after that will all be about getting rid of the scratches from this. I could be using a power tool here. I often would, but a hard chine, bolt, like a stitching glue boat, like I mentioned, it's really easy to burn through the chines. So if you're really comfortable with a random orbital sander, absolutely have at it. I've got some other videos of building other boats where that's what I use. You can see my process for that. I just thought I would show you the process of doing it with hand sanding basic tools.

I do have a dust collecting sanding block here, bit of a luxury, but I feel the the safety it provides of reducing the dust in the shop is worth it. And so I have this hooked up to a vacuum so it'll collect most of the dust that I create in the process. So again, quickly, just keep the tool flat on the surface, don't try to hit the edges. We want end up with nice shiny lines down all the keel lines, chine lines, and everything. And when I get to narrow spots where this tool might be a little bit hard to handle, I'll use a smaller sanding block. So we'll get right to it.

So in a situation like this, we have the places that are getting sanded and then we have the shiny spots in between. You're really going to feel an urge to go in and try and deal with those shiny spots by taking a corner of your sander or or separate piece of sandpaper and come in and get rid of those shiny spots. It's worthwhile to try and internalize the notion that what we're trying to do here is level this surface and get it really smooth and flat. We're not really trying to get it scuffed up. That will come later. What we're trying to do is get this smooth and flat. And so why is this shiny here? It's because there's a high spot here and a high spot here, and in order to get this not shiny, we've got to lower the high spots in either side.

So the place we need to be concentrating our effort is the places that are already sanded. That can be a little bit hard to internalize that the places that need sanding are the places that are already sanded, and the places that look like they need sanding will only get sanded once the places around them are leveled out. So I'm going to continue working on this area and so to concentrate my efforts on the high spots, get those lower down so they're at the same level as the low spots. I did switch to 60 grit sandpaper here. These wide flat sections are... it takes a lot of effort to sand this area down to get to this area. So having a good coarse sandpaper does help on that.

So you see those places went away pretty quickly because we did the the level sanding in the last episode. The surface was pretty level to begin with. Most of what we're dealing with here is just irregularities in the fill coat we applied to it. I talked about gluing in the bristles and you know, pulling the loose bristles out and gluing the loose bristles in on the chip brush. A loose bristle can sort of create a dam, and you'll have a spot that looks something like this. If I look carefully, I think I see a hair right in there. So the epoxy running down hits that bristle and then flows around it and leaves a slightly low spot. I can hardly feel it here. Feel a little bit in that spot. It's not really all that deep. So it doesn't take that much sanding to get rid of it.

And the other thing to keep in mind, if you were using a power sander, so if I was here using power tool on it, you're going to have a really strong urge to say "I have an offending situation here that's bothering me, I can get rid of it in seconds by just concentrating on that spot for a second." It it takes no time at all to get rid of that shiny spot. But again, we're trying to level this so we get a nice smooth fair surface. It's a little bit more efficient for the boat to have a smooth fair surface and for the varnish to look really nice. Any ripples in this surface will end up as a ripple in the varnish and it won't look as smooth and shiny. If you leave something like this and if I go ahead and sort of dig that out with my power sander, there will be a little ripple in the varnish that will be visible when you're done. So that's the thing to be careful of if you are going to use power tools. We're worried about the high spots more than we are the low spots. The low spots will take care of themselves once we get rid of the high spots. So keep that in mind.

Sandpaper doesn't last forever. Even if it feels like there's a lot of grit there, you need to make a decision what's worth more, your time or the sandpaper. And this self-adhesive sandpaper I'm using on this long board, it's expensive. But you know, I, I want to get the project done so it's worth swapping out the sandpaper. I've been using this for maybe half an hour now. I could probably keep this, do some hand sanding with it, you know, just touching up spots. But I'm going to take this off, put on a new piece, and continue on with some fresh sandpaper.

So we're looking to create a nice uniform scratch surface here. This is getting pretty close. Up here you see there's some shiny spots up here, um, there's a little remains of a line there. You can actually see a um, brush bristle right in the middle of that, right down there there a little line from a brush bristle. Over here you still, we're, we're hitting just about everything over here at this point, but there's still some sort of blotchiness. So we haven't sort of gotten a uniform scratch on everything in that area right there. A little bit of blotching is there.

I don't know if that comes across on camera, but that is now more uniform scratch surface, a little shiny spot right there. Then we've got to decide, you know, there's a spot like that, worth worrying about. We are going to, right now this is 80 grit, we, I first hit this with 60 grit. We're going to be coming back with 100, maybe 120, and that's going to have a chance to lower things down a little bit more. And something that small will still be visible in the varnish even after a bunch of coats. You, if you looked really close there'd probably be a little low spot there if we left it as is. But you got to eventually decide, you know, how much are you going to worry about?

So I'm going to just continue sanding the deck here. I'll switch to a smaller sanding block to get in here, here. Just it's very easy with the large sanding block to sort of roll over the edges a little bit and start to dig in to the edge of the cloth there. And I, I don't want to sort of cut that cloth along those sharp angles. And back in here we'll be able to get in here with some, um, a small block and get that sanded smooth, get rid of all the rough edges that remain here, get rid of some of the big drip. And it's just a matter of being patient and going at it.

So again, the hand sanding here can be sort of uh, exhausting. You, you want to put sort of your whole body in it, get your back behind it, and you know, move with your legs. We're not trying to deal with little spots, we're trying to deal with large areas. So you want to have long strokes with your sanding block. We're not trying to scrub rub little areas out. This isn't an eraser where we're looking to erase little minor spots. We're trying to get the overall surface nice and flat. So that means long strokes, and you know, you can do with your hands but if you can get your body into it, it's going to go quicker.

And again, change out your sandpaper frequently, keep it sharp. It'll just keep things moving along. If you let the sandpaper get dull, what ends up happening is you have to push harder in order for it to cut. And that tends to end up cutting through edges a little bit quicker. And it causes any flexibility of the sanding block to reach down into the low spots, where we're really trying to let the sandpaper do the job of knocking off the high spots and cut it down so the low spots are, you know, at the same level as the high spots, so they're all uniform and level.

So letting the sandpaper get dull actually produces a lower quality finish. Using good sharp coarse sandpaper, unless you get it done quickly with a minimum of effort. Again, once this is all level, we will sand it some more. But at that point it'll just be trying to get rid of the scratches we made from this. So we're going to put a bunch of coats of varnish on this, and that is going to bury some of the bigger scratches a bit. We'll put on several coats of varnish, then give that another fine sanding with fine sandpaper to level that surface out. And then the last coat will be on a very smooth surface with that's very level and should look really great.

So you hear it all the time, the the quality of final finish all really comes down to prep work. And this is sort of the crucial prep work for that final finish is getting this surface leveled out out. So course sandpaper, put your whole body into it, and have some patience on it. It's, it's something that it's not the most fun task for some people, but I find it really satisfying to really get that nice level surface. And when you see the final product all varnished and shiny, it really pops if you do this part really well.
All right, so I've sort of done a first pass on the finished sanding. Things are pretty much leveled out. There's a few shiny spots left, but I think as I work up through the grits, the remaining shiny spots will sort of disappear. What I'd like to do now is just prep for putting deck lines on and the foot pegs.

What I'm going to do for deck lines, my standard easy deck line system is a piece of webbing with some holes in it that gets folded over so the holes all line up. Then you run a bolt through there and bolt it to the kayak. And then the deck line can go through a loop made of that webbing, depending if I want a rope going on either side or one side, I could have a one-sided loop or a two-sided loop.

So what I want to do is drill a hole through the deck and then fill that hole with epoxy, that way I have a good strong point to put the bolt through and it seals up the end grain. The standard deck line situation I like to do is a perimeter line around the edge sort of right above the shear line, and then some bungees across to hold down paddles, water bottles, stuff like that.

So I want a series of holes sort of running along the perimeter. So I tend to use the stitch holes as a guide and reference for when I, where I put these loops. You can either put them right at the stitch hole or just measure from those stitch holes that way they're uniform on either side. What I'd like to have is again the perimeter lines, then a couple cross and back that way you can store a paddle there, and then a couple in front running across just so you have a place to store stuff that's accessible from the cockpit. And then a couple more across the front again, potential place to put a spare paddle. It can help to just mark that out where you want it so you can eyeball it and make sure it makes sense.

So I'm thinking one set across about there. There's a stitch hole there, there, stitch holes here, we'll put some back here, another one here. So something like that. And then if we put loops along here, um we can put the perimeter lines around and that should work well.

These step drills do a good job for for drilling through here. They make a nice clean hole and you can make kind of any size you want. The bolts I'm going to use are about 3/16, but I want the side, the whole oversize, and then I'll fill that with epoxy and then drill it out to the right size. The reason to do it now is a) it's a board of sanding right now, and b) I'd like to have those be smooth when I'm done. So I'm going to be doing some more sanding after this and so I can go drill those holes, fill them with epoxy, let them cure, and then sand them smooth afterwards without worrying about messing up the rest of the finish.

I think I will put the deck lines about an inch from the sheer line. So this tape is about that, just to be consistent with it. And then the the perimeter line will go up through the balance stern hole line there. I've got a mark here for something that's bigger than the 3/16, so I'll just go down to that mark.

Then we'll take and put a piece of masking tape on the inside so when we fill it with epoxy, um, the epoxy doesn't just flow right through. We are going to mount the back band off the cheek plates here, so there will be a piece of webbing running from here around the back and so we want a hole here to mount that back band. So that'll be a quarter inch, um, bolt holding the back band in. This goes up to about a half inch. Let's see, make sure I don't drill through the side of the boat, but there, there's a little mark in the in the cheek plate here. You can either go with that mark or go right in the middle again. Have it about an inch down from the top, I'm just going to eyeball the middle here. Doesn't need to be perfect but right there.

We are also going to have to hold the back band up some loops to hold some bungee just to support that back band. So I'm going to drill a couple holes here so we have a place to mount those loops. There's again some stitch holes marked here on either side symmetrically. That's a good place for and so I'm going to go down to that quarter inch diameter hole here and tape off the bottom of these.

So these are the foot pegs that are going to get mounted. They mount inside here right along this shear line. Generally I, I drill the holes at each end of this that you can run a screw from the outside in. There are sort of hidden ways to do it, but I like the serviceability of running a screw from the outside directly in. Exactly where to put these, as far as fore and aft location, depends a little bit on who you think's going to be paddling the boat. If somebody has really short legs, you want to put it closer to the cockpit. If somebody has really long legs, you want to put it farther away. If you have a range of people you' got to sort of make a choice in what your range is.

I find just as sort of a a good intermediate, if you measure a foot from the puzzle joint here forward and have the first hole there, that's going to be a pretty good location, something like that. So again, I'm going to just take a piece of tape here right on along there, and I'm going to measure a foot from there. That's there. And so we'll have it down here. And then we, for the next hole, we will use this piece to make that measurement. So we'll go into the half inch size here.

And again, we'll tap that with a little masking tape on the inside. So I'm going to put thickened epoxy in these holes. But before I do that, I want to make sure that the epoxy soaks into the end grain there. If I thicken the epoxy, that makes it a little harder for the epoxy to soak into things. So I'm just going to take a Q-tip and uh, smear around a little bit of epoxy into that end grain. And that way I know that that end grain gets filled up.

Then I'll just take this epoxy, thicken it up and put it in the piping bag. So I could thicken this up with silica, it'll make a white paste. These shouldn't be visible, the deckline piece of webbing should cover it. The holes down here for the foot pegs might be slightly visible if we don't drill everything perfectly. So we could go with straight wood flour to make it brown so it, it's not sort of the glaring white.

I'm going to add a little bit of this mil fiber, this is fiberglass, is just been ground into short strands and sort of reinforces the mix, not necessary. The wood flow is probably strong enough by itself, but sometimes if you're just looking for something that's a little bit beefier, adding a little bit of mil fiber can make a a little bit stronger material. And then I'll take and add a couple scoops of the wood flour here. I want to make this thick enough that it'll stay in place, probably again peanut butter thickness. So that's still pretty loose, go a little thicker so that, not going to drain out of there and sag. So I'll just put that in the piping bag.

So I want a pretty fine tip on this so I'll just cut that so it's couple millimeters, eighth of an inch, something like that. I want to be able to stick it into that hole, press it in and get a little bit of squeeze out. So we'll let the epoxy filler in there harden up. If I am on the ball, I will come back in an hour or so when it's stiffened up and scrape off the excess on the top so I don't have to sand it off. I want it set up enough that it's somewhat stiff but soft enough that I can go ahead and just sort of scrape it off. We should be good to go for that.

So from there it's more sanding and I also need to install the bulkheads. So we'll see if that's part of this episode or if I go on to another episode. If that's the end of this episode, thanks for watching and happy paddling.