Staining the Recess - microBootlegger Sport - E30

Pre staining the cockpit recess so it will match the rest of the boat.

So, 3:30 in the afternoon, and I'm just now getting into the shop. I've spent all day preparing for something I'm really excited about: my Schoodic Seakayak Retreat with my friend Gerry. We're going to be going up to Winter Harbor, Maine, in September to the Schoodic Point, which is part of Acadia National Park. There's a great facility up there, the Schoodic Institute, which is right out at the end of Schoodic Point where we're gonna stay. We'll do kayaking around the islands in Frenchman Bay and around Schoodic Point, and I think it's gonna be a lot of fun.

I'm gonna take a bunch of my wooden kayaks up there, let people try them out in the conditions they're really designed for, and give people a chance to see what a lightweight, rugged sea kayak made out of wood really does out in those conditions. I think it's gonna be a lot of fun. So, if you're interested in that, I've got another video that just posted earlier today. But today, I want to do a little bit with the staining of those parts that I cut out yesterday, the coaming recessed parts.

So, I'm gonna do a quick discussion about the stain and see if I can get a little bit of stain on those parts and make those ready for the next step, which will be assembling the recess and maybe a little bit of fiberglassing. I'm still trying to figure out things like accent strips, where they're going to install those on the recess, etc. But for now, let's just take a little bit of look at the stain.

These are the parts I cut out yesterday that constitute the coaming recess. Like I said, here's the sill, and this will be the part that brings the recess down, wraps around like that. This same idea wraps around from the backside like so. But the first thing I want to do is just sort of clean up some of the edges. The router bit didn't cut all the way through, and so I've got some little hairy edges down here where there's a little bit of excess fuzz. So, I'm just gonna take and trim that flash off of there and some of the tabs that were holding the material through the rest of the plywood.

Doesn't need to be cleaned up perfectly; it's all going to get a major sanding at some point farther along in the process. We want to get rid of some of the hairy edges, so I've just got some sandpaper on various blocks here to clean this up. On this, I did make a little tab right here on the end; this marks the center in the back of the coaming or the recess. I don't want to remove that because that will help me line up this piece, which has a little notch in that same location. So when it comes time to put these together, I can just line those up and make sure everything lines up well.

I did make an effort when I was cutting these out to cut them out in the same piece of plywood in the same general orientation that they're going to be in in the finished boat. So the green pattern here runs across from one piece to the next as this wraps around; that falls down a little bit but at least as close as it can be. When I'm sanding the face here, I'm sanding with the grain, and this is pretty fine sandpaper, 120 or 220, because I don't want to create cross-grain scratches in this wood. Because the stain is going to highlight any of that.

When I'm sanding the face of this, I'm using a coarser grit, and I'm not hitting the corner here; I'm not trying to round this corner off. I want to make the surface nice and flat, and I'm not trying to change the shape any other than just getting rid of any of the CNC tabs that might be remaining. And usually, between this sort of vertical sanding of the edge and this horizontal sanding of the edge, you can get rid of most of that roughness, and it'll look pretty good.

So once that's all cleaned up, I'm gonna want to stain everything. The reason I'm staining this is because the client saw one of my other boats, and he liked the looks of it; he liked the color of it and thought that looked pretty cool. And so he wants something that has a similar look to what he saw on my website. That's my intention, to give the client what he wants.

But there's a few advantages to staining the wood. It can be really hard to find high-quality western red cedar now with good color. So putting some stain on it is one way to enhance that color, you know, so it takes a boring piece of wood and makes it much more interesting. I've done that a lot with Akume plywood stitch and glue boats, and I think it's a great way to take something that might be a little bit drab or boring and punch it up a bit. And so the stain's an excellent way to do that.

You can't use just any stain; your typical oil-based furniture stain like a Minwax or something like that can interfere with the epoxy bond when you go to do the fiberglass. That oil's in between the wood and your epoxy and can weaken the bond. And actually, there can be chemical interactions between the epoxy and that oil if things aren't going quite right. We want to avoid that. So I use an alcohol-based stain; this material I've found works really well is this Balance product. It's their Behlen Solar Lux stain. You can get this in a variety of outlets just like Craft, who sells kits from my designs, has this and a variety of colors. Works really well.

The Solar Lux refers to the fact that it doesn't fade quickly in the Sun. There's some really nice-looking stains that are excellent stains but are really meant for indoor furniture, where if they're in the Sun, they're not colorfast, and the stain will fade away very quickly. And so this is intended to be out in the Sun or useful for being out in the Sun. It's not to say that this stain will not fade; I've had some boats where I stored them on the roof of my car for years at a time, and, you know, after eight years, the stain was pretty sad-looking. But this stuff does work, and I've been really happy with it. I've got it on boats that are, you know, 15-20 years old now, and they still look great.

Decision right now is to figure out what color to go with, and I need to figure out a couple of different things with that: the color of the body of the boat. The client saw a picture that he liked, and, you know, so my first inclination is to just go with the color that's going to match what he saw on that webpage. And that was in one of these medium red mahogany sort of colors, something like that. I tend to like those colors; something about the red I just find I like. It's all personal preference. So what you like and what I like may be different, but he seemed to like a boat that had something along those lines.

What the question becomes, you know, if I go with that and there's a variety of sort of the mahogany's here that are going to look good. There's a medium red mahogany, light red mahogany; this is cordovan mahogany. There's also blood red and some other things that have a little bit of a reddish hue to them. Since I'm putting the Akume in the cockpit recess area, it's an opportunity to add a little bit of contrast. I've got the accent stripes running down the center line and different places on feature lines. And so those subtle little accents can really give the whole look of the boat a little bit more depth.

And so, similarly, while I'm having a different wood here with the Akume, maybe I might want to stain that a little bit differently. You know, putting all the same color stain on everything will tend to blend it together, even though I've got western red cedar here, which is substantially darker than the natural color of this Akume. I put some stain on it, and they're gonna tend to merge together a little bit; the lightest color will still be lighter, the darker material will still be darker, but they're gonna tend to look fairly similar, and maybe that's good, maybe that's bad, you know, I haven't decided.

Right now, I'm still thinking about it, and part of my thinking about it will happen right here. So this is just some samples of the material used on the boat, so I have those. I have some samples of the Akume here, which I can use and spread some staining on and then just, you know, look at them side by side, think, is that the look I'm going for? One thing to keep in mind, you see with these samples here, I have my samples on some stuff that was naturally a little bit darker than the Akume. Right here, you see the natural color. But not completely different. But then this right at this line, I've got one coat of epoxy on it. Right in here, I've got just fiberglass. So, on top of the epoxy, I've got five ounces of glass with a coat of epoxy on it. And then I have put a fill coat on top of that. So you can see it changes its characteristics depending on what's on top of it.

So, the richest is where you've got the most material on top of it, and where it's dry, it tends to not be as saturated in color. You know, the difference between here and here is just a coat of epoxy, where this looks a whole lot darker than that does. So if it's a little bit hard to envision what the finished book is gonna look like based just on the color you see in your samples. I tend to want to look at the samples when they're first wet because that's going to be the closest to this wet out. And you see the difference between this and this up here is substantially less than the difference between this and that. That's just the presence of one seal coat of epoxy on top of that stain.

If we're looking at something like the medium red mahogany or potentially the cordovan mahogany here, the medium red tends to be a little bit darker, and there's a little bit of a purple hue to the cordovan mahogany. It looks a little bit less natural than the medium red or the light red. You know, I'm thinking with the dark colors we have here that for the cedar, it's not going to really need to go for the full dark. You know, I've got some nice grain in here. In the darker stain I put on here, the less that grain is going to show. So going with something a little lighter to give it a bit of a hue that's different from its natural hue but still get more of that natural variation in color due to the grain, I think might work well, like using this material here, so the light red mahogany.

So that's what we have in this bottle here. I've got things like cherry here. I was thinking it was possible that, like, doing the body of the boat in a medium red mahogany and then the Akume in cherry might look pretty good, might just give it some contrast there. So I'm just gonna wet out some samples with stain and take a look at them, see what I think. But I've got some medium red mahogany here, here's my light red mahogany. This is really hard to read. I've got Indian mahogany, the blood-red, I believe, Jerry Van Dyke brown. So I'm gonna put some of these colors on the cedar to see what it looks like on there and other colors on the Akume to see what it looks like on there. And then I can bring those two next to each other and see how they look going together.

Got a box of gloves; this stain is very good stain. You get it on your hands; it won't come off until your skin falls off. I also have some, what they're calling rags here, you know, paper cloth white rags. These are paper towels, but they're somewhat decent. I wouldn't stain the whole boat with this material, but for just doing this, these samples, it's not such a bad way to go. And a pencil so I can say, okay, this is the light red. All right, so that's what the light red mahogany will look like. This is cordovan.

Maybe I should put some of this on here as well. The folly stains; you can make them darker with extra coats. Once one coat is dry, put another coat on, and you'll get a deeper color. The easiest thing to do would be to do the whole thing in cedar the same color, but I just want to explore my options and see if doing them in different colors might look cool. So this is cordovan, a slight red, light red, medium red, medium red, and this cordovan. With cordovan, I'm also thinking that like a cherry with one of those might look good. So keeping this a lighter color, keeping the Akume a lighter color than the cedar might look sharp.

In this light, the color of these looks all very much the same. You know, just put some of this on here, and then this Van Dyck Brown, I think, is a darker Brown. This would be having the Akume maybe lighter in color. The other option is to go with the Akume being darker in color, get the contrast that way. I do have a jet black from this Behlen Solar Lux that could look really sharp to have the coaming be in a jet black. I think, to my eye, that can be a little bit much.

So again, these colors, as they dry, they all start to look a little bit lighter, and noticing in the video screen there, they look a little bit darker than they appear in real life. So light red mahogany, cherry, cordovan, and medium red mahogany. So that's everything side by side in this light. The cordovan looks very purple and looks frankly weird. You take that and put a little bit of epoxy over it in fiberglass, and that mutes that purple, sort of fades a bit. But I'm thinking that looks a little bit too weird for me. So I'm gonna put that on the side.

This light red mahogany, I think that looks pretty sharp on the cedar. It does less to hide the actual grain. I'm wondering if that, next to something else, would be good or if I'm just better off going with light red on the Akume. I think they may be happiest with something like that. No, the other option is to go for a real contrast and not put any stain at all on the Akume, and so the whole thing's quite bright. And I'm not really happy with that idea. I think having some stain on it gives it a little bit more color. The Akume over time yellows a little bit, and so having a color over it, I think, gives it a little bit better long-term look to it.

So, do I go with something that adds a little bit of color but not a whole lot, like this cherry or something that's going to be in the same tonal family as the rest of the boat with the light red mahogany? Overall, I think that's sort of where I'm leaning right now, something like that. So that's my thoughts on that. I think my sense right now is light red mahogany on the strips, light red mahogany on the coaming. I think that'll look sharp. And again, the color of this versus what it ends up with once it's got some epoxy on it. It's redder in this than it is in this sample, but again, everything deepens substantially with the epoxy and fiberglass on it. So I'm thinking that could look quite nice.

So, being the color family that the customer saw, I think we'll get some contrast between the recess area and the body of the boat, which will look sharp. And so that's what I'm going with. So I'll finish up the cleanup of these parts. All right, now I'm ready to put some stain on these. I think these pieces are small enough that I can use these white rags with this alcohol-based stain. It dries very, very quickly, so you want to put it on really wet, and you will not have the opportunity to wipe it off that you have with standard oil-based stains. Oil-based stains, you wipe on, let it sit for a little while, and then wipe it off. Here, we're just going to put it on and try to put it on fairly wet.

One will be on the inside; nobody will ever see it. All right, so one piece down. See, this rag is getting all chewed out really quickly, so I don't recommend these for not stained. I have, you know, t-shirts and so forth that do a better job, but for this, it's good enough.

So I often get the question with this stain, can I apply the stain to the strips before stripping up the boat? And the answer is no. The stain is on very, very thin; it soaks into the grain but still, you know, if I were to say in one of these pieces, I'd be through the stain almost immediately even with very fine sandpaper. So basically, I add the stain as the last thing before applying epoxy. But I feel a lot to do with the coaming recessed between now and the time I'm ready to apply epoxy, so I'm gonna seal the stain under a thin coat of epoxy. Just roll some on those parts so as I work on them later on, I don't immediately damage that stain. I might have to touch things up here and there, but this way it will be under the protective coating of epoxy, and that should make sure I don't mess up the epoxy right away.

I've mixed this epoxy up like normal. I'm not going to go into how to deal with epoxy right now; that is a big subject. In this one, I will talk about and do course. So I've got a little roller tray here, a little hot dog roller. Just gonna roll on a coat of epoxy here. And you'll see the hot dog roller picks up a little stain; the stain is still very fresh. As the stain has a chance to set, it will become well bonded to the material, and so it won't bleed with the coating of more epoxy. But at this point, it's still very, very fresh; it's picked up by the roller pretty easily.

So I'm not putting on a thick belt here; it's pretty thin. It's enough to sort of protect that layer of stain and make it so it won't be quite so delicate. One advantage of doing the epoxy coating while it's still a little bit runny is we'll even out the coating of stain. So if this sort of light and dark spots, it will tend to even those out and unify it a little bit. This is already looking better.

So the next episode, I'm gonna put the coaming recess together. I talked a little bit about maybe putting an accent around the coaming lip itself. I will think about that some more, and maybe I'll do that. I will start cutting the hole in the deck; I think I can probably handle that next episode. And we'll just see how far we get. I'm never quite certain; it depends on what interruptions I have. Once again, if you have any questions, please post them in the comments. If you liked this video and enjoyed and learned something, please give me a thumbs up. If you are enjoying this whole series and finding it interesting, hit subscribe, turn on notifications, whatever it takes so you're notified about each new episode. I'm trying to post something new every day during the weekdays. I'm sure I'll miss some, but at this point, I've been holding up pretty well. What time I posted varies because I'm often in the shop when I think it's probably the best time to post it. I try and post it around lunchtime, around noon, but sometimes it's later, sometimes it's earlier. So until the next episode, thanks for watching and happy paddling.