Sunday, May 30, 2010



1 Great news!!

2 Glassing the deck

3 The Stealth Logo

4 Thanks to Mick Clarke

5 In closing

1 Great news!!

When I visited Stealth Performance Products last week, Bruce Challenor , co-director of Stealth , told me that it is his intention to concentrate more on designing watercraft next year. He has a life-time of experience in designing and building innovative speedboats, racing kayaks, recreational kayaks, touring kayaks, fishing ski's, surf ski's etc., etc. which are exported to Europe, Dubai, Israel, Ozzy, etc. I certainly can't wait to see what exciting designs he will produce!!

2. Glassing the deck

Because the wooden strip structure has its own inherent strength, I chose the lightest possible woven glass material for the deck.

I honoustly don't know what to think of the result. After glassing, the joints between the strips are now much more visible than before - even those tight joints that were totally invisible before. Unfortunately I've never seen a strip kayak "in real life" before and don't know if this is an acceptable and common problem - or just bad workmanship. However when reading up on glassing last week I came across an article where the author mentioned this problem created by using epoxy glue to join the strips together. He actually uses water based wood adhesive to avoid this. He also stated that he had yet to see a strip kayak "coming apart" in the water by using water based glue. Interesting approach.

No major problems were experienced during the glassing process. The sanded kayak was wiped off with Acetone (as per manufacturer's advice) and epoxy resin was used to wet out the cloth onto the wooden surface. On the aft deck I pulled the cloth too tight and after a few hours the cloth creeped back, forming two small "longitudinal bubbles" which will have to be cut out later. At two places I applied too little expoxy resin and due to the porosity of the Cedar these spots now have a foggy appearance. Not much one can do about this now.

Epoxy resin will now be applied repeatedly to the deck until the woven texture of the cloth is fully covered.

3. The Stealth logo

I decided to etch out the logo in brass shim plate. The logo will then be inlayed into American Walnut and this assembly will form the fore hatch cover.

The etching medium in the plastic softdrink bottle is Ferric Chloride. The fish tank airpump serves to agitate the solution continiously. The picture below shows the brass being etched away adjacent to the logo sticker

After etching, the surplus brass simply fell away from the logo. Please note that I had forgotten to mask off one half-moon shaped piece of the logo and this area was also etched away. I will have to do this piece seperatedly.

The etching technique certainly resulted in much more fair and smooth edges as well as having the benefit that the plate remains perfectly flat - which would not have been possible if it had been cut out with tin snips or even a Dremel tool.

4. Thanks to Mick Clarke

Mick kindly agreed to do a performance assessment of the craft once its completed

Mick Clarke (

Mick is the Chairman of the Scottburgh Kayak Fishing Club and has published various articles on kayakfishing in magazines and contibutes a lot of his time towards promoting the sport and safety through his knowledge of the SA Marine legislation.

He is also the owner of the 4-star guest house in Umkomaas on the South Coast of KwazuluNatal in SA

Mick Clarke (

5. In closing

There have been requests to post a picture of myself on the blog.

View at your own risk

Monday, May 17, 2010


I was allowed to work in the lounge during the week-end due to the bad weather (poor light) we had on Saturday

In this post:

1 Setbacks

2 Decorating

3 Next

4 In Closing


After carefull measuring I found that the excessive side-ways bending of the strips on the one side of the aft deck (mentioned in the previous post) was the result of that side being 15 mm wider than the opposing side. .There was only one solution: strip the entire aft deck, re-align the hull and start again. Heartbreaking to say the least.

Having completed the stripping-up (again) the deck was decorated. Using the "Marquetry" tehnique a design of a setting/rising sun was cut from "Bird's eye Maple" veneer and shapes cut fom brass shim plate to represent a water surface were epoxied to the deck and weighted down with sandbags.

The next morning I found that various air "bubbles" had appeared under the veneer. After a quick search on the Web I found that veneer is extremely difficult to work with. Problems such as cracking, bubbles, contraction, expansion, etc are common - especially with Bird's eye Maple.

Out came the belt sander...........


The dark lines and other dark shapes on the deck are 3mm thick Imbuia strips laid into grooves cut with a router.
The pieces of Imbuia are the last remnants of a lounge suite that I had made in the mid-seventies just after (or before?) our marraige.

Bruce from Stealth Performance Products kindly agreed that I can place a brass replica of the Stealth logo on the vessel and this will now probably be done over the mess I had made earlier with the veneer. (I hope I now know a little bit more about veneer and its temperamental properties)


I found that the colour of the Cedar fades very quickly after sanding and I hope to glass the deck this coming week-end of 22 May 2010. For the moment the vessel is kept under black plastic.


Thanks to "Iwanayak" from Australia for placing a link to this blog on his very interesting Stealth Kayak Fishing page in Facebook.


"This is no doubt the biggest project you attemted in your life", my wife said over the week-end.

I agree with her - it's been 7 months or more now.

To replicate the elegant shape of the Evolution in 20mm wide wooden strips is challenging to say the least, but Bruce and I have been tossing around a couple of ideas for the next project which will be much faster and easier to build - staying with the basic Evolution design.
(Don't tell my wife)