stain preferance

Submitted byMichael Moberly onTue, 06/02/2020 - 21:59

I have another question. What stains are you all using for your kayaks. I have been looking for a alcohol based stain ( Just like Nick) will a water based stain work as well?


John VanBuren

Wed, 06/03/2020 - 06:43

I just double-checked and I had used what Behlen calls a Reducer to slow the drying time with the dye, not a Thinner. Also, I am not sure if Behlen dye is currently available.


Keep Smilin',

John VB


Thu, 06/04/2020 - 12:43

If you were doing a table, water based stains are OK (not great) topped off with a water-based poly. They have a poly base.

But they can block the adhesion of  epoxy. Alcohol is a solvent for epoxy and is very compatible.

Be careful. I know a few people who had blotchy results with their stain attempts. I had one boat where a strip was just too light in a group of dark strips and it bugged me. I air-brushed stain on that one strip and that work out good.


I love the PP.  It is my primary recreational kayak and my boat of choice for the roughest conditions.

More pictures here:

Here is a review that I wrote several years ago:

When I built my Petrel Play during the spring of 2014, the Play was only available as a kit from Chesapeake Light Craft or as plans from Guillemot Kayaks.  As of this writing, it appears that completed Petrel Plays will soon be available for purchase.  One of the former CLC employees, who still teaches classes for CLC, has started a small shop called Turning Point Kayaks, which will reportedly be offering custom built Petrel Plays in fiberglass, carbon fiber, Kevlar or wood strip.

The Petrel Play, which was my third kayak built from CLC kit, took me 5 months and 135 hours (59 work periods) to complete.  This is one of CLC’s latest generation of kits and it is a work of art.  Just as with older kits, all the wood panels are cut with puzzle joints and stitch holes predrilled.  What is added are bevels on the wood panels and external hull/deck forms which help hold the boat’s complex shape during construction.  The manual is also a work of art that is loaded with pictures and many of Nick Schade’s build techniques.  My only criticism is that this is a shared manual with the S&G Petrel and most pictures are of the Petrel and not the Petrel Play.  Despite the exceptional kit and manual, this is not a good choice for a first time builder.  The complex deck shape requires considerable bend on some of the panels which makes stitching difficult.  The complex shape also makes glassing pretty difficult.  My boat came in at 41.6# fully rigged.

The Petrel Play is a light and responsive kayak that may not be the best choice for a beginner, but experienced paddlers will love.  Both primary and secondary stability are moderate.  The boat tracks nicely at speed but it will turn sideways as the boat slows once you stop paddling.  The boat has exceptional maneuverability and carves nice tight turns with a little lean.  (Addendum June 2020 – I retrofitted a KayakSport Skeg kit to the PP, and find this a great addition.  It keeps the boat tracking straight at low speeds when kayaking with friends or taking pictures.  It also helps in big waves). 

The Play is not a fast boat.  It moves effortlessly at 4 mph with minimal wake but the effort required increases markedly above that.  I am an athletic 5’7”/155# and can sprint the Play at 5.5-6.0 mph.  My two hour exercise pace is about 5.2 mph.

This is a great boat for rough conditions.  I have paddled it in 3’ waves and felt very secure.  It accelerates quickly and will surf on the smallest of waves.  There are some neat videos online showing the designer paddle the Play in extreme conditions.

For me, the cockpit in the Play is snug but comfortable for a couple of hours.  One of my taller friends (6’2” & thin) paddled the boat and found it tight.  I would not recommend this boat for a heavy person.

The Play could be used for light touring if you pack smartly.  The forward storage area is decent sized but the VCP hatch is small.  The aft hatch is much larger but the storage volume is less due to the low aft deck.

When I decided on the Play, I was looking for a smaller kayak for use in the many tight streams/springs in Florida, but was also capable of handling surf at the beach.  After a year of hard use, I am extremely pleased with my choice.  The Play is both a joy to paddle and a joy to look at.  Frankly, the only negative is that I frequently get delayed at the launch by other kayakers drooling over my boat.