Perhaps you've decided to build a canoe because it is a great first boat to build and will result in you having enough boat building experience to build a larger boat. Perhaps you've decided to build a canoe because you are a sportsman and look forward to hunting or fishing from the canoe. Perhaps you look forward to the recreation and the workout you can get on the water. Regardless of the reason, the first step in building a canoe is selecting a great canoe building plan.
There are many different kinds of canoe, and knowing the differences between them will help you to select the best set of plans to build the ideal boat for you.
Because of the need for stability while reeling in fish, fishing canoes have a greater width than a more traditional canoe. They can be modular giving the opportunity to move the seats within the canoe depending on the current needs and to support more or less occupants. While paddles are the most common form of propulsion, many of this type of canoe have a spot for small motors that are useful going to and from a remote fishing spot.
The larger touring canoe offers ample room for storage to accommodate for longer, possibly overnight, trips. Another common modification in a touring canoe building plan is the addition of a seat with a back instead of just a bench. In the state of Maine, where I am from, it is not uncommon to see several canoes travelling up the Saco or Allagash Rivers for camping trips. The touring canoe is ideal for this.
White Water Canoe
While the fishing canoe is good for the sportsman, and the touring canoe is good for the camper, the white water canoe is the perfect choice for the adventurer. Canoes built from these wooden canoe plans will result in a canoe that is made for maneuverability as it traverses the rapids. These canoes are built with strength in mind so they can withstand the inevitable beating from rocks and waves and are smaller than other canoes to give it a nimbleness not available in other types of canoes.
About the Author
Regardless of the type of canoeing you will be doing, there is a canoe building plan that is perfect for you. Before deciding on the type of wooden canoe plans to purchase, consider the purpose for the canoe and the type of activities you will be doing in them. While there are plans specifically designed for each of the purposes above, there are also wood canoe plans that are created with two or more purposes in mind.
It has been a little longer than I wanted but finally I am getting started on our next project, the Sassafras 12 Canoe. Since this is a winter project and my garage is too cold, this project is being done in my basement. This will really be a challenge since the space I have available is limited and I will not be able to complete the project in the same room as I am getting started. My long room, necessary for joining the planks or "strakes" is carpeted and I will not be able to do any sanding there without greatly upsetting my domestic relations. I will therefore be starting the project in one area and completing it in another, uncarpeted (and smaller) area. This second area also has a “straight shot” out of my basement when the project is completed.
I started by reading the instructions! The layout is a little complicated but with a little time, not difficult. Using the provided charts, you lay out the planks with the correct offset and glue them together. The biggest difference I noted from the last project's instructions is that they had you align one of the two plank sections to join and then, by covering them with plastic sheets, you build the second one on top of the first. This solves the problem of the dissimilar pieces as I had with the last project.
The epoxy with this kit is also quite different. In addition to wood flour they provided silica powder. If you have not used this before, experiment with your mix prior to making any large batches. A little silica goes a long way.
You will notice in the photos that I taped all my surfaces to minimize the staining from the epoxy. I haven’t done this before and I am really hopeful that it will reduce the sanding necessary later.
Again, my work surface limited my activities so I was only able to join the lowers three “strakes” and two of the four inwales or outwales. I will do the rest tomorrow if all goes well.
Well, all for tonight. Time - approximately 4 hours of prep and the initial gluing.
I finished gluing the remaining planks and outwales tonight. These scarfed joints are not as easy to connect. They seem to leave quite a gap or they overlap too much and aren't as flat as I would like. It would be nice to have the completed dimensions for each plank so you could position them more accurately. One of my bottom planks (plank 1) had quite a rough joint. I filled it with some additional epoxy to smooth out the transition. Since I plan to paint the outside of the hull and the seat will cover the inside seam, I don't think it will be a problem. Both # 1 planks are exactly the same length.
I spent the rest of the time tonight cutting wire and making the staples for the assembly. I had kept the gig I used on the last project (a 2x4 with a hole ½ inch from one edge) and it worked quite well.
Started sanding the planks tonight. I was able to find an adaptor for my shop vac so I could attach it to my orbital sander. Saved a big mess. The rabbits were another situation. They were quite rough. I found a sanding sponge worked great and made short work of it. Sanding a taper at the end of the rabbits was another story. I had purchased the Riffler Rasp 8 piece set from CLC and they worked great. Last thing tonight was to glue one of the inwales to a # 5 plank. Didn’t have enough clamps for both.
I started to assemble the hull. Wiring the first two panels always seems to be the hardest. You are working upside down with the planks flopping all over. I used the method I used with my kayak and used two flower pots to raise the planks off the table and allow some movement. I then flipped it over and started the rest of the planks. This goes pretty fast and is quite rewarding as the hull finally starts to take some shape. I finally ran out of staples and patience and quit for the night. Three more planks to go and I can start to bring the stems together.
I made up some more wires and got the second plank #4 installed. Now I have a problem. One of the mahogany inwales must have been a bit too dry and after I epoxied it to plank #5, snapped in two. I tried to epoxy it back together (it is glued to plank #5 and not about to be removed) and that failed a second time. I have epoxied it again and I have emailed CLC and will wait for their reply.
CLC was very prompt getting back to me on the failure and the parts are in the mail. Nice. I had the day off so rather than wait for the new parts, I continued with the build. When the replacements get here I will replace the failed pieces, using them as a template for the glue up and necessary wire holes. I was able to repair the failed inwale enough to use but it is not flat and does really looks bad.
The hull came together nicely but I will suggest you wire the ends together after installing the 4th panels. The hull tends to curve inward to the point you have no access to install the wires on the 5th panels. Wiring the ends straightens everything out nicely. I also started wiring at the center of the 5th panels and working to the ends. Much easier!
Tomorrow I will try to install the bulkheads and tighten some wires, but that all for tonight.
I have moved the project to the new room and you can see it’s much smaller. I have tightened my wires and CLC advises that the replacement parts are being shipped tomorrow. I have also started installing the bulkheads. The instructions advise that you will have to push the sides of the hull in to meet it and they were not kidding. It will take some clamps to encourage them into place. Now all I can do is wait for the replacements parts to show up so it looks like I am going to take a Holiday break. I will be back on the project after the holiday. Merry Christmas!
I have received my replacement parts from CLC. I was concerned about the shipment being damaged and was pleasantly surprised just how well they were packaged. Nice Job!
Now I removed the damaged panel and using it as a template, epoxied the panel and inwale together. The hull looks a little strange without the panel, but it will survive. I also used the old panel to allow me to predrill the holes necessary for the wires. My only concern here is do I have enough wire to mount the new panel to the hull.
I didn't get as much done the week as I had planned but I had to wait for the replacement parts to be delivered and we also got over two feet of snow so I have been shoveling.
I have reinstalled the new plank 5 onto the hull. Looks good. The hull looks fair and I spent a lot of time tightening the wires as equally as I could. I did run out of copper wire but had kept what I hadn’t used on the last project. I added some additional wires at the stems and behind the bulkheads. The ones on the stems are for security. A lot of pressure on a little bit of wood. The ones at the bulkheads did a pretty good job of pulling everything together. Tomorrow I hope to get started with the fillets in the stems and the bulkhead areas.
I installed the fillets for the stems and bulkheads, one each night, and applied fiberglass tape to the stems. I did have to install clamps on the sides to bring them into the bulkheads. This was a lot of work in my little room and didn’t go easily. I pleaded with my assistant and got permission to move the work to the larger room as long as no sanding goes on there (dust).
I move the hull to the larger room and after leveling the sawhorse I applied the fillets to the inside of the bulkhead compartments. I started to coat the inside of the compartments, as the instructions say, but realized I was going to have a real problem removing the staples if I epoxied them to the hull. I can always complete this later.
Started filling the seams with epoxy. I do like the syringes supplied with the kit. They are simple and easy to fill by drawing the plunger up from the cup of epoxy. It is still a messy operation and runs will occur but I plan on painting the outside so it will work. It is difficult to get all the planks to seal well to each other. I had installed some additional wires is areas and tape in others where I could see light coming through from above and they still leaked. See photo. That did however seal the areas and the second apply of epoxy seems to work well. I hope to finish the seams by tomorrow and I can work on removing the wires. This will not be possible on the stems as they are bedded into the stem fillets. I do hope they will sand down smooth.
I finally have all the wires I can remove done. This was tedious and my hands are all little red punctures. Not the part of a “stitch and glue” project that you really enjoy doing. I did have some seams at the center edge of the hull that just didn’t want to seal. I finally added more silica to the epoxy and filled the worst gap with some slim wood shaving and it did stop leaking. Now I will let it cure and start the sanding before adding the out Wales.
I also just realized that my temporary spacer across the hull is now permanently epoxied in place from the internal leakage. It should be fun removing. I should have placed some waxed paper over the ends before installing. Thinking about it, the spacer is also probably why I had trouble sealing the seams at the center of the hull. It puts a lot of extra pressure there. At least it won't slip out of place by accident.
I moved the hull back into the other room and started the sanding. Didn’t go too bad, but I have to clean the epoxy fills between the planks. That is not very easy to get real smooth during the pours. One side is done and one to go with the rough sanding. I am still finding wires!
More sanding and most of the hull exterior is done. Now I am getting into the fillets between the planks. It is tough to get them level the full length of the plank. It will probably take some more thickened epoxy to do the job. At this point I am not concerned with how many hours it takes to complete the project, I want it to look right. Then I can start on the inside.
Before I outline today's work, I feel it is time for me to redefine why I am writing these reports. It is not to show how good a boat builder I am or to flaunt the merits of a particular kit but to point out the pleasure of building your own boat and the moments of not so much pleasure. Today is a good example of that. Parts of this build have been very rewarding, today's was not. Learn from my errors, don't repeat them.
Today I sanded. Not the boat, the fillets and I am not done yet. The instructions say to thicken your epoxy with silica to the proper consistency, which I did (I thought). You then fill the fillets so that the normal wetting action of the epoxy, as it dries, pulls the epoxy up the sides of the adjacent plank forming a perfect curve. The problem is the epoxy supplied with the kit is slow cure (which is GREAT to work with). If you do not get the consistency just right, when you come back in 4-5 hours so see how everything is going, you find the wires have formed smart little dams and you have a neat set of terraces parading down the length of your joints. Some have even held back enough epoxy to run down the side of your hull making even more of a mess. I might suggest not filling the areas completely up to the top of the planks. Apply enough epoxy to seal the seams. Remove the wires after it cures and then complete the fillets (thickened a bit more). This would also make removing the wires much easier.
Grinding them back down to size is another problem. This stuff is hard. I ended up using my Dremel tool to reduce the amount of material and I did get some gouges in the surface which will have to be filled and leveled before painting. This has not been a great day but the hull is coming along.
So I didn't miss them, I marked all the low spots on the fillets and imperfection with painter tape before I mixed the epoxy. I then mixed a very thick solution of epoxy and silica and started to fill the areas. It was thick enough that I was able to use one of the stir sticks to spread it out, trying to blend it in with the surface. Tomorrow I find out how it worked.
Well, it came out pretty good. I did a light sanding with 220 grit paper and there are a few areas that could use a little more work, but not bad. Next step is to shape and install the outwales.
Started working on the inside of the hull today. I still have more to finish the outside but it can wait until I am ready for the fiberglass. The temporary brace was removed and replaced with a new one that isn’t epoxied in place. Lots of internal runs! If you don’t have one, purchase a cabinet scraper. It reduces the runs down to a workable size quicker than anything I have tried before and is gentle to the wood. I did cut the outwales to length and started to make a jig to help in rounding them over. I will show more of this later. This was a good day.
I have cut the outwales to length and now must round them over. You see my completed jig. It allows me to mark the sides of the outwales so I can accurately plane off the same amount from either edge. After I install them on the hull, it should be a simple matter to sand them smooth.
I got one of the outwales glued and mounted. That went well. The second, as I was clamping it to the hull split in two. This is the second piece of mahogany that has failed in this kit and I have to believe it was just too dry. I have contacted the manufacturer and am waiting for their reply. I think I will spend some more time working on the drips on the inside of the hull for now.
Post Note: CLC got back to me before the end of the day and replacement parts are coming.
The first outwale look fine. As I am waiting for the replacement for the snapped one I have been sanding the interior of the hull. Lots of work but it looks good.
Finished the sanding on the inside of the hull and smoothed out the fillets at the bulkheads. I then taped the edges and applied the fiberglass to this inside of the hull. Looks great. Removed the tape and the surplus glass and touched up the edges. Ready for the fill coats tomorrow.
The first fill coat is applied to the inside of the hull. The stains from the drips are gone! I do have some excess epoxy under some to the glass, but that has never been my strong point. I think it looks great. One more coat and I can start on the outside.
It has been too darn cold to work in my small room so I moved back into the larger. Applied the second fill coat to the inside of the hull. The temporary brace is gone, the hull is solid. I also cut and drilled the thwart. I was afraid that the screws would split the wood without predrilling and I counter sunk them for a smooth finish. I will coat it with epoxy before I install it under the inwales. Hopefully the replacement outwale will show up soon and I can complete the hull. I am thinking I will drill the 1" holes in the bulkheads for the drain plugs tomorrow rather than later since I will have to seal the edges of the holes with epoxy. That should make sanding a bit easier in those areas.
Since I am waiting for parts, I decided to install the misc. components to check fit and see how they look. Thanks to the angle adaptor on my Dremel tool, the thwart was installed. I drilled the openings for the drain plugs and installed. Finally, I installed the seat back and set the seat in place. Looks good. Now to remove everything and epoxy the thwart and all the hole edges.
The replacement outwale arrived and I epoxied it together. Now I must let it cure. All for tonight.
I have shaped, cut and mounted the last outwale and it didn't snap. My faith in wood has returned. Now I can begin on the outside of the hull.
Started smoothing out the outside of the hull. Thickened up some epoxy and filled some of the gaps in the joints. This was really necessary at the stems to smooth them out for the glass tape to be applied. This will probably take a few days to let the epoxy cure and recheck the results.
Sanded the filled areas and found a few more areas needing some work. This is where you have to decide on how nice you want the results to look or get the project done sooner. There is still ice on the water here so I might as well take my time and make it better. More filler and another day to let it cure.
Finished sanding on the outside of the hull (still have a few divots) and preceded to fiberglass the middle planks. Following instructions it didn’t go too bad. Next to tape the stems and apply the fill coats.
I did the stem tapes today. I didn’t have any tape left to use so I used some of my straps from the hull. I cut the strips on the diagonal, as described in the manuals, and found they conformed beautifully to the stems without any folds. I used two strips on each end. I will let them cure and then start on the fill coats.
I thought I had better finish the outwales before I do any more epoxy coats. In order to make the end as close as possible I made a template for cutting them. Didn’t work too bad. I will have to fill the ends just a little. Also used my plane to start the rounding over of the inwales. Enough for this week, see you next week.
I rounded over the outwales and inwales today. The bevels started with the plane prior worked well. I took time to smooth out the transition to the stems. I think they came out nice. I joined the outwales with thickened epoxy at the stems. I like it. One of the decks was placed on for the photos. The areas where the decks and thwart are mounted were not rounded over. This should give these areas more gluing surface.
I have applied the first fill coat on the outside of the hull. I do wish I had done this sooner. The hull is soft and turning it over on the horses is tough on the surface. I keep noticing new blemishes on the surface and I hope this will toughen it up.
Applied the second fill coat to the outside of the hull and thwart and first coat to the gunwales and decks. The splashguards are shaped and glued to the decks. I hope to start the final sanding soon. I plan to finish the interior of the hull before I install the decks and thwart. That should give me a bit more working room. Getting close and I am getting excited.
I have shaped the remanding portions of the splashguards. The second epoxy coat was applied to all surfaces. I now have to let everything cure and I can get started on the sanding.
I don't know about the rest of you but 2 hours of sanding is about all I can do at one time. It has taken me the last three days to almost complete sanding the interior of the hull with the 80 grit paper. I have one more plank to complete on each side. There isn't enough room to allow me to use the orbital sander, so it's all by hand. Hopefully there will be enough room doing the outside.
More sanding each day until the interior of the hull is smooth and the exterior's lower planks are done. The stems are almost completely done but still a lot of exterior to complete. A note on power sanders: They work fine on large flat areas but when the planks start to curve to the stems, you can easily lose control of them and gouge right through the fiberglass. This is by far the longest portion of the build and I don’t know how it can be rushed.
Not a lot to show you this week. Lots of rough sanding and I am still not completely done. The hull should be ready for the fine sanding next week and I expect that will go much quicker. It is really scary how quickly you can find yourself completely through the epoxy and into the wood. The planks are not flat. They are conforming to the sweeping shape of the hull, but my sander is flat. I will make sure that all surfaces are sealed before I go much further. I have a few divots to fill as well. It is starting to look pretty good. The stems are looking very good.
I finished the rough sanding today. After moving the boat to the large room, I cleaned the small one. What a mess. Epoxy dust everywhere. I have been using dust cartridges in my respirator since I started. I really recommend you do the same. I have some resealing and divots to fix and I will get back to the fine sanding. I set the decks and thwart in place for the photo. I am out of town for most of next week so not much will get done. See you again in two week.
The decks are epoxied on and the thwart is screwed and epoxied in place. I did have some difficulty getting the decks to lay flat. A couple of bricks did the job nicely. I will invert the hull later and place an adequate fillet to the underside of the decks.
This has not been a good week. I was out of the country most of last week and this week I have been fighting the flu. I am at a point where I want to complete the project so I did put a little time into the boat. The areas where I sanded through the epoxy, I have started applied a light coating of epoxy to reseal the surface. I inverted the hull and completed the filets at the decks and patched some of the divots in the surface. Not as fast as I would like to be but still working as much as I can.
So good to be feeling well enough to start the project again. Did a bit for sanding on the divot fills and applied a final coat of epoxy to seal all the wood. Next will be the fine sanding and I can finally get started on the finish. Going to use varnish on the inside, decks and gunwales and Polyurethane on the outside, color to be determined.
Was able to sand the lower two planks with 150 grit paper almost to the level I want it. This has been a long project to this point. Finally it is starting to look like the end is near.
Completed the major sanding of the outside of the hull. I just have to go over the surface with 220 grit paper and I can start the finish. Enough for the week, I’m tired.
Finished the fine sanding and after moving the boat to my larger room finally got started with the finish. First I washed the hull with dish soap and after rinsing, rubbed the entire surface with white vinegar. As per the manual, polyurethane paint sometimes does not like to bond to epoxy. I then applied the first coat of polyurethane. Stinky stuff. I wore my respirator and didn’t smell a thing, until I took it off. Really wish it was warmer out, I would have done this in my garage. Now it’s waiting to see if it bonds to the epoxy. I will let it cure for an extra day before the fine sanding and next coat.
The instructions for the finish is to use light applications, sand with 320 grit paper between coats and probably 3 coats will cover. Well it doesn’t cover in three coats and don’t use a heavier applications or it will run, and I do mean run. I do have a mess to straighten out with my finish. More light coats and more sanding to straighten everything out. My assistant tells me it looks great and it will be her boat, but I am not happy with my efforts. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS!!!
Anyways, it is going to be great. I will be removing the painters tape within the next few days and starting the varnish on the inside and decks. It will be ready for the water soon.
Not a lot to write about so far this week. After stripping the painters tape off I spent the last few days sanding the interior of the hull. Finally I washed the interior and decks with dish soap and white vinegar. The painter tape is now applied to the exterior of the hull and I am ready for the spar varnish. That starts this weekend.
First coat of varnish is applied. 2-3 more coats to go. The smell is terrible in the house. We are moving the project to the garage to complete the project. Weather is finally becoming warm enough to finish everything there, plus I have better light.
3 ½ coats of varnish later and I pulled off the painters tape. I will have to repaint parts of the hull. In the better light I can finally see where it didn’t cover well and I have some varnish runs. I have installed the seat back and drain plugs. Next I will be applying the contact cement for the seat after the varnish cures completely. I must say I am pretty happy.
Short day today. Installed the seat. I used a "dry erase" marker to outline the seat placement and estimated the interior space necessary to apply the contact cement. After allowing it to dry, I positioned wax paper over the surfaces. This allowed me to place the seat in position without immediate contact being made. I then pulled the wax paper out and applied some bricks and spacer to hold it in position.
I touched up the hull with a little more paint in the areas where it did not cover well. DONE! Moved it outside for some photos and realized I hadn’t installed the foot braces. It will be in the water this week.
Today we led the boat to water and it did swim. Most rewarding part was the smile on my lady’s face. It is exactly what we were looking for in another boat. Now our biggest problem will be to find some place to store it among the other boats the two of us have. We are now up to eight. I am certain it will get much usage.
This has been a great project. The major problem with the build was shown in Report 7. Trying to fill the fillets between the planks in one step was the killer. If I had done this in two steps I estimate it would have reduced 20-30 hours from the build and given me a much smoother surface to finish. Well, that is why I documented the build. Don’t repeat my errors, learn from them. Don’t know what is up next. Do you have any ideas? Send me a note at email@example.com
By Philip Towne
Every winter in Northern New York we put our Kayaks away and dream of an early spring. With the water frozen what's a paddler to do, four years ago while searching the web I found a company Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) selling kits to build your own kayak out of wood and fiberglass.
After reading their builders forum and selecting a kayak from the dozens of different designs they offered, I placed my order. My first kayak took about 110 hours to build and got complements every time I took it to the water.
Two years later, after selling my wife's sit on top, boat number two was ordered and built. The highlight of my second build was having my picture taken with the boats designer in front of my finished kayak at a wooden boat show in Annapolis, Maryland. Winters didn't seem so long and spending time both in the shop and then on the water in a kayak you built is a great feeling.
Last summer on one of my paddles I came across a couple, who from a distance appeared to be walking on water, after they got closer I saw they were paddling I thought I have to find out what they are standing on. After asking them a million questions. They let me try one of their SUP's after about five minutes on a SUP I was hooked.
With a shop now filled with "boat building tools" and another winter approaching I checked the CLC website and they had just started selling a SUP kit. The best part was they offered suggestions on how to customize your boat to your own look.
Stitch and glue is a common term with boat builders but to a lay person it sounds like a craft project, just what does it mean? My best comparison would be a camping tent, first you take your pieces and stitch them together to form your shape then you glue the seams to make them water tight and stronger.
The wood pieces are pre cut for you. Your first step is connecting and glueing boards to length (picture A) pre cut puzzle (picture B) joints. You end up with long pieces of wood together that are the right length for what ever boat you are making. For example if you are making a 16' boat you glue two 8' pieces together end to end to make it long enough ( picture C).
The next step is assembling the newly formed long pieces into the basic shape of your boat using the stitch and glue method of construction. By taking thin copper wire you loosely stitch the pieces together (picture D). Carefully tighten all wires to close up the seams (picture E) now it's starting to look like a boat.
The next step is the glue part' you mix up some two part glue (epoxy) and glue between all of the stitches ( picture F). The next day you remove all the copper wires and glue all the spots where the wires were. Now it's time to waterproof the inside of your boat by coating it with epoxy, like painting with clear paint (picture G).
I coated the underside of the deck with epoxy and let that dry for 24 hours. The next step is to mix up some epoxy with with Wood Flour (expensive saw dust) to the thickness of peanut butter. Spread it on all cross pieces and top edges' lay on your top deck' (picture H) much easier with a helper' make sure it overhangs all edges. Weight it down with what ever you have on hand (paint cans etc) for 12 hours. Trim the edges with a saw' or wood plane' then using sandpaper round the top outside edges. The top and bottom are now covered with fiberglass cloth and coated with epoxy for strength.
Finishing your Board can go from a basic "Bright Finish" (just clear varnish)' to paint' to paint and varnish' or as I did varnish' paint and a Hawaiian print fabric (picture I). This is where your creativity and patience butt heads your boat almost looks ready for the water but if you rush the finishing steps your finished boat could look like you hired your 10 year old neighbor to paint it.
Can you build a boat? Before I got the bug I had some basic power tools and was pretty handy but certainly not a finish carpenter. I would say the things you have to have are; space (I build my in my basement), half a dozen tools ($200.00 if starting from scratch), the internet (there is a great forum to rely on) and patience (the minute you start rushing is when you get in trouble). I can't say building a boat is as much fun as paddling it, but in my book it comes in a close second.
Over the next few weeks you will be able to follow Roger as he finishes his new kayak from the ground up with reports weekly and pictures of his progress as the building unfolds. If you are planning a project like this, you will gain insight about the process. So stay tuned.
Pygmy Murrelet 4PD V2 Project
I have put off, for every possible excuse, my desire to build my own kayak for years. I finally realized that if I continued putting it off, I will never do it. Seeing the review in Sea Kayaker Magazine on the Pygmy Murrelet convinced me that today was a great day to start. So I ordered it.
The biggest concern I had was Fiberglass and Epoxy. I have never worked with these. Second is where to build it. I decided my car was going to spend the summer in the driveway and Epoxy and I were going to learn to be good friends.
There are going be challenges. My garage is 80 years old with the typical 80 years old concrete floor. Dirt would be more level. I will need to add lighting. I need a work surface. I will also have get over my fear of Fiberglass and epoxy.
Over the summer, I will attempt to document my adventures. Hopefully I can point out the problems I have, so you don’t have to repeat them, and show my successes.
This being my first project of this type, I had read the manuals multiple times. I thought I was ready to start, but since the "Epoxy Manual" had said to practice on some scrap material before starting, I followed those instructions. Wow, I didn’t have anything ready. What an eye opener that was.
Starting over with the real thing, I had my weights cleaned, 2x4's and Mylar cut, all the sets of boards grouped, fiberglass strips measured and cut and finally I thought I was ready to start. My next problem was about to begin.
I am limited as to how much space I had to build the project. To give myself the flattest and most level surface to work on, I took a ¾ inch sheet of plywood, split it down the middle and made a 2' x 16' work surface. Using shims and a good level I succeeded in getting it perfect. Problem is it is too small to join only but a couple of lengths at one time. Using 1 pump of each of the epoxy and hardener, I am left with epoxy that I have no place to use. I will have to mark the pumps in some way that I can reduce my waste.
None the less, I tacked my boards to the surface, aligned my edges and made my first glass joints. Tomorrow I find out how I did. To be continued……..
Well I have learned that it is very difficult to reduce the amount of Epoxy. Without a full stroke, you don't get the proper mix. Doing the second side of the first panels turned into a mess. It never hardened. Back to full strokes.
Now working on the second set of boards. Photo below shows the width of my work surface. Would be nice to have a nice flat garage floor allow me to do all the boards a once, but don't have that.
Solved another problem. What to do with the panels when I have finished them. I removed one of my boats from the storage rack and put an extension ladder in its place. Works great. To be continued…..
Three Sections (6 pieces) are now joined. I did the first coat of glass on two more sections tonight; one to go. This portion of the build has taken more nights than I wish but I can't complain too much. Trying to complete them all at one time would be a lot of hustling and may have led to more errors.
A note on materials: The manuals state that epoxy will not adhere to plastics bags. They are used under the panels to keep them from being epoxied to the work surface. This is true, but epoxy does adhere to the ink on the bags. This is not good. I am using waxed paper now. It works very clean and is much easier to use than plastic.
Did the second glassing on the current sections. I see the benefits of doing the inside of the panels first. No matter how much weight you place on top of the joint, there tends to be one end or side that ends up slightly. This may leave a blemish in the surface. By doing the inside first you can sand the outside perfectly flat and hence a perfect surface. One more set of panels and the cockpit circle and I can start wiring. Can’t wait!
Also found out what a Murrelet is. It is a smaller Northwestern coastal sea bird related to the auk and puffin. It is also listed as endangered. I am looking for a neat decal to put on my deck that would relate to the murrelet. If anyone has an idea I would love to hear from you. To send ideas, go to the "Submit Article" tab in the left column of our website. Golf tomorrow - no working on boat.
I have finished combining the individual strips into the 6 (12) panels for assembly. Slight imperfections in the surfaces bother me and I am going to try to lightly sand them smooth before I proceed. Have to make my drilling jig yet. Drilling the initial holes for assemble should take several days. I hope to start wiring the hull together by the weekend.
All my joints are done and I must admit I don't like them all. I didn't use enough epoxy on the edges to eliminate all the bubbles, especially on the first joints completed. I have feathered them back a bit and only hope the glass coat will cover. The instructions did say to apply adequate amounts of epoxy. It would also have helped if I had cleaned the Mylar sheets used to cover and flatten the joints a little better between usages. Remember, one of the reasons I am writing these reports is so you don't have to repeat my mistakes. (I really hate those project reports were everything goes perfectly anyways.)
The edges at the sheerline are beveled and my drilling jig is made. Tomorrow I start drilling holes for the wires. I did notice that the stern section of one panel is at a slightly different angle. I do hope is doesn't create an alignment problem later. Everything else is really very well aligned. I contacted Pygmy on the panels and they advised that they should work fine. Nice customer support.
Made my drilling jig and got all the holes drilled. You do need to follow the instructions. Get them on the correct sides of the panels and don't forget the ends. I used a small electric screwdriver as a drill. Much lighter and with the " allen head" drive, the bit slips out easily and makes using the jig as a holding device great. Also, use lots of clamps to hold the pieces securely. I am taking the weekend off. The next step is bending my wires into staples.
I cut one roll of wire (3 come with the kit) into 3.5 in lengths and made ½ in. staples per the instructions. There is a reason for this. The panels are held together with the staples but the internal forms/supports need longer wires. If you cut them all you will need to buy more wire. I did use about 1½ spools for the hull staples. Half a spool was used on the forms/supports and I have one left for the deck. My work table is now in its prime. It is the perfect height and size for wiring the hull. The 2' width is great for working one side and then the other. Once I got started it was hard to stop. This is the most rewarding part of the project to date. You just watch the hull come together.
I must comment on the fit of the components. Pygmy does a tremendous job of cutting the panels to the exact shape. Everything fits. A couple of forms/supports to install in the bow and stern and on to the next step.
Another comment; the instructions say to place some cardboard boxes under the first panels you wire to raise them off the surface. I used plastic flower pots and it worked even better.
Finished wiring the hull. Added the spacers to the forms so the hull could be inverted. Tightened all the wires. Remember I said that it was so great to see the hull finally come together? That was before I started tightening all the wires. What a tedious job!
Gluing the joints comes next. I am really pleased as to how straight the lines came out. I do have a suggestion when tightening the wires. I used a linesman's pliers. They are a little heavier than most and make a very nice hammer (please tap gently) in repositioning the panels as you tighten the wires.
Took a few days off to go camping with my kayak club. Starting gluing the hull, first day did the general overview and the second went back, propping the hull up so I could get the vertical edges. A bit messy project. I don't see any other way to get it done. I anticipate a bunch of sanding prior to glassing. Getting the correct consistency with the wood flour takes some experimenting. It's handy to actually go look at honey before you try to make the epoxy look the consistency of it.
Removed the wires tonight. Hot glued the supports and everything stayed together. Wow. I had tried not to use epoxy near the wires. There are too many examples on "You Tube" where the wires get permanently epoxied to the boat. I have some gaps to fill but all the wires came out good. Nothing worthy of a photo today.
Started sanding the hull. It is really hard to imagine how much epoxy drips down the side of your work, no matter how careful you are. The instructions say to file the bow and stern clean, well that is an understatement as to what really needs to be done. I tried just about everything and finally got out the orbital sander with 60 grit paper and went to work. It's working! Probably got about 2/3 to ¾ of the hull darn smooth. I am really surprised how much epoxy had worked itself under the wires. I don't think I will have much to fill in later. Tomorrow I will try to finish sanding the hull.
Finished the initial sanding tonight (I thought). After I got my leaf blower out and cleaned everything up, some more sanding will be required. I still have to fix those few seams that didn't get enough epoxy to fill them anyways. SO, not remembering what the "Epoxy Manual" said about hot days (it was 96 here today), I mixed a small batch, filled my syringe, and proceeded to fill the few gaps I have left. About 1/3 of the syringe later, it was so hot I couldn't hold it. I did get filled what I needed, I hope; but I think I will wait a few days till this heat wave is over. I removed the balance of the epoxy from the syringe with a screwdriver.
I also must acknowledge my photographer. She has threatened to quit if I don't.
Today I had to tackle a messy project. Both seams at the bow and stern need a fillet of epoxy, stiffened to the consistency of cake frosting. This allows the hull to be formed to the rounded shape at these joints without removing wood from the hull. The manual recommends that you fill the dental syringe and apply to both areas. The videos I have watched of this are tedious. It's like squirting toothpaste out of an eye dropper. Since it is the consistency of cake frosting, I went to a kitchen supply center and bought a cake decorating nozzle. I cut it to produce the correct size fillet, attached it to a plastic bag filled with epoxy and applied. It worked great and quickly. Tomorrow when I start to shape it into the correct dimensions I will find out how well it worked.
I sanded my fillets tonight and they came out pretty good. Did some more general sanding around the hull and my next step is the saturation coat of epoxy. This is a little scary with my experience level. Did I get the surface smooth enough? Will the small areas I haven't completely filled with epoxy create serious air pockets? We will find out tomorrow. Anyway, I can’t put it off any longer. We will see....
Completed the saturation coat of epoxy and smoothed out all my bubbles. Now I wait until tomorrow and see the results. I really wish I knew what I was doing here. It didn't come out exactly as I thought it would. Of course, I don't know how it is supposed to come out in the first place. Don't you just love to do something for the first time; especially when you just spent a whole bunch of money on it and really hope it works out right.
I had forgotten that when you first coat or varnish a raw wood surface, you usually raise all the grain. Well, that's just what the epoxy did, it raised all the grain. After some scraping with the cabinet scraper and some 150 grit paper, I was ready for glass. It wasn't too bad. Some concerns at the stern, and I did use some clamps to secure the fabric initially. One thing I did at the stern you don't want to do. I secured the flaps of glass at the stern with tape so they wouldn't move. Having never worked with glass I didn't realize just how much of a problem it is to get the tape off the glass. It was not pretty. Don't do that.
It was really helpful to have my photographer, Anne, mixing epoxy for me during the glass installation. Saved much time and made it much easier. Next thing to do is to laminate the keel tape and apply the fill coats. Not much to photograph there. See you next week.
Laminated the keel tape and applied the two fill coats. Not that difficult although the 6 oz. tape takes a lot of epoxy to wet out properly. It has been quite warm here so I have been placing my epoxy and hardener into a sink of cold water prior to usage and it works very well. As the manual says, the tape does have quite a pronounced edge on one side. Also noted the overlap at the stern. I will see just how well they smooth out later.
The overlap at the stern cleaned up good! Assembled the deck on the hull. This was exciting. I can finally see the kayak. I ran into something that the manual didn't cover. It says to wire the fore and aft decks so the wire twists are on the outside, but it doesn't say how. On the fore deck you can reach two of the three joints but when you add the other panel #5, you have a box with no opening! I solved it by releasing the tape from the bow so it could flex up and installing the wires just enough so I could bend over the ends. After all were installed, I pulled the wires up and was able to twist them snugly. The first application of epoxy is applied to the joints. Tomorrow if it's cool enough I will apply thickened epoxy to smooth out the joints.
Mixed up some epoxy with wood flour to fill my seams. Not too bad. I did locate a potential problem. The manual states to cover the frames with tape and insert a piece of Mylar between the bow and stern so they don't get glued to the hull. On the 4PD model there is one other area on each side where you must take precaution as well. The very narrow section of panel #5 is so close to the hull, if there is any gap between the panel and the cockpit lip (this is an area where it is difficult not to have a gap), there will be leakage. Epoxy will run down the inside and bond the panel to the hull on the inside. I was able to separate the two by carefully inserting a razor knife and tapping it with a hammer. It popped apart neatly.
Tomorrow is another 96 degree day so I will let the epoxy cure and start again on Sunday.
Well, I have sanded the deck and removed it from the hull and started on the underside. The deck really turned out nice. I wish I had taken as long on the hull in sanding out all the drip marks. It does show. Well, I learned for the next boat.
I epoxied all the seams under the deck and filled the area around the rear of the cockpit. Will let that cure and then do the tape and reinforcing glass around the kayak cockpit areas. That will have to wait for another day.
After some sanding, I taped the seams on the hull and put it back on the hull to cure. A very important point to remember: taping the seams epoxy will leak out the wire holes onto your work surface. If you don't clean it up before you place your hull back on the surface, you will epoxy your hull to the work surface. I have a small remnant of my work surface to sand off my hull before I am done. Luckily the hull's surface is tougher than the top of my work table.
Glassed the cockpit area, added the additional glass at the rear of the cockpit and 6 oz. tape at the front and finished with a saturation coat. One more saturation coat after this cures and I am done for the week time to go kayaking.
Set up the forms for the adjustable thigh braces. Applied my fillets on the outside edges of the forms. Also applied the epoxy to the stems with their support fillets. I had some difficulty with this. It is difficult to approximate just how much wood flour to use and in the stern edge, being as narrow as it is, I used much too much epoxy and it slowly ran down the keel and I have a lump to contend with. No one will ever see it but me so I have chosen to forget it.
Couldn't work at all on the 16th. Record heat here, over 100 degrees; too hot in my garage. I do have a suggestion for those of you that have similar temperature problems (it has been over 90 for the last week). To allow me to use the epoxy I have been placing my jugs into an aluminum tray filled with ice water. It has really given me very good working time.
Finished the thigh brace areas by glassing the 4 layers of tape over the forms. I had put all the raised edges on the glass tape to the sheer edge of the deck and had some difficulty in getting them to lay flat. To try to smooth them out I placed a sheet of Mylar over the edge and using a shim to apply pressure to the edge, without actually covering them, I clamped them down. Will see how it worked tomorrow.
A General Note: I dry fitted my bulkheads into the hull tonight and I was amazed how perfectly they fit. Then I tried them on the underside of the deck, which has had fillet places about the recess plate, glass reinforcement about the cockpit area and tape reinforcement on the forward deck, and they don't fit anymore. I will have to, which the manual does state, trim them to fit. If anyone has a suggestion as to how to do this correctly the first time, I would be very happy to hear it. Credit will be given (if it works).
Removed the forms for the adjustable thigh pads. It looks OK. I think I would just skip this step if I knew exactly where I wanted them and just epoxy them in place.
I am very unhappy with the fillets at the bow and stern. It is so hard to judge the amount of wood flour to allow the epoxy to sag and not run. My epoxy keeps running out of the area so I gave up and set my hull about a 30 degree angle and poured it in. It worked finally.
Prepped the hull for the glass reinforcement at the center seam. Installed the glass and applied the saturation coat to the inside of the hull. Finally, I can take the rest of the weekend off and go kayaking. See you next week.
Sanded and scraped to feather the edges of the reinforcing glass at the inside butt seam. Lightly sanded the inside edge to smooth out the saturation coat. Almost ready to glass the inside of the hull. Instructions say to lay down a strip of masking tape ¾" above the upper chine. Problem is how. I used a technique my body shop does at work to place lettering on vehicles. They use a jig to mark the dimension necessary and use that to align the tape. The craft sticks I have been using to stir the epoxy are just ¾". Worked great and fast.
I have found parts of this project tedious, mundane, rewarding and exciting, but the last task I have completed has been the hardest; glassing the interior of the hull. This was tough to complete. It is nearly impossible to use the squeegee. All it did is raise the glass out of the seams. I ended up using a brush to carefully seat the glass to the surface. I know there is an excessive amount of epoxy on the surface but there is not much I could do about it. Even so there were several areas where the glass formed bubbles that I didn't find in time. Those areas I cut out the bubbles and used a piece of scrap glass to cover the areas properly. Maybe if I had more experience with glass/epoxy I wouldn't have found it so hard. No complaints, you have to learn somehow.
I have spent the last few days getting everything ready for gluing the deck on. Surprising how much has to be completed first. I glued the studs for the footbraces in place. I like that so much more than drilling holes for bolts through the hull. I also put a fill coat on the glass in the cockpit area. Lots for smoothing out and filling areas where contact would be made by the paddler. No jagged edges rubbing my legs please.
I have started glassing the bulkheads and hatch components. I have decided to install my bulkheads (but not the hatches) before I glue on the deck. I have discussed this with Pygmy and their reply was "Our standard recommendation is to install bulkheads after all hull construction is complete to avoid any issues with your deck fitting the hull that can come up if the bulkheads are installed prior to deck being glued down." I am more concerned with their fit and until they are in the hull I can't verify their fit to the deck. This will also allow me to glass tape on both sides of the forward bulkhead.
Done for the week, now time for my kayaking.
It has taken 2 days but I have the bulkheads installed in the hull. I used the glass tape on the cockpit side, since it will be seen and scraps on the hatch sides, since it won't be. I gave the tape side a day to cure before doing the scrap side. I noted that the hull was bowed out slightly from the bulkheads. To bring everything back together, I used my load straps to pull everything together. Worked good! I will use them again when I glue on the deck. They can exert a lot more pressure than tape and I didn't have to drill more holes.
The deck is glued to the hull. I had a bit of a problem with the strapping tape not holding. I solved it by using my load straps. Conveniently I had enough. Did use some tape but found I had to encircle the boat completely so I could stick to itself. That could be because I had ½ inch tape and the manual call out ¾ inch. Not enough surface area?? Filled the gaps tonight and this weekend I will be able to fillet the inside sheer seam. I am quite pleased the bulkheads. Some gaps but they should fill nicely.
I applied the fillets to both sides of the cockpit area and covered with the Glass tape. I will do the hatch areas once I cut those out. Looks pretty good. I am adding every option the boat has so I am running out of supplies. Ordered more tape, epoxy, rollers and some other supplies. The slides for the thigh pads took a lot of material. Pygmy also has a new thigh pad (precut) kit available soon. I ordered that as well.
The gaps in the areas between the hull and deck are driving me batty. They seem very hard to fill so I used a craft stick as a puddy knife and filled them. Looks kind of rough but they sanded out good.
Applied the saturation coat, let cure, sanded lightly and glassed the deck. When cutting the cloth for this step, be very careful. It is too easy to leave yourself some extra on one end only to find you need it for the other. I let the epoxy get (tacky) and cut the glass above the tape and removed. This worked very good. I am looking forward to installing the cockpit coaming, but that can wait.
Enough for this week, I'm paddling my other kayak this weekend.
I have run out of supplies (epoxy and FG tape) so I have spent my time sanding out the areas where the glass overlapped at the cockpit area and prepared the components for the coaming. When the supplies arrived from Pygmy I was able to install the lower coaming and apply a light coating of epoxy to the sanded areas. A lot of clamps ARE necessary. I was very pleased just how well it covered. Amazing stuff.
Prepped the lower coaming area and got the upper coaming installed. I only glassed the lower surface of the upper coaming. I think it will be better looking if I glass both together and run the glass down the inside of the lower coaming at the same time. Finally starting to look like a real kayak.
Cut out the hatch openings. Very long process by hand. There is a problem keeping the blade perpendicular to the hull that would be much easier with a jig saw. We will all find out how good I did when I install them back on the hull.
Out of town all week, first day back to the boat. Finished glassing the sheer in the hatch areas. Made some tools to assist with the process. I bought some sanding foam block and mounted them on a dowel. I could sand the surfaces almost all the way to the bow and stern. Also mounted a bristle brush on another stick to seat the glass with epoxy. Both worked very sell. Of course I also make the syringe extension as per the manual although going through the hatch openings, it turned out much shorter.
Today I got a lot done. I glassed the upper edges of both bulkheads. The rear had quite a gap and I will fill the areas more when I do the stern pour. I used scraps of glass rather than the tape due to the odd shape of the areas. Worked pretty good. After everything had set up I moved the boat into my back yard to do the bow pour. I used a bucket of water to cool the bow. It did get hot. Tomorrow will try to get the stern done and get it back inside before it rains again. Also included a photo of my Hull ID Number. I used a felt tip pen on the surface and just put a layer of epoxy over it. Didn't come out too bad.
I inverted the boat in my back yard and completed the other end pour (and then I went paddling with my kayak club).
Installed the hip braces and started cleaning up around the hatch and coaming areas.
I installed the hatch spacer strips, one side each night. Finally installed and glassed the coaming. I had waited to apply the upper coat of glass until they were installed, I felt it would look better and it does. Not much left and I will be able to sand the boat in prep for the varnish. I did put a fill coat on coaming and hip braces to smooth out the surfaces.
I installed the seat back and hand toggles. Not much excitement and it looks closer to being finished every day now. I am still waiting for the new foam thigh brace pads from Pygmy. They were backordered on my last order. I would also like to caution everyone about lining up their components correctly before they drill holes in the boat or you will have some patching to do later (see last photo).
Using a method from my work, I marked all the locations for the deck lines, etc. using masking tape. No lines on the surface required, just aligned the tape with the carpenters square on the measurement in the manual and use the intersections to mark the hole locations. This proved to be very exact. I then mounted all the deck lines to verify locations. Looks Great! Now everything must come off so I can seal the edges of the holes and sand and varnish the boat.
All for this week.
Removed all the hardware, seat, lines, etc. and epoxy saturated the holes. I will let it cure completely and start the sanding. Now the nerves are setting in. Soon we will see the final project, however it comes out. I also purchased some lower sawhorses. My table is a little too high to make it easy to sand the surface.
Started the sanding today. Started with 120 grit on my orbital sander with LOTS of disks. I had a lot of runs and drips to remove. Really came out better than I had hoped. Finished with 220 grit with the orbital. Found a few areas that needed a bit more epoxy so I will let it cure for another day or two and start with a sanding block. Hand sanding only from here on.
Now I can relax and paddle my other kayak tomorrow.
I read the instructions on the spar varnish! The manual advises that once you are finished with the glassing to take your boat kayaking. That is a very pleasant way of saying that is your only choice. You cannot start applying the varnish until 7 days after the last coating of epoxy. Well, I wasn't planning on introducing it to the world until it was finished so I decided to do some more sanding and I am really glad I did.
I had used my orbital sander with 120 grit and then 220 grit and thought it was pretty good. I noticed that the surface still had a mottled surface even though it felt fine. I started sanding it by hand with the 220 grit paper and was really pleased with the improvement. On the photos you can see both sides of the hull. One half is hand sanded and the other is not. Vast improvement; however at the rate I am going it will take another 12 hours to get it ready for the varnish. With the amount of time I have invested already I am not going to cut corners now. So it looks like no varnish until I'm ready.
I have continued to sand the hull with 220 grit paper by hand and it looks pretty good. My 7 days of waiting are almost up (before I can start the varnish) and then I realized I forgot the half rounds for the hatches. It looks like the hatches will have to wait a week more before they get completed. Also got the clips epoxied under the hatches for the retaining cords.
I did weigh the boat. Without the straps, cords, seat and hatch covers it weighed 38 lbs.
I came up with a fixture to help with the epoxy saturating of the ½ rounds. To allow me to do all sides at once, I made a "V" form from some aluminum foil. Worked neat. I have the hatch seals installed, glued the Velcro to the seat pad and epoxied the other half of the Velcro to the hull, held down by some bricks over Mylar.
I have to epoxy the ½ rounds in place; after they cure I can then remove the hatch straps and can start the varnish. The finish is in sight.
The ½ rounds are epoxied into place and the Velcro pads are firm on the hull.
I took a few days off and went camping with my kayak club. We had a great time in the mountains. I got some decent miles in with my kayak as well.
I finally got the first coat of varnish on the hull thinned 25% with mineral spirts, per my painting expert. We will find out tomorrow how well that worked.
I couldn't do too much each day. Applied a coat of varnish each day after a little sanding. It looks pretty good although I wish I knew more about applying varnish. It is tough to get that smooth finish. The thigh pad assemblies are completed as much as I could without setting in the cockpit and finding their final position and the angles necessary for my legs.
I did find a good number of runs from the hull onto the deck. They are a real pain to sand out. I applied masking tape to the hull to try not to repeat the mistake. Hopefully I will have it water ready by next week.
I have put on the last coat of varnish, installed my deck cords and straps and I am 99.9% completed. All that is left is positioning the thigh braces and foam pads. This has been a unique project. I have learned so much about the process, much of it the hard way, and am looking forward to my next project. I know where I went wrong and the boat does have the scars to prove it. This weekend it meets the water and I am certain all will go well.
As for the amount of time required, the guidelines called for 80 hours. I have almost doubled that but I did install the sliding thigh braces, bulkheads and hatches and every deck related item available. That accounts for a good portion of the extra time. The other component that took much too much time was in trying correcting my error in allowing runs and drips of epoxy run all over the boat. What I have learned there is to cover my seams and wire holes on the outside of the hull with plastic tape and glue the seams from the inside where the runs don't show.
Well, winter is coming and my car is going back into the garage. However a new project is on the horizon. Stay tuned.
I have cleaned out my garage and my car is home again. New Murrelet is happy on its rack and finally we made it to the water. I am really pleased initially how it handles. It has met all my expectations. This has been a great project. The only area which I am unhappy about is the adjustable thigh braces. They do not function well, which could be partially my problem on the fabrication of the slides. In any event, they are going to be located and epoxied into place (when I figure where they should be). Would I do it again? YES! This has been a great experience and the manufacturer has been very helpful. I would recommend their kits gladly.
My next project is in the wings. It will be smaller, something I can build in the basement. What's it going to be? Stay tuned, should have it finalized by November.
I used my new kayak on our club’s weekly paddle for the first time Sunday. Almost 7 miles on the canal and I am very pleased. For a boat with no rudder or skeg, it tracked beautifully. Initial stability is good and secondary stability is great. Still having problems with the adjustable thigh braces but that can be fixed. Best of all, the only water in the boat was from our boots. I am very pleased.
In this day and age of synthetic this, and artificial thats, there are few things as beautiful as a wooden kayak or canoe. Whether built by a professional or in a handyman’s garage, wood boats are head turners. If you are interested in owning one there are several aspects to consider.
First, for most people, is whether to buy a finished craft or to build it yourself. When buying a finished boat you can see the craftsmanship before you hand over payment. Building it yourself gives you the pride of knowing there is no other boat in the world that is exactly like yours.
Over the past few decades DIY kits have made it much easier for the home handyman. Companies like Chesapeake Light Craft and Pygmy Boats can sell you kits where all the wood is precut with computer accuracy on their CNC cutters. They will sell you everything or anything you might need to finish your project. You will be able to customize your boat with different upgrades, like a better seat or foot pegs. There are even precut wooden inlays you can purchase to give you boat some premium touches.
For those who are more adventurous, there are plans available and great books available for guidance. Unless you have a CAD program for boat design, I would recommend buying plans, since these crafts canoe, kayak or even a paddleboard, have been tested. It kind of stinks, building a boat of your own design, just to find out it takes a tightrope walker to keep it up right (not that this has happened to me).
Soon I will have more articles about building your own kayak but in the mean time here are some resources to look at;
Building Strip-Planked Boats by Nick Schade
The Strip-Built Sea Kayak: Three Rugged, Beautiful Boats You Can Build By Nick Schade