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wooden kayaks
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John Paul Reid
(Reid) - F

Locale: SouthEast
wooden kayaks on 02/04/2009 19:51:07 MST Print View

Anyone know where to read up on making wooden kayaks or have anything to say about them?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: wooden kayaks on 02/04/2009 19:56:53 MST Print View

Look here to get started.

Plug in "stripper kayak" to Google and you'll find this and more.

Edited by greg23 on 02/04/2009 19:59:01 MST.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: wooden kayaks on 02/04/2009 20:01:38 MST Print View

They're certainly beautiful...
I was doing much research into them a few years back, primarily for building an ocean fishing model.
All sorts of plans are available for purchase online- quick searches will show you many companies.

Some things that have stopped me (perhaps unfounded):
1. Hundreds of spare dollars for wood
2. Concern that a wooden kayak will be heavier, thus harder to get onto roof racks, launch, etc.
3. I'm worried about durability and the ease of repair; rocky landings, fishing around rocks, etc.

Despite this, it doesn't seem that the strip building method is too difficult if you're a fairly experienced woodworker with a decent shop (and space).

Good luck.

Joseph Reeves

Locale: Southeast Alaska
Re Wooden Kayaks on 02/04/2009 22:19:44 MST Print View

I know where you might still be able to find one.....

Abandoned kayak

We found this strip kayak and carved paddled in the forest north of Juneau.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: wooden kayaks on 02/05/2009 06:39:03 MST Print View has an interesting discussion about wooden kayaks in their podcast series. It gets into the history, design, and the people.

Nathan V
(Junk) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lake State
Re:Re: wooden kayaks on 02/05/2009 07:34:36 MST Print View

Check out, I built a kayak from their plans about 8 years ago and it turned out great. It handles and tracks perfectly, and looks awesome.It is actually quite durable and has held up to a lot of rocky shore landings. Sure the varnish gets scratched, but it's repairable.kayak

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re:Re: wooden kayaks on 02/05/2009 07:44:16 MST Print View

WOW! What a beauty!

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Wooden Kayaks on 02/05/2009 08:19:00 MST Print View

A friend and I made a pair out of 4 mm plywood using the "stitch and glue" method. Somewhat tedious but not very complicated. We got a set of full size plans so no lofting was required. They are 17' long and required 2-1/2 sheets of plywood each. The entire craft is coated with epoxy inside and out, the entire outside and all interior seams a are reinforced with fiberglass cloth or tape.

I say "made" but mine is still hanging in the garage waiting for cockpit coaming, seat, and hatch covers.

Weight of a wooden kayak is much less than a plastic model, somewhat less than a conventional polyester/fiberglass model, and about the same as a vacuum bagged epoxy/fiberglass model. Mine, still waiting for the parts mentioned above and a few coats of varnish is 38 pounds. They are very stiff but wouldn't be good for rock gardening or frequent rocky surf landings.

Having sewed a tent and built the kayak, I suggest that the kayak is far less frustrating to build.


Locale: Northwest Mass
i've built one on 02/12/2009 18:47:45 MST Print View

last summer i built a 17 foot touring kayak out of western red cedar strips. i got the plans from Nick Schade at i built the petrel, from full size plans that i ordered from him. i also bought his book,the strip built sea kayak: three rugged, beautiful boats you can build ( this tells you clearly, and with insightful detail, how to strip build a wooden kayak. however, he has a new book, which i haven't read, but seems to be a newer edition, Building strip-planked Boats ( it also seems very good. technically, the books come with everything you need to build a kayak. however, instead of plans, you get what is called a table of offsets, from which you can loft(draw in full scale) the design for the kayak. this is, however very tedious and not entirely simple, so i ended up buying the full sized patterns from Nick for about $100 bucks. this made it very easy. just glue the patterns down onto some ply, cut 'em out, string them along a piece of 2x4, and start stripping. these boats are a big time investment. they take about 100-200 man-hours...but what you get is an object of almost unparalleled beauty...that you have created. its not hard to do, i built one when i was 15, but it does take time. the best thing to do is order one of nick's books, and read through it. if you still want to build one, you have 4 options. build it from the table of offsets, buy full sized patterns, buy a kit of some sort ( offers complete or partial kits to almost all of nick's designs), or scale the project down to a stitch and glue plywood design. (Nick also does these, i just think that they are no where near bing in the same league as a strip built boat in terms of beauty. they are a lot quicker to build though.) if you are worried about the performance, or the weight (this is a site dedicated to ultra-light pursuits, after all), some people have been able to build an 18ft boat for 30lb...which rivals many hi-tech composite boats. anyway, i really recommend browsing nick's site, and/or reading his book before you start the project. if you are interested i can post some construction photos if you don't understand the method. also, if money isn't much of an issue, nick will build you'll be one of the most beautiful things you ever behold, and a joy to paddle, but it'll cost ya!

Edited by adie.mitchell on 02/12/2009 18:58:33 MST.

Ken M
(zeuson) - F
wooden kayaks on 02/21/2009 14:53:44 MST Print View

I've built several wooden Kayaks. My firt was a 17' Ocra from Beateu boats. I used 1/4 exterior grade plwood and covered the outside with fiberglass. It weighed a lot (100lbs(, but I taught myself to kayak in the ocean with it. It was bounced off of rocks and everything else and never had a problem and I never dumped in it either. I could probably make one with okume and the same amount of fiberglass and it would weigh about 50lbs which is good for 17' sea kayak. I fished in it too without any problems. I've also built a Guillemont Mystery strip built. Very pretty and fast, but very tippy.