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Hey guys,

I was thinking I'd like to try my hand at making a kayak and wondered if any of you had tried this before? Am I crazy, is this like the most complicated build ever? Am I asking for a nightmare headache that I will regret to my death bed? Anyone try this and have any sage advice and tricks to avoid pitfalls?
 

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Well, I've never made one myself, but I've done a fair bit of reading, since I want to make one at some point.
The simplest ones are what's called "stitch and glue", where you stitch the panels together with copper wire, then fiberglass over everything. You can make a real nice boat that way.
Then you have the strip boats, that are probably what most of us think of when we say a wooden boat of any sort. They're made with strips of wood over a frame. Can be fantastically beautiful, or just really pretty. :)

From what I've read, they are as simple or as complicated as you want them to be. You can get a nice functional boat rather easily, or go whole hog and get a work of art that happens to float.
I've heard good things about the kits from here: http://www.clcboats.com/shop/kayak-kits/

Hope that helps,
Acer
 

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I think that you need to look at the variety of building materials used for the boat's purpose.
There seems to be all kinds of things for inshore/river use. Years ago, my neighbor across the street was popping fiberglas shells out of molds. If you ever get into the University of British Columbia/Museum of Anthropology, there is a real Inuit hide kayak. The sheer craftsmanship is jaw-dropping.

Then there are the 30' seafaring kayaks for (these days) touring. Your guide takes you to see all sorts of things accessable only by sea. The tender boat sneaks in and sets up your camp and steals away. You paddle around a headland and there it is. Off you go the next morning, the boat comes back to strike the entire camp and move on to the next one. Bucket list for sure.
 

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jjboozel said:
We did one as a class. Here's 2 pictures of it from last year. We have it hanging on our shop wall now. We made a paddle for it as well. I'll see if I can get some pictures of it tomoro.
Sorry about the third picture stupid iPhone adds them if you scroll and click one too fast. That was from archery season certainly not a kayak
 

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nblasa said:
That is amazing! Nice work
Thank you! Like I said it was a class effort so a lot of teamwork went into it. This year we are doing a canoe... Just finishing the CNC program to cut out the skeleton.
 

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Hey guys,

I was thinking I'd like to try my hand at making a kayak and wondered if any of you had tried this before? Am I crazy, is this like the most complicated build ever? Am I asking for a nightmare headache that I will regret to my death bed? Anyone try this and have any sage advice and tricks to avoid pitfalls?
My $.02, I always say, go for it. Having said that, I'm usually someone who looks at something and makes my own plans. I would not do this with a kayak or a canoe. I would shell out the money for a book or highly detailed set of plans.
 

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nblasa said:
My $.02, I always say, go for it. Having said that, I'm usually someone who looks at something and makes my own plans. I would not do this with a kayak or a canoe. I would shell out the money for a book or highly detailed set of plans.
My teacher bought a book to do it by. It worked fantastic. Once the skeleton is cut out which we is by CNC it's just cutting massive amounts of strips on the TS then cutting the edges to fit tight. After that ALOT!!! Of staples and glue. Then ALOT of sanding. Then ALOT of finish work lol
 

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Hey guys,

I was thinking I'd like to try my hand at making a kayak and wondered if any of you had tried this before? Am I crazy, is this like the most complicated build ever? Am I asking for a nightmare headache that I will regret to my death bed? Anyone try this and have any sage advice and tricks to avoid pitfalls?
Well, it's not a nightmare, it's actually quite easy. You live very close to Chesapeake Light Craft and they have a lot of good plans and kits. In my photo albums you'll find pictures of one of their older designs and somewhere I have a thread where I ripped the deck off my stitch and glue and did (well, started... still haven't finished) a strip deck retrofit.
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/updates-kayak-24486/

I highly recommend both options, especially if you're already into woodworking. Nothing better (on the water) than being out in a kayak you built with your own hands.

A couple things I will mention.

First, most strip boats don't have an internal frame. They are built over forms as a hull and a deck (separately) but the forms are only temporary and the only "frame" in the boat is a bulkhead or two, if you choose to include them (I would). The deck and hull are joined after they are glassed (usually) on the inside and then the whole boat gets glassed (usually) on the outside as well. Makes for a very light (depending upon wood species) very strong boat.

If you do a strip, cove and bead strips are easier to glue up but take more prep work. The cost is a bit extra in time and a couple router bits. Very much worth it when it comes time to glue up, in my opinion.

Also, while staples are a faster build, you can do it quite easily without stapling. The staple holes aren't particularly noticeable, especially if you steam them closed after removal, but I prefer not using them in the first place.

Books are a great option for plans. Also, there are a couple of "build your own" type software programs (the only one I can think of at the moment is "kayak foundry") that will help you design a boat, if you're up for it. I personally took an existing design and modified it during build. Much faster and less trial and error for me that way.

And finally, check out the kayak builders forum, and CLC's website. Both are excellent options for getting directly relevant advice from other builders who have a world of experience.
 
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