A composite kayak may be lighter. A molded plastic boat may be more durable. Visually, however, no craft is more stunning than a strip-built wooden kayak. These boats are works of art. Each one is as individual as the builder who creates it and is guaranteed to turn heads on the water. With proper care and occasional re-coating, a strip-built kayak will retain its beauty indefinitely, and can be passed down from generation to generation. Building one of these crafts is by no means an easy task, but if undertaken with time and care, those with basic carpentry skills can complete a worthy craft even on a first attempt.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Things You’ll Need:
- Large paper
- Power saws
- Staple gun
- Wood glue
Draw out the form shapes with a pencil on big sheets of paper. Cut out the forms and glue them onto plywood sheets, then cut the forms from the plywood using a saw. Place the forms onto a strongback and string them together. Double check all your measurements. You now have what looks like the spine of your boat.
Lay wooden strips over the form and secure them in place by gluing the edges together. Staples and clamps can also be used to hold strips together while glue is drying.
Plane and sand the hull after the glue has dried. Be sure all excess glue is removed and all blemishes smoothed out. Go over the hull repeatedly until it is smooth and seamless.
Lay fiberglass over the hull and cover it with epoxy. The epoxy will cause the glass to harden. You can, if you wish, apply more than one layer of fiberglass. Allow the epoxy to cure overnight before adding subsequent layers.
Lift the hull and deck off of the forms. Sand, plane and fiberglass the inside of the hull just as you did the outside. Multiple layers of fiberglass are not normally needed on the inside.
Glue the hull and deck together to complete the shell of the boat.
Sand down the hull and deck again and apply a coat of varnish. Repeat this step at least two more times, though you can apply as many varnish coats as you wish.