Building your own boat can be a very rewarding experience, for some it is a goal in itself, for others building a boat is a means to an end, a way to get on the water in a special craft, one of which they can say I built it myself.
The boats on this site make use of simple but effective methods of building a good looking boat in wood.
How long it takes to build varies from person to person, the boat you chose to build, your skills, the level of finish that you desire, the number of starts and stops along the way. Even the space you build can affects the timing, a small cramped space makes efficiency more difficult to achieve, as does your start point, using a kit or just a set of plans, will you cut the cedar strips if needed or purchase them?
Covering the methods of construction used for the boats in depth would require a book, not a page on a web site. Each of our plan sets is assembled for the boat being constructed and the method used, they are not a one book suits all cookbook, as result they vary depending on the boat, its size, and your starting point.
To help understand the building methods on our Facebook page you will find albums that contain pictures showing some of the boats under construction.
The paragraphs below contain brief descriptions of the methods used to give you an idea of what each method entails. These are as time permits being modified to contain links to more information contained in pdfs, the first of these is for our paddle baords and the link can be found at the bottom of this page.
This building method involves assembling plywood pieces cut to shape using a CNC router if you purchased a kit or starting from plans laid out using a table of offsets and/or full size patterns depending on the design that you are building, then cutting out the plywood pieces. The panels then have a series of 1/16” holes drilled along there edges which are then used to ‘stitch’ the panels together using wire stitches.
When the panels are stitched together a thickened epoxy mixture is applied to the joints between the stitches to glue the panels together. The stitches are removed when the glue has cured; the spaces in the seams are filled with glue in the areas where the stitches have been removed. Once the seams are filled and the hull sanded, it is sheathed then the bulkheads are installed, the deck attached, and the hardware installed after the finish has been applied.
The hull and deck on these boats are built using plywood, the hulls are normally 4mm and the decks 3mm all of marine grade plywood.The exception to this is that a couple of the smaller boats use only 3mm plywood.
Hybrid boats have hulls built in the same way as the entirely plywood stitch and glue boats the difference is in the decks, these are built of cedar strips or a combination of woods to suit your creative urges. Using cedar strips for the deck allows much more versatility in deck shape and greater creativity during construction and greatly enhances the look of the finished product. While the use of cedar is normal and this is what is supplied with the kit, you can combine many woods, cut and install them in a variety of ways to make sure that your boat is truly distinctive.Even when only cedar is used it can be installed in a number of different ways, you can see some of these in these pages and on our Facebook page.
The deck is constructed using the hull and any additional deck framing as the mold from which the deck is removed, the underside epoxied then the deck is glued in place and the outside of the deck is sheathed.
Building a boat from cedar strips is much different than building from plywood, inn place of the plywood panels you use narrow strips of wood. The strips used are normally ¼” x ¾” in size and slightly longer than the hull being built, most strips have cove and bead edges to aid in fitting the strips to each other particularly where the side of the boat curves into the bottom.
Cedar strip boats are constructed over a strongback with molds to hold all those small strips, to properly shape the hull and glue them to each other during the building process. Strip boat also allow you to use a variety of woods to vary the look of the boat and they also allow for the addition of patterns in the wood by joining strips of different colors into a single strip and combining these to form patterns in the hull.
Our paddle boards have been designed to be built using an egg crate type of construction, this enables the boats to be quickly assembled but it means that the parts must be cut using a computer controlled router. As a result the boards are only available as kits. To introduce you to this method of building we have put together a series of eight slides in a pdf format which can be accessed using the link below.