Building your own boat can be a very rewarding experience, for some it is a goal in itself, for others 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 relatively simple methods of building a good looking boat using wood/epoxy building at home at your own pace.

How long will it takes? This varies depending on the boat you chose, the method, your skills, level of finish, the number of starts and stops, even the space you build in affects the timing. Small cramped spaces makes efficiency more difficult to achieve, as does your start point, a kit or just a set of plans, will you cut the cedar strips if needed, or purchase them?

Covering the construction methods 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 a result they vary depending on the boat. 

To help understand the building methods our Facebook page has albums containing pictures showing some of our boats under construction.

Below are brief descriptions of the methods to introduce each method. As time permits these are being modified to contain more information in downloadable pdfs, the first of these are for paddle boards and cedar strip boats and can be accessed using the icons in the appropriate sections below.

For those who are not familiar with the use of epoxy a good, free resource is the Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction, pages 357 to 373 (Appendix A) covers basic epoxy use. The book naturally focuses on WEST system as they are the manufacturers but, it is a good guide regardless of the epoxy resin system you are using.

Stitch & Glue

Stitch and glue building

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. A series of 1/16” holes drilled along their edges these are then used to ‘stitch’ the panels together using short wire stitches.Some builders who are not concerned with the look of slightly larger holes have used small plastic cable ties for their stitches.

The stitched panels are permanently joined with a thickened epoxy mixture applied to the joints between the stitches, the stitches are removed when the glue has cured, spaces where the stitches have been removed are then filled. Once the seams are filled and the hull sanded, then sheathed, bulkheads installed, the deck attached, and 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.


Hybrid Construction

Hybrid boat hulls are constructed in the same way as the entirely plywood stitch and glue boats, the difference is the decks, these are built of strips. Using strips for the deck allows more versatility in shape, greater creativity and enhances the look of the finished product. While the use of cedar is normal and is  supplied with the kit, you can combine many woods, cutting and installing them in a variety of ways to make your boat truly distinctive. Even when only cedar is used it can be installed in a number of different ways, some of these will be seen in pictures on the web site and others on our Facebook page.

The deck is formed using the hull and any additional deck framing as a mold, after it is formed the deck is removed, the underside sheathed, it is glued in place and the outside of the deck is sheathed.

Strip Building

Cedar strip construction

Building a boat entirely with strips is much different than building with plywood. The strips for canoes and kayaks are normally ¼” x ¾” in size and slightly longer than the hull being built, though shorter strips can be used, most commercially available strips have cove and bead edges to aid in fitting the strips to each other, this is particularly helpful where the side of the boat curves into the bottom.

Strip boats are constructed over a strongback with molds to hold all the strips used to form the hull to the desired shape while they are glued them to each other.  Strip boats allow you to use a variety of woods to vary the look of the boat and for the addition of patterns in the wood by inserting strips of different colors and patterns into the hull. Click on the icon below to access a pdf. that gives an introduction to the process.

Paddle Board Construction

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.

paddle board build pdf link

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