Building your own boat can be a very rewarding experience, for some it is a goal in itself, for others it 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 using wood/epoxy building methods.
How long it takes varies; the boat you chose, your skills, the level of finish you desire, the number of starts and stops, even the space you build affects the timing, a small cramped space 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 requires 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, its size, and your starting point.
To help understand the building methods on our Facebook page there are 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 for paddle boards is at the bottom of this page.
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 basic guide
regardless of the epoxy resin system you are using.
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.
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.
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 cedar strips or a combination of woods. Using cedar strips for the deck allows more versatility in shape and greater creativity during construction and 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, 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, see some of these show up in the pictures on these pages and others on our Facebook page.
The deck uses the hull and any additional deck framing as the mold, after it is formed the deck is removed, the underside sheathed, 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 in plywood, in place of the plywood panels you use narrow strips of wood. 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 particularly 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 while they are glued them
to each other. Strip boats also 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.
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.