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  • Writer's pictureMike

Kayak Build Goals

After building my first kayak years ago, I felt that it was a good learning experience and I wanted to apply that experience in building a second boat. The first boat came out nicely but there were areas of the construction that I felt could be improved upon:

  • Weight - Boat #1 came in heavier than it was supposed to be due to heavier construction, denser woods and maybe too many fill coats in areas that didn't need it. It's still reasonable for its length compared to production boats but lifting and positioning it on a roof rack can be awkward.

  • Gaps - Some gaps between bead and cove strips opened up during the sanding process. Most people don't notice these in the finished boat but I know where they are and they drive me crazy.

  • Finish - Although it appears smooth to the casual observer, the hull and especially the hull-deck joint could have been filled and faired better

To address the weight and gaps issue in the second boat I've decided to use 3/16" strips with beveled edges instead of the ususal 1/4" bead and cove ones used in the first. Bead and cove strips work well in general but I found that it was difficult to machine them accurately and to get them fully seated in areas of tight curvature. The gaps didn't appear until the boat was fully sanded at which point it was too late to make a fix that was aesthetically pleasing. I'll be using a Robo-Bevel from Guillemot Kayaks to do the beveling work and with some careful work, gaps between strips should be minimal. All of the strips will be cedar except for a few thin accent strips due to its low density compared to what was used for the aesthetic design on the first deck. Another approach that should reduce overall weight is just to keep the boat simple and pay attention to weight throughout the construction process. It will have one storage hatch instead of two, a skeg instead of a rudder and minimal deck hardware.

The plan is to build this boat stapleless using a combination of clamps and hot-melt glue to keep things in place during construction. It's more work but I like the look.

I'm hoping that the finishing shortfalls on the first boat can be addressed through patience and better sanding and fairing technique...we'll see.

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