Building Wood Sea Kayaks
These kayak building pages (see links at right) describe subjects and unique approaches not often addressed elsewhere. Hopefully they have some information to help you to do things better. Ultimately, however, you must make your own choices on how to build your boat. For a more general view of building wood kayaks try Guillemot Kayaks or One Ocean Kayaks.
Having built both Okoume plywood and cedar strip kayaks I discovered that the cedar boats are not as tough if the same glass schedule is used on both. And now after back surgery I have grown to dislike lifting heavy boats over my head. So some of my thoughts on how to build a lightweight kayak are presented as well. These two subjects led to further explorations and finally to controlled tests of wood and glass laminates used to build wood kayaks. It looks like 4 oz. cloth will make a boat that can handle the pressures presented by moving water. The trick becomes one of building for the amount of abuse expected from shore landings and car transport. Not liking how easily glass this light is damaged, I went in search of tougher solutions. Consider the results of my ding tests which show how well various fabrics resist damage. Also, Sam McFadden has performed strength tests that provide additional insight.
My first two kayaks, Pygmy Arctic Terns, feature purple heart inlay on the decks. As a first time builder I was amazed at the enthusiastic reception they received. Both have been featured in the Pygmy catalog. My third boat (shown above) is a cedar strip Redfish Silver made with 1/4 inch strips and mostly two layers of 3.25 oz. satin cloth. This boat has AYC and walnut feature stripes. My fourth boat is a cedar strip Redfish King. I have used .20 inch cedar, 6 oz. satin weave s-glass inside and out, System Three Clear Coat for wet-out, and left over MAS for fill. So far it has proven to be a light weight yet durable kayak.
Most everyone who lives in Puget Sound has experienced in some way its natural shoreline beauty. The area has everything from industrial waterfronts to remote and rugged shores within a day's drive. And what better way is there to see these shores than by sea kayak? I have included links to pages that show photos of interesting places to kayak. I hope you enjoy them and find some ideas for yourself.
If you have a great paddle trip suggestion, send me some email. Better yet, come paddle with us.