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Boat Building Techniques


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Assembling Forms to Make Strip-Planked Wooden Sea Kayak

The easiest way to set up the forms for woodstrip kayak is using an internal strongback. Here I use a 2" x 4" x 13' aluminum extrusion with 1/8" thick walls. The bow end has been tapered so it can reach farther into the bow of the heavily rockered boat.

Milling Cedar Strips for a Bookmatched Petrel

Cutting strips is always a little tedious. It is primarily a matter of feeding the wood through the saw. When you intend to bookmatch the strips on the boat you also need to keep the strips in order.

Making Forms for a Wood Strip Kayak

I've started building a Petrel for a customer. I'll be using 3/16" western red cedar, book matching and building without staples. In this video I'm doing one of the first steps necessary to build a strip-planked boat from scratch. I'm cutting the forms.

Laminating the Coaming Lip

I make the lip of my coaming (the part that holds on the spray skirt) by laminating a stack of thin laminations around the coaming riser (the vertical part of the coaming).

Applying a Fill Coat

A "Fill-Coat" is what I call the coat of epoxy applied after fiberglassing which is intended to fill in the weave texture of the fiberglass so that it can be sanded smooth.

Installing a Solid Outer Stem

There are a couple ways to add an external stem to a kayak. While I typically use thin laminations stacked and bent and glued in place, on these boats I want a solid piece of curly maple.

Joining the Deck and Hull and Taping the Inside Seam

Joining the Deck and Hull

One of the more frequent questions I get is; "How do you put the deck back on the hull?

Smoothing the Hull Interior

The concave shape of the interior is more difficult to smooth than the exterior. The easiest tool to use is a scraper. These scrapers are not card scrapers but more like paint scrapers.

Glassing the Interior of the Coaming

To this point I have only glassed the outside of the coaming. Now that I have applied carbon fiber to the interior of the hul I can proceed to glassing the other side of the coaming.

Laying Carbon Fiber Cloth on the Deck Interior

Laying carbon fiber is not that different from fiberglass accept that it is black, and stays black. Where fiberglass starts white and becomes transparent when saturated with epoxy, carbon fiber stays opaque, so it can be tricky to tell if it is fully saturated.

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