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Boat Building Techniques


Information about boat building techniques

Pulling Staples, Scraping and Sanding the Petrel Play

What seems like fairly boring tasks, pulling the staples, scraping off the glue, and starting to sand are actually the time your boat makes one of its fastest transitions. I always feel the raw strips, pumped full of staples, looks pretty bad. Just pulling the staples it looks better, and everything you do from now on will make it look better and better.

Fitting Two Stage Tapers

Sometimes when fitting strips on a strip built boat you have space where multiple strips intersect. So, instead of having one simple taper, you have a combination of two different tapers. Here I show the process of creating that fit.

Setting up Forms on an Internal Strongback

This video is nearly real-time. I cut a few bits where I walked off camera and when I was setting up the camera. It shows how quickly and accurately the internal strongback can be assembled.

Paddling My First Kayak

Paddling the Original Great Auk

During my vacation a few weeks ago I took some time to get my first kayak out of the basement storage at my parents place in Maine and took it for a paddle. It was interesting to see that some of the things I still do, appeared on my first efforts.

The Process of Building a Wooden Kayak

Like any project, you can build a kayak quickly, or you can take pains with every step. While I am a big advocate of working quickly so you can get the kayak finished and start paddling, when I build custom boats for clients, I work with a bit more patience. This video shows some of the steps I took to make a bespoke kayak for a client. Many of the steps shown here are the hard way to do things. 

Fine Strip-Planked Boat Class at WoodenBoat School - Nymph Canoe and Night Heron Kayak

Sep 11 2016 6:00 pm
Sep 17 2016 12:00 pm

Build Nymph and Night Heron

Registration starts January 4th.

If you can't make this September class, take a look at the one in June.

Fine Strip-Planked Boat Class at WoodenBoat School - microBootlegger Kayak and Mystic River Tandem Canoe

Jun 12 2016 6:00 pm
Jun 18 2016 12:00 pm

Build microBootlegger and Mystic River Tandem

Registration starts January 4th.

If you can't make the June class, take a look at the one in September.

Smoothing the interior of a strip planked boat with a scraper and sandpaper

Smoothing the interior of a strip built boat is always a challenge. A random orbital sander usually doesn't fit the curved surface well and risks digging horseshoe shaped divots in the wood. What I find works well for me is a really sharp paint scraper shaped to match the surface, and hand sanding with very rough sandpaper.

Fitting a Cockpit Recesss

 There are a variety of ways to install a recess around a cockpit. Some people like to install the recess first and then fit the strips to the existing shape. I have found it is more efficient and the results are better if I strip the deck first and then cut a hole to accept the recess.