I get a lot of calls from people with questions about going into business bulding boats. It can be hard to be realistic about the business while your head is stuck in the boat. Here are some of the questions and some long winded responses.
The End Pour
A common question is "what is the end pour good for?" For those who don't know what it is, it originated in making fiberglass kayaks. The boat is stood on end, leaned up against the wall or a try and epoxy is poured into the end. This epoxy fills up the end with a solid chunk of material. This serves a couple purposes.
Anyone building a strip-built boat from scratch eventually has to decide how much wood they need. At the same time they may be curious as to how much the boat is going to weigh. While it is not immediately obvious that these two questions are related, they both depend on the surface are of the boat. Every square foot of the surface needs to be covered with wood and every bit of wood weighs something.
Let's get this clear from the start: it is a waste of time to build your own wooden boat. These days there are far quicker ways to get yourself on the water than going down to a basement shop, fooling around with a bunch of weird tools, making a big mess, and spending time being careful to do it right. You can go out to the local boating store and buy a boat ready to go that will be perfectly serviceable, getting you where you want to go with a lot less fuss and bother.
A stitch and glue boat will typically use three or four sheets of 4mm Occume marine plywood. With careful cutting you may be able to be more efficient.
For a strip-built kayak a good rule of thumb is 2 board feet of western red cedar or other softwood for each foot of boat length. A board foot is a volume of wood 12" long x 12" wide by a nominal 1" thickness. Most wood you will buy is planed down to 3/4" thick or even 11/16" for some cedar and redwood.
One of the biggest benefits to building a small boat with narrow strips is how accessible it is. While it looks intimidating, taking a bundle of small strips and wrapping them around a set of forms really is a matter of patience and not one of specialized skills. The tool requirement is minimal and the technique is very tolerant of mistakes. If you fail to make perfect joints between strips, the epoxy and fiberglass will fill them in and seal the mistakes.
I've decided to make the plans for my Stitch & Glue Guillemot available to internet users as "share ware". If you end up building this boat please send me a photograph of the results.