Friday, October 3, 2014


Original plans

Today I will write a few notes about my little boat. First of all, these boats are great for a small adult or a kid. If you weigh more than 170lbs, I would recommend you build a larger boat. If you are on the smaller side, then these boats are great to enjoy flat waters. My wife and I have paddled in intracoastal estuaries and natural springs with no trouble. However, the wake of bigger boats cause some splashing inside the cockpit.

Anyhow, let us start with the building process. First you have to plot points on the plywood:
Look besides the board, I have Gavin Atkin's book. If you are interested in stitch-and-glue boat building, this book is a must have. After you have traced the curves and lines using a batten, you proceed to cut the panels:
Say hello to Hope! She was supervising my work. The next step is as technical as it can be... duct tape the panels together:
Then, you have to glue the boat together. Here you can go two routes epoxy or polyurethane. I went the polyurethane route. I used PL-Premium adhesive. A few words about the adhesive... it works. Now, it is messy as it can be. Let me list my perceived Pros and Cons.

Pros: Cheap, works, easy to apply (using a caulking gun, do yourself a favor and buy the big one), viscous enough that you don't need to add thickener.
Cons: Messy, bubbles up like crazy, funky vapors, did I mention it is messy? Also, it doesn't wet fiberglass tape easily. If you use PU adhesive, get the drywall tape instead of fiberglass tape (as you would use with Epoxy).

After you make the fillets, you have to put tape on top of the fillet and you cover it with glue.
I did not take many pics, until I had already placed the decks and was ready to glue the skeg. Here I disagree with Gavin Atkin's plans. I think that the decks should be traced but not glued until after you glue the gunwales. My reasoning for this is that the decks get in the way of the clamps. I built two of these boats. The first one as per the plans. For the second one, I traced and cut the decks, but I did not glue them. I attached the gunwales (clamping it every 6 inches to a foot) and then I glued the decks. That seemed to work a lot better.

I drilled 4" holes with a hole saw and test fitted two inspection ports. It is good to be able to detect if you have any leaks. I did have a few leaks that I had to patch. Would I have not added inspection ports, I would have only heard splashing in the "flotation tanks." Now, for your first paddle, DO NOT put your cellphone in the flotation tanks... you may find that some water came in and killed your phone... yes I did that. Anyways  a coat of paint and we are almost done.

A great thing of these boats is how quickly the are put together. You can build a boat in about a week if you use PU glue. It may take a little longer with epoxy.

Attach the painter hook, put it in the car (yes it fits inside the car), and go paddle:

If you decide to build one, let me know. I may be able to give you more insight :)

I realized I have a few more pictures of the boats, here they are:

All in all, each boat cost about $80. They handle really well and provide lots of fun.


Happy building!

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