The Kayak Construction Process

There are 2 types of construction techniques I use to build the kayaks. The first is called “stitch and glue” and the second is strip-planked.

For the stitch and glue kayaks, precision-cut panels of Okoume marine plywood are laid out and joined together by drilling small holes in the edges of the panels inserting short pieces of wire and twisting the wire to form a seam between the panels.

The boat’s hull is constructed first, by shaping the panels around temporary forms. Epoxy is then injected into the seams to bond the panels together. Once the epoxy has cured, the wires are snipped off and removed.

Next, fiberglass cloth is then laid out over the hull panels and “whetted out” with epoxy (foam rollers are used to infuse the fiberglass with epoxy). A second coat of epoxy is applied to fully cover the cloth and provide additional strength and durability.

The deck of the boat is constructed in a similar fashion, and then joined to the hull by injecting epoxy into the seams.

After much sanding, the boats are ready for the final finish, typically several coats of high-gloss varnish, or in some cases, marine paint.

Strip-planked kayaks are, like the name implies, constructed with thin strips of wood that are also shaped around temporary forms. The strips are then edge glued together with epoxy. The process of applying the fiberglass cloth and whatever finish is desired is the same as with the stitch and glue boats.

There are also kayak hybrid kits available that are a combination of the two techniques, with panels forming the hull and strip planks forming the deck.

These images describe some of the steps involved in constructing a wooden kayak.

Step 1

New and Used Wooden Kayaks, Boats, and Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs) for Sale

Panels laid out; ready for gluing (with epoxy)

Step 2

New and Used Wooden Kayaks, Boats, and Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs) for Sale

Panels being formed around temporary frames

Step 3

New and Used Wooden Kayaks, Boats, and Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs) for Sale

Hull with fiberglass cloth and epoxy applied

Step 4

“Stitched” with wire in the stitch and glue process

Step 5

New and Used Wooden Kayaks, Boats, and Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs) for Sale

Deck on top of hull before epoxy and fiberglass cloth application

Step 6

Fiberglass cloth spread over hull prior to “wetting out” with epoxy

Step 7

Cockpit Coaming formed around cockpit

Finished kayak

New and Used Wooden Kayaks, Boats, and Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs) for Sale
New and Used Wooden Kayaks, Boats, and Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs) for Sale

Example of the strip-planked kayak in construction

New and Used Wooden Kayaks, Boats, and Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs) for Sale

Hybrid Wood Duck 14 from Chesapeake Light Craft

New and Used Wooden Kayaks, Boats, and Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs) for Sale

Encounter with an Osprey