Aluminum kayak

This is from “American Whitewater”, 1968, Summer. Starts on page 26.

I like the line that says…
“raw material for the Kayak will run about 80 dollars.”

Obviously we’re talking about 1968 dollars here.

On cockpit
"I require my boats to have longer cockpits you can roll out of with no hands, taking the deck ant not catching extended knees…Less than these requirements will not allow exit in emergency or upset without hands or wetting your head. My desing allows easy re-entry while in mid-stream. Less than this creates a death trap for all but expert-eskimo roll or no - and in an unnecessary hazard even to him, for he could have his roll and a safer cockpit too. Thus, comparatively, most single-kayak cockpits are potential death traps, no matter their fine looks"


Aluminum Kayak
I built an Aluminum Kayak in 2005. I used plans from CLC. The total build time was 37 hrs and it cost me 100.00. (The Aluminum was scrap from the shop I manage. Fiore Skylight) I built it out of .060 material,fully welded inside and out along the keel and chines, only outside at the shear. The cockpit combing is 1/2 X 3/4 channel rolled to a keyhole shape. Rigged weight is 55lbs. I was told it couldn’t be done. I paddle 3-4 times a week and it seems to do ok. Frank

I always thought about aluminum as a material for DIY kayaks. Did you use mig or tig for welding it? and what did you use to cut it?

I’ve been working on
an aluminum paddle float. Problems with the rivets so far. Thinking mig or tig instead.

What about Titanium?

pretty cool!
No worries about scratching up the bottom.

I built a creek boat
out of aluminum cans. Cut the tops and bottoms off and flattened them. Then folded the edges and crimped them together shingle-style, over a clay frame. I used all Mountain Dew cans, and put the colored side out, so it was really beautiful. The great thing about it was that when you had a collision with rocks, it was really easy to pop the dents out after the run. Unfortunately, what I didn’t realize when I built it, was that it is illegal to carry Mountain Dew containers into any wilderness areas in the state of West Virginia, because Mountain Dew drinkers tend to be real litterbugs. I only got to run a few Class Vs before a park ranger spotted the boat, pulled me over, and threatened to arrest me. I begged and pleaded ignorance, and assured him that I had no intention of littering, and in the end, he confiscated the boat, but let me go with just a warning.

My advice to anyone who wants to build such a boat is to make sure to use something other than Mountain Dew cans, or if you do, build it colored side IN.

if we start all this now
What are we going to do in February and March? Looks like it’s going to be a very long winter.

Cool! Was it your boat that was pictured in Seakayaker Mag several years ago?


March is paddling season
in New England at least that’s when the rivers run best.

Last year February wern’t bad neither.

Yo Puddleguppy, you shuttle your can boat with your wooden bike?

let me know
your solution so I can finish my aluminium PFD…

Great idea!
Unfortunately, I don’t have that boat any more. Maybe I’ll build another one using Sunny D cans.

Aluminum Welding
I used 1100 alloy aluminum with sng construction. I layed out the hull sections per instructions and used electric by-pass shears. After stiching the parts together I tacked and then welded with the TIG process. 4043 filler wire was used. No my boats picture hasn’t been in any magazines. If anyone wants to give it a try,I’m half way between Phila.PA and Trenton NJ. Frank

More questions
I assume you were able to ues continuous pieces of alu stock, unlike the plywood S&G boats that use a scarf or finger joint? And did you grind the welds smooth or just leave them natural?

All in all, I think this is a pretty cool project.


Stock Size
The aluminum was all 8ft. I just butt welded the panels for the hull. I spotted all the stitch holes, didn’t grind anything except inside the cockpit and inside the hatch openings. Quick and dirty and it paddles great.