Anybody ever built a redfish kayak

I saw one of their models in a magazine–the King–and I looked it up on their website– looks like something I would very much like to have—the kits cost 1500$—I curious as to how hard they are to build from a kit and how good the finished product is. All comments are appreciated

has a builders forum. I’d suggest you go to their web site to check the archive, ask questions, etc. They are very knowledgeable & helpful.

Re Info
The Kayak Building Bulletin Board

is an excellent source of info and assistance - almost all the posters are builders, and most are extremely willing to help with suggestions and advice. Guarantee you that several have built just about any kit, strip or S&G design you care to name.

Redfish King
You might want to try here:


A few King builders listed here:

Would you enjoy it?

You have to approach it as a long project/hobby that you’ll enjoy doing. There’s no other reason to do it otherwise. You won’t save money by doing it yourself (unless your time is only worth 2.00 an hour) Sure, the end result is a beautiful kayak but I guess it comes down to how you look at it. When I did it (a striper but not a Redfish)I remember thinking how much I’d rather be spending my weekends kayaking rather then working on a kayak. I did not buy a kit though so I’m sure that would save quite a bit of time in the building process and the price seems pretty good.

Having said all that, if you do decide that you want to build one, Joe Greenley (Redfish) would be a great choice. He was very generous providing information about the whole process even though It was not one of his kayaks that I was building.

I suspect the above statement may raise the hackles of builders on this forum-- it’s one persons opinion. Take it as such.


I thought about buying

– Last Updated: Dec-21-08 9:10 AM EST –

a new Redfish King already made--but the prices on their website start at $8000.00---it's what I might want to pay for a 25 foot sloop(used of course) but not for a kayak--even a real nice one---the kits cost 1500--in answer to your question---I would find it a challenge (and I enjoy challenges) but would I enjoy it in the same way I enjoy paddling or sex?--I doubt it.

BTW my paddling partner has built three of his own from kits(CLC and Shearwater) and has volunteered to help so I wouldn't be alone

CLC & Shearwater = stitch and glue

Redfish is cedar strip. Cedar strip construction takes a LOT longer then stitch and glue.

However, a lot of people really enjoy it; you might too.




BTW my paddling partner has built three of his own from kits(CLC and Shearwater) and has volunteered to help so I wouldn’t be alone

I know that the King is a ceder strip and the CLC and Shearwater model are Stich and glue plywood—but my buddy is still a lot more skillful that me in woodworking and he has always wanted to build a stripper. Thanks for the info on the otherwebsites–I’m getting some good leads and advice from them.

how good
what are your criteria?

If it’s a particular set of handling attributes you desire you have to talk to the people who have paddled that boat and others and then hopefully get a useful opinion comparing their impressions to other boats you and they have paddled.

Regarding finished appearance that is ENTIRELY your responsibility.

I built the King…
in 2005. It is not a particularly difficult build but as mentioned above be prepared to make a committment of time and about 25’ of space building. I started in early February '05 and launched for the first time on Labor Day weekend '05. During that time I had shoulder surgery and lost about a month + of building time. I also constructed without using staples, I clamped the strips to avoid the staple holes that I find unattractive. This added considerable construction time as I could only glue up about 3 strips at a time. I had some prior experience with building on a Pygmy Arctic Tern. So while the two processes of a stitch and glue construction and a strip built are totally different, the epoxy and fiberglass and finish work is the same. I would suggest Nick Shade’s book on building the strip built kayak for a good overview of the process of building a stripper. The designer and owner of Redfish(his name escapes me at the moment) is very helpful and will walk you through any confusion you may have in the building process. Here is a link to an album containing photos of my build.

The kit is assembled nicely and shipped in a box that is used as the strongback so you don’t have to build a strongback and the kit contains the forms also, both of which can take a considerable amount of time to build.

The boat is particularly beautiful and paddles like a dream, is very stable feeling. It is easy to cruise on placid lakes and will handle rough water very well.

If I can be of further service let me know, and I would suggest contacting Redfish by phone or email and talk about your needs and designs. He will put together a kit based on your desires using whatever wood choices you want.

More pics…
Here is a link to some photos of the King on a trip this spring with String and Waterbuffy:

your pics of the building were enlightening–I’ve been to kayakbuilders website and have borrowed the stripper kayak book from a friend–still am mulling it over.

have you either built or paddled the King? If you have paddled it I would like to know about its tracking and turning characteristics, its rolling characteristics and its propensity to weathercock. If you have built the King from a kit I would like to know how complete the kit is, how much more material and tools I would have to buy/borrow and how difficult it is to assemble. If you have neither paddled nor built the King, then thank you for your post and have a Merry Christmas.

I haven’t built or paddled it

– Last Updated: Dec-22-08 12:21 PM EST –

I have stopped by Joe Greenley shop a few times to see the original. I've talked to two guys whose paddling experience I respect who've built it and are pleased. Reg Lake is one and might be reachable through Dave from Jamul california, not sure if he's still reachable through kayakforum but he's built a lot of s&g kayaks.

ty nm

I’m building a King

– Last Updated: Dec-22-08 2:39 PM EST –

And since it is not completed can't tell you how I like it for paddling. It looks like it will be fantastic.

I can say that Joe has been great as far as answering any questions both before and after I bought the kit. I have zero woodworking skills, but the directions are all you need, and Joe answers any questions that you might have.

Even if you make a mistake, it is not too hard to fix. I made a couple and fixed them with Joe's help. Take your time getting the stations aligned properly and you can't go wrong.

You can google the redfish king and there is a site that shoes the construction step by step. All reviews I have seen are very positive, and the boat is beautiful. If you haven't contacted Joe yet, you should do so. It is better to get him by phone than email.

The kit is very complete, and if you have patience and a desire to built the kit, it should be no problem. If the idea appeals to you, and you have the time and a place to build it, go for it. It has actually been a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.

Oh yeah, I used staples, and unless you want to build a work of art, I would recommend the staples. More experienced workers can build without staples, but it takes a lot more skill and time. My hull is now glassed, and I don't object at all to the staple hole appearance - looks kind of cool to me.

That’s Impressive
I really enjoyed your photos.