Building A Kit

I’m thinking about building a kayak from a kit. Who makes the most complete kit,what should I look for in a kit. Has anyone out there built from a kit and what should I look for in a kit.

As always your help and suggestions are most welcome. Thanks in advance. Frank

There are many great sites…
I would highly recommend your raising this question and checking out the fantastic archives on: (Nick Schade of Guillemot Performance Kayak)

Have you decided upon an S&G…or Strip kayak? Do you know what you plan to use it for. On this site…and more so on you will get some great advice as to which boat to to with given your paddling interest and paddling and/or woodworking skill level.

Today there was a posting on offering some GREAT photo albums of many wooden kayaks to consider

Also…a great resource is: who sells kits

Also…Joe Greenley designs beautiful boats:

Eric Schade has a great kit and is always available to assist you:

I am sure others will offer their favorites…

Enjoy and let us know which boat you decide to build.


I agree – Nick’s site is a good start

– Last Updated: Mar-20-05 1:12 AM EST –

You'll get lot's of excellent advice on wooden kayak kits at the Kayak Building Bulletin Board.

I built a Pygmy Osprey Double and can highly recommend Pygmy Boats as a good designer and supplier of kayak kits.

I kept a journal of my experience building the double. You can see it at:


Paddleing characteristics
I built a Pygmy kayak from a kit and am very pleased with it. The construction is very solid and they gave me great phone support. There are many good kayak kits to pick from and a great variety of performance. If you know what you want in handleing characteristics and size, it will help you narrow things down. Good luck. It’s a lot of fun and very rewarding.

One of a bunch here who’ve built

– Last Updated: Dec-08-04 11:59 PM EST –

I built a Merganser 16 from a kit. The kit came with everything needed and the predrilled holes saved a lot of time. I chose to use a commercial backband and footbraces, but the kit included build-your-own versions of these and all necessary accouterments for the kayak. You don't even need to buy cord for the deck, or minicell foam for the seat. It's all included. Generous supply of System Three epoxy and extra 6-oz. fiberglass are part of the package.

The kayak has good speed, tracks and carves well, has a watertight hatch system, and shows off wood's natural beauty. I'm pleased.

Just finishing
a Shearwater Merganser 17w and had a great time building it. Eric Schrade was a great help. The kit was complete and I did build the foot braces and seat that came with the kit. It adds a little to the building time, but it turned out nice.

The real joy is paddling it when you’re finished.

Good luck and have fun!


Stitch & glue process
A well-documented builder’s log:

A ton of information on building:

If you’re going to try stitch & glue, and are new to epoxy & glass work, I’d suggest getting an epoxy trial kit like this one:

Experiment with some small pieces of cheap 1/8" plywood, and you’ll be better prepared to work on the expensive wood in your kit.

I’ve built 3 CLCs
One kit and 2 from plans. Their kits come with everything you need to get on the water (bulkheads, hatches, seat, back band, etc) and go easily together. The instructions are clear and I was very happy with the boat (a Chesapeake 17). I recently sold it to move up in the world but still find myself thinking about her.

Go to



– Last Updated: Dec-09-04 11:53 AM EST –

I like reading .

They are a bit purist toward narrow touring boats. But still very good info.

Thank You All

Thanks for all the advice. I have the clc & pygmy cats. Love the wood. I can’t see me building a strip built-a s&g is really what I had in mind. I run a high end metal fab shop so space and tools arn’t an issue. I will check out all the sites. Thanks again


Just a quick refute
Most of the folks at kayakforum may be purist (in regard wood construction) but I it’s not because they tend to narrow boats. They build narrow, light sprint boats, high volume wider tripping boats and everything in between. Heck about 2 years ago a guy I new got a great reception building a 20 foot long, almost 30 inch wide, over 100 pound skin on frame.

Now if you want specialized go to You won’t meet a more knowledgable set of folks regardign skin on frame construction.


I built a Shearwater Bluefin last winter and paddled it all summer (see picture of the boat on the Shearwater site under “builder’s gallery”). For my money it was the most complete, easiest to construct, and best looking kit on the market. Good luck.


very good recommendation

from a paddlers perspective you should look at the Shearwaters,I haven’t paddled a Blue Fin but for a beginner the Merganser is an excellent choice in that the coaming puts the thigh braces down where you need them,the Pygmy needs add on thigh bracing. The Pygmys Tern is higher volume and more maneuveable. The Coho is very cozy/stable/efficient but big.

I’m building a Merganser 17W and 18. Have built a CLC:Patuxent17,MillCreek13,(2)Chesapeake 16, Cheapeake 18,Northbay, Pax20prototype, own 18’x21" design,Pygmy GE13, Pygmy Coho, Merganser16.

I’ll clarify my “narrow boat purists” statement: I’ve read the forum a few times where builders were looking for information of how to build simpler and wider (28" - 36") stitch and glue canoes and kayaks.

The responses were a lot of “why don’t you build a real boat?” or “what a waste of time” type responses. Hate to see that type response to beginners on any board. Nature of the beast though.

On the flip side of that, there are some highly skilled builders who particiapte on that board. They build some strip boats that are nothing short of incredible artwork.

Something Different
Being a metal worker by trade, has anyone built a aluminum kayak? I know it wouldn’t look as nice as wood but with a paint job it wouldn’t look too bad. Made from .062 thick material a 17-18’ boat would come in @ about 45-50 lbs. Any thoughts?



sounds cold,or loud,

Cold, Loud and
sticks to any rock it comes near.

My first canoe was aluminum. Tough as nails, maintnance free and it floated.

I gave it away years ago.


Aluminum on the inside…
Have you checked out Tom Yost’s site?