Building SOF....

Wondering if there is a good resource of information on building my own SOF?

I’ve had the bug to build a yak, and play with some ideas of design.

Hopefully without great expense.



Some ideas…

– Last Updated: May-26-06 8:45 PM EST –

There are several books available (I currently have Chris Cunningham's and H.C. Petersen's books, and intend to get others as well (Morris', Starr's, etc.). Here's a list of SOF building books that may interest you:

That site also hosts a forum where many builders help each other, exchange ideas, etc.

I don't know if there's anything like this near where you are, but some people will offer SOF building courses/workshops, where you will go home with the boat you built during the workshop. These will be more expensive than building on your own (which can cost as little as $200 or less, as opposed to paying $1000 or so for a workshop).

Here in the Pacific Northwest, there's the "Skinboat school":

In Wisconsin, Mark Rogers of Superior Kayaks (designer of the "Hawk" series boats) also offers boat building workshops:

You may be able to find something like this in Florida (I'm sure Greg Stamer would know if there's anything like this in Florida; or perhaps he'd even be willing to offer his expertise in helping you get started?).

I'm planning on building my first SOF this summer, and at this point, I plan on using ideas from both Chris Cunningham's and H.C. Petersen's books.

Good luck! (to both of us! :-))


One of the greatest resources
out there:

Tom’s site has much build info and his folding designs can be built as non-folders also.

Best of luck to you.


if you find
some sort of workshop in florida please send me an e-mail!


building SOFs
Check this site for great books on SOFs. I think the easiest is following Bob Bouchers video.


Building a SOF
Go for it…it is a blast. I recently lashed the chines onto my sof. You have already been offered great resources. I found Bob Boucher’s video and accompanying manual to be incredibly helpful. In addition to taking a look at many of the books mentioned, the most helpful resource was the ‘search’ option on where you can find posted threads about any building question you can imagine. And, if it is not there (unlikely)…just post your question and many experienced builders will jump in.

I think that the best suggestion I can give you is to just get started and try not to get too hung up on details. You will find that after you read a book or two, (and/or view Bob Boucher’s video)…and review postings you will build intuitively…



After seeing Greyaks boat I have decided to build the Yost Sea Rider in wood frame. I have material for the skin already and have started drawing out the offsets.

Hopefully it is as idiot proof as it appears.


Silly Question.
I have this idea in my head about building a SOF boat with a wood frame but a skin made from duct tape. But not any ordinary duct tape – Gorilla Glue duct tape.

The tape is super strong: 3 ply with the inner ply some kind of strong mesh. One layer of tape would would be stuck on the inside, then a coresponding layer would be stuck to it from the outside of the boat. Sticky back to sticky back.

A water proof no sew skin.

Yea or ney?

You might want to
put a couple dozen rolls of that fine tape on a scale… bet you’ll be surprised!


Good point!

Chicken? NM

Too hard
Too messy. to lumpy…

Much easier to stretch and sew some nylon and slap some urethane on it.

I need some confidence building with the first one Kris. Now that I have taken the plunge, I am going to work very carefully with this one and get used to the building process. The next one wil be more traditional.

Dropped the Tempest at FBO yesterday.


I got it …
I’m going to sponsor a SOF competetion that goes like this:

The contestant gets a bundle of sticks, a saw, some twine, and tweenty rolls of Gorilla Glue duct tape. Their mission would be to build a kayak (with out plans) and paddle it on a tricky 3 mile ocean course, and the first one to complete the race (alive) wins.

Wins what?

An all expense paid trip to Greenland,
for a two week paddling excursion.

strongback built
well it’s a start anyway. Sawhorses and 13 foot strongback built exactly like Tom Yost recommends. sitting on the back patio. Kris I will send yousome pics.


Wow! Big spender
Your realize if a warm water padler were to win all expenses could inlcude a lot of gear…

So now please define “a tricky 3 mile ocean course” and give some details on the “sticks” to be provided. How about a knife too? Gotta cut the string and tape, right? I might even trade string for a knife.

Maybe 3-4 rolls of tape and a plastic tarp? Tape’s overkill.

What’s the time limit for completing the craft?

This could be a riot to do at a larger paddling event - like the cardboard boat races for kids.

How about you just drop people on a wooded island 3 miles offshore with a knife (and maybe some twine)? Nothing else (unless you’re nice and let them bring food/water for the day). See who can get back first - with some sort of paddle craft (that being the only requirement) made from whatever they can scrounge (garbage/flotsam potentially being very helpful for such efforts). Sunrise to sunset time limit.

You’re on to something
with the island idea. And the plastic tarp is a good idea too.

I wouldn’t be the big spender though because I would try to get sponsorship from Gorilla Glue. Their duct tape is fairly new (i think), and this project would be filmed ala Discovery Channel style – so they would get publicity for their product, and I/we funding for the event.

Hmmm … I’m starting to like this more …

I like it too - as I can imagine…
… a pretty quick and easy win!

Of course to would be held somewhere inconvenient and at a time I couldn’t get off work anyway.

Trouble is getting anyone to sponsor what will appear to a TV audience as a slow boring attempt to turn garbage into an ugly potential death trap (that risk angle being the only remotely entertaining aspect to the masses of non paddlers who these shows that advertisers are after). Scenes of slowly scrounging and building, and slow padding scenes with a remote chance of a slow death a mile offshore isn’t exciting enough for viewers -and even less appealing to the sponsor and network lawyers.

Might go more as a low tech survivoresque spin on a “Junkyard Wars” type show.

Bottom line - not too sure it would help them sell tape.