Help on building a canoe or kayak


I am thinking about building a canoe or kayak (most likely a canoe). I have no experience in this and I was wondering if anyone could point out any useful website and/or books that I should check out. Any other information would be greatly appreciated as well.


Several. Look at Pygmy Boats,

– Last Updated: Dec-31-06 4:46 PM EST –

Chesapeake Light Craft, JEM Watercraft and most of them link you to other building sites.
Other information - carefully follow the directions and you will do fine. Wood and epoxy are very forgiving materials.

Pygmy, Jemcraft
You don’t have to go any farther. Try and have a steady temp garage/workspace. Consider attaching ROS to shop vac for sanding epoxy.

Building a boat
One of the best web sites with information on building kayaks and canoes around is the “Kayak Forum” sponserd by Guillemot Kayaks.

I built a kayak and posted several questions and receive several helpful responses.


– Last Updated: Dec-31-06 6:56 PM EST –

Wha Ho, Pilgrim;

Three good books fer strip canoe buildin’…

Building a Strip Canoe by Gil Gilpatrick

Canoecraft: An Illustrated Guide to Fine Woodstrip Construction by Ted Moores

llustrated Guide to Wood Strip Canoe Building by Susan Van Leuven

Fer buildin’ a wood canvas…

The Wood & Canvas Canoe by Jerry Stelmok and Rollin Thurlow

Fat Elmo

I just sanded the epoxy on the BHC
for an hour. Hooking the sander to the Shopvac is a lungsaver for sure.

Building a Kevlar canoe
"Building Your Kevlar Canoe" by James Moran had step by step instructions/illustrations with plans for building 3 canoe types: A tripper; A family canoe, a sleek solo canoe.

I have built the family and the solo canoe and use them extensivley.

don’t forget

What kind of canoe are you looking for? Solo? Tandem? Size? Wood Strip can offer more performance.

How much time are you thinking you want to spend building? Stitch and glue will assemble faster.

How much effort and skill do you want to invest? Stitch and glue will generally be easier to assemble.

What’s your thoughts on building budget? Wood strip or Stitch and glue can be equally expensive depending on you desires. Stitch and glue has many more less expensive options.

There’s many choices out there. If you have ideas on the above questions, folks on this board and others can help yuou narrow your choices down.

Check out the forum at . Lots of builders hang out there.

One of the good sites:



Worked for building kayaks as well
I built two kayaks useing a variation of his building technique by building a frame similar to what one might build for a skin on frame kayak then covered it tightly in shrink wrap plastic. Layed up the hull over the frame first, pooped it off then did the same for the deck. Seamed the two parts together afterwards like they do on a typical glass boat. Epoxy and glass doesn’t stick to the shrink wrap plastic. I imagine one could also build a foam plug for a kayak as well like they do in the book.

What are specs on the solo
you built? There always seems to be a dirth of solo canoe plans. Of course my requirements are different then most. If you have andy pictures let me know.


Charlie , have you looked at the
Winter’s designed Osprey? I’ve seen S and G and Strip built plans and kits.

Thanks for all the links guys.

Now I have a bunch of reading to do. :slight_smile:

More info on homemade kevlar solo
The kevlar solo canoe I made is 16.5 ft at 38 lbs. The design is asymetric. A couple of the attached pics may help in the design aspect. The canoes shown were built in 1987 and have been used every week during the paddling season in the rocky rivers of SE Mn. Here are a couple of pictures:

it seems like a sweet short boat. I do mostly flatwater lake paddling though, I have seen that that Differential rocker sucks on big water. Although on the Edisto it might be a good thing.


Northwest Merlin?

– Last Updated: Jan-04-07 9:38 PM EST –

It's not the current Bell Merlin.

Differential Rocker on Big Water?
Hey Charlie could I get you to elaborate on that? I’ve been wondering how my Osprey would do in following seas?

While I like my Osprey very much it is not a “go fast go straight” sort of boat. It’s very efficient up to hull speed as well as stable, dry and manuverable. It does require a fair bit of attention to hold a course.

Have you seen these?


differential rocker…
Several years ago I was paddling in a war canoe during the Aderondack fall classic. There was a nic young fellow paddling a Bell Magic. This guy was a heck of a fine paddler, good technique and conditioning. In the narrows he was awesome. When He got out in the big lakes his speed went way down as his currections went up. The Grasse River solos left him behind. Both boats are 16+ feet long, and built for tripping. The Differential rocker just makes it easier for the wind to spin you, especially with higher stems in the

Bell boat… the Plaidpaddler was captain of the war canoe and could give you a better discription…

I have since seen that guy and his Magic at several races. Nice boat, he is a great paddler but he has to spend too much effort to get it to go straight.