three cheers for CLC

-- Last Updated: Mar-03-06 8:13 AM EST --

i recently orderd a jimmy skiff from clc and the shipping company botched the delivery. john harris at clc totally refunded my shipping costs for a three-day delay. with the sailing equipment, etc. that's nearly $250, and i didn't really have to complain all that much. that's customer service worth mentioning. now i just have to build the boat. :)

What is CLC?

Chesapeake Light Caft

Sells kayak and small boat kits.

chesapeake lightcraft they make boat kits and sell boatbuilding supplies

they aim to please

I have the room to build a boat but was not to sure about my skills. You inspired me to give it a closer look

Don’t be too worried about your…
…building skills. If you can follow instructions, have an eye for detail, and can use the basic tools required, you can build a beautiful boat from these types of kits.

A couple years ago, I built a S&G Arctic Hawk from a CLC kit. The AH is a bit different than most of the other CLC kayak kits (a bit different in some of the building techniques as well), as it was designed by Mark Rogers of Superior Kayaks. Mark (and his wife Celeste) wrote the very detailed building manual (450 pages, with many helpful photographs). Prior to building this boat, my only woodworking experience was the creation of a chessboard in a Jr. High School shop class! :slight_smile:

That said, I did take a couple precautions that really helped me to feel more confident. First, I did a bit of research, and found a master woodworker who specializes in boat building, and he came to my home to instruct me in the finer points of using planes and scrapers (and how to sharpen the plane blades!). It was just a one time, one afternoon lesson that lasted a few hours, but I learned a great deal from him, and I’m forever grateful for his help. Then, I did a bit more research, and found a person who lives nearby, who had built several small boats over the years; including a few cedar strip canoes and kayaks. I wanted someone nearby who I could consult whenever I felt nervous about moving on to a next “big step”, or if I were to make a mistake, perhaps he could help me figure out a way to fix it. As it turned out, I didn’t need much help, but he did manage to calm my nerves when I needed it, and we’ve become great friends! :slight_smile:

Also, the people at CLC, as well as Mark Rogers himself were always very helpful whenever I called them to ask about this or that during the building process. CLC also has an online message board, and there’s no end to the help you can find there from fellow builders. Now that I’ve caught the building bug, there’s no going back! My next project will be a SOF boat (the first of several, I hope!).

So, from a humble chessboard years ago to a beautiful boat that I now love to paddle! If I can do it, I’m sure that just about anyone can. Here are some pictures of my Arctic Hawk just after completion:


You turned out a beautiful boat. Very impressive!

Can you please say where in the building process you needed to use planes and scrapers?



Planes and scrapers…
Shaping the sheer clamps was where most of the plane work was involved (used scrapers for a bit of that as well in places). I used two sizes of planes, one of them being a cute little “finger plane”, which I used for working in tighter places, like to bevel the underside interior corners of the sheer clamp wood.

In shaping the top of the sheer clamps, the planes did most of the work. For instance, on the AH, the aft deck must sit quite flat, so quite a bit of wood on the sheer clamps had to be shaved off. Then, even more finesse had to be applied to shaping the cockpit and foredeck sheer clamps, as they had to transition from the flat aft deck to the cambered deck immediately forward of the cockpit, and then back to flat just forward of the bulkhead and on to the bow.

The scrapers were really handy (they come in several different shapes and sizes), as they’re good for very precise shaping and smoothing where planes might have been too heavy handed, or where hand sanding would have been too labor intensive and/or inaccurate. The areas the scrapers were most used were where the hull glass overlapped onto the deck edges. They were great for achieving precise shaving/shaping at the glass edges where hand sanding would have been more tedious, and using the orbital sander might have been too heavy-handed (though I did get pretty good at using a light touch with the sander in some other places where hand sanding or scraping were also reasonable options). Scrapers were also very good at shaping “solid” bits of thickened epoxy.

While the entire building process was a lot of fun, I’d have to say that in terms of tool usage, I had the most fun with the planes and scrapers (and the delicate, curly plane shavings were very fun to create!). :slight_smile:


I’m Blown Away !
it’s amazing to me that anyone could build something that beautiful and intricate without a shop full of power tool and years of experience.

Great work. Have you considered making money at this?

I think many folks seriously underestimate what they can accomplish with a little education and practice. One of my other interests is aviation, and it’s not unusual for first-time builders to complete and fly their own airplanes.

If you do your homework, choose an appropriate project, and approach it with a good attitude, you’ll be amazed at what you can do.

There’s a whole world of folks waiting to help you succeed…

Power tools (not many required)
I only had to use three small power tools (not counting the shop-vac, which saw quite a bit of action):

Jigsaw, drill, and orbital sander

The rest were all hand tools and accessories, like planes, scrapers, little wooden “tools” and devices I created myself for specific jobs, sandpaper (lots of it!), little pull-saws, various types of clamps, pencils, tape measures, etc.

Oh, and since I had to create my workspace from a bare garage, I also built things like tables and shelves, and for this part of the project, I did use a hand-held circular saw for cutting the larger bits of wood. To me, my shop looks like a “shop full of tools”, but for many people, mine is really a very “bare bones” shop.


Good kits, instructions…
and help when you need them. I built mine about 10 years ago…still looks good.


PS I think I posted this shot at least a dozen times over the years. So apologies to those that have seen it already.

In addition to the boat . . .
That’s a very nice outfit you are wearing LOL

I like an outfit that’s not restrictive when I paddle…