Where or from whom can a guideboat

be purchased?

from a guide!
looking to go guiding are ya string?

Here’s one I like…

Have fun, hope you build it!


Unklike Jack’s knee, this really is for
a friend and he wants to buy,not build.He isn’t a paddler or rower yet ,but really likes the rowing machine at the gym.


Small Boat Shop
The Small Boat Shop, right on the dock in Norwalk, Connecticut, used to have the classic Adirondack guide boats right in the shop for sale. They would be the first folks I would call – if they don’t have one they will know who will. Great folks, too!


Check this place
Not sure how up to date the website is.


Not sure how Jack’s knee fits into

– Last Updated: Jul-17-11 11:24 PM EST –

the picture, but Nanci and I have always lusted for a guide boat or a rowing shell.
Just drove up to the northeast and saw more guide boats on trailers or vehicle roofs than we have ever seen.
Some of the composite guide boats are nice and light weight now too.

Jack L

I like the shape . . .
Those guide boats look really nice, and have some classy finishing. However, paying over $4000 for a boat that is three layers of cloth and polyester resin seems a bit excessive. Likewise, gel-coating the inside doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.


I suppose the market isn’t big enough, but a fiberglass/vinylester version of this for half price would be nice.

Correction and possible correction

– Last Updated: Jul-17-11 11:28 AM EST –

Some time ago, their site said it was four or five layers of cloth (I forget which). Maybe it's three now, but they did not actually specify, so I'm not sure where you got that number from. I seriously doubt a three-layer-cloth boat would be strong enough. Remember, there are no thwarts, so they can't be made as light as most composite canoes or they'd be quite flimsy.

As far as I know, they use no gel coat. Not inside, not outside. They do paint the inside, but gel coat isn't part of the process. The outside is colored by adding pigment to the resin. That's what they told me yeas ago anyway, and I suspect that part of the process has not changed.

Just drive to the Adirondacks
I saw some six or seven for sale on lawns between Paul Smiths and Lake Placid…about 19 miles.

All were traditional lapstrakes.

WCHA members sometimes have one for sale here and there…there were some ten or twelve at the Assembly at Paul Smiths.

How to find one…go where the guideboat is still used widely.

Brian Schulz’s skin on frames

– Last Updated: Jul-17-11 2:34 PM EST –

Fabled skin-on-frame kayak designer and builder Brian Schulz has also build ultra-light canoes and Adirondack guide boats using the same materials -- in fact he has a shot of one as the main page shot on his website right now:


Scroll down to "other types of boats" for a series of shots showing how he builds them. They weigh between 31 and 42 pounds -- very cool boats.

Follow the link above, and you will see what I am referring to. It is possible, given how the English language is open to interpretation, that they left out some steps, or “simplified” it for us, but from my reading, they put in a skin coat of 'glass, then two layers of kevlar ally with polyester resin, and then they paint gel-coat on the inside.

Maybe they use thicker cloth than the standard? Maybe there is also some sort of core material they don’t mention? If it is just a standard three layer layup with polyester resin and gel-coat, it doesn’t seem that great. Especially since I understand poly resin to fail long before kevlar is stressed, so the strength of the kevlar would be wasted.

In any case, as I said, I like the design and the look of these boats, but for 4 grand I would expect a better layup.

“gel coat” is a typo
I’m sure that tan color is paint, not gel coat. I’ve seen it myself, and I can’t imagine any way that it might possibly be gel coat. It looks exactly like what’s on the inside of my boats (blue paint), except for being a different color.

Besides, years ago, the company owner himself told me they don’t use gel coat because doing so would add too much weight. With that kind of mindset, putting gel coat on the inside, of all places, would make no sense at all.

I’m not sure about the number of cloth layers, but I’m sure it used to be four. I don’t think there’s a reason why two glass layers can’t be laid in place as part of the first step, but I’ve never given much thought to what’s in the layup. I got mine before the price got as high as it is now (still wasn’t cheap).

I think the woodwork (which is meticulously fit and looks fabulous), floorboards and seats add a lot to the cost, besides the simple fact that sales volume is very small. I heard that using plastic trim and vinyl gunwales had been suggested by some potential costumers, but I don’t think there’s much demand at all within the the larger market that such cheaper boats would be aimed at. That’s my guess anyway, because most people I meet naturally assume the boat is very slow and a lot of work to row, until they actually see it on the water.

Very, very nice!
Thanks for that link.

Poor marketing, then.
If you are correct and it is more than 3 layers, and not gel-coated on the inside, and it is fairly light, they really would do themselves a service to state that.

I agree that plastic trim would not look very nice, and would not really be in keeping with the classic looks. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to pay a premium for beautiful woodwork if the hull itself was not what it should be. I know polyester resin is just fine, and there was a local legend who used it exclusively, but his canoes cost something like $500, not $4000.

Again, I’m not debating the design, or the looks of the things, it just that it seems to me they are cutting corners on the layup while charging a premium price.

A couple more options
I got interested in this thread, and started poking around the internet. I found that there are several small rowboat designs, all of them quite rare.


Here is a plan for a stitch and glue plywood guideboat. Given that he says the material cost is about $500, I suspect having one built by a hobbyist woodworker might be affordable. Especially if one contracted the assembly but did the sanding/painting oneself.


More lightweight DIY options:


I rowed in an eight in school, and and that time on sliding seats – on water and on land – gave me a negative impression of fixed-seat boats. The problem was that the only fixed-seat boat I’d rowed was a 14’ aluminum runabout designed for an outboard but rented as a “row boat”

Then I had a chance to demo a guideboat(one of these: http://www.adirondack-guide-boat.com/kevlarguideboats.html) What an eye-opener! It moved easily and comfortably under oars, and you could have a face-to-face conversation with someone while you were underway. The pinned oars had a nice spring to them. I went from ignorance to boat lust in a few minutes.

If I wanted a pure workout boat, I’d still probably go with a sliding-seat rig. But as a general-purpose boat – for friends, children & dogs, fishing, or exploring – the guideboat would be a fine choice.

Other rowing:

OK, it’s not a guideboat, but it’s gorgeous:


CLC’s Annapolis Wherry has similar lines in plywood lapstrake.

The Merry Wherry boats are another DIY option.

Do I see a…
new fancy sewing machine in Mrs. String’s future?