|| My first Cedar Stip Kayak.
A Guillemot, Designed by Nick Schade
The Guillemot, a 17 foot sea kayak designed by Nick Schade, a seasoned designer of wood strip kayaks. Nick is the owner of Guillemot Kayaks
and has designs for other single and double kayaks, as well as stitch
and glue plywood designs. Nick’s book, The Strip-Built Sea Kayak has
been indispensable in my first effort at constructing a wood strip
kayak. This book offers all the information you need, from setting up
shop and wood selection to assembly and finish.The book also offers a section on building a paddle to match you new boat!
started this project New Year’s Day 2002, after lurking around the web,
checking out the Art and Craft of wood strip boat building. There are
many kayak builders who have websites. These have been a source of
inspiration and education.
The Kayak Building Bulletin Board
is a great resource for information and inspiration. Many have
contributed to this project through this community. The folks I have
met on the Kayak Building Bulletin Board, and their websites inspire
most of what you see here. THANK YOU ALL
There are basic processes involved in the construction of a cedar strip kayak. The following shows how I went at it.
out patterns on scrap plywood salvaged from construction sites. (I work
as a Tech in the construction of building automation systems, so I get
to scrounge a lot!)
||After gluing the
patterns to the ply with spray adhesive, I roughed them out with my
band saw. I followed up by sanding them to size on the belt sander.
|Then holes were cut in the forms to accommodate the internal strongback.
I purchased my cedar from a local commercial lumber dealer. I got red cedar, flat sawn, in 12 to 16 foot lengths.
After ripping on my table saw, I ended up with quarter sawn strips.
|A pile of strips, awaiting a run through the router table.
I waited too long to
start this project,( it’s winter) so I did my strip milling in my
basement shop, quite a challenge in the space department!!
||I cut 2 strips in a pass
by ganging 2 blades on the arbor with a spacer between them. The center
from my molding head as a spacer yielded ¼ inch, plus a
feed tables with my saw added up to 32 feet on a diagonal through the
shop and my wife’s pantry. Dust collection, a must to keep everyone
My Router table, a Sears Craftsman setup with a few modifications, worked well.
|A long view of my router table. It's a Craftsman accessory wing for the table saw.
logged 15 hours, over 2 days, to ripping and routing strips.
I store the strips on my wood rack next to the strongback.
did as much work on the table saw as possible before setting up the
strongback. These pictures hint at how crowded the shop is. I know that
other, more creative builders have done this in smaller places;
garages, basements, even living rooms!
||As a base for the
strongback, I used these “sawhorses”. They are actually part of the
strongback for a canoe that never got finished. After I set up the
stations, and saw the size of the canoe, I realized that, once built, I
couldn’t get it out of the shop!!! So much for planning. I have
obviously corrected that problem. I have a large window to install at
the end of the shop. that’s another project though!
|After reading Nick’s
book, and the comments from other builders, I decided to use an inner
stem. I cut the stem pieces from1/2 inch thick stock. I hot glued them
to the bow and stern forms, then planed and sanded them to shape. The
inner stems will be taped or hot glued to the forms for stripping.
||After sliding the forms
on to the 2x4 I then screwed 5/4 cleats at the top and one side of each
form position. I then fastened the forms to each position using the
form reference lines as a guide. To be sure that everything lined up,
I clamped a strip to the forms along the sheerline. This allowed me to sight along the forms to check that everything lined up.
|I cut a fine kerf into the forms at the centerline, then used mason’s string
in these notches to line up the keel.
Forward and aft inner stems.
then removed the temporary sheer strips and covered the form edges with
masking tape to prevent glue from sticking the strips to the forms.
out some strips to use for the sheer. I ripped them to ½ inch and coved
one edge. The curve of the bow required some effort to get the strips
I tried to get the strips to bend on their own, but ended
up heating them with a steam iron donated by my wife.
I wet the strips
with a mister bottle, and then ironed them. I clamped them in place for
a few hours, and then glued them up.
I decided to allow for cheater strips, (The Strip-Built Kayak) due to the curve of the sheer along the bow.
chose , at the start, to build without staples to hold the strips
during glue up. I will employ various clamps, jigs, and anything needed
to get the strips glued. The Kayak Building Bulletin Board is a great source for ideas on achieving a staple-less boat..
glued the scarf joint while I glued the strip in place. I placed a ¼
inch dowel in the cove to line things up.
splice strips, I used my belt sander. I placed a mark on the sander
bed, then rested the strip on the fence (1’’ high) and sanded to a
tapered scarf joint. I found that a mark with a square across the strip
helps to get a better joint. Sand to the mark to get it square.
Waxed paper was placed under
the dowel to prevent sticking the dowel to the strip.
I used dowels to
support the cove when clamping the strip in place. I left the dowels
full-length, so that I wouldn’t have to search for a bunch of little
After 7 hours, over three days, I have three strips on each
side of the kayak.
Bending, gluing, waiting etc, takes time and
patience. I think that it will go faster once I round the chine. But,
it is fun, so why rush it??
Text and Images Copyright 2004-2008, Steve Frederick, All rights reserved.
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Page created Sept 08, 2004
Last update, Jan 01, 2008