My first Cedar Stip Kayak.
  A Guillemot, Designed by Nick Schade

Introduction Building the Hull Building the Deck/Glassing Cockpit/Deck Joining/Launching

The Boat:

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!

The Community:
I 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

The Process:
There are basic processes involved in the construction of a cedar strip kayak. The following shows how I went at it.
Laid 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 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
"fuzz", strips.

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!!
My in/out 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 happy!
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.

I logged 15 hours, over 2 days, to ripping and routing strips. 
I store the strips on my wood rack next to the strongback.
I 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 cut a fine kerf into the forms at the centerline, then used mason’s string
in these notches to line up the keel.

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 then removed the temporary sheer strips and covered the form edges with masking tape to prevent glue from sticking the strips to the forms.

Forward and aft  inner stems.

I saved 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 to cooperate.
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.
I 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.

To 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.

I glued the scarf joint while I glued the strip in place. I placed a ¼ inch dowel in the cove to line things up.
 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 pieces.
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

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