Lone kayaker at sunset

Paddling the world one stroke at a time

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Building a Wood Strip Sea Kayak - Art on Water

Basically, the plans consist of a template of forms to be cut out of plywood or MDF board, and once cut are placed along a spine (or strongback). The forms, being placed about 1 ft. apart, ultimately provide the shape of the kayak when the wood strips are attached to each form, row by row.

To gloss things over a little bit (figuratively and literally), after the wood strips are attached, and a wee (hee hee) bit of sanding is done, there is a fiberglass shell put on the outside and inside of the craft. This gives it the strength and water tight seal needed for this light-weight construction. Not as intimidating as one might suspect, the fiberglass process is a matter of laying on a sheet of fiberglass cloth and coating it with clear epoxy. The result is a clear shell that allows the natural beauty of the wood to shine through. And once the forms are removed, and a few other details taken care of, the entire boat is finished with several coats of marine varnish.

For a matter of reference, this kayak project took about 400 hours of labor and $700 - $800 of materials to complete. This was spread over a 7-month time-frame working on it part time as my schedule allowed.  Hopefully, the accompanying pictures will further complement this article's description and give you an idea of what someone can create as art on water.

Post Date: 10/23/2010, Article by: Jeff Hanson

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