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Boat Building Video

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A Brief Overview of Building a Custom Wood Kayak

Nick Schade started building kayaks in 1986, since then he has written two books on boat building,his boats are paddled all around the world, his work has been exhibited in major museums.

Each kayak starts as a stack of thin western red cedar strips. A series of precision cross-sectional forms were cut to define the shape of the kayak. These forms are spaced out on an aluminum strongback. Then, one by one the wood strips are fitted to the forms. Each strip is carefully shaped to insure there are no gaps between the strips of wood. More and more strips are shaped and fitted until the bottom of the boat can eventurally be closed up. Then the forms are flipped over and the process is repeated on the deck.

The glue holding the strips together must be scraped off the surface. The surfaces are carefully faired and smoothed with wood planes and sanding. The whole surface of the boat is sanded at least six times to assure a smooth finish This boat is receiving a coat of stain to enhance the natural color. Several layers of fiberglass fabric reinforce and strengthen the wood.

Epoxy resin bonds the fiberglass to the wood and creates a waterproof coating. Epoxy transforms the formally white glass into a perfectly transparent rugged surface. The deck and hull are removed from the forms in the inner surface is scraped and sanded. This carbon fiber / Kevlar hybrid cloth is lightweight and strong and adds a lot of toughness to the kayak. After work on the inside is completed the deck and hull get rejoined.

Kevlar tape reinforces the inside seam. This tape runs all the way into the ends of the kayak. The laminated hardwood stems protect the ends in case the paddler should run into rocks. The stems and exterior seams get further reinforced with additional layers of fiberglass cloth and epoxy. After dozens more sessions sanding with finer and finer grits the boat is ready for varnish. No boat is truly completely until it is put in the water. Visit my website to learn how to build your own kayak.