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Wooden Kayak question…

Fred C

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Here is a question for those of you with some kayak building / paddling experience. My brother in law would like to build his first kayak. He is a highly skilled woodworker, has built 20’ pleasure boats and many other things in the past with great success. He would have no limitations with space, tooling, or skill level.

What he does lack is kayaking experience as he has never been in one. He asked me for advice in choosing a set of plans to work with. I gave the standard advice about length and speed, width and stability, but know virtually nothing about strip built kayaks and what type handle best. I can see him paddling in the Piscataqua River, Little Bay, and Great Bay area in Maine because he lives nearby. He is about 6’ tall and maybe 185lbs.

Any ideas on what plans he should purchase to build a nice kayak that he can try out as a beginner, grow into a little and in the worst case, if he just doesn’t like it, what would sell easily to those that do like wooden kayaks. What ever he makes will look great but if he chooses a poor design he will have a well made poorly designed kayak.

Any ideas…..

Thanks, Fred

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He should check out oneoceankayaks.com I built the Expedition Sport and am very pleased with it; the plans and e-mail support were great. Having never been in a kayak I chose this design based on its description and feel it was a good choice for a beginner. The Cape Ann Expedition is the larger version for larger paddlers. I live in Portsmouth so if he'd like to see/try it just e-mail me at

gs01@verizon.net I'm currently working on a new boat so he could also see a work in progress.

Gerry Smith

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If his time is tight he might want to go Stitch and Glue. He can build in 60- 90 hours (depending) VS 130-200. hours for a stripper.

It gives him an easy chance to learn working with epoxy and glass without a large time investment.

If he likes kayaking he will not stop at just one boat........

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Thanks to all for the info. I will pass this along to him. I have a feeling he will lean toward a strip built kayak but we’ll see. Either way I hope he builds something and gets out there on the water.

Right now I don’t have an interest in owning a wooden kayak but after I try out whatever he builds maybe I’ll be converted!

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Fred if the look of the boat doesn't convert you, loading it on the car might.

On paper a 38 pound boat doesn't seem that diffrent that a 50 pound boat as you figure you have more weight in gear than boat weight. When your lifting some of these wooden boat it feels like a feather instead of a boat.

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