View Full Version : Cedar Strip Kayaks

20th October 2003, 11:54 AM
If anyone is interested in building a beautiful cedar-strip kayak, I recommend the book "The Strip-Built Sea Kayak" by Nick Schade. As well as a very compete description of the building method, it contains lofting tables for 3 different models, allowing you to draw the plans yourself (not difficult).

I completed one of these at the end of last year, and it looks fabulous and works well. You can also buy full-size plans from Nick, but they are reasonably expensive (about $180 I think). It's much more cost-effective just to buy the book (about $30).

You need to find a source of western red cedar, and you need a way to rip them up into strips, and bead and cove them (or get someone to mill them for you). There is a lot of information on the website at http://www.kayakplans.com

1st November 2003, 02:31 PM

I am thinking about building a Kayak or Canoe and was curious as to how much the Kayak ended up costing to build.


1st November 2003, 11:51 PM
I didn't keep an accurate tally, but I'd reckon about $1000. The cedar cost me about $400, and the other major component was the fibreglass materials - the cloth and resin are both quite expensive. I beaded and coved the strips myself, which saved some cost, but probably wasn't done as well as it would have been if I'd paid someone to do it. Also, my strips were cut on a bandsaw, which results in a rougher surface - it's better to get them cut on a circular saw, even though that results in more wastage (i.e. wider saw-cut), and therefore costs more. If I build another one, I will either get my strips cut on a circular saw, or if bandsawn, get them cut 1 or 2 mm thicker so there is more wood there to plane smooth. For the fibreglass I used the West System epoxy, which is mixed (base + hardener) by volume - much easier than others which have to be mixed by weight, which requires weighing every mix.

3rd November 2003, 07:52 PM
Any chance of a photo(s) ?

3rd November 2003, 08:23 PM
Sure, here 'tis. Not the greatest pic, because it was still being sanded and finished at the time, hence the whitish look of some parts. The decorative striped panels are pine and jarrah, all the rest is western red cedar. The opening behind the cockpit is a hatch for storage. It weighs about 26kg, very comparable to the commercially-made all-fibreglass jobs.

3rd November 2003, 09:36 PM
Good one Steve!

Looks like the Great Auk. I've had Nicks book for a while and wouldn't mind having a go at one but I might have trouble finding 17' of sheltered work area.:(

Once again, looks like a very nice piece of work.


3rd November 2003, 10:48 PM
Ten out of ten Dan, it is indeed the Great Auk. I chose that design because it was the simplest to build, and also because of its greater stability in the water. It was noticeably more stable than the club canoes that some friends used on the day it had its launch. Overall I'm very pleased with the result.

Workspace IS a bit of a problem. I was able to build mine under a well-protected verandah.

Roger Martin
25th November 2003, 09:50 PM
The kayak looks great.

I've built one and have another on the mold now. The plans were from One Ocean www.oneoceankayaks.com which has some of the best information on building that I found on the web. The builders pages and the workshop pages were a veritable mine of information.

My major mistake was to strip up the cedar strips all the same 1" width - the hull was hard to get the strips to conform to the mold. The one I'm building now I have a variety of strip widths from 3/8" to 1". The narrower strips conformed very easily and are a much tighter fit on the hull without having to steam.

When this one is finished I intend building a double - extending it about 18" and put in an esky well between the cockpits.

Happy paddling

26th November 2003, 12:12 AM
I agree about the strip width - my next one (if there is one) will also use narrower strips for the tighter curves. I might also try pawlonia timber - it's about the same price as cedar, but even lighter. Downside is probably slightly less strength too.

I've just added a bulkhead to mine, aft of the cockpit, to keep stuff stored under the hatch dry. How about posting some pics of yours?

Roger Martin
29th November 2003, 02:19 PM
I have bulkheads fitted just in front of the footrests and just behind the cockpit, just lightweight 1/8" ply which is held in place by silicone to ensure its water tight. I put the bulkheads in mainly to reduce the amount of water a flooded kayak couild hold. I fitted a small hand operated pump to drain the cockpit, but have just removed that and will put in a "bulb" type pump to use with my feet to drain the cockpit if needed.

I have a sail fitted as well - thats a blast downwind.

I dont have any pics at present - I am in the process of giving it another sand down and new varnish so I shall see if I can get some done soon and post them.

Good paddling and woodworking.

1st August 2004, 09:07 PM
For those interested, I found Ross Leidy's site http://www.blueheronkayaks.com to be one of the most valuable resources on the web alongside oneocean kayaks (mentioned above).

Ross has posted many, many photos of his boats at various stages of construction giving the first time builder an excellent overview of the process. One of his early boats was the Guillemot which is described in Nick Schade's book (mentioned in Stevem's post at the start of this thread) - I'm currently in the middle of building an 'Outer Island' which is also featured on Ross' site.

Ross has also written a kayak design software package which is free to download. I'll probably use this to design my own boat next time (and avoid the cost of plans).

Happy paddling!