Paddlinglight.com began as a place to distribute my wilderness philosophy, show off my kayak and canoe building logs, provide boat information, and get my free canoe and kayak plans online. Since it’s inception, Paddlinglight.com grew far bigger than I expected, and the most popular articles on the site have consistently been about boat building. For new visitors there are a daunting number of articles on canoe and kayak building, so this post is written with you in mind. Builders and paddlers who’ve visited before may find many of these resources new and interesting as well.
If you have an idea, tip, or article about kayak or canoe building, please, consider submitting.
Free Canoe and Kayak Plans
There are a number of free canoe and kayak plans on the website. Some have been built and prototyped and some are just drawings. A number of them were designed using Hulls, and you’ll need a copy of Hulls to view them. I designed the new boats with Delftship, so you’ll need a copy of Delftship or Free!ship to view the plans. The more popular boats include pdf and dxf files for people who don’t want to learn a new boat design program.
Cedar Strip Kayaks
- Siskiwit Bay Kayak: A 17-foot British-style touring kayak with great looks. I prototyped this kayak, fell in love with it, but ended up selling my prototype to a friend who loved it even more. A number of builders who I only know through the Internet have labored away building their versions of it.
- The Iggy: A 16+ foot Greenland-style kayak. Based off of the boat that the Valley Anas Acuta was based off. I kept the hull the same as the original and included a modern deck. I think this kayak is good for paddlers up to 160 pounds.
Plywood or Skin Kayaks
I’ve drawn up only a few plywood kayaks, but only built one of them. If you enjoy working in marine plywood, these drawings may offer just the kayak you’re looking for.
- Goodnow Kayak: A very low volume Greenland kayak. It’s been built in skin-on-frame and plywood. Search the archives at Qajaq USA for more info.
- Siskiwit Bay Multi-chine: A plywood version of my cedar strip kayak. As far as I know, it’s never been built.
- Aleutian Baidarka Kayak: MAE593-76. It was originally collected by I.G. Voznesenskii in 1845 on Akun Island in the Aleutian Islands.
Old and Unsupported Drawings
You can find drawings of a few old kayaks and canoes on the page showing the boats I built back in the day. Some of these have been built, but most haven’t. The Viking boat was built in a reduced form by someone from the Viking Boat mailing list. I don’t like most of these old drawings, so I don’t really support them anymore. A new drawing of the Viking ship is in the works.
Download these to view the drawings.
Paddlinglight.com published many how to build articles in the Do It Yourself catagory. Some of these articles were written by me, but most were written by guest authors. I’ve really enjoyed having guest bloggers/authors post their articles on this website, and I think you’ll find these articles informative.
- Nessmuking and Stitch and Glue Boat Building: Tom Gerd owner of Finewoodwatercraft.com and builder of beautiful plywood canoes and kayaks wrote an article about making quality lightweight plywood boats.
- Light but Strong – Building Cedar Strip Canoes for Wilderness Tripping: Jay Morrison has used his lightweight homebuilt canoes to paddle across Canada. They’re light and tough and he tells you how he does it.
- The Simplest of Seats: Richard Hayes writes about a simple seat that he likes to use in his homebuilt kayaks.
- Building a Kayak Paddle – A La Volkskayak: In a second article for Nessmuking, Richard Hayes tells you how to build a nice inexpensive kayak paddle.
- Easy Aluminum Fittings For a Sailing Canoe: Charles E. Campbell writes about how he made homemade custom fittings for a sailing canoe that he designed and built.
- Wigeon: A Sailing Canoe: Charles E. Campbell writes about how he designed and built a modern sailing canoe.
- Review: A Comparison of System Three MetlWeld and WEST System for Metal Bonding: Just like it sounds. In a third article for Paddlinglight.com Charles E. Campbell does a comparison for products that can be used in boat building.
- Vacuum Bagging Techniques for Canoes and Kayaks: If you want to build a lightweight composite canoe or kayak, vacuum bagging is one way to do it. Aaron Miller describes the process and gives good advice while doing it.
- How To Make Woven Rope Carrying Handles: Pedro Almeida shows you how to make a really cool handle for your kayak.
- A Paddle with a Twist: How to make a one piece feather wooden and carbon kayak paddle.
- How to Make a Fiberglass Skeg: My first experiment with building and retrofitting a fiberglass skeg into a wooden kayak.
I wrote builder’s logs for three of my kayak builds. You’ll find interesting techniques, like how to use rubber hatches, how to build recessed carbon fittings, and how to build a skeg among these articles.
- Building a Perfect Kayak: My Adventure in Kayak Design and Cedar Strip Building
- Building a Perfect Kayak: Part Two
- Building a Perfect Kayak: Part Three
- Building a Perfect Kayak: Part Four
- Building a Perfect Kayak: Part Five
- Building a Perfect Kayak: Part Six
- Building a Perfect Kayak: Part Seven
- Building a Perfect Kayak: Part Eight
- Building a Perfect Kayak: Part Nine
- Building a Perfect Kayak: Part Ten
- Building a Perfect Kayak: Part Eleven
- Siskiwit Bay: The Initial Test
- The Second Test Run of the Siskiwit Bay Design
- How long does it take to build a cedar kayak?
A clear vinyl skinned skin-on-frame designed by Tom Yost.
On this build I incorporate all the builder tricks that I’ve accumulated through the years. With the dyed wood, it is beautiful. I’ll never go back to kayaks without stains again.
- Building Ken Taylor 1959 Kayak – the Igdlorssuit
- Building the Ken Taylor Igdlorssuit Kayak: Gathering supplies, drawing the plans, making strips, cutting forms and strongback, stripping the hull, trim sheer, stems, pull staples, block plane, sand, wet-out, dye, glass hull, remove hull
- Building Ken Taylor 1959 Kayak – the Igdlorssuit – Part Three: Fair inside, glass inside, inside forms, strip deck, coaming recess, finish outside, sand inside, glass football, fill coats, composite hatch recesses
- Building Ken Taylor 1959 Kayak – the Igdlorssuit – Part Four: Cockpit coaming, carbon recessed deck fittings, skeg box and blade
- Building Ken Taylor 1959 Kayak – the Igdlorssuit – Part Five: Skeg control box, inside seams, final sand, outside seams, keel strip, bulkheads
- Building Ken Taylor 1959 Kayak-the Igdlorssuit – Launching
- Building Ken Taylor 1959 Kayak – the Igdlorssuit – Launching – Susie Islands
Recommended Books to Buy Before Building
- Building Strip-Planked Boats: The newest book by kayak building authority, Nick Schade. A must have.
- The Strip-Built Sea Kayak: Three Rugged, Beautiful Boats You Can Build: The gold standard of kayak building books. Clearly explains all the sets of boat building from tools to epoxy work. There are so many tricks and tips in this book that you’ll be able to save time.
- Kayakcraft: Fine Woodstrip Kayak Construction: Presents a slightly different way to build cedar strip kayaks. Lots of great ideas.
- The New Kayak Shop: More Elegant Wooden Kayaks Anyone Can Build: If stitch and glue is your thing, then this is the book to get.