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Cost of Siskiwit Bay Kayak

The table below is a breakdown of what I spent on the prototype of the Siskiwit Bay. There are a few items that stand out to me:

Siskiwit Bay kayak heading through a cave near Grand Marais, MN.
Siskiwit Bay kayak heading through a cave near Grand Marais, MN.
  • I spent very little on wood compared to the cost of the whole project. First time builders seem to often want to cut costs in the wood, but wood is only about 5% of the overall cost.
  • It’s the little things that add up. I spent a ton of money on the little things like sandpaper, gloves, etc… These things are often ignored when quoting how much money was sunk into a project. I spent around $250, which is around 24% of the cost of this project.
  • I had varnish, cord, webbing, footbraces and a bunch of stuff already, so that isn’t included here. But outfitting costs would have run me around $150 if I would have had to buy the stuff. About 8% of the kayak is outfitting. Expect this number to rise if you don’t have spares around the shop.
  • Epoxy and glass was my largest single expense. I used almost a full 3 gallon kit and could have saved money if I had ordered a 3 gallon kit instead of two 1.5 gallon kits. About 41% of my kayak’s expense was in this category. Note: I did order extra glass for another project.
  • Commercial hatches add a tremendous expense to the kayak. Mine were 23% of the cost of the project. I’m sure I could have created the hatch lips from wood and this would more than halved the expense. If I use commercial hatches in my next boat, I’ll attempt a wood mounting rim before spending money on the plastic ones.

If you have any questions, please, email me from the contact page. I’m happy to answer questions. I should also note that I’ve built a kayak stitch and glue for around $350 also, so it can be done on the cheap.

I’m sure that I’ve missed some expenses with this spreadsheet, but I tried to enter every receipt that I had. At least, it will give first time builders a inkling of what to expect for expenses. I should note that typical fiberglass kayaks of which this is on par with would retail around $2500. Makes me wonder why I ever canceled my pro-deal on my Necky Chatham, because it would have been not much higher than I spent to build this kayak. Had I bought that, I probably would have never made this boat. Oh well, I no longer work for a Necky dealer, so that was out of the window. I shouldn’t complain though, because I like this kayak better than a Chatham 16 or 18. I haven’t paddled a 17 yet.

A final note is that this is a pretty outstanding kayak. I’ve only paddled it, as I write this on May 22, 2006, about 50 miles in good to moderate conditions, and I’m very happy with it. I expect to put 500 or more miles on it by the end of the season and maybe more if I use it for my summer weekend job, so I’ll have a better take on it as the year rolls on. So far these are my impressions: It’s faster than many of the other kayaks that make my Top 10 list, and feels much like the kayaks I enjoy to paddle. It’s a strong tracker and wind neutral, which are two characteristics that come in handy when paddling on the big cold lake. So far, I’ve made a couple of changes to the plans based on my building experience – narrowed the sheerline from 56″ forward – and I’ve redesigned the front deck slightly, and I’ve toyed with the idea of lower the rear deck to avoid the need for the layback lounge. It seems like such a great kayak that I wonder if I could recoup my building expenses by selling plans. I suppose that’s a dream of all amateur designers.

Finally, I am looking for a builder or two to build the imporved Siskiwit Bay. If you’re looking for a new yak, and interested in the Siskiwit Bay, then let me know. We can work out some details on how to get you a set of plans.

(Note: I need to work on my Web-Excel-Fu too. And the above picture is a sea cave on Lake Superior just west of Terrace Point.)

Kayak Cost
Cost Tax Item
$55.40 $4.16 Wood(Cedar 1x8x8 – 2, Cedar
1x6x8 – 1, Cedar 1x6x10 -1, Pine 1x8x14 -1, Pine 1x8x12 – 1
$32.98 $2.47 2-4’x8’CDX 1/2" plywood
$11.86 $0.83 Wood glue, zip ties, rootbeer
$78.41 $5.49 pull saw, sandpaper, 6d nails,
staples, jig saw blades fine, random orbit fix kit.
$7.47 $0.56 masking tape, wood glue, diet
$337.16   1.5 Epoxy, 2 pumps, 24 6oz x
60" glass, 2" tape roll, 4oz Phenolic, 10 pots, 4 squeegees
$5.83 $0.44 drop cloth, light bulbs
$4.97   latex gloves
$23.23 $1.74 respirator
$4.38 $0.33 wood filler, soda
$9.58 $0.72 sand paper, spray adhesive
$5.73 $0.43 1"x6"x8′ #2 pine board
for redo of layback lounge
$8.62 $0.65 drop cloth, foam brush
$1.55 $0.12 Wax Paper
$98.00   1.5 Epoxy estimate
$247.65   hatch cost
$22.01 $1.65 packing tape, 1×8 – 8′ pine,
$5.23 $0.39 foam brushes
$5.90 $0.32 2 ergo toggles
$25.00   Bomber Gear Backband close-out
$60.00   Est. Joe Greenly Seat Blank,
Foam kit, plus shipping
$1,050.96 $20.30
$1,071.26 Total

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