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Siskiwit Bay Builder Photos

Pictures from home builders of the Siskiwit Bay. If you have pictures you’d like to share, please, contact us. Thanks. Drawings for this kayak are available.

Jim Smith

Project finished March 2014


Jim writes:

I have completed construction of a completely 3D printed, customized Kayak. The Kayak measures 16ft 8in [5.08m] long and cost around $500 to make. It is made of ABS plastic, machine screws, brass threaded inserts and a little bit of silicone caulk. That’s it. And it floats. And I can Kayak around in it. In order to print such large, solid sections of Kayak, I had to modify my home-built, large scale 3D printer to print the parts inside a heated chamber so they would not warp or crack.

The Kayak is comprised of 28, 3D printed sections. Each section has brass threaded thermoplastic inserts so the next corresponding section can be screwed into it. Silicone caulk is only used between the sections to ensure it is watertight. This design was initially based on the Siskiwit Bay kayak by Bryan Hansel, but heavily modified for 3D printing. The shape of the kayak was tweaked to optimize performance based on my height and weight. To reduce print time and material usage, the kayak is printed at a 0.65mm layer height. It features a 6mm thick hull with a built-in, internal rib/support structure to give it strength, yet be lightweight and use less ABS plastic. On the bow and stern of the Kayak I added attach points for cameras, handles and future add-ons.

Juanjo Sanz, Barcelona

Juanjo stretched the design to 18 feet by spacing the stations further apart than 1 foot. He says:

I am very happy with. It paddles very easy and is fast.

R. Ilfeld

Project finished summer 2009


R. Ilfeld writes:

[I] Made it fatter – I have had two shoulder surgeries this year & ended up with a fair amount of hardware in the left one. Free ship thinks it’s good for 300 lbs and 25% more stable. If I have to I’ll add cheeks for even more.

My wife thinks it paddles OK she has some medical issues requiring stability as well. I get a ride as soon as the doctor releases me. Its a day boat on gentle water (Tampa Bay) for me. Thanks for the design inspiration- Sent you some ‘beer money.’

About the construction and design modifications:

I loaded your offsets into freeship, then adjusted by hand for stability, the size of my bottom, and then tweaked to make it look like the original. It ended up sort of pear shaped if you look from the top, though only by a couple of inches. A little width seems to add a lot of displacement.

I tried flush wood fore and aft hatches with just a finger pull protruding – takes strong fingers.
Made carbon fittings for rigging, glue to surface so no hull protrusions.

I poured a cu. Ft. of urethane for ad aft for reserve flotation. Your bow was better. By the time I left enough wood for strength on the handle hole, it looked like a rhinoplastician might be in order.

This one was second life wood (salvaged from some discarded golf course cedar construction timber). I have been led to believe that my wife thinks ‘hers’ should be ‘pretty’ which I think means a butterfly inlay. So I may have another picture and donation for you in a year or so.

Thanks for building!

Darren Gladysz, Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec

Project started May 2009, Launched Aug 2009

Darren writes:

I thought I would send you some files that may be of help to future kayak builders. These are more for cnc usage. Welcome to the age of the machine :) I will also send you some pictures in another email.

I am sending you the dxf for the stations, stern and bow pieces, a mastercam file (mcx format) for these as well as 2 g-code files which are in text format.

I had my plywood sheet cut out to 2 pieces, a 37 (x axis) by 40 (y axis) and a 59 (x axis) by 40 (y axis) for ease of transport from Home depot. Everything fits on this. There is a gcode file for each pieces. st1-txt is for the 37×40 and st2-txt is for the 59×40 piece. The axis are important btw. Also, I am using 3/4 inch plywood.

I have notched the stern and bow pieces as well as stations 1, 2, 14, 15 and 16 so that they interlock. They are tight and plywood thicknesses vary depending if you have finished or rough plywood. I sized them to .740 inches.

The other stations have a 5.375 high by 2.25 wide cutout for the center beam. I bought structural LVL for the center beam thinking it would be straight but there is still a 1/2 twist in this one. Cost was around $80 and am not convinced it was worth it.

I also machined holes on the stations. Each station has two small .250 diameter partial holes on the exterior that are used to mark the sheerline. There are also two 1.06 holes that are made on the stations attached to the center beam. These are to be used with threaded pipes used with pipe clamps (sold at home depot and inexpensive). The principle is fairly simple. Attach two stations to the beam, pass the pipes through the holes and keep moving these to each new station. Mine are 6 feet long so I can get about 5 stations aligned. It is not perfect but reasonably accurate for the kayak.

It might be interesting to note that many signmaking shops can run the gcode file direct as well as some cabinet making shops. Cutting time at 50 ipm is around 45 minutes or so and setup is fairly quick and a .250 inch bit is used.

Hopefully this can be of use.

And about the construction:

I have used numerous kinds of wood. I used black walnut (it looks gray in the pictures) and the reddish-orange wood used as accent strips in the middle of the walnut and on the keel strip is some tropical wood that I picked up a few years ago but forgot the name. I had bought it to make the inserts for my infill planes but never got to it. The brown wood from the sheerline up is mahogany cut into .375 strips on account of curvature of the forms. The white strips are poplar. I have also used cherry (1 strip below the sheerline as I felt cedar would be weak as I left the cove on the board to facilitate re-assembling the forms) and for the long strips that form the template for the stern, bow and keel. I laminated 4 very narrow strips and glued them when installing them to facilitate bending.

…I mounted a ridge about .75 by .75 inches along the entire bottom of the hull. A bit like a canoe. It tracks well but it acts like a long skeg. As a result, I am considering mounting a rudder.


I am very pleased with the kayak. Thanks again for your help and a wonderful design.

Thanks for building Darren!

May 2009 116
May 2009 113



Mike Blandford, New York

Launched: March 2008

Mike writes:

I built it for my son but I crammed myself into it and launched it in the Chemung River yesterday – I’m 6’6″, 240 lbs. w/ size 15 feet. I was so uncomfortable that I probably won’t get into it again, but I had to see first-hand how it performed. It’s a good boat. It’s fast, tracks straight, and turns on a dime. I had fun paddling it and I know that my son will really like it. The last 2 pictures were taken by my wife when we launched yesterday. She’s even less qualified than me with a camera. In the last picture, my son is on the right in a 14′ Auk (Opens in a New Window) that I built last year for my wife.

I used a combination of cedar and maple. It has a Happy Bottom seat w/ a Rapid Pulse back band and 1 large hatch w/ a Kajak Sport lid.

Thanks for the plans. Glad I picked them up.

Jason Bowling, Ohio

Launched: July 2008

Video from 2010:

Jason writes:

I’m enjoying the boat very much – the 14 miles went well, with very little effort. A number of people stopped to tell me how nice they thought it looked.. you really have a nice design there.

Above two photos courtesy William Sebastian Photo (Opens in a New Window).

JD Greenawalt, Texas

Launched: Build in Progress

JD writes:

I went with some 18′ long spruce 1.5″s because it was cheap. I think I will dye it with some alcohol or water based dye. It would have been a little easier to fit the curves with like .7″ wide strips or 1″ but I got lazy with the table saw… (It was only like 102 degrees F, I waited a long time for such a cool day in Texas. Yeah right) Also they didn’t have 1″ spruce in 18′ sections and for the hull it has been fitting the curves pretty well. When I rip more strips for the deck there are more defined curves and I think I will use thinner strips like 1″ or even .7″.

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  • […] builder’s have been providing photos of their builds. Please, consider doing the same, and find their photos […]

  • […] 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. […]

  • […] builder’s have been providing photos of their builds. Please, consider doing the same, and find their photos […]

  • hey mate, just wondering if you could email your cnc forms to me really interested in having a go at your kayak its my first time thaks..

  • Chris, all the files that I have can be found here. They include station plans, bow, and stern plans. This is a cedar strip, so there are no ribs in the boat. If you buy, Nick Schade’s Sea Kayak Building Book and follow his instructions, your kayak will turn out great.

    Good luck and let me know how your build goes.

  • Hello,

    I was just wandering what method you use to join the hull to the deck? I have done a research on this but I just wanted to see your opinion. I will almost definitely build this Kayak i just need to make sure I know EXACTLY what I am doing first. Any help would be sooooo appreciated!


  • Hi, Andrew,

    I use Nick Schade’s method that he writes about in his Sea Kayak Building Book. If you don’t own that book, buy it before you start your build. I follow his instruction closely, but I do build slightly different at points, and you can read about my methods for joining a kayak’s hull to its deck in my building articles.

  • Hey again,

    I did not think you would respond so fast :D Thanks so much. I was wandering if i could lay a 50 or 75mm of fiberglass strip down the center of the inside of the boat to keep it together, i think it will be a significant amount stronger then just masking tape with epoxy, unless there is a reason to use tape. I will leave the area where i do this without fiber glass so it sticks to the timber. Also what type of fiberglass should i use for glassing it. At the marine shop that sells this type of stuff they have a thick fiberglass matting (woven) but it will chew up a lot of resin, is this what i want? I think that is all i need for now but if you don’t mind i might have to pick your brains in the very near future.

    Thanks in advance!

  • Hi, Andrew,

    Nick Schade’s book will answer all your questions. You should buy it.

    The tape that I write about is 2 inch wide 6 oz. fiberglass tape. The tape bonds to the inner layer of fiberglass. The seam is then reinforced with 1 inch wide 6 oz. fiberglass tape on the outside. Fiberglass tape is fiberglass sold in rolls like tape, but it’s fiberglass. For the rest of the boat, you want fiberglass cloth, E-glass, not mat. Most builders use 6 oz. e-glass cloth on the outside and inside. I like multiple layers of 3.2 oz. tight weave e-glass.

  • Thank you sooo much again, now i will look into getting that book but i cant wate to order it im in a bit of a rush to get it done. I might try to get the ebook. That informations if great about the glass though thanks…This should be my last question, which i dont know if it would be answered in the book, how many 3/4″ strips did you use? Sorry to be a pain i just need to do a job cost and i really need to know this from someone who has use this exact plan. Thanks

  • Somewhere between 55 and 65 18-foot by 3/4- by 3/16-inch strips. You can save strips by not filling in hatch cutouts and the cockpit, but it’s more forgiving to fill everything in. Hope this helps build your cedar strip kayak from these free kayak plans.

  • I more then definitely will :D Thanks soo much this is great information!!! I might ask something else along the way but we are about go get his by a cyclone in a day or so, so i dont think i will be back for a while. But again thanks you don’t know how useful this information is to me!

  • Could I use the forms but reduce the distance between the stations to 9″ (instead of 1′) as I am thinking 17 feet is going to be too large a boat for just one person?

  • Luigi – 17 feet isn’t too large for one person. It’s about the average size for a sea kayak. You can safety take the total length down to 16 feet. Any less than that and it’s all up in the air.

Comments are closed.