Tools and materials for building "Stitch and Glue" kayak or a kit.
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It is convenient that Stitch and Glue construction doesn't require a lot
of specialized tools and in fact the majority of you will likely have
some if not most tools in your workshop. Whether you are building a plywood
kayak or a strip kayak, about 98% of all the tools and consumable supplies
with be the SAME! As you can surmise from the list below, no "full"
kayak kit out there will supply but a small fraction of the items (and
quantities) actually needed to finish the whole project, which is why
I leave the consumables and tools to the hardware stores. You will be
shopping there no matter what. The total cost of plywood kayak construction
ranges from about $750 to $1100. Just for interst, here is a cost
estimate for strip kayaks which takes the Cape Ann Double as an example.
The total cost of any kayak depends on a many factors such as whether
you already posses some supplies and tools and variables like quality
of materials, supplier cost, shipping costs, skipping or adding options,
So here is the list:
The plywood kayak stations (cradles) rest on solid foundation. For this
you need two planks about 12" (30cm) wide by 12 feet (3,65m)
long and 2" (5cm) thick. You can alternately make the strongback
from layers of plywood in which case you need one 5/8"x4'x 8' sheet.
One piece of 1.5" x 1.5 x 8' (4x4x365cm) wood will serve as
attachment blocks for the cradles to the strongback. See the strongback
setup in the Kayak Shop.
: Not needed for KIT.
See Materials section at the bottom of the specs pages to see the
number of sheets it takes to build the Cirrus
or the Cirrus
: For kayak forms (stations) Not needed for KIT
- One 5/8" x 4' x 8' sheet - local building centers or lumber yard
jig : Not needed for KIT. See scarf
jig construction. Kits are pre-scarfed.
See photos of most of the tools
Circular saw or a hand saw - to cut strongback, attachment
blocks or plywood scarfs
saw - for cutting plates out of plywood or for templates.
- Electric or cordless drill - to attach blocks and cradles to strongback
or for drilling additional wire holes (1/16" or 1.5mm drill).
- Random Orbital Sander (4" or 5" diameter) - mostly for dry
fiberglass sanding with 60 grit paper or with 100 grit disks for outside
fillets, scarf smoothing etc..
- Finish sander (1/2 or 1/4 sheet) - sanding
of epoxy after fiberglassing.
- Rubber squeegee -optional but great for wet
- Sponge and bucket for washing surface after sanding
- Hot glue
gun - for temporary "stitching" of plates
- for tightening stitch wires
- Wire cutters
- Utility knife - trimming
- 3" wide paint scraper - very useful for shaving
epoxy transitions or fillets
- 24" level - to align
cradles and kayak shells for fiberglassing
- Caulking gun - for inside fillets and bonding
- 6" block plane-
for epoxy bevels on kayak plates or optional stem bands.
- Fairing board
- smoothing of fillets or stem bands
- Square, measuring tape and a string - to setup/center blocks and cradles
consumable supplies : Much of this will be available in your
local hardware store or building center.
- 20 gauge mild steel wire (200 feet) or 18 gauge copper wire for stitching
plates. Optional with KIT
- 2 x 3 foot piece of plywood or particle board for cockpit
- Yellow carpenter glue like Titebond II for scarfs
- Sandpaper - 5 sheets of 180 grit for wet sanding, 5 sheets 220 grit
wet, 3 sheets 360 grit wet, 2 sheets 120 grit dry, 5 sheets 40 or 50
grit dry. The amounts may vary with your style but this is a good selection
- Hook and loop sanding disks 60 grit for orbital sander (10pc.)
- 2 tubes of best clear Silicone (or marine silicone)- for bulkheads
- Latex gloves (20 pair)
- 2" Chip brushes
(10pc.) - for epoxy work
- Mixing sticks or tongue depressors (15pc) - make your own from wood
- Lacquer thinner (1quart or liter) - epoxy cleanup (for brushes, syringes,
- Wood putty - to fill wire holes. Use commercial
mix or make your own
with Durham putty.
- Tack cloth - sanding dust removal during glassing and varnishing.
- 3" Foam brushes (20pc) - varnishing
- cardboard frozen juice can (1 to 2) - cleaning of squeegee during
- 6 feet of 1" nylon webbing
(optional) - depends on style of backrest
consumables : Most of these items will be available from composite
supply companies that will also have epoxy and fiberglass. See list
of suppliers in the Resources
- Epoxy, fiberglass - quantities will depend on the kayak model. See
the Material section at the bottom of the specs pages such
as the Cirrus
or the Cirrus
- 2 yards (meters) of carbon fiber cloth (5.7oz. x 50" wide)
- optional for carbon coaming,
- Colloidal silica (Cabosil) 1quart - epoxy thickener (West System
406) or generic brand
- Phenolic Microballoons 1 quart - lightweight filler for fillets
(West System 410) or generic
- Wood dust - optional thickener, putty colorant- make your own
- Squeegee (2pc.) - for fiberglassing
tube to dispense epoxy putty for fillets or silicone for bulkheads.
Make your own from used tube or get it from places like Jamestown
Distributors or hardware store. See Resources
- Epoxy dispensing pumps - optional. I do not use them. Sold with
- Small plastic mixing
(15pc) and epoxy measuring
cups (30pc) - local supermarket
- Varnish or Polyurethane
(1quart) and appropriate thinners - see varnishing
Deck rigging - bungees, webbing, hatch latches, carry
loops - determine what you want on your kayak.