Category Archives: Canoe & Kayak Construction

Both wood/epoxy and traditionally built canoes and kayaks were on display.

Small Craft Builders Rendezvous

By Tom Pawlak — GBI Technical Advisor

Above: At the Small Craft Builders Rendezvous, both wood/epoxy and traditionally built canoes and kayaks were on display.

In July 2008 I attended the Small Craft Builders’ Rendezvous in Peterborough, Ontario at the invitation of Ted Moores and Joan Barrett. Their company, Bear Mountain Boats, was one of the sponsors of the gathering which included modern wood and epoxy constructed boats as well as traditionally built wooden canoes. Those attending ranged from professional builders to serious amateurs. Continue reading

One reason people build boats is that they give you the opportunity to find beauty in otherwise inaccessible places. Paddlers in a 16' Prospector check out an amazing faulted rock formation in northwestern Quebec, September 2008.

Why People Build Boats

By Ron Frenette

Above: One reason people build boats is that they give you the opportunity to find beauty in otherwise inaccessible places. Paddlers in a 16′ Prospector check out an amazing faulted rock formation in northwestern Quebec, September 2008. Continue reading

Building a Pair of Chesapeake 16 Kayaks

by Chris Jacobson

Above: A pair of Chesapeake 16 kayaks built by Chris Jacobson.

Epoxyworks 27

Cover Photo: Paddling the south shore of Ontario’s Lake of Two Rivers and into Pog Lake.

It all began when we went camping in Algonquin Park in 2005. We rented a couple of plastic kayaks and the kids loved it. We came home with the intention of buying a couple of kayaks but while on the internet we saw these stitch and glue make’m yourself boats. I purchased the books “The New Kayak Shop” and “Kayaks You Can Build. ”

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Gougeon 12.3 canoes on display.

The Gougeon 12.3 Canoe

By Tom Pawlak — GBI Technical Advisor
Epoxyworks 29

Cover Photo: A small sampling of the Gougeon 12.3 canoe family. Robert Monroe’s cold-molded canoe (foreground) came from a half-mold that eventually resulted in the a 12.3 mold (object directly behind first canoe) which has been used since 1989 to produce dozens of offspring that reflect a wide raged of tastes and technology.

Above: The latest generation of employees and their Gougeon 12.3 canoes.Building a Gougeon 12.3 has become a rite of passage for new employees. 

The Gougeon 12.3 canoe represents several decades of experimentation by employees of Gougeon Brothers, Inc. Dozens have been built but no two are exactly alike. The evolution of the Gougeon 12.3 parallels our love of boating, passion for innovation and desire to build better boats—all of which contribute to the products we produce today.

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Mary aboard her 12.3 kayak

Turning a Gougeon 12.3 into a Kayak

by Tom Pawlak — GBI Technical Advisor

Above: Tom’s wife Mary paddles aboard her Gougeon 12.3 kayak on the Rifle River Recreation area in Lupton, Michigan.

I recently modified the deck of my wife Mary’s fiberglass canoe (one of dozens built from the Gougeon 12.3 mold) to make it more seaworthy and to facilitate a spray skirt. More like a kayak. Previously, the decks covered only the ends of the boat, leaving the middle 40% wide open. I’m fairly pleased with how it turned out.

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Kayak Lessons Learned

by Captain James R. Watson—GBI Technical Advisor

Above: Captain James R. Watson in his kayak. Note how the kayak rides at anchor from the bow.

Kayaks are versatile craft. I’m a lucky guy who has had decades of pleasure cruising, exploring, fishing, and simply relaxing on many different streams and lakes throughout Michigan and Canada in my stripper kayak. Comparing the investment dollar per pleasure derived, my kayak wins hands down over all the other watercraft I’ve owned. In her wake, I’ve been taught many lessons, albeit some the hard way. Here are a few I thought worth sharing. Continue reading

Single Outrigger Motorboat by Russell Brown

Readers’ Projects, Issue 29

Single Outrigger Motorboat

Russell Brown designed and built this single outrigger motorboat for his friend Josh Sutherland. Although not completely finished when the photo was taken, it was “pretty well tested and didn’t seem to have any really bad habits,” says Brown. It is 24′ long and built fairly ruggedly. It uses a 20 hp Yamaha four-stroke and goes about 18 knots with three people on board.  Russell, the son of legendary boat designer Jim Brown, designs and builds foils, boats, and other composite projects in Port Townsend, Washington. Visit www.ptwatercraft.com.

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Seaworthy Kayak

Building a Guillemot Kayak

By Jason Havel

I am a Captain in the Air Force and was stationed in Wichita, Kansas, in October 2002 when I purchased a book about building a strip kayak. After the first chapter, I was sold. I ordered the full-size plans for the Guillemot kayak. While on vacation in Texas, I spent about $300 on the western red cedar, purpleheart, and yellow heart, then discovered I was to deploy to Saudi Arabia. In the evenings prior to the deployment, I machined the cedar into ¼” strips and put the bead and cove on them using a router table. It was during the process of setting up my table saw that I realized how clear D-grade pine can be. I accidentally bought a few long boards of it to build an extra-long table saw fence for ripping the cedar.

The stripping of the Guillemot kayak's hull with Western red cedar is completed.

The stripping of the Guillemot kayak’s hull with Western red cedar is completed.

I was amazed at how little grain was visible. That’s where the idea of the lighter-colored deck came from. I got 6 or 8 strips on the mold before I left for my deployment.  While I was gone, the confrontation with Iraq began. What was supposed to be 3 months turned into 5 months. The air war ended and I came home and was informed I would be moving from Wichita, Kansas, to Altus AFB, Oklahoma. I knew it was only 300 miles, but I wasn’t about to bring a couple of hundred strips of cedar and an unfinished boat along for the trip. I spent every spare moment finishing the boat. I finished stripping in June, laid the fiberglass in July, and moved in August.

The inside of the Guillemot Kayak's hull is glassed with 6 oz fiberglass cloth. Havel used 105/207 to wet out the cloth in temperatures over 100 degrees F.

The inside of the Guillemot Kayak’s hull is glassed with 6 oz fiberglass cloth. Havel used 105/207 to wet out the cloth in temperatures over 100 degrees F.

I used 6 oz cloth with 105 Resin/207 Special Clear Hardener and was very impressed. Since July in Kansas is typically over 100°F, I was a little hesitant pouring epoxy. When I did all the epoxy work, it was 108° to 112°F. I could thoroughly mix the epoxy, lay it down, brush or squeegee it out, and make it look perfect. Ten minutes later, it started to harden. There were no issues with sheeting or running. In fact, I never saw any anime blush and had zero bubbles. Believe me, I looked for amine blush since every piece of the literature mentions it. After an hour or two, I brushed on the next coat to fill the weave and add a nice smooth surface for the varnish. Since the epoxy wasn’t fully cured, I got an excellent chemical bond. I can’t say enough about how great the 207 Hardener worked at over 100°F. I coated everything with epoxy, including the deck fittings, before I fastened them to the deck. I sanded the hull with 150-grit sandpaper on a random orbital sander and finished it off with five coats of Z-Spar™ Captains Varnish. Z-Spar also works great at 100+ degrees.

guillemot kayak detail

Guillemot Kayak detail: Everything is coated with 105/207 and finished with 5 coats of Z-Spar Captain’s Varnish.

Purpleheart provides a nice contrast for the outline of the deck design and deck hardware on the Guillemot Kayak.

Purpleheart provides a nice contrast for the outline of the deck design and deck hardware on the Guillemot Kayak.

I’d do it again in an instant but next time it will be a canoe since my family will soon be a total of four plus our dog. Even though the kids will be small, it’s tough to stuff them and my wife in a single place kayak and expect to get anywhere.