John's Guillemot Kayak
Page 1: Getting Started
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Page 1: Getting Started (You're here now)
Plans for my boat were purchased from Nick Schade, who designed this boat called Guillemot. It's a time-proven design for a medium volume touring kayak, and is 17 feet long and 21 inches wide. It should weight approximately 40 pounds, and basically consists of strips of wood encased in epoxy strengthened with fiberglass cloth. The name Guillemot is a name for a species of bird.
A strip-built kayak allows plenty of creativity in design. When built perfectly, with an artistic eye, the boat I am building looks something like the boat above.
This is the first strip-built boat I am building, so I'm learning as I go.
The construction process is relatively
simple: Cover the forms with wood, then cover it with epoxy and fiberglass
on both the inside and outside. Of course there's little things like the
cockpit opening, hatch covers, footrests, seat and deck rigging, but that's
This might be a good time to mention that I'm building this boat in my garage. My HALF of the garage. My usual workshop is a converted garden shed that is too small for a 17' kayak, so I'll be parking in the driveway until this thing is completed.
I met a lot of curious neighbors when I built my first kayak, as I prefer to work with the garage door open unless the weather is a problem.
I've improved the lighting with 4' fluorescent lights and have a radio and CD player for company. My work table is an 8' by 2' plywood sheet placed on top of some bee hive boxes.
Most of my tools and materials for this boat were purchased at Home Depot. There are people who claim to have spent nearly nothing, building their boats from old pallets or a backyard tree, but they must not be including all the money they spent on tools they didn't have, clamps, sandpaper, latex gloves, brushes and rollers. The epoxy alone typically costs about $200. My budget is to keep the overall cost below $800, including new tools.
was hard to find western red cedar wood that didn't have a lot of knots, which interfere
with milling nice, long strips. With several trips to different
lumber stores, I eventually found some acceptable wood. I also bought a board of white pine and another of walnut, for accent strips.
This whole project is too big to have all the details figured out at the beginning. I just have to have faith that it can be done, and that any problems can get worked out as it progresses.
Created: November 13, 2002