For many paddlers, building a kayak gives a great sense of accomplishment along with a lightweight boat for the price of rotomolded plastic. You have the choice of a very traditional skin-on-frame construction, the more common stitch and glue plywood method, and the very versatile cedar strip construction method. I have not had the opportunity yet to build a complete kayak, but I did have the chance to refurbish and repair an older wooden stitch and glue kayak. I have worked with fiberglass cloth and the epoxy resins, so I may be able to answer some of your questions on building a kayak. For those of you who are interested in pursuing the “do-it-yourself” option, I have links to several companies that offer plans, kits, and classes and a list of books and other resources. Finally, I wish you all the luck in the world and hope I will have the opportunity to meet you and your new kayak or canoe on the water some day!
Companies that offer plans, kits, and classes:
(This list is not intended to endorse any companies, only to provide help in your research.)
- Absolute Wooden Kayaks
- Aladdin Products, Inc.
- Arby Viking Canoe
- Bear Mountain Boat Shop
- Carrying Place Canoe & Boatworks, Ltd.
- Chesapeake Light Craft
- Feather Canoes
- Green Valley Boat Works
- Guillemot Kayaks
- JEM Watercraft
- Laughing Loon
- NorthWest Canoe
- Northwoods Canoe Co.
- One Ocean Kayaks
- Redfish Kayak
- Sea Dog Boats
- Shearwater Boats
- Stillwater Boats
- Superior Kayaks
- The Newfound Woodworks, inc.
- Upper Cananda Canoe Co.
- Waters Dancing Boat Kit Company
- Waterstrider Boats
- White Salmon Boat Works
Books About Building Canoes/Kayaks:
- “Building a Greenland Kayak” by Mark Starr
- “Building and Repairing Canoes and Kayaks” by Jack Brosius
- “Building the Greenland Kayak” by Christopher Cunningham
- “Building Strip-Planked Boats” by Nick Schade
- “Canoe and Kayak Building the Light and Easy Way: How to Build Tough Super-Safe Boats in Kevlar, Carbon, or Fiberglass” by Sam Rizzetta
- “Canoe Paddles – A Complete Guide to Making Your Own” by Graham Warren & David Gidmark
- “Canoecraft” by Ted Moores and Merilyn Mohr
- “Canoes and Kayaks for the Backyard Builder” by Skip Snaith
- “Featherweight Boatbuilding” by Mac McCarthy
- “Fuselage Frame Boats: A Guide to Building Skin Kayaks and Canoes” by S. Jeff Horton
- “Hooper Bay Kayak Construction” by David W. Zimmerly
- “Kayakcraft: Fine Woodstrip Kayak Construction” by Ted Moores and Jennifer Moores
- “Kayaks You Can Build” by Ted Moores and Greg Rossel
- “Practical Boat Building for Amateurs” by Adrian Neison & Dixon Kemp
- “Stitch-and-Glue Boatbuilding: How to Build Kayaks and Other Small Boats” by Chris Kulczycki
- “The Aleutian Kayak” by Wolfgang Brinck
- “The New Canoe Shop” by Chris Kulczycki
- “The New Kayak Shop” by Chris Kulczycki
- “The Strip-Built Sea Kayak” by Nick Schade
- “The Stripper’s Guide to Canoe-building” by David Hazen
- “Wood and Canvas Kayak Building” by George Putz
Other Websites and Resources for Building/Repairing Canoes & Kayaks
- Fibre Glast Developments Corporation
- Sea Kayaking UK color chart with RAL numbers for matching gelcoat color
- Kayak Maintenance and Repair -handout from SherriKayaks seminar on boat maintenance and repair
There is more information on boat and gear repair on the “Paddling Equipment” page of this website.