When you combine working from home with a midwest winter you end up sitting (or laying) down a lot. While there are a lot of winter activities to keep oneself busy, unfortunately none of them are for me. Ice fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, and snowboarding – they are all too cold for me.
So I’ve been in search of a winter activity, a winter project, to keep myself busy and I’ve settled on building a kayak! I really have no idea what I’m doing so rather than starting from scratch – I’ll be building a kit from Chesapeake Light Craft. I have long admired their boat kits and despite feeling a bit clueless, I’m excited to undertake the challenge.
CLC Boats have a number of intriguing kits including canoes, sailboats, and even a teardrop camper! My dad has been working on a Chesapeake 17 but I’ve settled on the lightweight version, the Chesapeake 17LT. This kayak combines good looks with functionality while not appearing to be too difficult to build! For my first adventure with boat construction this kit seems like the best fit.
A Chesapeake 17LT
Unpacking the components
As a dad, it is now customary to start any project with a proper beer and building a kayak over winter calls for something fun. In this case, an English dark ale from Goose Island. Toffee with hints of dark bread, caramel, and rye. But I digress, we have a boat to build!
Our Chesapeake 17LT has arrived in two packages – one primarily with the wood components and the other containing the epoxy mixes and wood flour.
Next we start to get organized and confirm all the pieces we need have arrived safely. The beer is gone and it is time to start consulting the instruction manual. If you want to follow along on the process there is a great video on YouTube that I’ll be referencing as I go as well!
Stitch and Glue Construction
The method of construction we are using for this kayak kit is called stitch and glue. Essentially, the stitch and glue is a simple boat building method which uses plywood panels temporarily stitched together, typically with wire or zip-ties, and glued together permanently with epoxy resin. This type of construction eliminates much of the need for frames or ribs. The plywood side panels only come in 8ft sheets so we need to do some gluing together as a first step. Thankfully these puzzle joints make connecting them quite easy and I think they will look quite nice when finished!
Next we mix up some epoxy resin and hardener in a 2:1 ratio and add a splash of some silica powder to help give it a bit of thickness and ensure a strong joint.
And here are three sections glued together on my trusty sawhorses that will surely see quite a bit of work in the near future.
Join me next time when we will tackle the sheer clamps, some scarf joints, and review how our puzzle joints turned out!