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Building a Stitch and Glue Kayak

Building a Stitch and Glue Kayak has been a personal interest and goal of mine for close to 20 years. Most of you reading this article know that for around a decade now I’ve been building cedar-strip canoes. So it was great news when Chesapeake Light Craft agreed to work with me to build the Shearwater 17.

Of course, Chesapeake is known for their exceptional stitch and glue boat kits and plans. To me, they’re definitely a world leader in providing independent home boat builders with the materials and resources to create a great boat.

Building a Stitch and Glue Kayak

“Stitch-and-glue boat building, along with the development of epoxy and modern mahogany marine plywood, has revolutionized and revitalized wooden boat building.” – Chesapeake Light Craft

Building a stitch and glue kayak

Building a stitch and glue kayak is a simple method of kayak building which uses plywood panels stitched together, usually with copper wire, and glued together with thickened epoxy resin.

Stitch-and-glue boat kayak building can eliminate much of the need for frames or ribs. Plywood panels are cut to shape and stitched together to form an accurate hull shape without the need for forms or special tools.

Building a Stitch and Glue Kayak – Preparing to Stitch the Panels

Typically, stitch and glue kayaks are built using marine grade Okume plywood which has been cut to the design shape required. Once the panels have been cut and assembled (see: Building the Shearwater 17 Stitch and Glue Kayak – Joining the Panels for details) its then time to add a bevel to the mating edges of the panels.

The bevel is whats called a “rolling bevel.” Basically its a bevel that has a different angle depending on the position on the edge of the plywood panel. To create the bevel, simply use your small block plane.

Now, here’s the thing… Rolling bevels can be a bit tricky to produce. So if you’re unsure, don’t worry, a bevel with an angle close to 45 degrees will work just fine.

The video below provides details description of whats required to prepare the panels for assembly.


Building a Stitch and Glue Kayak

The kayak I’m building is the Shearwater 17. Its a hybrid stitch and glue, cedar strip boat. A light touring class kayak that’s 17 feet long and has a beam of 22 inches. Her finished weight should come in at around 45 lbs. She’s a sleek boat and so far is a pleasure to build.