Posted on

Building the Shearwater 17 Stitch & Glue Kayak

If you’re building the Shearwater 17 Stitch and Glue Kayak, the first step is to assemble the Okume panels.

The panels are shipped from Chesapeake Light Craft and are CNC precision cut, so there isn’t a lot of difficulty preparing the panels before stitching them together. They are however shipped in roughly eight foot lengths and so you will need to glue them together to make full 17 foot long panels.

The process of building the Shearwater 17 Stitch and Glue Kayak is simple enough because Chesapeake machines their panels to have special puzzle piece type cut outs at the ends of the panels that simple link together. By glueing the joints together with thickened epoxy and adding a layer of fiberglass on the seams, the joints become strong and stable.
Building the Shearwater 17 Stitch and Glue Kayak
In addition to glueing the panels together, you will likely also need to remove small little tabs from the edges of the panels (left behind from the cnc machining process).

Once the panels are glued together and the tabs have been removed, a bevel is then added to the joining edges of the panels before they are stitched together.

Building the Shearwater 17 Stitch and Glue Kayak – Joining the Panels

The following video is part two in our series and illustrates the first few steps in joining the panels.

Stitch and Glue Kayak Building

“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

Its a simple method of kayak building which uses plywood panels stitched together, usually with copper wire, and glued together with 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.