Kayaking holidays are one of only a few trips you can take where you need no technology. Take your phone for safety, maybe a GPS if your map reading is ropey, but forget the high-tec: this is traditional adventuring. All you need is a boat, so why not build a kayak of your own from scratch?
You may be thinking when it comes to it, they are specialist machines so you can’t build your own kayak. Looking at the long-distance adventurers and world travellers on various popular shows and they don’t dare venture out with any old gear, let alone home made equipment.
But people have been making canoes and kayaks for around for 4,000 years – long before adventure became a high-tech industry. These days people still build kayaks often using the traditional methods and materials. If they can, you can too.
How to build a kayak
To find out how, we asked boat builder Richie Bracey of Ram-Leisure how to build a kayak. He recommends using a hybrid method that uses two different types of construction. Firstly the hull is built with stitch and glue, and secondly the deck is built using a strip-built method.
So here is a step by step guide from a boat builder of how to build a kayak:
Step 1: Sheets of marine plywood need to be cut down to the appropriate widths and then joined together with a joint known as a scarf joint, this then makes up the lengths required for the different parts of the kayak.
After the lengths are joined he then takes the offsets and plots positions on the ply, these marks are then joined using a flexible baton or something similar so that you get the shape that needs cutting out.
Step 2: Before stitching the pieces together he glues the sheer clamps to the side (this creates a firm joint between the deck and the hull) and glues the support rails in for the adjustable foot rest.
Step 3: Then the pieces are stitched together with copper wire threaded through a 1.5mm hole. This is done every 4 to 6 inches until the hull is complete, and then a temporary support is added to keep the hull in the correct shape and so that the beam (width) is the correct distance before gluing the inside of the hull.
Step 4: Before the hull is glued he checks for windage to make sure the hull is true and not twisted, and that all the panels are correctly aligned
Step 5: After gluing, the deck beams are installed, the copper wire stitches are removed, and the outside of the hull is filled and fared with fillers, and sanded back again until it is smooth and shaped.
Step 6: Once Richie has fitted the deck and it’s once painted and prepared, it’s almost ready for it’s first kayaking adventure. But where you take it, now that’s down to you.
OK so perhaps you don’t have time to build your own kayak. If you are looking to purchase one instead check out this useful guide to beginner kayaks to help you choose the right craft.
Thanks to Rich Bracey at Ram-Leisure for telling us how to build a kayak.
If you would like to take a kayak trip then check out our kayaking holiday discounts as you could save a packet.