The Pros and Cons
Reasons for not building a wooden sea kayak (that had me running in circles for close to 3 years):
- A dogged belief that there was no way I could accomplish it;
- No room. Tiny garage (6mtrs) and it would mean the beloved car would have to live in the driveway;
- Little to no woodworking skills and an equal quantity of woodworking tools to complement;
- No fibre glassing experience or skills;
- Concern that overseas designs would not complement Australia’s paddling conditions; Concern that the mahogany plywood (Oukome or Gabon) used in most kits was harvested unsustainably;
- Unlikely to find a finished version of the boat to test paddle to see if it was really the boat for me.
Reasons I was able to build a wooden kayak:
- I woke up to myself;
- Tiny garage proved adequate (I became proficient at doing the limbo). Car survived its driveway exile without any noticeable undesirable effects;
- Learnt woodworking skills through trial and much error and from books. A cache of woodworking tools grew in number to complement;
- Fibre glassing skills as per 2 above. Would know exactly not what to do for next boat;
- Settled on a local kit provider with extensive Australian paddling experience which was successfully transferred into his designs;
- As per 4 above as to the provider who only supplies marine grade plywood from sustainably harvested Hoop Pine;
- As per 4 and 5 above, local supplier was able to offer a finished version of the model to be built and I test paddled it to my appreciative delight.
End result is a sweet boat, a joy to paddle, that has its own unique feel and look. I am now busy working my way through a much-shortened set of reasons not to build another.
But wait thats not all – Even after you build a wooden boat and get it wet, other benefits from the building process become apparent. Post ‘woody construction’ you will find that not only have you acquired new skills, but also piles of left over material such as scraps of plywood and epoxy. The refinement and custom fitting process can now begin in earnest. Since building the woody I have added a rubber front hatch and had little problems fitting an electric pump to complement the existing manual system. Now planning to install a day hatch and a sail.
The hours of fun and amusement just goes on and on.