Stitch-and-Glue Kayak Building

High-quality plywood, glass fabric, epoxy resin and varnish form the basis of the construction process. The result convinces with aesthetics, robustness and low weight.

Transferring geometry to plywood sheets

After deciding on a kayak model, take all the necessary information from the boat plan to transfer the geometry of the kayak components to plywood sheets. Our video Holzkajakbau nach Bauplan ("Building a kayak according to a wooden boat plan") shows exactly how this works. 

The plans consist of five sheets in DIN A1 format (594 x 841 mm) and contain overview drawings, spacing information, dimension tables and templates. The contours of large components (hull planks) are transferred to the plywood sheets using dimension tables. For smaller components, templates are cut directly from the plan. 

By the way, together with the construction plan you will receive a list of the required material as well as suggestions for sources of supply (however, the sources are located in Germany). 

Cutting out components

All plywood components are cut out with a jigsaw. In addition to the hull planks and deck, these are the cockpit rim, bulkheads, stowage hatch covers and deck beams. After cutting out, the edges of the components are sanded.

Four plywood sheets with dimensions of (at least) 2.44 m x 1.22 m are needed per kayak, three of them 4 mm thick, the fourth 6 mm. 

Stitching the hull

The 3-dimensional shape of the boat hulls is created by first stitching the plywood planks together using thin wires. The seams are then glued together using high-strength epoxy resins and glass tape, and the wires are usually removed again. The stitch-and-glue method is widely used in North America and has been brought to perfection over the past decades.

Stitching the bottom planks

Connecting bottom and side planks

Installing bulkheads and deck beam

Installing of the deck

Installing hatch covers and cockpit rim

Attaching the deck fittings

Reinforcement with fiberglass fabric 

For further stabilization, the boats are covered with a fiberglass fabric on the outside and partly also on the inside. Due to its transparency, it is not visible as a reinforcing material. On the contrary, the decorative wood structure of the deck is characteristic of our kayaks. 

The composite of epoxy resin and fiberglass fabric is extremely resilient and naturally watertight. Neither permanent load changes (e.g. due to waves) nor single and punctual load impacts (e.g. in case of collisions with obstacles or when entering the boat) pose a greater problem than with other construction materials. And the wood cannot rot either - the wooden core of the kayaks is sealed off from air and water. Several layers of varnish are also applied to the outside of the hull and deck.  

Instructions and support

The Stitch-and-Glue construction method is ideal for do-it-yourselfers, as it requires hardly any special tools - after a few preparations, you can jump straight into the construction project. We have documented the entire construction process with videos. So you can see the next upcoming work step in advance in the video in each case. 

If you already have experience in boat building, you usually don't need any information other than a boat plan to build one of our kayak models. However, if you are building a boat for the first time, the detailed printed construction manual is recommended as a supplement to the video documentation. If you still have questions, please contact us!