I built this boat from in early 2006 from plans I purchased from CLC. While its over 3 years since I built the boat, I think its still worth recording it here – better late than never.
As I built this kayak from plans, the first step was to purchase all the materials. Generally this was from local suppliers around Newcastle.
- Plans and Instructions – Chesapeake Light Craft
- Plywood (marine grade hoop pine) – Mister Ply & Wood
- Epoxy – West System (105 resin with 206 hardener)
- Primer – International Pre-Kote
- Paint – International Brightside (Yellow)
- Varnish – International Goldspar
CLC provide “wood flour” with their kits to make epoxy into glue and filler. I couldn’t find anything similar locally so used microfibres.
MAKING THE PANELS
In the US, sheets of plywood come in 8ft lengths which are 2440mm. Plywood in Australia is exactly 2400mm long. As the Chesapeake 16 is around 4.8m long and allowing for the scarf joint, the side panels could not be made from two sheets. The Chesapeak 17 and 18 have an extra scarf joint so I did the same with mine. To ensure strenght I put this about 300mm from the stern.
The scarfs required lots of hard work with the block plane and lots of sharpening the blade as it gets blunt on the glue in the plywood. Glueing the joints was tricky as its hard to line them up once the slippery epoxy was applied. I managed to get four good lengths with strong joints to make the panels from.
I followed the setout offsets and cut the panels in pairs as suggested in the CLC building manual to ensure both sides of the boat are the same.
I epoxied on the shear clamps which were also scarf joine to get the length.
I know had the four panels ready for stitching.
Stitching the panels together with copper wire was relatively simple. The shear clamps were trimmed to allow the bow and stern to come together. It now looks like a boat!
Next I flipped the boat over to pull the twist out of the hull. This is a fiddly job of loosening wires and tugging on the panels. This is an important step to get right before glassing so take your time!
Next the bulkheads were stitched in and its ready for glassing!
GLASSING THE HULL
The inside of the hull was epoxied in three sections. First the epoxy was made into a thick paste and fillets put along all joints. The cockpit area was completely covered in glass cloth and then a coat of unthickened epoxy added to fill the weave. Between the bulkheads the the bow and stern glass tape was applied to the keel and chines and the whole area coated in epoxy. The next day a second coat of epoxy was applied to all areas to fill the rest fo the glass weave.
The pumps purchased with the epoxy made the task of quickly making up epoxy easy.
The hull was then flipped over and a sheet of glass cloth draped over the whole hull and epoxy added. Two more coats are required to fill the weave. I was a bit sloppy with this step and there were a few runs of epoxy. I would pay for this later at the sanding step. The excess glass cloth was trimmed off with a knife once the epoxy was hard.
ADDING THE DECK
Prior to instlalling the deck the shear clamps needed to be planned to the angle to match the radius of the front and back decks. The inside of the deck was sealed with epoxy and an epoxy glue mix was then applied to the top of the bulkheads and shear clamps. The deck was then bent over the hull and nailed to the shearclamps with bronze nails. This step requires two people. Note that the deck is made of two pieces initially overlapping at the cockpit. This overlap is then cut off.
The edges of the deck were then cut off flush with the hull.
As I intended to varnish the deck, I stained it using Estapol Wood Gel. The stain must be applied before epoxying so that it soaks into the wood. It also must be a water based stain as the epoxy won’t bond to the wood if an oil based product is used. The colour I used is western cedar.
Once the stain was well dry (I left for a week to be sure). A layer of glass cloth was applied and sealed with epoxy.
COCKPIT AND HATCHES
After cutting out the hatches with the template provided with the plans it was time to make the cockpit coaming. This was made of laminated plywood. Each layer was cut out and epoxied and stacked in place over the cockpit. To save time I laminated all peices at once rather than one at a time. This made a slippery stack but I got it all together eventually. Don’t skimp on the clamps.
Once the epoxy was set the rough edges were planed off with a spokeshave and then sanded and stained before applying two coats of epoxy to seal the wood.
PREPARATION FOR PAINTING
Sanding, sanding, sanding ……
Get a good orbital sander and change the sanding discs a lot!
PAINTING AND VARNISHING
After two coats of undercoat (on the bottom and sides only) and a light sand, 6 coats of paint and varnish were applied.
Here’s a photo of the kayak with deck rigging and seat ready for launching.