Hello Everyone, wanna build a Kayak

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by cs2870, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. cs2870
    Joined: Sep 2010
    Posts: 3
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Pensacola, FL

    cs2870 New Member

    Hi everyone, came over here when I was googling "How to build a kayak". I love to flounder gig, inshore fish, offshore fish, etc. I'm just getting into hunting, but not much experience yet. I spend a lot of time on my own website about fishing but not sure if I'm allowed to mention my site here, so I won't.

    I want to build a cat kayak out of aluminum. Yeah, I know it will be somewhat noisy, but I think I can build one cheaper, lighter, and better than stuff on the market. The noise won't bother me too much.

    Even if I can't do all that, I just would love to build one and have the satisfaction of knowing I did it myself.

    Eventually, I want to build a 18 ft boat with high sides. Something I can take floundering and not draft much water, and then take out in the bay and not worry about waves coming over the sides. Boats are expensive, and I am an experienced aluminum welder, with my own Miller TIG machine.
  2. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
    Posts: 3,731
    Likes: 122, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1404
    Location: maine

    alan white Senior Member

    Aluminum will be too heavy or too thin. Have you ever heard of an aluminum kayak? Can you cite an example?
    I would give this advice to the novice: Don't get too inventive. Everything has been tried at least once.
    Why not try stitch and glue for your first kayak?
  3. cs2870
    Joined: Sep 2010
    Posts: 3
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Pensacola, FL

    cs2870 New Member

    No, I have not seen one yet. I am not convinced that means it's impossible though. Maybe just not cost effective.

    I do have some experience building pontoons. I don't think it would look exactly like the typical kayak, but I think with some out of the box thinking, a design could be made that is light enough, cheap enough materials wise.

    Probably not labor effective, but for me, thats ok, because Im not trying to sell them. I just want to build one for me. :)
  4. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    I would listen to Alans comment.

    There has to be more than one reason why such boat is not to find.

    Meanwhile you might enjoy this site:


    Sure Terry will chime in with much deeper insight than my hint can provide.

  5. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,936
    Likes: 148, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1593
    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    least expensive way to build is skin-on-frame, fast and little tooling required. If you build with salvaged lumber materials cost would be about $60 for one hull, even if you buy all lumber retail and rip the stringers yourself you are still only talking about $100 for a typical hull. And 30 to 60 hours build time including ripping down a 2x8 into stringers.

    I an not sure what a "cat" kayak is, are you talking about two hulls? Are you looking for a stable fishing platform? That is not a kayak, it is a one person catamaran. Same comments apply, but you would be building two smaller hulls.

    Unless you have a bunch of sheet alumnium available for free, I doubt you can buy it cheaper than building skin-on-frame. Next best bet would be stitch-n-glue using inexpensive door skin for plywood.
  6. cs2870
    Joined: Sep 2010
    Posts: 3
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Pensacola, FL

    cs2870 New Member

    What do you consider as too heavy?

    I am talking about something I can paddle, and fish from on the grass flats here in florida. Calling it a kayak, might be premature. I'll just call it a portable watercraft.
  7. Vulkyn
    Joined: Jun 2010
    Posts: 597
    Likes: 46, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 654
    Location: Egypt

    Vulkyn Senior Member

    Do you have a picture similar to what you have in mind? Should help determine what kind of boat you want to build ...
  8. cs2870
    Joined: Sep 2010
    Posts: 3
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Pensacola, FL

    cs2870 New Member

    I get aluminum at wholesale cost. I am 100% sure I cannot build it as cheap as the other methods you mentioned. But then, I am not into it for the cheapest method.

    Cheaper than something I can buy would be fine, and I just like working with aluminum. Wouldn't be the first time I did something just for the satisfaction. For the challenge. I like solving problems.

    As far as the not being a kayak, I would agree, it would be properly called a one person cat. But if you google catamaran kayak, you will find quite a few different images where they indeed call it a catamaran kayak, and that is something I am considering.

    If I could make it a monohull and stable, I would consider that as well. Here is an inflatable "catamaran kayak",

    http://www.inflatablekayaksource.com/product/395ps Deluxe Package

    but of course Im talking about something heavier duty than a blow up boat.
  9. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,936
    Likes: 148, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1593
    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    If you want something like that, I would suggest building a wide stable canoe. It will be easier to build, have more cargo capacity and be a good fishing platform and still useful for other types of boating.

    Typically you can buy used for far less than you can build, even at whole sale material costs.

    Build your own because either you want something you can not buy, or because you like building (or both!). Not to save money.

    good luck.
  10. terhohalme
    Joined: Jun 2003
    Posts: 512
    Likes: 40, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 506
    Location: Kotka, Finland

    terhohalme BEng Boat Technology

  11. EuroCanal
    Joined: Jul 2010
    Posts: 76
    Likes: 6, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 82
    Location: Luxembourg

    EuroCanal Junior Member

    There used to be a lot of aluminium racing sculls around, before carbon fibre became popular. I used to race an aluminium scull we bought second-hand at the local boat club, many years ago. They're still using it. They last forever, as they are easy to repair as long as you don't bend the frame.

    These guys make aluminium cat sculling boats (see attachment) - not quite the same thing, but it at least shows that the concept works.

    (I'm not selling anything here - just an interesting boat!)

    Attached Files:

    1 person likes this.
  12. Tiburon
    Joined: Sep 2010
    Posts: 0
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Port Allen, La

    Tiburon New Member

  13. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 4,604
    Likes: 177, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 2484
    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    If you're going to kayak off the coast of somalia then I suggest something like this.

    Attached Files:

  14. cthippo
    Joined: Sep 2010
    Posts: 813
    Likes: 52, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 465
    Location: Bellingham WA

    cthippo Senior Member

    Hey Petros,

    Weren't you saying in another thread that you can skin a kayak with just about anything? Why not aluminum sheet?

    No, I'm not thinking a production boat here, just something to try for the hell of it. "why not" is the root of all innovation.

    I'm also wondering about your comment that you can buy for less than you can build. my current (used) boat cost me $350, the one I'm building I have far less than half that into and it's getting near done. My last remaining big expense will be the fabric covering, and that should be about $30 with coupon at Joanns. That said, mine is built entirely from recycled wood, most of which came either from the Re-store or the scrap pile at the housing contractor down the street.

    With a cedar strip boat the difference would be even more pronounced. I'm not sure what used ones are going for, but a well made new one is around $2600 and they seem to retain their value very well. I priced out the cost of materials to do a 18 foot cedar strip boat (Guillemot Great Auk HC) and it came to well under $500 total. The actual cedar would only cost me about $150, and probably another hundred to have the large sawing done. Granted, I could probably do some of that myself, but it's much cheaper to pay someone who has the right tools than to go buy a resaw that will cut 12" lumber.

    Depending on the type of 'yak you want, it's hard to find them for under $300 used and easy to find used ones over a thousand. I can build a lot of boat for $1000 out of recycled and salvaged materials.

  15. Loafer
    Joined: Dec 2008
    Posts: 4
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Baton Rouge, LA

    Loafer New Member

Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.