Need help on first build

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by JR8916, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. JR8916
    Joined: Nov 2010
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    Location: Florida

    JR8916 New Member

    :confused:I have been searching for the right canoe/kayak/small boat and everything has some drawback to them. So I am going to build my own. This is my first build. My #1 issue is stability, I am 6 ft tall and weigh 300lbs. I need to build a canoe or piroque so I can stand up and fish. Most of the time I will be solo and using a trolling motor. I am thinking of 12 - 14ft and a wide floor base for stability. I saw on the internet a canoe that caught my eye but tooo expensive is the Myers Sportspal X-13. Can the forum members give me a starting piont and suggestions on my build. Oh my budget is less than $200 dollars.

    Thank you
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You don't want a canoe or kayak if you intend to stand up and fish. You want a flat bottom skiff, preferably one designed to row well. Also a $200 budget may not be especially realistic, particularly for a novice home built.
  3. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    Par is a credit worthy advisor. He got it right on both counts. Standing in a kayak is out of the question. Standing in a canoe is chancy, especially for a big guy. (unless you are also a ballet master). You are going to need some chine width. The flattie skiff is a good option.

    Best advice is to build in steps until you can gather the wherewithal to do a good job of the build. Think in terms of $500 MOL. You do not have to do it all at once unless instant gratification has you in its grips.
  4. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    Honestly it is difficult to give any advice if your budget is $200.
    It is unrealistic.
    I suggest to start raising some fund prior to touch anything.
    As Messabout said $500. I will say around the $1000.
    Good luck
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    There are many small skiffs and row boats that will fit the bill here, possibly a few that can come in close to budget, assuming you're not going to protect the hull with a 'glass sheathing.

    I remember seeing one in the pull out section to WoodenBoat a few years ago. It was very simple, external chine log, maybe 3 frames a few sheets of plywood and if memory serves a cute little girl at the helm when it was finished. This would be ideal for you, high initial stability, could by row, sail or powered by a trolling motor, all efficiently.

    Given your big guy status, I'll recommend a 11' - 12' or skiff, so you don't feel like you're walking around on a floating memory foam cushion.
    1 person likes this.
  6. larry larisky

    larry larisky Previous Member

    this is very informative. it help me too.
  7. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member


    I think many on this list are boat snobs. You can build a simply plywood skiff with lumber yard plywood for under your budget, even less if you scrounge and salvage wood and parts. It will be a bit on the heavy side, and many not last as long as one made with high quality boat wood, boat paint and resin, but it can be done. With dry storage and regular maintenance it will last a long time.

    I have built 13 boats, all with salvaged lumber of supplies, most were well under $100 to build. The most expensive one was about $250 for a folding kayak with an all aluminum frame. I built a 14' sailboat for about $35 out of pocket using all salvaged materials, still enjoying it 5 years later. None use fiberglass, all are painted or varnished, all have held up well with some regular maintenance/repainting, minor repairs, etc.

    One friend of mine build a lumber yard skiff when he was 16 years old, and was still using it over ten years later (and he still would be had he not parked it over a dryer outlet vent, it rotted out the floor).

    A 30" wide or more, fairly flat bottom kayak about 17 or 18 feet long with hard chines should be stable enough to stand up in with some practice, or sit on a low stool. These are inexpensive boats to build if you go skin on frame, 3/4" square stringers with plywood frames, lash the stringers on with polyester lacing cord. Cover with heavy canvas or 8-10 oz nylon and paint with any oil based paint or varnish (I get my paint at garage sales left overs, real cheap, or sometimes free from mis-mixed paint at paint stores too).

    Even if you buy everything new and rip the stringers from an 18' 2x10, you will only spend about $100. The fun thing about skin-on-frame is you can change the width or length of the boat with easy adjustments to the design, and it will still fair nicely and be easy to build. They also come together fast and are fun to build. The last one I built took about 30 man-hours, including ripping all the stringers and parts from a single 2x10.

    This last one I recently built, a 16' two man open kayak (like a decked canoe), for about $55 worth of materials I bought at Lowes and a few other local stores. You just need to shop carefully. I went through the pile of 16' 2x10s and found a fairly clear one, and ripped all the stringers and parts I needed on a table saw from this one board. all the lumber used was a single 3/8" cdx sheet of plywood, one 2x10, some plated deck screws and tightbond II glue, and about 5 yards worth of polyester fabric (from a second hand store for only $8), and a gallon of free latex paint.

    If you are going to buy expensive boat building materials to make a pretty work of art, just buy a used boat off of Craig's list, it will be faster and cheaper. If you want to design and build a simple fishing boat, because you like to build or because you can not find what you want, keep it cheap and have a good time. I would not recommend building it to save money, do it because you like the creative process.

    Keep your eyes open for good deals on supplies, or free lumber from places where they tear down old wood buildings. Keep it simple, and have fun with it.

    You can search for free plans, here are a few sites to look at:

    here is a site with great old plans from the do-it-yourself magazines from the past. all are designed for first time builders and using lumberyard materials. There are free kayaks, canoes, skiffs and row boat plans.
  8. Knut Sand
    Joined: Apr 2003
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    Location: Kristiansand, Norway

    Knut Sand Senior Member

    Also look at this one:

    Seem to fit your bill and also partly your demands.
    I still wouldn't stand in a skiff like that.
    Forget kajak unless your COG is extremely low.
    Loose weight or build bigger. Arkimedes, and what he figured out must still be considered...
  9. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Yep, the lumber yard skiff. It's been around a while and is stable enough to stand in. Instead of file planking the bottom I'd use piece of plywood and a butt joint.

    Again there are lots of skiffs, but it's important to get one that's using currently available materials, which the vast majority of free plans don't.

    I've never seen a kayak that could tolerate a tall, 300 pound man standing up and casting in it. You could with practice, but the learning process will entail getting wet and reboarding the kayak. The same would be true of a large canoe, though you'd probably fall in less, while learning not to.

    A 12' boat is more then capable of holding you up and if it has it's beam carried into it's ends a little, plenty of stability. 300 pounds in nothing more then a two man boat. Actually, it's less then a two man boat technically, so don't be so intimidated by the weight issue, it's not a big deal really.
  10. Knut Sand
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    Knut Sand Senior Member


    But the dreamcatcherboats mentioned above, (#7, makes me dream of something superlight... with sail, for hunting.... But will it hold the beating...? (equipment and heavy boots, made for walks in rocky terrain, and not a single schred of the brain conserned about where (and how) you place your feet, nor where (or how) you land the boat...).
  11. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    For an easy and cheap build, a punt or john boat can't be beat. You can use 3/8" cdx (picked carefully) and tape the seams with fiberglass mat and polyester. It will have the most stability per lenght.
  12. Dave Gentry
    Joined: May 2010
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    Dave Gentry Junior Member

    You should check out Jim Michalak's Jon Jr - a simple plywood Jon boat that you could stand up in, and that you could build within your budget. The plans are very cheap, and you can row it, if you don't have an outboard. You should still exercise care when choosing your plywood - looking for waterproof glue (exterior ply), and as many plies, and as few voids, as possible.

    Check out Jim's book "Boatbuilding for Beginners and Beyond," as well - an excellent resource for budding boatbuilders.

    As for the kayak idea, you could easily build a skin-on-frame kayak under your budget, but standing up in one is unlikely at best, as others have said. The Chuckanut 15 tandem is a SOF recreational kayak 15'x32" and will easily hold you - and is both quick and cheap to build. It is exceptionally stable, but you still wouldn't be able to stand up in it for very long!
    Plans are (currently) free. Homebuilder plans.html
  13. rasorinc
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    rasorinc Senior Member

  14. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    That is an interesting approach to solve the problem of standing up in a kayak.

    You could build a skin-on-frame kayak with fold-out, or slide out, out riggers that would accomplish the same thing. You just bungee them down into place, and you will have a nice stable platform you can stand on. The out riggers could be just some foam blocks.

    This would be a much more practical, and more efficient, boat to paddle, than a really fat kayak.
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