Basics of building a boat

Building a Kudzu Craft ™ Boat

So what is involved in building one of our boats? Let me give you a brief description of the steps.

You start by building a strong back, a long wooden beam. You will your boat on top of and use it as a referent point to measure off of. You mount the furnished uprights to your strongback and then mount two frames to the uprights.

You temporarily attach the stringers (the long piece of wood that run from one end of the boat to the other) to the two frames and then start inserting frames. Next, trim the ends of the stingers to fit the bow and stern. Once that is done you start to lash the frames together.

I advocate lashing tthe frames together with artificial sinew as opposed to gluing the frames together. If you want to epoxy your boat you can but we don’t support this method.

You sand and do any touch ups that are necessary at this point. Then oil the frame and it’s ready for the skin.

When it comes to skinning I prefer a nylon or polyester skin sewn onto the boat, both fabrics have good and bad points. Nylon relaxes when it gets wet. So you when you get on the water the skin relaxes and can get baggy for the first few times. This gets better over time.Polyester doesn’t relax but it is not as puncture resistance as nylon. But polyester is supposed to be more abrasion resistance and is also less demanding when it comes to finishes. While very few things adhere to nylon.

Once your skin is sewn on you have to seal (waterproof) it. On nylon skins I have used ZAR exterior oil based polyurethane. It has a proven track record over hundreds of boats. It’s not always easy to find but it’s worth searching out. Another good finish is Dura-Tuff.With polyester skins you have a lot more choices. On the boat in the photo I am using oil based paint.

Then you just add any deck rigging, a seat and back band and off to the water you go.

You don’t have to be woodworker to build one of our kits. Some woodworking experience is a definitely a plus and will make the job easier. One thing to keep in mind is that our kits are hand built and there will be some trimming and fitting to be done. You won’t just screw it together and it be ready to go.

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