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Thread: Skin on frame kayaks and canoes

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Skin on frame kayaks and canoes

    While wandering around Youtube a few weeks ago, I ran across some videos on building skin on frame ( SOF ) watercraft.

    Having had little more than a passing interest in kayaks and canoes in the past, it has really been interesting to explore the whole SOF thing, to the point of being on the verge of building one, as in a 13-14' canoe that weighs about 25-30 pounds.

    If the thought of very light watercraft appeals to you, and you like the idea of building a canoe or kayak or rowboat or pram or even a sail boat, you might want to start with Dreamcatcher Boats or Gentry Custom Boats. There are several other outfits / websites offering boats, or plans, or kits or SOF boat building classes.

    If I get around to building an SOF canoe, I'll post it here. Things are a bit up in the air right now due to recent right shoulder injury, which hopefully will resolve shortly.

    The fish are always right.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Nunica Mi U S A


    One piece of advice for anyone doing this. If you build it indoors make sure the finished boat will fit through all doors and passages to get it out before you start. When I was very young my dad and his buddy built a pair of canoes in our basement over the winter. Unfortunately the basement stairs went up to a very small landing before turning to the right and on up to my mother's kitchen. A section of the stairway had to be cut away at waist height and a top rail installed. Some cupboards had to be pulled out which meant mom wanted new countertops while things were torn up. The canoes went way over budget to the point that they even discussed just cutting them up. I don't really remember this but mom brought it up every time dad started a new project in the house.
    Guns don't kill children. Children do! Guns just make them so much more efficient.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Fort Wayne, Indiana


    When I was a kid my best friend had a 14' kayak that had metal ribs and spruce stringers. We discovered that it is a good idea to carry some wide adhesive tape with you. I had one that was 21' long that I hauled on the roof of a 64 VW beetle. That boat was all wood and canvas. It was stable enough that one person could steady the boat and the other could stand to cast. Of course, my balance was much better then than now. It was kinda neat to watch the front of that boat flex in the waves.

    They are not expensive to make. Use the lightest weight cloth you think you can get away with. If you use cotton don't get carried away stretching the fabric over the frame. Just get it smooth. It will shrink enough when you paint it to seal it.


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