Building 'Willow'

This fall I am building a kayak based on the plans Drawn by Bill Thomas and featured in WoodenBoat magazine.

I am working with a friend, and so far have invested about 18 hours in getting wood, setting up my shop, scarfing planks and laying out lines.

The pictures below show the clear cedar being ripped for the sheer clamps. The plywood is ripped to width and being scarfed to make 18 foot long pieces, scarfing is done with a hand plane and makes it possible to join the pieces together using 1:8 ratio slope.

Now that we have the plywood ready the next step is to draw out the lines of the planks onto each piece of wood. This process is known as lofting. You will also see that I have made templates from the plans to get the bow and stern shapes accurately laid out.

The shapes of the planks need to be drawn in so there are lines connecting the station together. This is done using various methods. Here we use nails placed on each point and then use a 3/8" batten to get fair curves.


The Plywood pieces are screwed together and the cut to shape using a jig saw.The planks are then smoothed to shape using a block plane or 80 grit sandpaper and a soft sanding block.

Shear clamps are glued up using clear cedar, then glued to the side clamps. The shear clamps allow the decks to be attached and glued to the hull.

Once the shear clamps are glued up and attached the next step is to "stitch" the side panels together with copper wire to put the bottom of the hull. This took longer that I expected to line everything up and drill holes as you go.