Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

Tools to build a Kayak

In Tools, Wood Kayak on January 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Below I will show and describe the tools I use to build my kayaks.  By NO means are these tools required, and most of them I owned before I took up this hobby.  In fact I owned all my big tools from either work or making the furniture in my house.  Also keep in mind that I only have a 2 car garage in which I have to keep the yak I am building and all of my tools.  So all of my tools are on casters so I can roll them outside to use them.

Large Power Tools

Table Saw… is what I use to cut my strips.  Mine is an old Delta Contractors saw which I added a Beismeyer fence and a router table on one end.  This is kind of a shop staple.

Bandsaw… again I have owned mine for more years than I care to remember.  Mostly used to make custom cuts like making forms, eyelets, cockpit recess fillers, etc.  It is a Delta 14″

Router tables… Hahahaha, I am so router rich it is scary.  My one is a Kreg table, with a Woodpecker lift, and a 3 1/2 hp Delta router that I use mostly to cut the cove in my strips.  Having a fancy lift in it makes it easy to set up.  I also will use it to cut out the recess of my skeg handles, do round overs on other assorted pieces.

The other most used is the one I have mounted to the extension of my table saw.  I mostly use this one for cutting the bead on my strips.  Having a delta 690 router, it is not as easy to adjust.

Drill Press… this is a fairly new tool to my shop, not for kayaks but to replace a cheap one that was not very accurate.  I chose a bench type for room and it does everything I ask of it.  I chose the Jet because of reviews and cost.

Thickness Planer…I have to say I do love what this tool does.  It is a DeWalt 13″ that allows me to keep all my strips uniform in thickness and when I buy my lumber Rough Sawn then it allows me to plane it down to the 3/4 or 5/8 strip width.  I also use it to size my combing lip strips and stem strips.  Needed?  No, just very handy

Wood Lathe…  I have used this tool once in building kayaks, and that was to turn carry handles.

Strip Sander… I use this to shape different things such as eyelets(faring), clean up angle cuts on my strips where they meet the stems of the recess fillers.  Very handy and a lot faster than a plane.  I use a very cheap Delta 1X30.



Hand Tools

Planes…  I have 4 that I use on my yaks and all 2 are low angle block planes.  2 of them are Stanley brand and what I use for the rough work.  They have a habit of dulling quickly hence why I have 2 of them.  The 3rd one I own cost a months pay and is my Baby. LOL  It is a “Veritas Low Angle” with the extra handle and knob.  It also has a much harder steel blade which does awesome finish work and stays sharp longer.  The draw back to this one is it takes more work to sharpen it.  The little one is a small Bullnose plane.  Don’t use often but is handy when you need it.

Spokeshaves…  I have so many different types of spokeshave I dont know where to start.  It almost seems like I started collecting them.  So I think as I take pictures of them, I will give a description.

The top one (red) is an Avanti flat sole standard shave.  Inexpensive but works well.  Next is my favorite standard shave.  It is a very old “Stanley Sweetheart” flat sole shave.  And the 3rd in this group is another Avanti, but it has a rounded sole.All spokeshaves take a little practise to figure out the right angle to hold, blade depth, and pressure which to use them but it is worth it.






 This second grouping are pretty much specialty shaves  Using the picture on the left I will start from top to bottom.  This unique tool is called a “Pull Shave”.  Its curved sole and handle placement make it perfect for planeing inside curves… like where the bow & stern widen out and the insides of the kayak.  Next is another baby of mine, it is a flat sole “Veritas” shave with a hardened blade.  Great for that final smoothing.  The skinny black one is also a “Veritas”, but it is a low angle spokeshave for those knarley grains.  And last is another “Stanley Sweetheart” convertible shave.  The blade sits in a barrel body which you rotate to adjust the amount of cut you want and as you can see between the 2 pictures, the handles can be moved from the sides (either making left or right hand) to the front.  For those that don’t know, Sweeheart planes were made in England and are of much finer quaility than the Stanleys made here in the USA.


Scrapers…  There are 2 types of scrapers.  The first being your basic painters type that I use to remove glue drips and such, and the 2nd type being a cabinet scraper that is used to scrape the raw wood to a super smooth finish

Japanese Pull Saws…  Not until I started making kayaks did I realise how far ahead the Japanese are ahead of us Americans when I comes to cutting tools.  All of their saws cut on the pull stroke which makes them accurate and fast.  There are many different types with each having their own purpose.  The most common and used has a rip set on one side and a crosscut on the other.

Shinto Rasp…  Another Japanese marvel.  I use these on both the raw wood as well as on the epoxy.  You use them the same places you would use any rasp, what is cool about these is that one side is rough quick cut and the other has a fine finish cut.

Faring Sanders… These are home-made.  Using a piece of 1/4″ plywood and covering one side with melamine (any laminate), I cut them to a width of 4 1/2″ and various lengths.  I glued a couple of wooden knobs on them (backside)  to use as handles and I use PSA sandpaper made for vibrating Sanders.  These really do work well.  They level out the surface of your yak so when you have that piano finish, you don’t see dips caused by other Sanders.  This is one of my “MUST HAVE” tools for kayak building.

Clamps… What can I say, never enough.  I use all kinds from spring clamps of various sizes, pipe, bar, vise grip type, and I guess the “Doodads” mentioned later would even fall into this category.

Doodads…  These marvelous little acrylic thingys are just what is needed if you want to build your yak without using staples.  I found them on the Blue Heron website where a man in Portugal with the user name of “Amlap”(Silverio) designed them to make surfboards & kayaks.  He shared his design with others and a man in Australia who goes by the name of “Seppy” (Rick) who has access to a laser cutter and made them for everyone who wanted a set (100 pcs.) at minimal cost.  I ordered my first set and found them working so well (see Spring Run) that I ordered a second set while he was still making them.

Small Power Tools

DA Sander


Screw Gun


And The Most important in my shop

Is a good radio and a “Shop Dog”