To the newcomer or pleasure kayaker this might seem like a daunting task, but with the right determination and planning you can build a high-quality kayak that will rival larger or more experienced manufactures.
Before you get started there are a few things you might want to consider. What type of material do you plan to build with? Most do-it-yourselfers will want to use wood. You can certainly use fiberglass or some other type of material, but the process is basically the same, especially when you first get started. Now if you have images of Native Americans cutting down a tree, hollowing out a log, and using fire and heavy stones to form a canoe, you have the wrong image!
The process can be far simpler, although any method you choose will be time and space consuming. One of the biggest advantages to making your kayak with wood is wood is easily accessible and can be worked with tools you probably already have. There is no need to purchase special tools (in most cases) and you can start building right away!
There are two main methods for building your own kayak: strip-built; and stitch-and-glue. The strip-built method basically means you bend many thin strips of wood around a form to create a boat shape. The boat is then covered with epoxy resin and fiberglass cloth. You then remove the wood from the form and use the same fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin inside the boat. Just by simply varying the thickness of the wood you can either make the kayak extremely strong or extremely light.
The second major way to build a kayak from plans is the stitch-and-glue method. This method simply uses strips of plywood stitched together with wire and glued together. Stitch-and-glue boats use carefully formed panels that must bend to create tight joints. This is probably the quickest method to use but because it uses larger panels than the strip-built method the boat might have sharper angles that are difficult to form into a sleeker looking design.
Stitch-and-glue boats are also covered with fiberglass and epoxy and produces a lightweight and strong boat that requires little maintenance. The method you choose depends on the kayak plans you purchase and your personal preference.