DIY wooden Kayak vs DIY wood Paddle Board. | Which wood working project is right for you?

DIY wooden Kayak vs DIY wood Paddle Board. | Which wood working project is right for you?

Several thousand years ago the Inuit started building kayaks as a means for transportation and hunting in the Arctic. Kayaks move silently and are agile in the water which enabled the Inuit to sneak up on prey and hunt caribou, whale, walrus and seal with spears. These kayaks needed to be fast and were thus long and narrow but also incredibly unstable. A hunter needed to be skilled enough to throw the spear at a possibly moving target with one hand and use the other to hold out the kayak paddle to stabilize the water craft. 

In contrast, kayaking today is a popular form of recreation and relaxation and has fast become the most popular paddlesport. Traditional kayaks were made of all natural materials such as driftwood, willow, bone, caribou skins and whale fat for waterproofing. Modern kayaks have replaced traditional kayak building materials and methods with plastic and fiber-glass components made in a factory. Here at Jarvis Boards we want to teach you how to build a kayak using our stitch and glue wood kayak method available as a kit. Building with our kits is not only easy and fun, but it will allow you to be the owner of a very unique wooden kayak that you can proudly use and display. Not to mention, you made it yourself. 

If you have been thinking of building one of our wood paddle board kits, learning how to build a wood kayak could be an option. It may not seem like it, but a stitch and glue wood kayak is actually easier to build than our popular wood paddle board kits and faster as well. The stitch and glue method replaces the need to build ribbing or framework to create the shape and stabilize the hull of your watercraft. With our free stitch and glue wood kayak building instructions downloadable from our website, you will find that putting the pieces together to create the shape of your kayak is very similar to building a large 3D puzzle. If you decide to purchase one of our stitch and glue wood kayak kits, there are several models to choose from on our website, you will find everything needed to complete the kayak build in your kit. This is especially helpful if you want to save time and start building the kayak immediately as all the pieces come pre-cut exactly to size. It is also a cost saving measure if you do not have the tools necessary to complete a project like this completely from scratch or feel you have not yet mastered the woodworking skills required to cut the panels specifically to size. If this is your first time building a wood watercraft with a kit, you can expect to spend an average of 25 to 60 hours to complete the project. Having an extra helping hand is not necessary and most customers complete the build on their own, but we do recommend our stitch and glue kayak kits as a great father/son or family activity.   

DIY wooden kayak

Once your stitch and glue wood kayak kit arrives in the mail, the first step is to unpack and lay out all of the pre-cut panels. In the kit you will find everything you need to start your stitch and glue kayak build: wooden panels for forming the hull, glass sheathing cloth, epoxy resin, hardener, mixing cups, fiberglass tape, wire, gloves, glue and additional small parts. Each piece is labelled making them easily identifiable when laying out the panels into their full lengths and in the correct order. The next step includes using epoxy resin and fiberglass tape to form the full length panels. Once the panels are formed, the wire included in your kit is used to stitch the wood kayak together so that it holds its shape. Then the glue is applied to the seams so that when the wires are removed, the hull of your stitch and glue wood kayak does not come apart.


Glassing wood kayak

Glassing your kayak comes next. Glassing involves covering the hull of your wood kayak, both inside and out, with epoxy resin. The hull is then draped in the glass sheathing cloth and the cloth cut to size. Another coat of epoxy resin is then rolled on top. Depending on the style of stitch and glue wood kayak you have chosen to construct, these steps are basically repeated until your kayak build is complete. The full process is designed to take about 80 hours from start to finish. Resulting in an incredibly durable and attractive self-built kayak that is super lightweight and swift in the water.

The Jarvis Boards website makes it incredibly easy to order your stitch and glue kayak kit. And, just like our wooden paddle boards, each kayak includes badges and ratings on our website to help you find the wooden kayak building kit that meets your needs. Our ratings system will inform you as to which kayaks are built for speed and stability, but will also let you know which specific models are beginner friendly. Our past customers have found our ratings system very helpful in determining which model will deliver what they need.  If you have any questions before ordering, of course you can reach out at and we would be happy to assist. 

Jarvis boards reviews

Many of our DIY paddle board clients have wondered at the durability of a wood watercraft. Most are surprised to learn that wood fibers are much more durable than the plastic and fiberglass a store bought watercraft is typically made from. It is expected that your wood kayak will hit submerged rocks and branches and become beached on a rocky shore. With ordinary usage any damage a stitch and glue wood kayak will endure is superficial and can be easily repaired at home or at any reputable board shop.The kayaks made from our kits are low maintenance and do not require yearly upkeep.  

If building your own stitch and glue wood kayak sparks your interest, start by downloading our free How To Guide or checking out our model line up here: Kayak Models


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