Dear Mr. Leinweber:
I've attached a photo of the Jam8 mini-kayak I built from free
plans that were published in BoatBuilder Magazine some years
back. The plans called for 1/8" doorskin ply, but that
wasn't available here in Wyoming, so I used 1/4" douglas
fir A/C Plywood for the hull. For the deck, I salvaged some
1/8" ply from an old hollow core interior door. I used
ClarkCraft 1-to-1 resin and hardener with wood flour as a thickening
agent to form the fillets and for the rest of the gluing. As
I mentioned, I measured the circumference of a dowel (actually,
an industrial-sized mop handle) and wrapped the mechanic's wire
around it to form the coils. The coil was cut into rings and
these steel rings coated with Turtle Wax car wax, which allowed
the wires to be pulled from the cured epoxy with gentle twisting
of locking pliers.
Since I had no fiberglass tape, I bought a package
of roving from an auto parts store and cut my own 3" tapes,
placing thin strips of duct tape on the fabric, then cutting
lengthwise down the strips of duct tape. This helped to curtail
unraveling. The interior seams were filleted and then taped,
the two deck beams installed (cut from 3/4" plywood) and
the boat was flipped. I then rounded the seams with a belt sander,
coated them with unthickened epoxy, and laid down the tape.
This fiberglass cloth is pretty coarse, and although you can't
see it in the photo, the weave stands out. I tried fairing it
with polyester body "Bondo," but this was less than
successful. If I were to build another such boat, I'd wait to
order fiberglass tape, 2" probably being adequate and lighter.
I'd also employ Mr. Welsford's suggestions
on fairing and finishing the weave of the tape for a better
On the positive side, this little boat floated well and was
rugged, even though it's short length means one has to paddle
faster and harder to keep up with a longer craft. Also, the
two coats of exterior latex house primer, covered with another
two coats of ext. latex house paint, faired very well. Douglas
Fir Ply is notorious for "checking," but there has
been little or none of this on the little kayak, even though
it's been stored out in the weather for several years.
Hope this helps.