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 appearance.

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.

Rodger Mathews