Chesapeake 17

I have never built a boat before. Going to buy and try to build this  kayak. Is it easy to build? Please give me feedback and suggestions. Buying the kit in about a month. thanks


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RE: Chesapeake 17

Well, I'm not exactly the voice of experience here, having not made one myself, but I'm going to be starting mine at tax refund time, and I've been lurking on these boards for a while. I've seen a number of people tackle these as their first ever woodworking project, and have results that I'd be proud of. I doubt that building anything to be proud of is necessarily "easy" but I heard the words "attainable" and "achievable" thrown around once and I liked it. Empirical evidence points to it being achievable by those of us with minimal woodworking skills.

Here's hoping that's accurate, because even that is a generous description of my skills. :) 


-- James

RE: Chesapeake 17

TKellogg; James,

The boats are fairly easy to build... at times it gets tedious, but nothing difficult.  I'm getting ready to paint/varnish a 17LT, it's my first boat/kayak (you can track my progress, to include pics, on my post - Chesapeake 17LT (modified).  I've got lots of woodworking experience (and tools), to include building acoustic and electric guitars, but nothing that floats.  And I'd never worked with fiberglass/epoxy before.  But it's all very straight forward, no special tricks or skills necessary. 

The manuals that come with the plans or kits are very well laid out and any questions not addressed in the plans are easily answered here..., years of experience in these hallowed halls of nautical joinery!   Oh, you do have to like sanding... (haha, you'll get it before it's over!).

So I wouldn't hesitate, it's a very quickly rewarding project and one that'll give you a product that lasts a lifetime.



RE: Chesapeake 17

I am in the process of building my first boat. It has not been difficult, and this web site has been a HUGE help. 

I would suggest a book so you have in your mind the tools and supplies you will need.  I purchased Chris Kulczycki's book "Stitch and Glue Boatbuilding".  If you know what you want to build you could purchase the manual and DVD ahead of time.



RE: Chesapeake 17

Go for it!!

With the kit and directions it is actually pretty easy.  I have yet to hear of one that didn't float or would only go in circles and there have been hundreds built.  If you do not feel the need for a "coffee table finish" I can certify that you do not even have to sand that much.  My CL 17LT and CL 16 LT both still have drips in the epoxy where I couldn't wait to get on the water. (I did a quick sand and then varnished right over the bumps.  The 17 got me through a circumnavigation of Manhatten last year. Most people comment how beautiful the boat is and never notice the scrapes, bumps, or the quick patch where a major rock scraped through the epoxy at the bow. 

And as others have pointed out.  There is nothing you can do wrong that someone here hasn't done and fixed.  

I'm now building a Petrel, (strip built).  That takes a bit more skill and planning and fixing as the directions are not as detailed but its going to be a beautiful boat to.

Just make sure you take you significant other out once a week so they remember that you are there.  





RE: Chesapeake 17

I've built an Chesapeake 18 which is just a little longer than the 17. No problems. Follow the directions, ask a lot of questions, follow this bulletin board and you'll do fine.

RE: Chesapeake 17

I agree with the above comments.  DVD was helpful, manual is very good, plans are helpful, and forum is wonderful.  Almost any mistake is fixable without a funeral. 


RE: Chesapeake 17

Depends on your definition of "easy" but certainly not difficult if you take your time. It is pretty straight-forward, fortunately.

Think through every step before you cut or glue, test fit parts and don't feel you have to do anything quickly. Apropos of that, I recommend generally using a slow epoxy, so you have more time to work before it "kicks."

I've long thought that the big difference between a craftsman and a conscientious amateur is speed; the craftsman can do very good work amazingly quickly, while the conscientious amateur can do just about as well, but it takes a lot longer.

Minor tips: get more clamps than you can imagine using, as you're still sure to have too few. Always make sure you have enough epoxy, and more, to do the job before you, as you can't get half-way through and suddenly realize you have to go to the store to get more! Generally favor hand tools over power tools, as they work slower, meaning you notice your mistakes before you're done irreparable harm. With wood and epoxy, most mistakes can be fixed, although it may take some work. Use your eye and your sense of the esthetic; if it doesn't look right, it probably isn't. Be patient; the job will take longer than you think it will, especially the finishing.

And always remember the maxim that this is a boat, not a piece of furniture -- sure, you want it to be pretty, but it's going to get banged around some when you paddle, no matter how careful you are, but that's okay.

  -- Jim C (LT-17 and Ches. 14, plans built)

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