Shop Tips » Stitch & Glue Boatbuilding Tips
Stitch-and-glue boats are assembled by drilling small holes in two adjoining panels, inserting short pieces of copper wire through the holes, and twisting them to hold the panels together until they are glued. The stitch-and-glue method eliminates chine logs, complicated forms, and tricky clamping. It makes boatbuilding much faster and simpler than traditional methods. Striving for even greater simplicity, a number of our customers report trying new methods to hold the panels together.
Quite a few builders have been using cable ties. These are adjustable plastic bands designed to hold bundles of wire together under the dash of your car or in your fuse box, for example. They are available at any large building supply or electrical supply store. The smallest size fits through a 1/8-inch hole (note that a copper wire tie requires only a 1/16-inch hole.) We recently started building a prototype skiff with cable ties, and we found them much faster to insert and tighten than wire ties. In addition, they are easier to snip off and sand flush to the wood after gluing. We didn't like the larger holes they required, though, and you can't get as much fine adjustment with as you can with copper wire. So for the time being we'll use plastic ties on larger boats built with thicker plywood, and we'll stick with wire ties on the kayaks.