Chesapeake-17LT wood



I am considering building the Chesapeake-17LT. I am balking at paying out for expensive Okoume Marine Plywood. I have spoken to a local boat builder who "owns Kayaks made 20 years ago from mahogany door skins".

Door skins are a little light for me, I'd like something a little stouter. I was thinking about useing 1/4" mahonagy plywood for the lower hull and side pieces, and door skins for the deck.

What do you guys think and what other options have you used?

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RE: Chesapeake-17LT wood

The Ch17LT is a great boat.  It was my first build and I still enjoy paddling it.  I would strongly advise against trying to save money by going with cheap wood.  The savings is rather small as a percentage of the total boat cost and the downside risk is high.  Here is an article on the subject:



RE: Chesapeake-17LT wood

So you want to make the hull core twice as thick of heavier wood? What grade? With footballs and voids?

RE: Chesapeake-17LT wood

Thicker won't bend to shape as well.

RE: Chesapeake-17LT wood


I have no connection to any organization that sells wood, other than as a customer, and I've been building plywood boats since 1976. Doorskins today are garbage compared to 20 or 40 years ago and totally unsuitable for building hulls, especially ones with a bend to them.

1/4" plywood, whether cheap doorskins or expensive marine plywood, is unsuitable for the 17LT. It will make the boat overweight, reduce performance, reduce the capacity and make lifting and otherwise handling the boat more difficult.

If the cost of the wood is an issue, it'd be better for you to consider other construction options than substituting unsuitable wood. For example, you could try skin on frame or strip-built. If you have access to a table saw and jointer-planer, you can make your own strips from left-overs and scraps. There's a local builder who does just that near me. His boats end up beautiful and properly made, with the wood costing him almost nothing.

Good luck,




RE: Chesapeake-17LT wood



Thanks for the input. I have been kicking it around and had concluded that I will just run with the recomendations from CLC. Door skins were a little light for my liking and I have to agree with you all that the extra money spent on better quality wood will make a better Kayak overall.

Thanks for your time!

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