Newbie-Build from kit or from plans

I'm a newbie to the forum.  I'm looking at building a Wood Duck 12 and am trying to decide whether to build from a kit or from the plans.  I have built  stitch and glue sailboat with someone more skilled than I, so have a fairly good understanding og the process.  However, the kayak will probably be less forgiving in terms of cutting than the sailboat.  Recommendations? Jim

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RE: Newbie-Build from kit or from plans

As a total novice plans builder (WD10), I had a fair amount to learn and do before reaching that point where I was ready to start building. Lots of time transferring the lines and lots of time cutting. As time rather than money was something I had plenty of, this was ok. Maybe if I had it to do all over again I'd opt to have the kit sent with all the parts cut already, so I could focus my energies on the assembly and the epoxy work, but there is something satisfying to starting with whole sheets of plywood and creating the parts yourself. With care, I'm sure anyone could do it if I did, but don't hurry and recognize the money you're saving equals time added to the build. Have fun!!!

RE: Newbie-Build from kit or from plans

I built my first from plans with some friends...we all cut out our parts together and bought wood together to save money, etc.   It went fine but it adds lots of hours to the process.   Plus the peices are not laser cut and perfect like you get from CLC which add some extra efforts making things straight.   Built my second with my son and bought a kit as he was very young at the time and I didn't want to add the extra 20 hours cutting peices.   Not doing my third and went with the kit as well.....realized that the fun and rewarding part is not cutting out the peices after all.   Unless it is a money issue, I would just order the kit and enjoy the process more.

RE: Newbie-Build from kit or from plans

For me, the determining factor is whether I want to modify the design in any significant way. If I do want to change the design, I go with plans. I did that with a Joel White designed Shellback Dinghy to incorporate a centerboard instead of a daggerboard, and a kick-up rudder, and was entirely satisfied with the result and the experience. I also built a couple of Mac McCarthy designed strip-built Wee Lassies from plans because I wanted to make design changes. But I'm working on my third Wood Duck kit right now, and any changes I'm making are so minor that they don't justify starting from plans. I'm enjoying the kit process just as much as I liked working from plans for the other designs.


RE: Newbie-Build from kit or from plans

I am a total newbie myself.  I had no understanding of the process other than what I could find in books.  I also had less woodworking skill than I thought as I discovered on a different project.  3 Years ago I bought the wood for a canoe design called Eureka.  I knew I wanted a Mill Creek but decided with the deck etc, that a kayak would be a harder first project.  In my case I lofted the panels no problem, but had serious first cut fever.  Knowing my dad was coming for a few months, I decided to go ahead and switch gears and but the Mill Creek kit to avoid having to make that first cut.  Given that history, here are my observations:

1)  I am almost done launching my Mill Creek 13 this weekend.  I have also now cut out my Eureka and have it stitched (but not glued) together.

2)  I doubt I would have done any of this without the kit being there

3)  In retrospect, the kit is likely several hundred dollars more than if I sourced the parts myself, which was my cost for piece of mind, but not necessarily worth it in retrospect

4)  CLC has been great about responding to my questions and problems including very promptly replacing a (small seat) part that was broken on delivery.

5)  Not sure how the plans would be, but the hanging knees and aft bulkhead on my Mill Creek 13 kit were not even close to a good fit.  The width of the bulkhead and the angles of both parts suggested they go in a different part of the boat.

I am not sure if that helps at all, but in conclusion I think I needed the kit as a mental crutch to get things going and it worked great for that.  The CLC plans for my boat were not at all perfect (for example, the hatch design has it tapered on one page but the pattern is still square), but the people are great and S&G is amazingly forgiving.  So, if you are handy, can get the right parts economically, then I think go with the plans, but the kit is also a very nice to just jump in the middle of the process but still have the pride of having built a beautiful craft!



RE: Newbie-Build from kit or from plans

I want to thank each of you for responding.  I think my first build will come from the kit, then I can go from the plans as I gain more confidence. 


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