Ply thickness for Chesapeake 17

I can only get 3.5mm or 4.5mm okoume ply to build a Chesapeake 17 kayak. Which would be the better of the two?

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RE: Ply thickness for Chesapeake 17

There's a minimum of five (5) possible answers to this question - you will get all five!   My choice - having just finished my own Ches 17 - would be to go for 3.5mm all round.   Reason - the deck in particular requires thinner-rather-than thicker ply, as it has to accept a very heavy camber, especially in front of the cockpit.   Plans call for 4mm deck ply, but I chose to use 3mm (the rest of the hull was nominal 4mm but actually closer to 3.6mm) and I was mighty pleased I did as it was quite a wrestle!   I cannot believe that hull strength would be massively compromised by using 3.5mm for hull bottoms and sides, unless you plan to use the Ches constantly in heavy conditions and/ or if here there are lots of obstacles where you paddle such as rocks and dead tree lurking just under the surface!

Using 4.5mm all round would also incur a stiff-ish weight penalty I'd think. 

All the above IMHO only!


RE: Ply thickness for Chesapeake 17

FWIW, I agree with Wordsmith.  Mine's a plans-built LT-17, but similar enough.  Use the 3.5, maybe run a second strip of 3" wide glass down the outside of the keel for additional strength where you're most likely to ground.  Wordsmith is definitely right about the deck camber, too.  Most of us build our boats too heavy anyway, I suspect, so don't start off with a weight disadvantage.

RE: Ply thickness for Chesapeake 17

Thanks. I will go ahead with the 3.5mm plywood. I am not that keen on wrestling with plywood!


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