Building a Kayak


This kayak weighs less than 40 pounds and will carry a full-sized man. It is constructed of plywood, canvas, and wood strips - all held together with contact cement! The design is for a 10-foot kayak, but 8-, 12-, and 14-foot versions have been successful. The boys build the kayaks as a group, with adult supervision. Most of the materials needed for construction are purchased by the Troop as a bulk order at the lowest price available. Paint and sandpaper are bought on an individual basis. First, the plywood is cut into the body panels, the spreader boards are cut and shaped, and all of the remaining parts are cut out. The body panels will be given to the boys a week or two before the group session.

Before the group session, the boy must complete sanding and painting the inside surfaces of the body panels, as they become inaccessible when the kayak is glued together. The wood panels become a kayak on the group session when they are glued together with contact cement and canvas strips. Finally, all of the reinforcing wood strips and boards are glued and bolted into their proper place to complete the kayak. The paddles and seats are also finished. All that remains is for the scout to paint the kayak with a scheme of his choice and to prepare for the thrill of paddling his own boat for the first time! The final painting is done by the scout at home. About thirty scout (and parent) hours are needed to complete a kayak.

The cost has grown through the years. In 1980 the cost for troop provided supplies was about $60. In 2000 the cost was $115. By 2017 the cost had gone up to $185, as the wood, glue and canvas had gone up dramatically in price. These were prices for 12' kayaks. Cost is subject to change.

Prepayment for materials is required before the bulk order is placed.

The Kayak Build is broken into these events starting around the end of April:

Kayak Kut - Adult Only Event.  It is optional for new parents.

Kayak Build Day 1 -  A half day to start building the kayak.  Both scout and adult are required for the whole time.  Sample Kayak Build Day 1 Agenda 

Kayak Build Day 2 - Full day building activity.  Both scout and adult are required for the entire time.

Kayak Float and Picnic - Normally done at Shoreline Park in Mountain View.  Final touches are done and the scouts test float their kayaks for the first time.

The first year scouts are encouraged to build their kayaks and they don't need to attend the Kayak Camp that usually happens in June to build one.  The troop hasn't had a kayak not float yet!  

Drawings and Specs

Drawings and Specs

 TitleModified DateSizeDescription
Kayak Build Instructions 20144/26/20142.65 MBThe Kayak Build Instructions for the 2014 Kayak Build by Troop 37 Los Altos
Kayak Build logo6/9/201713.14 KB 
Kayak Build Instructions (prior version)4/26/2014540.93 KBThe 2012 Instructions
Kayak Build Day 1 - Tips4/13/201396.27 KBInstructions and spec for the first day
Kayak Build Day 2 - Tips4/13/201392.92 KBThe second day of instructions and specs
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