How To

Printable pages on building strip built boats

“After years of teaching, designing, building and producing plans for kayaks, I receive countless requests for tips and hints on methods used in our shop.  I now share my skills and knowledge with you to promote and foster the Wooden Boat Building Community”

“Much of the details are taken directly from our building manuals which are included in all our kayak plans.  Now you can read some of it for yourself.  Since there are many different methods to assemble a strip built kayak, the details below are intended for information only and have been specifically written for building Orca Boats kayaks. Feel free to browse the sections below, borrow what works for you and revise what doesn’t.  New information is added on a regular basis as new techniques and tips are generated, so visit often.    All the categories are in full colour printable version.  Click on the Printable Download Format (PDF) icon from the list.  Some sections also include downloadable diagrams”

“I hope you find the information useful and assists you in turning your “Paddling Dreams into Reality


 Rod Tait


Orca Canoes and Kayaks Ltd.

Designers and Builders of Orca Boats



Note:   The following text and photos are copyrighted.  Use for anything other than personal is strictly prohibited and punishable by law.  To purchase the full instructional manual, go to the Store.



Most   Recent PDF Versions

Simply click on the topic of your choice   and print out the information

Additional PDF Diagrams
Building a Box Beam Building Box Beam diagrams
Setting Up Risers     Setting Up Risers Diagrams
Building Stems Building Stem Diagrams
End Forms End Forms Diagrams
Aligning Forms  
Fiberglassing Glass Layout Diagrams
Carving a Custom Seat   
Installing Foot Braces  
Staple less Building Staple Less Diagrams
Roof Racks  
Taping Seams  
Fairing Hull Fairing board diagram
Recessed fittings  
Minor Repairs  
Stripping Refinishing  
Day Hatch  
Plywood Hatch Stops Layers of plywood diagram
Bungie Hatches  
Filling Hull (second half)  


10 thoughts on “How To

  1. Geoff Pinkus says:

    Hi Rod

    The last Item of your “Most Recent PDF Versions – Filling Hull (second half) appears not to be active.


  2. Jim davidson says:

    Hi there I hope you have the time to indulge a question since it looks like you may have the experience I need. I’m looking at a solid but in need of tlc davidson 12 ft fiberglass. The owners said it will plain with a 9.9 but not fast. It’s very similar to the photo on your main page ( ugly by comparison to that one). Do you happen to know what the max size motor that hull will accept?

    • Not sure about size of motor that it could handle, but a 9 horse will sure make it go pretty good. Is there no capacity plate inside the boat? It should have one. If caught with a motor on it by coast guard or police, you may find yourself in a bit of trouble without the capacity plate especially if they think the motor is too big.

  3. I just fished 220 wet sanding my strupped kayak. I enjoyed watching your videos. It has helped me tremendously. Your video of “Sanding for (before) Varnishing explains the next grit is “400-600”. That’s wet sanding, right? Also is that grit 400 AND THEN 600 or 400 and every grit in between upto 600? One a couple more questions; I’m going to use Schooner Classic High Gloss with UV protection, 5 to 6 coats. I want a mirror/auto/glass type finish. What sandpaper grit do you recommend between coats and do you wet sand with water between the coats each day? Thank you

    • I will wet sand between first coats with 220 up until last few coats when I will move to 400 and 600 wet sanding on each coat (no other grits). Final coat of varnish will be thinned about 10% so that it flows out smoother. I will wet sand one side and then varnish and then wet sand and varnish other side next day, so that works out to one coat one each side every two days.

  4. Thank you very much. I’m grateful for your advice. Though Are you familiar with the varnish I mentioned? If so, what is the best product to thin it with? How do you figure a 10% thinning? Do you add 10% to the weight of varnish used? Example; Poured 6oz into a cup do I then add 0.6oz of thinner?

  5. I forgot to mention that in the directions from the manufacturer of the varnish states to thin the varnish 10% on the first coat. You state to do it on the last coat. I prefer to go with experience. You feel its better to the contrary? Or thin the first and the last?

    • I have used that varnish. Works just fine. No need to thin on first coats as that would be if going on bare wood for penetration. I thin by volume and use over the counter lacquer thinner.

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