Building a Strip-Built Petrel Kayak: Episode 1

DIY plans for kayaks, canoes and other small boats

Building a Strip-Built Petrel Kayak: Episode 1

Wooden Petrel Kayak by Nick Schade - Guillemot Kayaks

Hey there, fellow kayaking enthusiasts! Welcome back to the Guillemot Kayaks workshop.

Unlike my previous Micro Bootlegger Sport project, I won’t be documenting this build as extensively. However, I’ll be trying some new things that I’ll be sure to cover as we progress through the build.

The first step is to select the wood. I’ve got some beautiful western red cedar, but the customer doesn’t want a book-matched design. Instead, they’re looking for a more random, colorful pattern. I have a couple of boards that I previously used for the Micro Bootlegger Sport, and one of them has a strip that didn’t quite work out for a book match. But no worries, I’ve got plenty of good lumber to work with.

In total, I have around 1,200 linear feet of strips, which should be more than enough for the Petrel. To achieve the random look the customer wants, I’ll be mixing the strips from the different boards and even flipping some of them to create a more varied pattern.

Another difference in this build is that I’ll be using cove and bead strips, instead of the square-edged strips I’ve used in the past. I’m also experimenting with a 3/16-inch cove and bead set, rather than my standard quarter-inch setup. I’m curious to see how the smaller profile will work and if it offers any benefits.

To start, I’ll be checking the thickness of the strips and making sure they’re all consistent at 3/16 inch. Then, I’ll move on to cutting the bead using the 3/16-inch bullnose bit I found. I’m taking extra care to ensure the bead is centered and leaves a small amount of black “lip” on the top and bottom of the strips.

After the beads are all cut, I’ll flip the strips over and cut the coves, making sure the cove and bead reference the same face of the strip. This will help ensure a smooth, consistent appearance as the strips are assembled.

In the next episode, I’ll start setting up the forms and working on the inner stems.