Building the TOTO Kayak
Basic No Blush (tm) marine epoxy
In the early fall of 2007 I got the urge to build another small boat using the 'stitch and glue' method which involves cutting out pieces of plywood from a set of plans and 'stitching' them together - very much like a sewing pattern. The seams are sealed with epoxy then painted and decorated. That's it!
As the owner and 'guy who answers the technical question' at Progressive Epoxy Polymers, Inc. (click here for the online marine site), this was the third or fourth small boat I have built. I didn't keep track of the amount of epoxy and other products I used, as I could just grab it off the shelf as I needed it and I could 'play' with any of the products I wanted. I think our boatbuilding/boat owner customers like emailing questions and comments (and pictures) with a vendor/supplier knows his products and used them exactly the way they want to use them. It is more like a peer to peer thing, instead of buyer and seller thing.
Basically, building began with 2 sheets of 1/4 inch plywood from Home Depot. The pattern was transferred to the plywood and the wood was cut. Electrical cable ties held the pieces together and the joints were sealed using our Basic No Blush Marine epoxy and 3 and 4 inch fiberglass cloth tape (just depending was I had available at the time). Then lots of sanding and fairing using putty and epoxy. Then more sanding and priming. Using flexible wood strips I created curved fore and aft decks, covered the deck frames with duct tape (to form a skin) then covered the duct tape with epoxy and fiberglass cloth. Them lots more sanding and fairing of the decks to get them 'perfect.' Finally some paint....
I did spend a good bit of time (and money) trying different ideas on how to make the curved fore and aft decks, the 'mini 2-3 inch wide side decks, and the rubrail edge along the side of the boat. The plans get you the basic hull, but most of the other 'stuff' is up to you! I added fancy decorative 'carvings' from Home Depot, access ports into the sealed fore and aft hull chambers, and I extended the side panels a little bit to give the transom a bit more classic look. I also used an epoxy - graphite mixture for the boat bottom, mostly because some of my boatbuilding customers have done that and I wanted to 'try it out'. I don't think it adds anything to the project, but I learned a few things doing it so it was worth the time, effort and money.
Actually there were lots of mistakes, goof ups, experiments that didn't work but took lots of time, do-overs, etc. that are all part of the process, (even with a few boats under my belt) that I don't wish to recount. I will say I planned on having lots of natural varnished wood showing, but the quality of my workmanship was not good enough so I had to use paint to hide the many patches, putty and epoxy fixes the are abundant on the boat. I worked only a few minutes each day and not every day, so the construction went on for months (about November to July).
The plans for TOTO are available from DUCKWORKS ($17.50 when I purchased them in 2007). The site also has some pictures of various TOTO kayaks built by folks like you and me. The designer of the boat is Jim Michalak who has his own web site - www.jimsboats.com.
I purchased some photo album software that allows me to create and post a photo album on-line. I took pictures during the construction and the album contains about a dozen shots.... CLICK HERE TO VIEW.
Building the stitch and glue, plywood, "Portuquese Style Dinghy" (winter 2008/2009) - CLICK HERE
Cheap Epoxy (tm) home page - EPOXY .
Marine Epoxy Info site - MARINE EPOXY .
Industrial - Home Epoxy Web Site - HOME - GARAGE - COMMERICAL .
co-owner Progressive Epoxy Polymers, Inc.
marine home page (and the place you may have come from to get here!)