having built three kayaks (but no canoes - all mine are boughten). First, don't go into this thinking that you are going to save a lot of money. Do it because you want to paddle something that you built. Be warned though that having a wooden boat on your roof can make it hard to get out of parking lots and gas stations some times. Beyond that, kits vs. plans - you taste and need for gratification. My two stitch & glue kayaks were pygmy kits. I'm fond of Pygmy's designs & don't really like the design of the original CLS boats, but CLC has nice looking newer ones. The Pygmys were ready to float in 2 months and finished & varnished in a little more than 3. The strip boat was another story. It was about 11 months from starting the forms to finishing the varnish.
Tools: Stitch & glue doesn't need much if you build from a kit. A power drill for the stitches, a jig saw, and an orbital sander. hand tools, a scraper, a sure-form, and not much else. If you are building a strip boat from planks & plans you will also need a good table saw, a router set up for the cove & bead (unless you try planing to fit). You will also want a couple of good planes and a pull saw.
Temperature: While you can get fast hardener that will allow the epoxy to set at cooler temperatures you should try to avoid that, especially when you are wetting out the fabric. A number of sources recommend that you start with the hull quite warm (upper 80s) and work with it cooling to "pull" the resin into the hull and to avoid bubbles for escaping gases from the wood.
Protecting the boat: Some look at wooden boats & think that they are fragile & too pretty to use. I say phooey. You built it to use so use it. They are darned strong - really a wood cored composite. Put some extra glass where the abrasion will be the worst and at the end of a season, sand down the scratches & give it a fresh coat of varnish.
And all else, enjoy, and if you are anyway near Lansing Michigan March2, stop by the Quiet Water Symposium http://www.quietwatersymposium.org/
Heel and Pegpads™
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