wooden boat kit

The Classic Cajun Pirogue
Dear Uncle John

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I'm not an experienced builder by any stretch of the imagination, but I managed to easily build this 12-foot Cajun Pirogue from Uncle John's. In retrospect, the plans were incredibly easy to follow. I bought the kit, and built the boat almost entirely with hand tools. The only power tool I used was a drill. I even used a simple handsaw to cut out the various sections. For me, this boat was a Saturday morning project. I devoted a few hours to it each Saturday morning, and involved my two boys in the work as much as possible. It was a very good way to teach them how to use tools. If I ever had questions about following the plans, Uncle John was very quick to e-mail me an answer. I chose luan for the wood, which was light and easy to work with. I had never worked with fiberglass before, but found the fiberglassing was actually fun. I just used a face mask to avoid breathing in the fumes, and fiberglassed it in my driveway. I fiberglassed both the inside and outside of the boat to give it strength, and finally painted the entire boat with marine-grade paint. The final boat is nice to look at, and a thrill to use. It handles easily, is quite sturdy, and good for fishing out of. When I take it out with my boys, it's hard for me to get any paddling time in, as they keep wanting to take turns in it. If you are looking for a fun project, look no further.  

Brian Milligan
Grafton, MA

Here's a few pics of our inaugural paddle with the Pirogue.  I'm not sure whose more happy about it, the kids or Grandpa who actually made the boat for them!  We all loved it.

Thanks, Joe


I had it done in 16 hours of work.. I like the pirogue very well...Since I didn't order the kit and built from your plans... I did some modifications, I made the sides taller than the plans, and width of beam is 38 inches, and overall length is 16 feet exact... That I could not figure out.. I use the block joint technique instead of scarf joint... I thought that I would lose some inches in the length, but somehow I gained it back... I am happy with it anyway.. The lake was very windy that day in the photos.. I am surprised how it handled in the chops...  The rule of thumb is: you cannot stand in it awhile it windy...  I am planning to build a john boat....next...          

I like to thank you for the plan, as it put me on the road to boat building experience. Now, I can build another for sons-in-law, I can almost build it with my eyes closed, as I don't need to see the plans anymore..

Thanks Again,

P.S. please post my photos on your site so the others can see the great style of pirogue

 Jamie and Mark in our completed Pirogue on the creek below our deck. My 14 year old son, Mark, and I had a great time building it. Probably the most difficult task for us was the fiberglass cloth. We chose to add graphite to the epoxy for the bottom to enhance the ability to slide over rocks and it seems to work well. Thanks for all your advice.

Jim Blaine
Springfield Missouri


We just launched a craft based on your pirogue kit, using your ribs, stems and guidelines.  I added decks and inwhales.  The hull is 1/4" luan and the bottom is 3/8" ply.  The inwales are from doorstop, the rubrails ripped from a 16' 1.5" closet rod.  The hull was scarfed in accordance with your excellent guidelines and the seams are invisible and probably stronger than the original wood.  The decks have a 1" rise at the centerline.  I fastened with polyurethane waterproof glue and removed all but a few essential screws.  The chine is filleted with a mix of epoxy and chopped 1/4" fiberglass.  The bottom and stems are covered with polyester cloth and the whole thing has been coated with epoxy. I'm very pleased with the outcome.  Not counting shopping or cure time on epoxy and glue, I estimate about 80 hours of work.

John Toohey
Fort Worth, Texas

'Old Sparkey' does it again . . .

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"I had a great time building my own plywood pirogue from your kit!"

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We lived near Lake Superior for twenty years........we thought Illinois was connected to Florida.  It is all in one's point of view. Up there we wanted a pirogue that was light, fast and fairly stable as getting dumped in 34 Degree water is dangerous......here the water is warmer, but we were fishing last night and being watched by a gator that was about 24" from nostril to eyeball....wow.  

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The local lake is Lake Meredith in the Texas Panhandle. Thanks for the fun project!

Patrick Shaffer

Borger, TX

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Common struggles, that's what builds relationships. We'll have plenty of one-sided struggles as the kids are growing up. a Suwannee trip is one that we can share together and become closer in the process. 

Steve Futch

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The Pirogue kit was one of the funnest projects I've done. The only problem is that with your kit one realizes how fun and enjoyable small boat building can be. So far my boat has been down the river several times, and sailing twice - and it is only May!! Thanks for the great times!


Tonight was so nice we decided to take her out for her first voyage . Wow I added a keel and covered the front and back , She tracked like a dream and so easy to paddle . Thank you again my son had a smile ear to ear .

 Bill T

Thanks for the great pirogue kit.  I started learning about pirogue building last fall and finally built the boat earlier this year. I am very happy with the boat and would recommend it to anyone interested in boating or boat building.

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I ordered your kit back in the end of may and started to build on started to build on June 10th. Splashed the "swamp angel" on the Santa Fe River here in north Florida on August 5th. I've put about 20 miles under here keel in the last week and I've got to say I am really impressed! As the owner of several commercial made boats, I can honestly say that your pirogue stands up against them quite well, if not better in terms of stability and speed. We won't even compare looks and style as the pirogue blows them away! :-)
Construction was pretty straight forward. Even for a first time builder like myself. When I got stuck on something Chuck and the gang at Southernpaddler.com  were right there for me.
Thank you for producing a fine product. Can't wait to get started on the next one!
Thanks again
Keep the open side up and the slimy side down!

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