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Uncle John

I purchased one of your kit's a while back in order to make the Pirogue.

I made the Pirogue out of 1/4 inch Lauan plywood and epoxy. I used the wood screws to hold it together and then after the epoxy dried I removed the screws and filled in the holes with epoxy and wood flour so the boat is all wood and epoxy. More work and a longer time to get to the finish date but a better boat as far as I am concerned. Anyway who is in a hurry when building a boat? For me, half of the fun is building the boat and the rest of the fun is using it.

The Pirogue, I made, is 15 feet on the top from bow to stern and 13 1/2 on the bottom along with the standard width and weighs in at 49 lb. I increased the weight by adding to the side rail with an inside rail and spacers. What I mean is the extra wood inside the boat and the spacers between the inside rail and the rub rail. The spacers are at 3 inch intervals with three inch openings. The reason for this is to provide a place to attach a rope, if needed, to secure my camping gear or  just for the good looks. I left the top of the wood work at 90 degrees to the side boards and at a later date they will be sanded or rounded to get rid of that sharp edge and angle. For now they will stay just like they are. After all when you are building a boat for yourself why not do it the way you want. So far everyone who has seen it likes it and are thinking about getting a kit and doing it themselves. Two of my camping / paddling buddies told me "Boy you make a good looking Boat". Other folks have to walk over and check it out, when it is on my truck.

One word of warning, don't make this boat if you don't want folk's looking at it. Example...While trying the Pirogue out it's trial run at a local lake, a Gentleman was looking the pirogue over before I could even get it to the water, he wanted to help me get it to the water, which made me happy. After a question and answer period he told me he was going to get a kit and make one, he liked the light weight and the looks of the Pirogue. After the trial run and getting back to the shore I just picked it up and walked it to the truck and put it on the rack...............Where is the help when you need it. Just joking.

While making it I sanded down the ribs and rounded them off so when I put in my waterproof camping bags they will not get punctured or have to ride on a 90 degree surface and, besides, I think it makes the boat look better. Yep I know...again her he goes thinking about how the boat will look but what is better then looks and function.

The seams of the boat were glassed with 10 oz glass and epoxy, then sanded and re epoxyed to make them nice and smooth. At the start I tried to glue the scarf joints but the glue did not work for me so I used epoxy and fiberglass on them and needless to say they held. All inside junctions or areas where the wood meet are epoxyed fillet using epoxy and wood flour. Needless to say all outside seams were fiberglass taped as I said, but the rest of the boat is epoxy saturated and then varnished with Spar Marine Varnish.

The bottom of the boat and 2 inches up each side board were painted with the Interlux Brightsides Paint, which is a polyurethane paint with Teflon in it and real slick when dry. The slicker the bottom the easier to paddle. The paint was from Chesapeake Light Craft Inc. Web address www.clcboats.com and is $24.75 a Quart which is enough for three boats. With each boat getting two to three coats.

The seat I located / found, is from  www.piragis.com in there Boundary Waters catalog, the seat cost me $25.00 but it is made from Ash supports with a woven cane seat and is very comfortable. I hung it from the top rail using carriage bolts and to make the spacers I used 1/2 inch wood doweling which were drilled with a hole through the center for the bolt. The spacers are 1 inch long with the proper angle cut in to them so they mounted flush with the seat. This puts the seat 2 1/4 inches below the top rail. Giving me some storage space under the seat while paddling or on a camping trip. (Just like packing a sports car for a road trip, or a backpack for a hike, use all available space).

As you can see, I spent more than you suggested on the construction of the Pirogue but as that good old time song say's..."I did it my way"...Sorry folks you have to be over 50 to know just what I' am talking about.

I could not locate any information on the placement of the seat. So I put the leading (front) support of the seat in front of the center rib and in contact with it which placed the rest of the seat just back of the center of the boat and it  worked out just right.

The decks on the boat are from spare wood and as you can see I went a little nut's with my wood burning tool but I wanted something different from this boat.....It is a swamp boat, correct, so why not have swamp critters on it. When paddling you are chasing the coon and the owl is watching / wondering what is going on. (Just like in real life). 

I tried the pirogue out on Lake Mills for a test run and was totally surprised on how it handled and paddled. I have paddled canoes all of my life (57 years) and in the last two years have used a kayak, as my only solo boat, (the Coho by Pygmy, which I made). I will tell you right now... The pirogue is a real happy cross / combination between a kayak and a canoe and will get a lot more use then the rest of the boats. I used a canoe paddle for the test run but will alternate between a kayak paddle and a canoe paddle depending on the paddling situation in the future.

I found that, just as you stated in your ad, this Pirogue can be made with hand tool's. I cheated by using an Electric drill and sanding disk for the hard sanding and then finished up with hand sanding. To saw out the bottom of the Pirogue from the two planks which make up the bottom I used a very thin bladed hand saw, the Vaughan Bear Saw.