wooden boat kit

The Classic Cajun Pirogue
Dear Uncle John

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 Here are the pictures of my recently completed pirogue.  It is 14' 6" long and weighs about 65 to 70 lbs.  I built it over a three week period, working on it when I had the time.  It really was as easy to build as you claimed.  Like others who have built this boat in our warm southern climate,  I found the most difficult step was dealing with the resin.  It sets up so fast that I worked with only small amounts at a time, and usually at night when the temperature was lower.  My wife, neighbors, and friends were all a little skeptical that I could actually build a seaworthy craft, but my results have made them believers.  You may even get some business from a few of them!  The pictures are from our maiden voyage.  It traveled well atop my car and is easy to load and unload by myself.  As it is bad luck to launch an unnamed boat,  I christened it "Le Bateau de Canard" (French for "the duck boat").  Dylan, my Golden Retriever,  tried it out after he was sure I wouldn't immediately tip it over.  We plan to do some fishing now and are eager to try it out this coming duck season.
Thanks Again,

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Here are pictures of two more pirogues, complete with happy owner/builders. I had wanted to build a small boat for "messin' about" for quite some time, and talked my best friend's husband into building one at the same time. Today was the grand launching! The boats paddle beautifully, and we are both very  pleased with the outcome. People at the boat ramp kept asking us "Where did you buy those boats?"

This was a first boat-building effort for both of us. Having the stems and frame pieces made the project very accessible, and even scarfing the plywood wasn't so bad... We used 1/4" Lauan mahogany plywood from Home Depot ($9.41 per sheet) and epoxy resin from Raka. We laminated the rub rails using 1/4"x 2" furring strips, three on each side--two outside the hull and one inside --sandwiching the plywood. It worked out great, though it added a bit of time to the building. My belt sander got quite a workout, because we were a little sloppy with the epoxy. Both boats are painted with exterior latex paint. Rick painted his rails--I sanded the heck out of mine and varnished them with Z-Spar Captain's Varnish.

Note the temporary seats--one sand chair, and one cut-down lawn chair. We used temporary seats so we could experiment with the trim, and decide on placement of a permanent seat. Rick liked his sand chair so much that he is going to forgo a permanent seat! I will probably add a simple plank seat at about 6" below the rail, and use one of those folding canoe seat backs.

Thanks so much! We love our new boats!

Leanne in Alanta

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 It's 14'8 and weighs 51 lbs. I originally intended to camo the entire boat inside and out, but the wood looked so nice I hated to paint the whole thing. Usually pirogues are turned upside down in the marsh, and your gear hidden under it when duck hunting in south Louisiana. So I decided to make the inside more appealing to humans and the bottom more conducive to hunting.  I think I ended up with a pretty unique boat. I am a full time worker, student and dad so the work was sporadic but I managed to finish it with the help of a fellow hunter in a couple of months. An hour or two here and there. I fiberglassed the entire bottom with epoxy resin and polyurethane the inside. All with relative ease, considering never fiberglassing before. I think the next one will be much easier and even a little more enjoyable.

thanks for the memories you help create,

We built one of your pirogue kits (ordered by David Culligan in Syracuse). I'm actually from Bloomfield, CT.  The pirogue has spent at least 1500 miles on the roof rack of my VW on I90 driving between Syracuse and Hartford.

There are some pictures of the boat and it's construction with comments up on my website. Click here to go to Jim's website. Jim has a wonderful  set of photos taken while building his pirogue.
 Jim of Syracuse

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Enclosed is a picture of my completed pirogue, built from the kit I purchased from you last summer.  Also in the picture is my duck hunting partner and pirogue building assistant BearKat.  This was the first boat that I had ever built and therefore it took longer than the estimated 6 hours.  Although the total construction time spanned several months, there were periods when the entire project sat idle.  Having used inch Luann Mahogany, I was skeptical that the ultra thin wood was strong enough to hold my weight.  Because of this fear, I fiberglass the entire outside as well as the joints on the inside.  In addition, the inside was brushed with the epoxy resin and the seams were given a fiberglass fillet.  The fiberglassing took the longest due to the fact that this was a new process to me and I was forced to work at night when the cooler air in Houston allowed for a longer set up period. The marsh pattern camouflage given to my pirogue is done with a stencil system that I have developed.  The entire boat (inside and out) was painted this marsh scheme.  The base coat, olive drab, was brushed on and I added sand to the paint used on the inside bottom to provide a non-slip abrasive surface.  My only fear now is that I don't lose it in the marsh.

Let the ducks beware!!!!

Brandon in Houston

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Cajun pirogue wooden boat kit

Hey the boat works great, it took some getting use to, but I haven't tipped it over. (yet).

thanks again,

Sean Hodges

Banners flying,  I sailed my kingfisher blue pirogue, finally named ; 'Cajun Kingfisher', on my home waters.  After a 'sea' trial on a shelter Norfolk Broad (a widening in the river) I took the boat on the River Deben, which is a tidal estuary that flows through my town.  With sail up, Lee board mover further forward I launched off a lee beach into the teeth of a force 2-3. Absolutely great!  I had to deem this sea trail number two as the rudder came adrift.  After a use of moored boat as a temporary dock I managed to get the Rudder firmly fixed and launched off against tide and wind.  The tide was running at about 3 knots with the wind across it.  To my joy she sailed on able to return me to my original destination.

Later I tried her with oars and paddle and found both very satisfactory. Rowing requires knees glued to the floor.  Paddling was just very satisfying.  Even with two up we could over take the tide and wind.

I have found the paint very easy to knock off and so will be exploring putting Coke cans on the fore and aft tips to protect the wood there.

The Sail is 33sq ft and is adequate. Any more and I would have shipped too much water.  As it was I was toughly wet, but loved it.  I have also built a small trailer that just has two wheels and a cross bar.  This rest in the middle of the boat at the balance point.  This proved very cheap and has enabled me to launch the boat on the beach which only has a footpath for the last half mile to the river.

Next project will be a pair of outrigger to make it more stable to allow my son to come sailing.   I am hoping to make them out of lemonade bottles tied to a simple light weight frame.  I shall mail you the results later.

Thanks again.

Martin Roberts in the U.K.
click here to view a series of detail photos including the outrigger 

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Cajun Pirogue wooden boat kit Steve

I have enclosed some pictures from my vacation trip. I went to East Texas to check out "Big Cypress Bayou" for a trip this fall. Then headed to northwest Ark. and Beaver Lake for some fishing. I just about lived in the Pirogue for three days. Needless to say, I am very happy with it. It is light and easy to handle and most important rugged.

She is 13' long and weighs 46 lbs. I built it per your plans with a couple of small changes. I added plywood gussets to the frames and used 3/8" gunnel strips (attempt to save weight) I also installed a keel strip. The outside is covered with one layer of 6 oz. glass and polyester resin, the inside has two coats of resin. After taking her out fishing several times, my back side needed something more comfortable. I found the seat at Wal Mart, ($6.96 including screws) it is very light, I added two Fir one by two's on either side of the center frame, and four 10-24 studs. Screwed two 1" Alum. angle (1/8" thick) to the seat. Four 10-24 wing nuts hold it down, it worked out great!!!!!. Aside from being fun to paddle, if you really want to have a blast add a motor.  I used a 37 lb. thrust trolling motor and 72 amp hr. deep cycle marine battery. (If you weigh over 160 go at least 14' to 15') the battery weighs as much as the boat!. I cut the trolling motor's shaft down to 17.5" then added a 1/4" doubler to the inside and 3/8" to the outside (check photos). On the first time out with the motor, I was amazed how fast it went, so I did some math,   (A formula from Douglas Little's book) and she does a little over 5 mph. I have stayed on the water the best part of a day and haven't run down the battery. It has proven to be very reliable. FYI, 37 lbs. of thrust is a little over 1/2 horse power. With a 25 lb thrust motor you will only loose about 1/2 mph but will gain battery time. Anyway with motor, battery and seat she weighs 115 pounds.

The greatest compliment of your design, is the interest it draws, I must have told two dozen people about your web site. You may notice more orders from Arkansas. Anyway, thanks a lot, and have fun"

click here to view detail photos

Steve in Wylie Texas

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Cajun Pirogue wooden boat kit

Wanted to send you a picture of the pirogue that I built with my son and daughter last summer.  I bought the kit in order to give the kids a summer "project".  As it turned out, I did most of the work, but only because I enjoyed it so much. I used 3/8" plywood for the bottom to stiffen it up a bit.  Put one layer of fiberglass and three layers of epoxy on the bottom with brown dye.  Used red mahogany wood stain on the sides and interior.  Then finished the hull with seven coats of marine varnish from West Marine.  I refinished an old canoe paddle I had bought at an estate sale years ago that seems to go with the boat very well.   Also made two decks for the bow and stern, but haven't installed them yet. The boat is still very light, even though I built the 15' version.  I can easily pick it up myself and place it on the roof of our van. I've had some trouble with a pesky leak that comes right up through the floor (not at a seam.)  I've applied more varnish with no success.  I suspect it may actually be coming through tiny pinholes in the fiberglass epoxy right at the scarf joint.   I will work on that next with either more epoxy or some polyurethane marine paint.

We've had the boat out several times and it is very easy to handle, once you get accustomed to balancing it!  I paddled it for four hours one day without any problem.  I think I will get a double bladed kayak paddle and/or install a short keel as it does tend to turn quite easily with each stroke. for my next project, I'd like to build a 14 ft skiff.  We have a 1945 Mercury 6 hp outboard that I need to attach to something!! 

As a first time boat builder, I found your kit very easy with which to work. My kids and I are very proud of our little "summer project."

Andy in Plano, TX

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I finally got the pictures. I took a picture of our capacity test. We didn't sink at 470lbs. It's comfortable with 350lbs. I built the 16ft version. Pulley system in garage. Fishing trip down the sluice to the Tennessee river. Was caught in bad thunderstorm and found out she's really fast with 2 people paddling like madmen! click here to view the photos

You and Larry over at Raka were able to get a 1st time boatbuilder like myself to build a canoe and fiberglass it. Every time I launch it I think about how much fun it was to build.

Thanks for your help.
Tom in Alabama

Just wanted to drop you a line and a some photos of my project. I have wanted to build a boat for a very long time but time is not on my side. As a traveling technical rep for one of the top 50 largest companies in the world I don't see much of home these days and when I do I have a lot of catching up to do with the family. This boat was so easy to build. I am 6'1" and weigh about 235 lbs and the boat carries me without any difficulty. I was amazed at how easily it paddled and I can't wait for next spring to do some fishing out of it. (May be off of the road by then). My family and in-laws all came out to watch me thinking I would capsize and give them a laugh but to their dismay the maiden voyage went beautifully. The boat got a lot of attention on top of the van on the way to the lake. Many heads turned. My brother-in-law said it looked so good on top the minivan that it might hurt the Durango sales. Many thanks to you for making this dream so easy to achieve. I will keep in touch.
Elwyn in Texarkana, TX

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Cajun Pirogue wooden boat kit

I am attaching a photo of my pirogue on its maiden voyage in the nearest body of water to my garage.  My son is piloting.  You will notice that I cut off the back end and installed a transom.  I figure someday I will try an electric trolling motor on it, but it sure isn't necessary.  I've taken it to several lakes in northern Texas and paddling it is no worry.  But back to the transom.   I built the boat as per your plans except that at the aft end I only screwed the sides to the stem - why bother with glue when it's only temporary?  With everything completed except the glassing, I carefully fitted a 1/4" thick plywood transom piece inside the canoe and epoxied it in place with a substantial fillet inside the boat only.   When the epoxy was hard, I cut the back end off with a hand saw and sanded the sides flush with the transom.  Then I cut another transom piece that overlapped the sides and epoxied it to the first one.  So half the transom thickness is inside the sides and the other is over them.  After that, I proceeded to glass the seams on the whole boat.  I wanted it to be short enough to fit in my van, so I built it to 14', ending up with 12' 2" after cutting off the stern.   I chose to use West System epoxy, which is expensive but has a good reputation in the boating World.   I wanted it to hold up.  I only glassed the seams, but I epoxied the entire boat and I don't think it will ever give out.  It also turns that plain old plywood into beautiful wood.  I had intended to paint it, so I left pencil marks here and there, but then a happy thing happened with my wife.  She had been opposed to doing the boat. But when she saw it in the water the first time, she liked the look of the epoxy-covered wood.  I quickly agreed to leave it exposed and she is now a fan (I coated the epoxy with spar polyurethane to protect it from UV).  We had it out to a pretty little lake near Tyler, TX and I paddled her out to watch the sunset one evening.   I knew I was a hero when we got out at the shore and she looked back at it and said, "Yep that's a nice little boat."   I am a heavy man (0ver 250 lbs.) and it seemed like the flat bottom was giving too much, especially when getting in and out and my entire weight was on one foot.  Also, I noticed that the boat tended to turn a lot when paddling, although a kayak paddle would cure that problem.  Still, I decided to add a keel to help it track better and to reinforce the bottom. I cut a 3/8" slab off a leftover piece of the pressure treated wood I used for the rub strips.  I tapered it down to a feather edge at both ends, and carefully epoxied it exactly on the center line of the boat.  It ends about a foot short of each end.   Then I added a thickened layer of epoxy over the entire bottom, going extra thick over the keel.  Even though the keel is not very deep, it really made a difference in how the boat handles with paddles. It stays straight for quite a few strokes before you have to switch the paddle - as good as any canoe.  I like that.  It is also much stronger in the bottom and I don't notice any movement any more.   My kids and their friends have been out in the boat many times now and they have never tipped it over, even when they were clowning around (as they will do now and then).  At first, I thought the boat would sink if it ever got swamped, but we tested it in the swimming pool and it will float and hold somebody up, too.  My son sat in it while it was fully submerged and it added enough buoyancy to hold his head and shoulders above water. It is so light it is easy to empty out and set right again, too.

Earl in Plano, Texas

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Cajun Pirogue wooden boat kit

I am enclosing some pictures of the pirogue that my daughter and I build from the plans that I acquired from you. We build it slowly and had a really good time doing it. As you can see from the photos, we added some small details to the boat and it handles well. We hope to get out some more and enjoy the canals around our home. Next time we want to build something larger that the whole family can enjoy

Gene in Royal Palm Beach FL         click here to view detail photos

Cajun Pirogue wooden boat kit

Several months ago I purchased 3 pirogue kits to be used for duck hunting this fall. We built these boats in my garage in about 10 hours each including the fiberglass work. The only change we made was the addition of  floor slats in the kneeling area. These little skiffs are extremely light and handle with ease. I have since sold my fiberglass skiff as the thing weighed a 'ton' and was a real bear unloading off the truck and dragging through the muck to the waters edge. Your kit made the construction simple and we will be using them this Saturday for the WI opener.

Paul in New Berlin, Wisconsin

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Cajun Pirogue wooden boat kit

Here is a picture of my duck hunting pirogue.   It was as easy to build as you claimed and a lot of fun.  I coated it in polyester resin and epoxy primer.  I painted it with military vehicle paint.

I think the ducks are in deep trouble.

Bobby in Palestine, Texas

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Cajun Pirogue wooden boat kit

Finally finished the boat!  It weighs 68 pounds and is solid as a rock. I went kind of overboard on the epoxy resin, but it will surely outlive me. Used epoxy resin on entire body, with 2 sheets of fiberglass cloth on hull and seams.   Coated top with Marine spar varnish, and the hull with Marine polyurethane paint.

Haven't had it in the water yet, but I have no doubts.  It really turned out nice.   Thanks for the kit!  Let me know when you get your new kit design launched.

George in Monroe, Ohio

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Cajun Pirogue wooden boat kit

"I ordered a pirogue boat kit from you about three weeks ago.  Attached is a photo of the finished project which my son Ben named after himself. 

Ever since I first saw a pirogue twenty-five years ago, I've wanted to make one.  I like the lines and the simplicity of the craft.  Thanks for helping me fulfill a long-time ambition. True to your word, the work was fast and easy. The only problem we encountered was working with the epoxy in the 90+ degree heat.  Boy, does it set up fast! 

We've tried the boat out and it works well.  I've been canoeing for years, but the pirogue is faster, more responsive and more fun to paddle. 

Keep up the good work,"
JG in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

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Cajun Pirogue wooden boat kit

"Just wanted to send you a picture of me and my pirogue spending another lazy afternoon fishing on the Calcasieu River. Sorry you can't see the smile on my face. Your kit was as easy to build as you said it was. Thanks for many happy hours."
"Mike" ..... Moss Bluff  LA

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