• Happy Premieres of "Captain Kangaroo" and "Mickey Mouse Club" (1955)! 📺

New Boat Build



I have an Old Town Katahdin 15' tandem that I have on occasion paddled solo. When loaded I sit in the front seat paddling backward. When empty I kneel near the center and sort of paddle Canadian Style. The only real problem is the weight. The darn thing is fiberglass and weighs at least 70 lbs. I now mostly use my Prism solo but there are many times that I long for the stability of the wider boat for fishing, etc.

I would like to build a stripper to duplicate the size of the Old Town without the weight. Is this a dumb idea?
Feb 29, 2012
Reaction score
Schenectady, NY
Ahhh, so you do plan to build a boat!!
Willis, building any design is never a dumb idea, as long as it suits your usage and comfort level.
By all means, go for it! As you probably know by now, I am a firm believer in doing things yourself. Even a mediocre result (not to say your effort would result that way) is much better than 90% of the boats you can buy. And when costs are compared, well, there is no comparison.
The very 1st boat I built was not mine, but was built with a buddy of mine, with the understanding that we would make all the mistakes on his boat, and next, he would help me build mine. We followed that plan precisely, right down to the "all the mistake" part. And guess what?! that was 35 years ago and he still has that "all the mistakes" boat!

And as for building a stripper version of any commercial boat? Again, by all means do so! Virtually any design will look better in wood, and can be lighter in weight than fiberglass, and maybe even lighter than kevlar layups. I had an average density calculation for a typical cedar strip layup; so many pounds per square in (r ft) of hull...I can look for that calculation if you want, it can give you a good estimate of a hull's final weight. Just be sure to not use Oak, Cherry, Maple, Ash or other dense hardwoods for your trim, you'll pay dearly in weight penalties.

That Katahdin has recurve stems, right? That type of stem construction looks particularly nice in wood. Here's an old, poor quality photo of my buddy's boat...it has those same type of stems. BTW, that boat was 18 ft and weighed 51 lbs, not bad for a first effort.