How to Build a Kevlar Canoe - Solo

"Installing the Seat and Finishing Touches"


Cut the seats to fit as was done with the thwarts. 

A belt sander is a great help to get them matched with the canoe sides.  Make sure you have the seat at your chosen height when you’re doing this!  Leave it a little long initially and keep moving it back as you shorten it and match the curve of the sides.

Block the seat in place once you have it right.  Using a backlight inside the canoe (and the correct sized bit), drill through the outside of the canoe into the seat making sure you are centered and parallel to the long boards. 


I used 2” #10 stainless wood screws and finishing washers (1/8” pilot hole).  Again, place a little wax in the hole in the wood and turn the screw in.

The seats are webbed with regular lawn chair webbing (any hardware store).  The pictures tell the story better than words.  The only thing missing is you need weave the other side from left to right.


Mounting the yoke

I decided to design a removable yoke.  After some thought, I made some cherry brackets as a “socket” for the ends of the yoke.  A pin skewers the yoke through the outwale and the bracket.  There is little outward force on the pin, so it should work OK.  The only question is how to store the pin (and fasten it during portages).


I made up the sockets from some left over cherry, so they fit snugly up against the gunwales.  The mating surface of the canoe is roughed up with 100 grit sandpaper.  I then mixed up some RAKA HP900 and 631 (fast) epoxy and smeared it over the mating surfaces, then clamped it in place.  The socket was cleaned out (carefully) with a wood chisel.


The pins are 1/8" brass with a hole in one end for a lanyard.  The hole for the yoke is drilled through the top of the outwale through the bracket on the bottom.  A lanyard keeper  was secured to each pin to assure against losing them.

To install the yoke, slip one end in the socket, spring the sides of the canoe out a bit and slip the other end in.  Install the pins and secure.

Finishing touches

I sanded the bow and stern again, and applied another finish coat.  I did the same for the floatation s-glass seals.  All exposed wooden parts got another rubbing of Tung oil.  I typically sand and re-coat the canoe at the end of the season; I may try a varnish coat for UV protection next time instead.


Hours to build form - 50

Hours to finish hull - 45

Final cost of canoe - ~$700 (does not include various wood shop scraps used)

Final weight – just shy of 36 lbs.


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