By Fred Night - Port Orange, Florida - USA

This boat started when a friend asked about building a kayak.

Now I have seen some kayaks so beautiful that they should hang on a wall as a piece of art and never be sullied by the touch of brackish water. While I love to admire and sneak a touch at these beauties, I know they are out of my league. I need a quick fix in days and weeks not years of fine craftsmanship.

My Kayak

I build from Walmart and Lowes or Home Depot not the fine glued strips of cedar. I sand with heavy 80 grit not the smooth finish of emery cloth. I accept imperfection if I can hit the water that much quicker. As one of my mentors has stated "from 10 feet most boats look pretty good". I looked at 400 plans for small kayaks and thoroughly confused I started building my kayak. I am not limber so I need a sturdy cockpit large enough to ease my climb in and out. It must weigh 40 pounds or less for me to lift and carry.

I wanted lightness in weight and Lowes still has doorskin in 1/8 thickness, this was used for the sides of this boat. The sides are 10 1/2 inches high and 120 inches long at the top and 106 at the bottom. In making up each side I used three sections with butt blocks to give some added strength to the doorskin.

The seat from an old chair.

My bride who loves speedy powerboats took one look at the thin sides and stated "it looks kinda flimzee" and 'flimzee' was its name.

I bent the sides around a temporary frame, 31 inches wide at the top and 28 inches at the bottom. The overall shape seems to work. There is room for a nice sized opening, 25 inches by 40 inches to accommodate my aging buttocks. The ends went together nicely and the boat has a very symmetrical appearance. I chose a cameo paint job out of my left over paint and added to my brides negative thoughts about this latest creation.

My Boat Show

On trash day a neighbor put out a perfectly good plastic chair, I immediately flashed back to a story in 'duckworks' about creating a boat seat by cutting the legs off a plastic chair. It works.

As soon as the paint dryed 'flimzee' was in the water. Climbing in and out was easy, 'flimzee' was smooth and light handling and tracked as well as any short kayak.

One of the locals

My latest double paddle is from two furring strips and luan plywood, it is a beauty. The local heron tried to ignore me hoping I would float away. I already have a list of add ons that will probable mess up my nice 'flimzee' kayak but it sure is fun.


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