How long have you been producing boat kits?

We are a family owned and operated Canadian company that was established in the 1950s. We have been designing and selling kayak kits since 1955. We believe that we produce the best kits available on the market and we have shipped our kits as far away as Columbia, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Italy, Norway and Finland, to name a few.

Can anyone build a boat from a Timber BoatWorks  kit?

Yes, practically anyone can build one of our kits!

Over the years, many of our customers have successfully built boats from our kits, having little or no previous building experience. Included with each kit is a comprehensive manual which is customized to each boat. These manuals, on average, are about 150 +175 pages in length. They are complete with pictures and diagrams to help to walk you through the building process step-by-step.

If additional questions arise during the building process, we are just a phone call or e-mail away. We are happy to answer any questions and are very excited to see the pictures of our customers completed projects!

Timber Boatworks also offers Youtube tutorials for the kayaks kits. This is available through Youtube. Type in our company name "Timber Boatworks" and our Channel should appear. Then type in your step, key word or technique and watch the corresponding video. We continuously update the Youtube channel, and will be adding tutorials on building our canoe and paddleboard kits soon.

How long will it take to build my kit?

Building times vary from person to person. In general, the more time you allow, the better your boat will look! The average build time for our kits is 100 hours.

What kind of wood is used to create the boat kits?

Our kits are cut from the finest mahogany plywood available. We use British Standard (BS) 1088 Okoume marine plywood (an African mahogany registered with Lloyds of London.)

The okoume mahogany that is used for our kits is obtained from sustainably managed growth forests, with a commitment to environmental protection. 

What kind of epoxy system do you use?

We have selected Entropy resins, which are a high quality, eco-friendly marine resin.

We use Entropy Resins CLR for its best in class clarity, great UV stability and its superior flexibility and high bond strength.  The pump set that is included in the kit takes all the guesswork (and mess) out of mixing the epoxy. 

You can be secure in knowing that you are building your boat using sustainable, environmentally friendly products. For more information on the entropy resins that are included in our boat kits, go to https://entropyresins.com

Are there strong fumes when using epoxy?

Our marine epoxy has no solvents, so the fumes are kept to a minimum. Epoxy is quite sticky, so you may want to wear old clothes or a smock. We recommend the use of a charcoal filter mask when using any chemicals, including varnish.  The 2015 flagship varnish included with the kit is smelly, so grab your mask!

How are the kits produced?

Since 1994, we have been producing our boat kits with CNC router cutting technology. Over the years, we have learned that this technology is not magic; the faster and the thicker the material you cut, the more accuracy you give up. We cut at a fraction of the machine's capability to ensure accuracy and to avoid chipping the wood during the cutting process.  We want to be sure to give our customers the best parts available to provide a great building experience.

What is included with the boat kits? 

You will get everything that you need for a ready-to-paddle boat including:

  • CNC router pre-cut BS-1088 Okoume mahogany hull and deck panels
  • 2-part seat, adjustable, removable, wood tractor seat with hip braces
  • Cockpit coamings
  • Permanent and temporary bulk heads
  • Hatches and a neoprene rubber seal
  • Pliable stitching wire
  • Entropy Resins CLR and a set of pre-calibrated dispensing pumps
  • Understanding epoxy manual
  • All fiberglass cloth needed for inside/outside of the hull and deck
  • Graphite to make the bottom of the boat wear like steel
  • Fiberglass tapes
  • Squeegee
  • Mixing cups
  • Stir sticks
  • Wood Flour
  • Dental syringes for gluing the panels
  • Latex gloves
  • 2015 Flagship varnish
  • Adjustable footbraces
  • Deck hardware including bungees and a paddle park
  • Grab handles for the bow and stern
  • The Waters Dancing construction manual, complete with approximately 150 pages with over 100 photos and diagrams

When I buy a kit, what else will I need?

  • A work area that is a few feet longer than your boat. Remember to leave space to get your boat out of the work area after it is assembled!
  • A heated work space. Ideal working conditions for the epoxy is between 21- 30 Celcius or 70-85 Fahrenheit
  • A drill and bits. If you have access to a cordless electric use it!
  • A sanding block and an assortment of sand paper 220 grit to 40 grit. (If you have access to a random orbital disc sander, they work well)
  • A wood file
  • Pliers, wire tie pliers are ideal but not required
  • Wire cutters
  • A small paint tray, 3" roller handle, 6 – 1/8" X 9" foam roller covers (disposable)
  • Milar plastic or page protectors
  • A roll of polythene plastic sheet to protect benches from epoxy
  • Acetone 500 ml
  • Weights (bricks or paint cans work well)
  • A screwdriver
  • A wrench
  • Closed cell foam for the seat and seat back (a ½" sleeping mat from a camping store works well)
  • Contact cement for gluing foam to seat and seat back and rubber hatch seals

Some other things that you will want for your finished boat include:

  • Kayak paddle
  • Spray skirt
  • Paddle float
  • Kayak pump with float
  • Compass
  • Throw bag

Are wooden boats as strong as fiberglass or plastic boats?

Yes!  Okoume plywood/epoxy boats are as strong as fiberglass boats and yet they are 30% lighter!  Under impact, fiberglass shatters like a windshield.  You may not even see some of the small cracks that need repairs in a fiberglass hull.  This makes bringing the hull back to 100% strength almost impossible for the average person.

What kind of maintenance will be required for my wooden boat?

The maintenance required for the Okoume/epoxy boat is similar to that needed with a fiberglass or plastic boat. Epoxy requires protection from long term exposure to ultra-violet sunlight. We supply 2015 flagship single component polyurethane varnish in our kits because it is the best that money can buy! It has six times the UV protection compared to the next leading varnish.

It is recommended that the boat be scuff sanded and re-varnished every three to seven years, depending on the amount of exposure to the sun.

On the bottom at the bow and stern, we apply five layers of fiberglass cloth and two coats of epoxy/graphite. While this adds a few ounces of weight, it provides more abrasion resistance than a sheet of steel! Once in a while (usually at the end of the season or when it is required), mix some resin/hardener and add a small amount of graphite powder, smear it on the narrow ends (bow /stern) of the boat and you’re good to go!

What about repairs?

If you need to repair a fiberglass boat, we would suggest using our marine epoxy. It is 10x stronger than the polyester resin from which most fiberglass boats are made.  Our marine epoxy is an adhesive and will not “let go” like polyesters and some other epoxies.  We have decades of experience repairing boats and helping to provide people with the supplies and information they need to make repairs. 

If you have built your own boat, then you have worked with all of the things that you will need to use and you will have all of the skills necessary to make a repair! Okoume plywood/epoxy boats will invariably sustain less damage than a fiberglass boat from a similar accident. 

How do wooden boats compare to fiberglass or plastic boats?

Fiberglass and polyethylene plastic boats have no UV protection added during their manufacturing process, so keeping them out of the sun is crucial to the life of the boat. As the main supplier of boat repair supplies in our area, we receive calls & complete repairs to these supposedly "indestructible" polyethylene plastic boats regularly.

Left in the sun, you will require a new plastic boat every seven years or so. Plastic boats are not, in our opinion, as high of a quality craft. They are heavier, and when the hull flexes, the water pressure forces the bottom of the boat up in the middle so it’s like paddling a suction cup through the water.

Wood and epoxy constructed boats, on the other hand, are very stiff and will hold their shape better than either plastic or fiberglass.  This makes for a better glide and, consequently, less effort is required to cover the same distance.  The lighter (by 15-25 lbs.) wood/epoxy boat means that more gear or supplies can be carried.

How do wooden boats compare to cedar/wood strip boats?

Unlike cedar strip/wood strip construction, the Okoume plywood/epoxy boats do not require a strongback or stations. The strongback and stations add to the building time and cost of the project. It takes approximately three times longer to build a cedar strip boat than to build a boat from our stitch and glue kit.

Additionally, because the Okoume mahogany plywood used in our kits is built with three laminations, the hull takes an impact much better than cedar strip hulls, which are more likely to crack.

How do your kits compare to others on the market?

We have professionally designed each boat with precision and care to produce what we believe are the best performing, handling, and comfortable boats available.

With each kit that we produce, we take the time to select the most aesthetically pleasing sheets of Okoume for our decks (as they are the most visible aspects and are the showpiece of the boats!).

As stated earlier, we have been cutting our kits using CNC technology since 1994. Our kit parts have a repeatable accuracy of several thousandths of an inch, (our hair is about six thousandths of an inch) to ensure that all parts fit perfectly together.

The design of our joints will only allow you to connect the parts together the correct way and they are also much faster to join together. For example, on our Solace 16XL model, the joints can be completed in about an hour. Other designs take a much longer time and may require up to two days to complete.

In addition to the custom cut wood pieces (which are clearly stamped to facilitate straight forward assembly), we include everything that will be needed to complete your project in our boat kit package. There is no need to purchase items such deck hard ware, hatches, seats and many other components as these are included in the purchase of your boat kit.

Our kits are carefully packaged to order and each comes complete with high quality products that are designed to build the best quality boat on the market.

I have seen several types of decks offered by kit suppliers, what's the difference? And why do you choose the decks you have?

We have chosen our deck configuration, which offers significant advantages, for a number of reasons.
In most cases we use a deck with three longitudinal joints for example.
Each time you put a joint in a panel, the deflection is decreased and the strength of that particular panel is increased. We also do this to control the shape of the deck at every inch along the length of the boat.

When the deck shape is controlled, water gets funnelled off of the deck as quickly as possible. We start with the bow raised, dropping it as it runs back roughly half way to the cockpit, lifting it again towards the cockpit. The raised bow reduces the amount of water able to run up on to the deck. Any water up there is then brought down due to the drop in the deck and is quickly funneled off when the vee'ed deck line rises to the cockpit. This results in a much drier boat than the one-piece curved deck. This one-piece deck limits the amount of shaping that can be done because plywood will bend in one direction only, resulting in a deck that in the side view is straight. This means that, with a one-piece deck, water is able to roll along the length of the deck constantly washing over the paddler; our deck shape eliminates this.

Our deck also eliminates the necessity for sheer longitudinals. These, if improperly installed, can allow gaps that can reduce the strength of the hull. This can cause water to collect which can cause damage to the boat.

The installation of the deck using sheer longitudinals requires screws or nails to secure it, while the epoxy cures. Testing has proven that fasteners reduce the strength of joints by concentrating the stress at the fastener. This squeezes the epoxy out, again reducing the strength of the hull. Fasteners create condensation, which over time, causes rot in a wooden hull.

The curved deck typically leaves a sharp angular corner at the sheer line. These corners can cause considerable discomfort when wet cold knuckles unexpectedly make contact! On our decks with the double sheer or softer angled shoulder, the impact is considerably lessened when inadvertently hit. The double sheer allows water to run off the deck more quickly. It also effectively reduces the height of the sides of the hull, thus reducing the effect of wind on the boat. Additionally, a deck joined with fillets and tapes rather than sheer longitudinals provides a much cleaner inside hull. With our pre-cut hatch openings, it is possible to reach to the end of the hull to apply the tapes with relative ease.

For those not wanting bulkheads and hatches once the boat is built, the bulkheads can be left out and the hatch covers can be glued in position.

 What are the Quicklock Connector System joints?

The Quicklock Connector System is unique to our boat kits and it is very much like a puzzle joint, designed to make building our kits a snap! Yes, you snap the parts together end to end!

The "Quicklock Connector System" allows you to join the hull and deck parts together without string lines. We have eliminated the need for measuring to check alignment. Consequently, you will require less space (width) to do the joining.

What are the advantages of the Quicklock Connector System?

  • It is easier and faster to join than either scarf or butt joints. For example, it takes only 45 minutes to join all of the hull and deck parts for the Lightning 14
  • It is much cleaner and more attractive than scarf joints, allowing even first time kit builders to achieve a clear finish.
  • Its more interesting than a straight butt joint and it quite often attracts interest once it has been pointed out to people.
  • It identifies the front of the panel from the rear (an important feature on parts that otherwise look very similar).
  • It is impossible to join the parts upside down or with the wrong mating part. They only go together the correct way!
  • You don't have to worry about accidentally knocking the parts out of alignment as they are "locked" together! Once the hull is completed, the joint is as strong as or stronger than anywhere else along the length of the panel. It is stronger than conventional butt joints and in our testing it has proven to be as strong as scarf joints.

Are your kayak hatches waterproof?

Our hatches have a thick neoprene rubber seal, so they are as close to waterproof as they can be! The air temperature is generally warmer than the water temperature, so as the air inside the hatches cools, it creates a vacuum inside of the hatch. When the hatch lid is removed, it sounds a little like opening a can of pop.

Most kayak hatches let in an ounce or two of water after a day out in rough seas. Therefore, to ensure that your belongings stay dry, it is advisable to put any gear in dry bags no matter what type of kayak you have.

Some kits are built with fewer bulkheads than others; do you need all of the temporary bulkheads?

Yes, and no. You don’t absolutely need all of the temporary bulkheads installed in your boat to build it. However, in order to achieve and maintain the hull shape and integrity of the design, it is necessary to install them.

Some kit providers don't give you the chance to get the best out of the hull design. Our Solace series hulls have the same shaping as a cedar strip or a fiberglass hull.  

Why do you fiberglass the entire hull inside and out?

We don't always fiberglass the entire hull inside and out. In fact, we are currently working on the design of a boat that can be joined with fiberglass tapes over the inside and it can either be fiberglassed throughout or be fiberglass taped only on the chine joints outside. This type of construction reduces the cost and weight of the boat, but it also significantly reduces the strength of the hull. The same is true of a hull that is fiberglass taped on the inside and fiberglassed covered only on the outside.

Generally, we do fiberglass both the inside and the outside of the hull with six ounce fiberglass cloth. Fiberglassing the hull inside and out increases the strength of the plywood 4 times! When the deck is installed, the strength of the joints is increased 16 times.

On impact, if the inside of the hull is left un-fiberglassed, the wood on the inside will splinter. On a hull fiberglassed on both sides, the same level of impact will not cause damage. When building your boat, you must decide whether increased strength or a lighter weight boat is more important.

Can I come to Timber BoatWorks and pick up a kit?

Yes! We would love to meet you and answer any questions that you may have.

We have a number of our boat kits built & on display in our showroom to have a look at.

Please call us ahead of your visit if you would like to purchase a kit so that we can have it ready for you when you arrive.

If you have other questions or would like more detailed information, 
please call us at (780) 437-4919 or e-mail us at sales@timberboatworks.com 

If you live in the Edmonton area, you can drop by our showroom which is located at:

Boat Craft / Timber BoatWorks
4926 99th Street
Edmonton, Alberta
T6E 3N6

Happy Building!!!