The Great Tik Tak Build of 2015
March 21, 2015
Tak Kayak is a silly boat that does one thing very well: Gets
people on the water cheaply and easily. The major benefits of a
Tik Tak - from a Boathouse point of view - is ease of use and, just
as important (or maybe more so) ease of storage. With it's low profile,
flat sides, and flat bottom, they tuck away almost anywhere.
Since we first came up with this design in 2014, it
has proven to be a real hit - especially with kids. Occupants sit
on the bottom, so the center of gravity is very low - this, combined
with the wide, flat bottom, make it a very stable boat. It uses
a standard kayak paddle for propulsion so there is almost no training
Three youths in a 12' version - so stable it was impossible
to keep them from standing.
Another outstanding feature of the Tik Tak design
is its ease of construction. Two sheets of plywood and a 2x4 gets
you everything you need. They are so easy to build, we decided to
build two of them in a day - using 4th graders as the work force.
Boathouse staff cut, assembled, and painted all the
pieces ahead of time, the kids were used for final assembly.
Here are the pieces stacked for assembly - top, bottom
and two sides. The chine logs and stems had been glued in ahead
And here are the kids - six in all. From left to right:
Connor (with the hat, he is 14, the rest are 9, 10, and 11), Patience,
Anthony, Sebastian, Hannah, and not pictured is Rainah. Connie (Paitence's
mother) was also there to help.
Prior to getting started, w showed the kids how the
drill motors and impact drivers worked and let them practice driving
screws into scrap. The trick was to get the screws to just seat
- not too shallow and not too deep.
Next, we started the screws into the pre-drilled pilot
holes. There are about 30 screws on a side.
We did a quick dry-fit so they could see how it was
going to go together.
I laid the first bead of glue down so they could see
how it was done, then they started driving screws.
I know Patience (l) has used tools before - because
she has worked on projects at the Boathouse before - but I am not
sure Hannah (center) or Sebastian (r) have.
Once the first side was attached, we lined up the
centerlines to get ready for the second side.
Two things I hadn't considered when working with kids:
Kid-sized gloves are very hard to come by and there is no such thing
as a kid-sized caulking gun. Patience was the first to try her hand
at laying a bead of PL Premium.
She did a good job, too! Consistent size and stayed
on the chine.
Driving screws takes some skill - holding the drill
straight while applying pressure seemed to take the longest to learn.
The milestone event in boat construction: Turning
It was right about here Patience learned what is meant
by the term "squeeze out" as it applies to gluing.
Our first view of the insides. Sebastian seemed to
be enjoying himself. Rainah, maybe not so much. Hannah was the only
one smart enough to wear gloves.
Dry fit and line up the top.
Good shot of Anthony as we put the screws into the
We had to be very careful to line up the center marks
of the pieces. Anthony and Patience were very exacting.
Hannah on the glue gun (that's a really good shot of
her with our paint locker in the background providing the blue screen)
Everybody got a chance at the glue gun. Its harder
than it looks at first glance. (protip when planning one of these:
Buy at least one extra tube of glue.)
There are difficulties when working with youth - mainly
distractions. There was to be a photo shoot that afternoon and the
photographer showed up with a drone - you would have thought they
dumped a bag of candy on the dock.
Back in the Boathouse, we were able to get the second
side of the top glued and screwed down.
The second boat went MUCH faster than the first, like
done in half the time - or less. Which was good, because just then
. . .
Joe from Newport showed up with a batch of El Toros
for a photo shoot.
Joe had brought his own set of kids, too, and they
took to the water like ducks. Done for the day, the kids from the
Boathouse jumped into their boats and hit the water, too.
That's a nice shot with the Tik Tak Too in the front
(Tik Taks can be almost any practical length.)
And one last picture of boats on the water.
A good day was had by all.