Building a Tik-Tak Kayak
April 2014

Downloadable, printable Build Manual

This boat is designed specifically to be quick, cheap, and easy to build. Two sheets of cheap plywood (exterior grade, or at least moisture resistant,) a cheap 8' 2x4, and two tubes of PL Premium.

I dug through the pile of 2x4s at Lowes until I found one that gave me enough clear wood to rip (2) knotless 1x2s from it.

I ripped those (2) 1x2s into the (4) 1x1 stringers (actually just a hair bigger than 5/8 x 5/8) needed for the chine logs.

From the remaining piece of 2x4, I ripped the stems and (2) 9" 1x2s that will be used as stanchions to support the deck.

Probably the most important thing to do is clearly mark the centerline on the inner face of the plywood. During assembly, everything starts at the centerline.

This is NOT an approved method of ripping plywood. Mr. Scheidamann (my 7th grade shop teacher) would have kicked my a$$ for doing this. (I learned this method from my father, who was not a shop teacher)

Lining out the sides

I am a firm believer in making all my mistakes at once, so any chance I have, I clamp pieces together for cutting. I clamp the sides together and when I drill pilot holes for the screws, I clamp the deck and sole together as well. Why measure twice when you can cut once?

No matter how carefully you cut, you never get everything perfect. The skegs are made from the remainder after cutting out the sides - glue and clamp them together, then smooth the mating face and shape the skeg once the glue has cured.

1" drywall screws with pennies for fender washers. Why pennies? Because the last time I bought fender washers, they were 11 cents each, and a penny is just a penny (with a 1/8" hole drilled in it.)

This took me by surprise: The wood I was using for stringers was very damp ("Green Doug Fir") and as such, didn't allow the TiteBond III glue I was using to dry. When I removed the screws, the stringers just popped off.

I switched to this version of TiteBond which I hadn't seen before - mostly because no one on the coast sells PL Premium, but also because the label says "epoxy-like strength" which is probably akin to how frog legs have a "chicken-like" taste. Polyurethane glues have the wonderful property of being activated by moisture and also expanding as they cure.

Do you have one of these pull saws yet? Duckworks sells them, and they are great.

The hatch is an interesting beast. I made it just big enough to sit inside, back pressed against the aft edge, knees up, and legs pressed against the forward edge. I wanted it like this to force the occupant to sit in the center of the boat.

Propping up the sides in preparation of attaching the bottom.

Bottom on! I used screw-clamps on the corners.

I flipped the hull over and installed the skeg (single skeg on this version, the one in the plans has 2 to help mitigate the squirrliness problems you get when paddling a very short boat.) You can also see one of the stanchions in place, and the reinforcing pad made from the cutout of the hatch.

At this point, a smart man would have painted all the interior, non-gluing surfaces

I am not a smart man. I didn't paint until after I attached the deck. The good news is an average-sized adult CAN reach al the places inside the hull IF he is willing to get a little paint in his hair.

On the first prototype, I didn't have a coaming. That was scary, as every little splash that came over the bow looked like it was going to come inside the boat. I'd never made a coaming before, so I took to inventing. I used the remainder of the 2x4 to make a bunch of short 1x2s that I held against the underside of the hatch, traced the opening, then cut with a bandsaw. Look inside the boat: To get eh remaining plywood to bend, I cut a series of shallow grooves into the B face, 1/2" apart. I cut them almost all the way through - just the last ply was holding the stick together.

Holy monkey, it worked!

I did 2 layers of ply, the tried filling the little grooves with caulk.

OK, why do all this? Because it looks friggin' COOL, that's why. Like something from the Jetsons.

Top front view. Sweet.!

I took a 3/8" roundover bit to the edges and finished up with an angle grinder with a 40grit pad for final shaping.

and then . . .

I decided not to paint the exterior before I tried it out - if it didn't work well, I'd just toss it on the burn pile. There'd been some skepticism as to how easy it would be to enter (most people thinking it would be impossible. Note: Look close: I have a PFD in the cockpit for me to sit on - makes it comfy.

It was shockingly steady and easy to enter. I'd really expected it to skitter or heel badly. Nope - just get your legs in and sit down.

Notice the trim: I'd wanted to be just slightly aft of center so the bow was a little higher than the stern, but still neither end in the water. PERFECT. I weigh 200lbs and at 5' 10.5" am exactly average for an adult male for height. Comfortable seating AND the boat floats well.

Not content with just my happiness, I had Curt give it a try.

He said "It doesn't suck" and suggested adding the second skeg you see in the plans. All in all a successful, cheap, easy, quick-to-build design.

Downloadable and Printable Plans