How They are Built

Hand Crafted One At A Time

Each boat is handmade by Nick, one at time. A typical build requires over four months of skilled labor. Each piece of wood is individually hand fitted using special tools that Nick has developed. Enjoy the video below to learn more about Nick’s process or scroll down for more information.

Museum Quality

Strip Built

Some times called “Wood Strip”, “Strip Planked”, or “Cedar Strip”, these boats are made from many thin, flexible strips of wood that are formed into the shape of the boat and held in place and reinforced with epoxy resin combined with fiberglass or an exotic fabric such as Kevlar or Carbon Fiber.

Design Freedom

This technique allows almost unlimited options for sculptural shapes. The flexible nature of the thin material allows the builder’s imagination to run free.


The boats are build with solid wood. Designs with flowing curves and accents that highlight the boat shape.

Labor Intensive

Each boat requires the hand fitting of several hundred pieces of wood. The wood is meticulously sanded to create a perfectly fair surface, followed by fiberglass and epoxy and multiple coats of varnish with sanding in between.

Worth It

The quality of the wood and the shapes possible building boats with the strip built method is worth the effort. It takes time, but the results are stunning.

Levels of Finish

Nick can take your kayak to whatever level of finish you desire


On this Nymph, the light colored basswood is random colored. The various pieces of wood came from several different boards. While the color of the wood is close throughout.
On this build you can just make out small staple holes used as temporary clamps during the building process. This time saving technique leaves a visual clue to how the boat was built, they in no way detract from the strength of the boat.


This microBootlegger Sport was built all from one piece of wood. The wood is cut into narrow strips that are kept in order as they come off the plank and are placed on to the boat in the same order. This boat was built without staples.
This technique takes a lot of time and allows no room for error.


Completing the transformation from a simple but beautiful boat to a museum worth work or art. Nick is happy to personalize your craft to your liking. The marquetry on this microBootlegger Tandem is hand cut and inlayed into the surface of the wood and then covered with fiberglass and epoxy.

Practical and Tough

Stitch and Glue

Using high quality marine plywood to make stunning small boats. Nick uses a computer controlled router to accurately cut 4mm thin Lloyd’s certified plywood into precise shapes. These shape are temporarily “stitched” together with fine copper wire. The geometric joining of the various curves transforms the curved edges of the 2-dimensional plywood into complex 3-dimensional boat shapes. 

Lightweight and Strong

The thin plywood is encapsulated between layers of fiberglass and epoxy, creating a durable and tough structure.

Fun With Color

Making a 18′ long boat with 8′ sheets of material require the plywood pieces be joined together. Instead of trying to hide this joint, Nick has taken to highlighting the connections through strategic use of color. This can be with stains or different species of wood.

Simplified Constuction

Because the plywood can be cut with a CNC machine, and there are far few pieces than the Strip-Built boats above, these designs can usually be built in a couple months

A Great Choice For Rough Use

Because they are easier to build some people feel the stitch and glue boats are a little less precious and are more willing to beat them up a bit. They still scratch but the wound doesn’t cut as deeply into the owner’s heart.

In the Tradition of Inuits

Skin on Frame

The miracle of the arctic people was developing a seaworthy vessel out of nothing but small piece of driftwood and the skin of a couple seal. We can forego the killing of seals by using modern skin substitutes, but it is hard surpass the skeletal beauty of a wood frame lashed together with cat gut (yes, we have a synthetic substite for that as well).

Modern Tradition

The inventors of the kayak were the residents of the high arctic who with limited resources developed on of the most amazing water craft in the world. Nick doesn’t claim to make reproductions, but instead creates his own modern interpretations based on the needs and desires of modern recreational kayakers.

Featherweight and Resilient

There is very little to the structure of a skin on frame. A few lightweight wood pieces all held togther with lashes of string can’t weigh much. But, build it well and it will flex and conform instead of stress and break.

Naked or Clothed

Some people just want to look at the bare frame. It evokes the skeletal presence of a sea creature and prefer to leave the skin off and suspend it on display. But obviously, it will float better if Nick is allow to clothe it in a synthetic fabric and seal it to keep the water out.

Simple Elegance

Although this technique requires the most traditional forms of woodworking, with mortice and tenon joinery and steam bending of ribs, it is actually a relatively quick and affordable method for making a boat.

A Masterpiece Created Specifically For You by a Master Artisan

When you commission Nick to build your a boat, you are getting the years of experience on the water and in the shop that Nick has devoted to mastering the design and building of the best boats he can possibly create. He will be alone in his shop devoting days, weeks and months to crafting you a one-of-a-kind vessel until it is complete. It will take longer than may seem appropriate, but that is how long it takes.

Talk to Nick about Your Next Boat

See Boats We Have Built

View Our Gallery of Wooden Boats