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The 24 Hour Kayak

A Simple Plywood Kayak
Designed to be Built in 24 Hours

 13.5 feet x 28 inches – 40 pounds


The 24 Hour Kayak uses simple materials and techniques. Her flat bottom is stable enough for photographers, anglers, and novices and her flowing lines please the eye. A kayak suitable for beginner boat builders and novice woodworkers. 


Overview – Build Sequence

Skills Required

Tools and Space

Materials and Cost

Plans – What You Get



The 24 Hour Kayak is a compact and versatile wooden kayak designed for lakes and protected bays. Her flat bottom means that she is stable enough to appeal to photographers, anglers, and nervous paddlers. She is suitable for paddlers between 50 and 100 kg. Her simple lines please the eye and her construction techniques make it easy for a novice to build a beautiful craft in as little as two weekends.


This boat was originally conceived as a simple wooden boat that could be built by local co-ops in coastal towns in Cuba and sold into the resort trade. The idea was that it could be built from plywood, screws and waterproof glues, that it would assemble easily, require few complex skills or tools, and that the design would be appeal to casual paddlers.

For any number of reasons the project never materialized and was put on the back burner. The idea was given new life in late 2018 however when the designer was asked to teach a boat building course by OficinaLab, an established school for wood-workers in Sao Paulo.

The result is a 4 meter kayak with high initial stability that easily competes with the current crop of sit-on-top kayaks in comfort, performance and looks. The kayak’s building method is suited to novices, school groups, and parent-child teams. The best part; with a bit of planning the whole boat should go together in 24 hours! And thus, the name ..

Building the 24 Hour Kayak
What Makes It Unique

Building the 24 Hour Kayak requires four plywood panels screwed and glued to a frame of lateral “stations” and longitudinal “chine-logs”. This method does away with much of the complexity that comes with most wooden  boat building techniques. There is no need for expensive fiberglass or resins, specialized knowledge, complex joinery or precise cuts.

In a nutshell, here’s how the kayak is built …

  • Bottom chine-logs are screwed and glued to the bottom plywood panel before which is then trimmed to shape.
  • Stations and stems forms are glued and screwed into place on the trimmed bottom panel.
  • Upper chine-logs are attached to the stations, providing the sheer line and completing the basic frame.
  • Over-sized side panels are glued and screwed to the lower and upper chine-logs, and then trimmed.
  • A rough cut deck panel is glued and screwed to the upper chine-logs and then trimmed to shape.
  • Coaming risers and rim are laminated to the deck panel, following which the cockpit opening is trimmed.

Unlike with stitch-and-glue construction, the plywood panels are shaped AFTER they’ve been attached to the basic frame. This eliminates the need to cut precise shapes and helps to ensure fair lines and an accurate final shape. Whilst builders WILL have to accurately cut 5 station panels and two stem panels (don’t worry, there are full-size templates), this is none-the-less the most forgiving form of boat building we can think of. While prospective builders may wish to review the Skills page if in doubt of their abilities, keep in mind that Ashes designed this boat to make construction easy. We believe will all our heart that anyone can build it.


Building the 24 Hour Kayak
A Quick Step by Step Overview

Build Sequence


Before You Get Started
Some Things You Might Wish to Know

Before making a decision to build a 24 Hour Kayak (or two, or three) we encourage potential builders to review the information on the following pages. You’ll find everything you need to know about materials, tool and space requirements, and the basic skills acquired (or required).

Ordering Plans

Builders who wish to go proceed will need to order a set of plans (either digital or print). The plans include full size templates for the stems, frames, and coaming parts along with the dimensions necessary to loft the plywood panels. For those who have questions about availability, cost, shipping, and what’s included, we’ve created a page which should answer most questions.

What You Get

Ordering Plans – learn more


Hour by Hour Instructions

Making a boat for the first time is rarely intuitive. Our hope is that the kayak’s instructional pages will help reduces the number of challenges novices often struggle with. A good place to start is with a preview of how it goes together.

We’re in the process of writing an hour by hour account of what to expect, the challenges and solutions, along with hints that will make building easier. The pages are organized as below and will be made available when the plans are published in the Spring of 2019.

  • Hour 1 – The Strong Back
  • Hour 2 – Cutting the Chines and a Batten
  • Hour 3 – Lofting the Panel Shapes
  • Hour 4 – Lofting the Stations and Stems
  • Hours 5 & 6 – Cutting out the Pieces
  • Hour 7 – Attaching the Bottom Chines
  • Hour 8 – Trimming the Bottom Panel
  • Hour 9 – Attaching the Stations & Deck Chine-Logs
  • Hour 10 – Shaping the Deck-Chines
  • Hour 11 – Attaching the Sides
  • Hour 12 – Trimming the Sides
  • Hour 13 – Attaching the Deck
  • Hour 14 – Trimming the Deck
  • Hour 15 – Quick Sanding & Filling Holes
  • Hour 16 – Cutting the Coaming Risers and Rim
  • Hour 17 – Laminating the Coaming
  • Hour 18 – Sanding & Prepping for Finish
  • Hour 19 – Applying a Primer Coat
  • Hours 20 & 21 – Making Fittings
  • Hour 22 and 23 – Sanding and Applying the Finish Coats
  • Hour 24 – Attaching the Fittings


Everything you need to know!

  • Length Over All
13’6″ 4.05 m
  • Length on the Waterline
12’8″ 3.72 m
  • Beam Over All
28″ 68 cm
  • Beam on the Waterline
26.5″ 64 cm
  • Rocker – Aft
2″ 5 cm
  • Rocker – Fore
3″ 7.5 cm
  • Height – Stern
15″ 27.5 cm
  • Height – Midships Sheer
11″ 18 cm
  • Height – Cockpit Front
13″ 32.5 cm
  • Height – Bow
17″ 37.5 cm
  • Displacement at 2.0″
115 lbs 52 kg
  • Displacement at 2.5″
150 lbs  68 kg
  • Displacement at 3.0″
180 lbs  82 kg
  • Displacement at 3.5″
230 lbs  104 kg
  • Displacement at 4.0″
261 lbs  118 kg
  • Maximum Load (at 5″)
310 lbs 140 kg
Surface Areas
  • Total Wetted Surface
19.2 sq ft 1.78 sq m
  • Lateral Wind Surface Area
14.5 sq ft 1.35 sq m
  • Meta-Centric Height
1′ 4″ 39 cm
  • Prismatic Coefficient
  • Block Coefficient

Getting Help, Asking Questions

In a perfect world, everything would be perfectly clear. And even though we’ve worked hard to anticipate all the issues our builders will encounter, we know perfectly well how frustrating it can be when faced with a challenge and the directions just don’t make sense. If you come up against difficulties, send an email (don’t use the phone, even though Ashes is registered in Canada, we travel, speak, and teach in far flung places!). We’ll do our best to get back to you with an answer in a timely fashion.

Boa Sorte, Buena Suerte, Bonne Chance, and Good Luck!

Trevor Paetkau
Proprietor, Ashes Still Water Boats

Building the 24 Hour Kayak – A Simple Plywood Boat

Skill Level | Tools and Space | Ordering Plans | Materials | Overview – Build Sequence


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