Mikes "17 lb pirogue"

Grandson Mikes "17 lb pirogue"

It's become a tradition with our Grand kids if they want to build a pirogue, 10 is the magic age. After that---- just work it out with parents and Grandpa and you're good to go. Mike is one of our several Louisiana grand kids,and is a student at the Shreveport Education Center for Autism. Mike had become very fond of one of our "herb lite" aka 17 lb pirogues, so when he turned 10, his heart was set on a aluminum SOF instead of the standard Uncle Johns Pirogue. About 2 years ago he and I set out to build his boat. The distance between Mike and ,I coupled with some old people ailments stretched the build time, but not our enthusiasm. The build started in La, moved to Texas, then to Kansas, but it's done now! I am so proud of Mike, he stayed enthused, closely followed directions, and completed the boat with very little hands on help from me.

This isn't so much a detailed "how to build post", but also about our journey together, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

We decided on a cedar strip/ fiberglass bottom, as the luan bottoms on previous builds didn't wear well. Recycled cedar fence boards for the bottom, a new cedar 2" x 6 x 14' for the frame, and a 25' roll of 12" aluminum trim coil, took care of the basic materials.

First step was to build a table. Sawhorses, 2x4's and plywood.
building work table.jpg

The cedar 2x6 was ripped to 3/4 x 1 1/2 about 14 feet long. These were laid out in the ladder shape for the framework with 45 degree slope a the ends. Total frame length of 12' so the 25' of aluminum fit with one foot left over. The cross pieces of the frame were glued in place with epoxy/wood flour mix and secured with T 50 stables for clamping.
gluing and stapling frames.jpg

The stems (end pieces of the frame ) were trimmed. A thick bead of epoxy mix was placed on the outside of the frames and the pre trimmed to shape aluminum was stapled in place over the wet epoxy mix.
frame with spread epoxy ready for aluminum.jpg

While that set up we moved on the assembling the cedar bottom. The fence pickets were ripped into strips and planned to 1/4" thickness. The ends of the strips were cut at 45 degrees across the wide side for joining (scarfing) the bottom to length. A sheet of plastic drop cloth was placed over a rough pattern of the bottom shape, them the strips were glued together and clamped in place by shooting brads through 1' X 1' sticks. The sticks are covered with packing tape to keep them from sticking to the glue. We used tight bond III for this step.
gluing bottom cedar strips.jpg

After the glue was set we removed the sticks and brads, and sanded the rough shaped bottom, and gave it a "saturation" coat of epoxy.
Bottom Glued and epoxy coated.jpg

The bottom was then covered with fiber glass cloth and wet out with epoxy. The excess cloth on the edges was trimmed.
trimming epoxied cloth bottom.jpg

Now that we had the major components, it was time to put the boat together. The sides were bent around two forms, one of the forms was shaped to represent the transom and a wider form near the middle where the rib will go. The shape of these forms were "best guesses", the transom worked out fine, we had to experiment with the center form. In the picture you can see the ty wraps we used to pull the stern and bow in place.
Bending sides around forms.jpg

The bow was epoxy glued and screwed together, an uncle john type rib inserted in the middle, the transom replaced with a cedar one and epoxy glued in place.
epoxy glue bow(.jpg

We turned the boat upside down on sawhorses, checked for square, and glued the cedar/fiberglass bottom on with plenty of epoxy wood floor mix. Clamped it in place with a brad gun.After the mix cured mike trimmed the bottom flush with a multi tool. Followed up with a belt sander and sanding block.
Trimming bottom with multi tool.jpg

The forum will only accept 10 pictures/post so I'll try posting this and continue in another post or reply to this post.
To be continued


Grandson's 17 lb pirogue continued

Now some more fill coats of epoxy on the bottom, inside and out. The bare cedar inside was also epoxy coated.
sanding bottom 2).jpg

fill coats bottom.jpg

Notice Mike has grown a bunch in 2 years! He also is a fine young man.

Next the bottom was taped off in preparation for the graphite epoxy mix on the bottom. This took three coats of the mixture.
Taping off Bottom.jpg

Rolling Graphite epoxy.jpg

finish outside.jpg

finish bottom.jpg

The pirogue is finished. Well almost, there is talk of a future deck and maybe camo paint in the outside. Mike has his very own boat, which will be well used by a terrific grandson who is greatly loved and appreciated by a proud grandpa!

Good Fish'n Andy

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
When I was still a tad, yet smaller and younger than Mike, Mom taught me a jingle to sing-song to the fish:
"Fishy fishy in the brook,
Come and bite upon my hook.
Mom will cook him in a pan,
And I will eat him like a man"!

If the fish still didn't bite, I'd haul in the line and pee on the worm. If that didn't work, I'd quit fishing, eat an orange, and curl up to take a nap.