Mikes "17 lb pirogue"


Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2009
Jack the aluminum is glued on while the panels are flat. Then when the panels are bent to shape around frames the aluminum panels are "stressed" similar to drum skin or a fabric shrunk on an airplane. that's what makes the paper thin aluminum so strong. Herb Cootile had a good idea, ..................

Probably like some of my "ideas". They are good but not worth the work and trouble it would take to make them into better ideas. Something different ofton shows us why things are done like they are. Time and usage usually weed out less than "better" ideas.
It is a great boat as is because you built it with the grandson.



Well-Known Member
May 13, 2014
Central Kansas and Central Texas
Joey's post was excellent and exactly where I got the inspiration to build the three I have built. Had I built my sides in the classic "rainbow" shape I'm sure that mine would have had more flare.Also If I'd paid more attention to his post earlier I would have started with cedar bottoms instead of luan. My interest in the method was a cheap easy build for 10 year olds. I've decided Uncle Johns style is better to teach youngsters the basics.


Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
South Louisiana
I missed a CRITICAL detail in my boat build. I used uncoated, bare aluminum flashing. Epoxy doesn't stick to it worth a flip. With bare aluminum, some kind of caulk probably would have sealed better. I found the hundreds of brads held the aluminum very well. Mine came out to 23 lbs. because I erred on side of slightly larger wood members. The boat performed well, but I would not consider it even remotely "rugged". A 2 lb catfish flopping around caused surprisingly large dents in the sides. It was a fun build and scratched an itch.

Congrats on the joint build . It's good to get kids involved.

One thing I don't think I touched on. There have been heated discussions on lighter vs heavier boats. I have a "seat-of-the-pants" feeling that this boat, being very light, actually glided slightly less between strokes than a SLIGHTLY heavier boat does. Think ping pong ball vs golf ball. Air resistance to weight ratio kills the speed of the ping pong ball.........and water has 400 times more resistance than air.

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Has anyone tried a stitch and glue boat using 2mm plywood? Even if used only for the sides, it would lower the weight. I would not necessarily expect it to be "rugged", but compared to sheet aluminum, I would trust it a LOT more. Even light weight fiberglass inside and out would further strengthen it. I would use only top grade mahogany plywood, and not other stuff with "acceptable flaws".

A "light duty" boat has to be used for just that - light duty. Here in the Great Lakes area, there are a lot of rocks, many of them are igneous, from volcanoes. They all come fully equipped with sharp edges, and sharper corners. A few have mastered the ability to leap into the air, and position themselves right where I intend to land. They can also become invisible while kn flight, and penetrate water without making either ripples or a splash! They're sneaky, and bear watching. A light duty boat would require a very careful paddler here. I'd best stick with rugged.


Well-Known Member
May 13, 2014
Central Kansas and Central Texas
I'm pretty sure Chuck has built with "door skins" and 3.5 oz tight weave cloth. i've used 5.2 mm luan and 3.5 cloth on an uncle johns still in good shape outside stored. The stressed skin aluminum is much tougher than I ever imaged. BUT not my choice for light weight builds.


Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
Central , Florida
Has anyone tried a stitch and glue boat using 2mm plywood? Even if used only for the sides, it would lower the weight.
Just about all of the boats ( Non motorized ) I built were with door skins , epoxy , glass cloth. it was the best way for me to make a 16 foot boat that would weigh 30 to 32 pounds and be strong enough to use for just about any trip.I got into some bad situation ( weather and even some rapids ) and they performed as you would expect them to. None broke in half , sunk , fell apart or did any other nasty things. They did get a scratch or two but that is expected and didn't functionally damage to the boat.

Heck I even used one of the 1st pirogues I made ( about 20 years ago ) as an emergency water container during a couple of our hurricanes around three or so years ago . That did two things , filled with water it did not blow away and gave us a source of fresh water to use here at the house. A neighbor of mine is using it now to fish out of for the last two years.

As far as I know even the rest of the ones I gave to friends are still being used by them.

in all fairness I did make a pirogue fro 1/4 in wood , A kayak ( Coho ) from ( Pygmy Boats kit wood ) , A Uncle Johns Skiff from 1/4 inch wood. All of the rest were with door skins and before you ask I really do not know how many since it's was over a 20 year period.

My thoughts about the thinner wood is really simple. It's like a peanut butter sandwich ,the peanut butter ( wood ) in the center. With two slices of bread ( epoxy and fiberglass ) surrounding it.