It’s amazing how a simple idea can take on a life of its own once you start. Have a desire to build a boat for fishing at your local lakes and a bunch of American Ingenuity? Build a boat out of things American, Duct Tape, PVC pipe, and plastic.
I wanted a boat that would allow me to cast into the shore instead of from the shore. Being a mechanical engineer, one thing led to another and as the years passed I decided I would build a skin-on-frame kayak. The final kayak would be wood framed and fabric skinned. I searched for additional ideas and eventually made a balsa and tissue paper model of an 18 footer. Not wanting to invest more money and time than necessary in a prototype, I began thinking of a simple and quick way to test a design.
Again one thing led to another, and my son Daniel and I came up with the idea of a PVC pipe frame, duct tape for fastening the pipes together, and 4 mil construction plastic for a test skin. We arrived at an initial design that would use 10 foot sections of PVC pipe, since that was the length available at our local stores. Since fishing was the primary aim for this boat, shorter and wider would be more maneuverable.
We put our first prototype in the water in the summer of 2007 and it sat a little lower in the water than we wanted. The next design, shown in this article, was widened from 30 inches to 36 inches but the keel form stayed the same. Each boat was put in the water for less than $25.00. In addition to the change in width, we added the use of brackets formed from PVC pipe to help hold the pieces in the proper position, since the duct tape lashing on the original design had allowed two joints to shift slightly.