Group Plywood Purchase

Hello this is my first post on the forum and I'm new to kayak building. Being a teenager I don't have a whole lot of cash to spend on my woodworking projects but I have fallen in love with the idea of building wooden kayaks. But with the price of parts being so high I would like to buy marine plywood for my wood duck 12 I plan on building in a group to cut down of the price. So what I am inquiring is if anyone would like to get in on a bulk 4mm okoume plywood order that way everyone saves money! Also, the more people the cheaper it will be! Thank you. 

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RE: Group Plywood Purchase


One thing to be careful of in your group buys is quality. Be absolutely sure that whoever you buy it from is selling you genuine marine grade okoume, not the cheap stuff that will crack and snap when you try to bend it.

In the meantime, way back when I was  teenager on a really tight budget (my parents, bless their old-country souls, didn't believe in giving allowances) my strategy was part-time odd jobs for the neighbors. I was cutting grass, watering lawns and feeding dogs for them at $25/month/each.  That's $110 in today's money. 10 months of that buys a WD12 kit. The more neighbors, the more money sooner. I know that it has to fit in with school and stuff, but it works. If you're old enough, there's also part-time work at fast-food places, restaurants, etc. (I used to wash 2000 dishes a night for minimum wage many summers ago). It adds up faster than you think.

You might want to consider something like this in case the group buy doesn't work out, or in addition to it to get the cash for the other parts.

Good luck with it all,



RE: Group Plywood Purchase

There are problems with a group order,

1. People  cancel out when the money is due. You either have to be prepared to cover the cancellations or get advanced payment.

2. Shipping............  You are there and I am here and there is 1,000 miles inbetween. If the pallet is delivered to your location how do we get it to my location.    Shipping may cancel your savings.

3. The say we save money....but there aren't any figures on group size, dollars, time, etc.  I'm old. I've heard that triggers an immediate disregard response without specifics.

A young 2Lt worked for me in the Air Force.  He mowed grass in High School. His first purchase was a mower, second was a Camero, thrid was a trailer. It is possible.  In Florida it is a common small business.


Just a warning..........Every build needs a contingency budget amount. For example my epoxy waste was higher on the last build than programed. So I had to buy some more.



RE: Group Plywood Purchase

   Careful out there, I've heard of counterfeit 1088 plywood. 

RE: Group Plywood Purchase


You are right, usually increasing quantity can reduce price. For all of the reasons mentioned above proceed carefully with that idea.

My 13 year old daughter and I are building Shearwaters. She has to be mindful of her budget as well. We went with plans to "save" money and I can tell you the kit works out about the same probably and saves a bunch of time. Time that could be spent getting more money I guess (or playing soccer, attending school functions, scout camping, etc - your time IS precious too).

One big advantage of plans though is you can split the cost up a bit (CLC will do this too by selling "wood parts only" kits).  So she purchased the wood locally (saved shipping; paid tax). That got her started. Then she saved up a bit for epoxy. And decided stain would be nice. So we purchase parts as she can afford them which turns out to be shortly before we need them. If we wanted to we could have done it one sheet of plywood at a time.

When we are done I think we will have spent more money than a kit (all those separate shipping fees add up) and used up way more time. But we are just about to take her "2d" photo (her with all of the parts that have been cut and planed down to specification) and she has a huge sense of accomplishment. She took a bunch of plywood rectangles and will have a boat when done. 

She also ordered CLC's fiberglass seconds - a bunch of pieces instead of one full piece. This is a money saver and should be fine for inside and maybe outside of kayak.

Good luck with your build, and you entrepreneurial idea on group purchasing.

Also - shop around. Cost of plywood differs in geographically. We paid 10% less on our plywood and it has the genuine labels (which means the labels are genuine, and hopefully the wood is too!).

John Haley

RE: Group Plywood Purchase


I'd vote for a kit as well---especially if this is your first boatbuilding project.

Wood is really only a part of the cost of building a boat and you might learn the hard way that not all the participants in your group can be trusted or depended on.  My guess is that it would have to be a pretty large group to get the cost down substantially---and a large group will eat your time, patience, and possibly your money.


RE: Group Plywood Purchase

   Thank you everyone for your input. I'm going to keep on saving!

RE: Group Plywood Purchase

I built 6- 17LT's with friends, from plans, for less than $550 each, including paint and varnish, some carbon, a handmade carbon paddle, Minicell foam seats, and hardware. It can be done.

We ordered our ply from Noah's, our epoxy and glass from US Composites, paint from Defender, etc. Shop around, and try to buy a bunch at a time since many small packages end up costing more to ship.

And with a group build from plans, the first "boat" that is built is a door skin/underlayment ply template, so that all the subsequent parts can be routed to shape instead of re-drawn and hand cut. Other than the scarfing, it's just like a kit..

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