Chesapeake 17 difficulty




hi everyone!

I built a Chesapeake 16 about 12 years ago, pre kids. 

My kids are now bigger, and, so am I. I am wondering how difficult it is to build the Chesapeake 17 vs. the 16. I built the 16 just from plans, and had a blast. Though it took a long time. Thanks for any input!



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RE: Chesapeake 17 difficulty

While not exactly a stretched version of the same thing, they are basically the same boat. So, the build process would be identical. The only difference that I know of is the addition of fiberglass to the deck. I am not sure when that change was made. I also built my 17LT with flush hatches, and later opened and added glass to the coaming. As you probable already know the kits save time, but cost more. Good Luck, JRC   

RE: Chesapeake 17 difficulty

If you've built the 16, the 17 will be easier. The finish will be better, too. As jnjclark says, they're basically the same boat. In addition, anytime you build a boat, just as you're getting good at something that part is done. A second boat lets you start out knowing what to do and how.

Have fun,



RE: Chesapeake 17 difficulty

   I'd have to walk out to the shop to confirm, but the instruction manual for the cheasapeak 17 & 16 are the same book. There are plan views in the back pages that  give dimensional differences.  Can't be much different. Except the 17 does take a slightly longer room. :-)

RE: Chesapeake 17 difficulty

Thank you for all the feedback. Is the 18 just another extension? 

I've always taken my 16 on lakes by our house, but just this last month took it on an overnight. I was stunned at how much it could store. It was able to keep up with my brothers 18 foot Kayak in terms of storage (though not in speed). 

Anyway I love the Chesepeake design, especially for a novice builder like myself; and I'm just trying to size it right. I'm about 265. (as you can imagine, the 16 is pretty tight on me now).

RE: Chesapeake 17 difficulty

   I built a Chesapeake 17 and an 18 about 15 years ago.  The 18 was for my friend who was a lot heavier and less nimble than me.  Pretty much the same boat, the 18 is a bit wider, not much though.  If you are 265 I would go with the 18.  I have the 18 in my shop as my friends health declined and I "inherited" it.  And of course I still have my 17 and two Kaholo SUP's, I have since graduated to a Peeler skiff and now use a 15 HP four stroke to propel myself!

I would go for the 18 kit, you will love the puzzle joints!

RE: Chesapeake 17 difficulty

 If you order a Chesapeake 18 kit be sure to order it with a larger cockpit opening.  The 18 kit comes standard with the same size cockpit opening as the  Chesapeake 14, 16, and 17 so it might still be a tight fit. 



RE: Chesapeake 17 difficulty

   Is the 18 roughly like the 17 and 16 to build? 

I'll admit, the name 'Puzzle Joints' scare me....

RE: Chesapeake 17 difficulty


"Is the 18 roughly like the 17 and 16 to build? 

I'll admit, the name 'Puzzle Joints' scare me...."

Shouldn't... just swap "interlocking" for 'puzzle-' & get on with the fun.

Only caution is to make doubly sure both 'interlocking' pieces are correctly oriented? Top up, forward, well... to the front! Interlocking joints are symmetrical & have been known to be assembled with one panel inside-out / upside-down. Easy to avoid with a witness mark properly applied during a dry-fit trial run.

RE: Chesapeake 17 difficulty

   Thanks! Where do you use them? Does the kid have good directions? I've been going over my copy of the New Kayak Shop to regain my knowledge. So long as the directions are as good as they were in there I'm okay. :-)

RE: Chesapeake 17 difficulty

   One more thing; 


thanks to everyone who looks and comments. I tend to ask alot of questions as a newb, so I appreciate the patience. 

RE: Chesapeake 17 difficulty

   The puzzle joints replace the old scarf joints.  So, on the 18, each panel length should have three joints to make up the 18 foot length.  It is so much easier than lining up scarf joints to make sure the sheer lines are exact.  They fit perfectly, sometimes too perfect, so you have to sand or file a lttle off if they dont snap together easily.  Everything else should be pretty much the same as the 16 and 17.  Bulkheads, sheer clamps, deck coming etc.  Just a little bigger.  And I'm sure the instruction manual is much better than when I built my 17 and 18 way back when.


RE: Chesapeake 17 difficulty

   Okay, that makes sense. I'm assuming they are as strong? I was amazed at the strength of the scarf joints after the glue had cured. I didn't think they were that difficult to do, but if they hae a way of making it easier, so much the better. 

RE: Chesapeake 17 difficulty

A well-made scarf joint ought to be stronger than the surrounding wood. Typical problem is that they're also a little stiffer so fairing a scarf-jointed plank when bend may be tricky. Puzzle-joints overcome that for the most part and ough to be (again, if well-assembled!) as strong as the material (doesn't have to be wood...) on either side.

If you've ever tried to make a scarf joint in plywood (or solid wood for that matter; look up 'haunched' scarf) you'll appreciate how puzzle-joints have improved your lot.

As an aside, should you by chance put one together in some way wrong, a heat gun will soften the epoxy enough for you to separate the two for cleaning up & correct re-assembly.

RE: Chesapeake 17 difficulty

 Nobody cuts haunched scarfs in plywood.

A poorly made scarf will almost always outperform a puzzle joint, in strength and fairness through the joint. But, a poorly scarfed ply joint can look pretty frightful.

But, scarf or puzzle joint strength is never a factor in these boats. And, the joints almost always occur where there is very little bend (midship, away from ends), so there just isn't opportunity for unfairness to happen. 

RE: Chesapeake 17 difficulty

   The average creek side admirer will be impressed with the boat and the puzzle joints.  I noted this on a recent trip down a very crowded spring run full of plastic boats.

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