Posted by: denmanrandonneur | December 21, 2008

Kayak stands

I finished building the stands and thought I would outline what I did for others out there that might be looking for information on stands / sawhorses specific to kayak building.  I started off with wanting something that would be stable and not take up too much room and started roaming the web and the Kayak Building BB for ideas. I found John Caldeira‘s site and really liked his stands so I fired off an e-mail to him, and words of encouragement came back … I knew what I wanted but I couldn’t find any measurements or a cut list for any stands to I took it upon myself to cut and join how I saw fit.

Material for a pair of stands: 2 2x4x8 and 2 2x4x10 (spruce), Danish oil 8 x 2 1/2″ screws, 7 feet of webbing.   Tools: Mitre saw, jig saw, chisels, 80, 150, 220 grit sandpaper, orbital sander (same grits)

Cuts: 4 – 36″, 2 -33″, 8 – 24″

First I cut the above pieces on the mitre saw and then sanded them up to 220 grit.  I know it’s probably overkill, but I hope to get at least a few builds out of them so I didn’t mind putting in the extra effort.  For the base I used 2 24″ pieces and marked the centers and attached a 36″ piece to each one.  The 36″ piece will be on the outside and the base will be on the inside. Next I connected the 2 pieces with a 24″ piece at the bottom.  I just laid the piece with the wide face facing up on the base boards and screwed the together.  The reason why I put the wide side up was because I wanted to use that as a “shelf” for the cedar strips that haven’t been used yet.  I can keep the cedar strips under the stands, freeing up shop space, and also off the ground.  The next 24″ piece was connected on edge 9″ down from the top.  Now we have 6 pieces of wood screwed together and it’s starting to look like something.

Before I go any further, I should mention that I cut the notches out of the tops before I started screwing them together.  To cut the notches I used my new dozuki, chisels and jig saw.  I marked the center and then measured the width of the top piece that will be sliding into it.  Once I had that centered, I went down 2 1/2 inches and started cutting, chopping, shaving and sanding the notches out.  I cut them  a little tight and then went back with the chisels and rasp to make sure I got a snug fit without being sloppy.  The top piece is 33″ and overhangs on the sides by 3 inches and over the top by an inch.  The stands are 37 inches tall and feel like a good height to me. I didn’t want to be hunched over while building and I’m sure I might fine tune them a little down the path.

Now repeat the above steps for the 2nd stand and then your are ready for finishing if you choose to do so.  I just put a couple of coats of wipe on poly mainly to warm up the colour of the wood and the extra protection won’t hurt.  One the finish had cured, I ran some 1″ webbing though the notches and screwed them to the outside.  I left it slack so that it will work as a cradle for the kayak once it is done.  

One thing that I haven’t done yet is notching out a piece of plywood and clamping/screwing it to the top board.  Once the stands are where they are supposed to be I can put the strongback on and it will sit securely in the notches and then I can start levelling things out.  With the notched piece of plywood clamped/screwed to the top board, you don’t have to worry about your floor being level or the stands built exactly the same.  You can use the notched plywood to fine tune the levelling for the strongback.  

I hope this makes sense and the pictures can guide you along. Don’t worry, it’s not that difficult to build!  You can easily build the pair in a day even with all the sanding that i did.  I picked up the 2×4’s from Home Depot and although they were fairly straight, the wood was pretty banged up … hence the extra sanding.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me and feel free to adapt these stands for your own needs.

One I start using them I will update this and give you my thoughts on them.  What is important is to make sure that you have straight wood to start with – it will save you a lot of hassles down the road.  I have a few ideas for a stand for a finished kayak and will probably use nicer woods, but I am happy with the way these versatile stands/sawhorses turned out.


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