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Received the Tiki 21 study plans. Building is planed for next Summer -2014-, I will have three months free. I intend to make small parts of the boat during the year, cleats, rudders... to save time.

I have two questions, one is about tools, what did you use to successfully built your own Tiki?

Second is about time, when it is said that the boat ma be built in 400 hours, it means by one person working 400 hours. So, is it possible to built such a boat alone, and two persons divide the building time, certainly not by two, but how much can be saved?

I intend to built in France, near Lyon.

Thanks for any info,


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It has been 14 years since I completed my Tiki 21. It was built mostly single-handed although I had very important assistance when covering the hulls with fibreglass and epoxy. An electric jigsaw and a cordless drill were the tools used most often along with an assortment of hand tools. My workshop at the time was well equipped and other tools would most certainly have been used when appropriate but would not be essential.

As for construction time, I estimated that I put in somewhere around 750 hours to complete the boat. It was my first time working with epoxy and I quickly learned how important it is to anticipate the next steps in order to make the best use of time. Having a second person would most certainly have reduced the time but only if that person had enough experience to work independently and if the workspace was large enough for two people to work on separate aspects of the project at the same time. The amount of time will also reflect the quality of workmanship and the level of finish that is acceptable. Pre-building small parts will certainly help move the project along quicker - that is a very good strategy.

No matter how long it takes you to complete the boat, your work will certainly be paid off with the satisfaction you get when you launch it for the first time and see the sails catch the wind. I wish you a successful summer and look forward to seeing photos of the completed craft.

Hi Eric!

We are on the home stretch building our TIKI 21. Everything exept mast and fibreglassing is completed. 

About the tools: a jigsaw is necessary. We used a handheld circular saw as well. It is nice for straight cuts but not obligatory.

I find the eternal sanding the worst part of the building so some support by power tools is always welcome. We use a beltsander and a orbital sander, i highly recommend both.  Very important when sanding with the orbital sander or by hand is the proper sand paper. We use paper for varnish which works very well with epoxy. The paper for wood wears down quite fast when used on epoxy.

I am by now also a big fan of a dentist drill like "dremel". We used it a lot for sandig the joints (especially on the beams) and other details.

I would advise you to use good breathing protection since a lot of the stuff is toxic or at least unhealthy. We use fullface masks which are expensive but I think its the wrong place to make drawbacks to save money.

About the building time. We are building as a two-men-team. This is a nice thing since I imagine some operations very difficult alone (Unfolding of the hullsides, stiching the bulkheads and the sternpost, glueing the beams and so on). But being two does not halve the time needed. Anyway I think the 400 hours given by Wharram are not realistic. We at least will have spent much more... maybe we are slower or lazier or talking and dreaming too much about the finished boat...  750h as Rod said sounds traceable to me. I think the personal standard, how perfect should the finish be, makes the biggest differnce.

Nevertheless building a TIKI is worth every hour. First I saw it as a strange hobby, now I realize that all that time isnt lost but transformed into a structure that came to life.

One idea at the end:

The next time I build a TIKI I would coat the entire plywood sheets with two coats of epoxy and cut out the parts afterwards. We thought about this in the beginning and decided it would only make sense for the bigger designs. But now i would also do it with the 21. After cutting the parts one must only coat the edges. Especially the sanding of the entire sheets is much easier and faster than of all that individual parts.

Bon courage



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