Stitch and Glue - History

History

The stitch and glue method was developed by woodwork teacher Ken Littledyke for the manufacture of canoes, later sold as the 'Kayel' in plan and kit form, using plywood panels joined by fiberglass tape and resin. The technique was then popularised by the first TV DIY expert, Barry Bucknell, in about 1964. The method was adopted, substituting copper wire ties rather than fishing line as in the early Littledyke examples, for the construction of the Mirror Dinghy. The Mirror is so named because the design was sponsored by The Daily Mirror newspaper, a fact reflected by the historically red sails. The Daily Mirror apparently wanted to bring cheap sailing to the masses. As such, unlike other construction techniques of the day, which required specialist skills and tools, Stitch and Glue was supposed to put boat-building within the reach of the average public.

Stitch and glue is similar to a traditional form of boatbuilding from northern Europe, particularly Lapland, called sewn boats. It is not known if Littledyke's development of the stitch and glue methods was influenced by the sewn boat technique.

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