What is Stitch and Glue?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2019
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Stitch and glue is a type of construction process that is often utilized with certain types of boat building projects. This particular boat building method involves using a combination of epoxy glue along with strong fishing line or durable wire to seal the seams along each section of panels cut to construct the hull of the craft. Sometimes known as tack and tape or stitch and tape, this type of joinery was first developed during the middle portion of the 20th century and remains a popular option with small boat building today.


With a stitch and glue method, the process of creating a viable hull for a small boat is streamlined so that novices to boat building can manage the task. After cutting plywood panels to the right size and shape, the panels are stitched together either using strong fishing line or copper wire. In order to expedite the stitching action, it is not unusual for small holes to be drilled along the edges of the pieces at regular intervals, making it easy to line up the holes and run the line or wire through them in a manner that is not unlike that of sewing a hem on a garment. This makes it possible to assemble the panels into the proper shape for the craft. Once the stitching portion of the activity is completed, the epoxy glue is applied along each of the seams. This helps to reinforce the strength of the seams and adds a layer of strength to the simple hull that would not be present otherwise.

After the stitch and glue task is completed on both the inside and outside of the small boat, the wires are often snipped on the exterior area of the hull. Once this step in the boat building process is complete, a thin protective layer of fiberglass and more epoxy glue is applied to the hull. This helps to provide a smoother surface that can be sanded and painted with relative ease. An alternative method is to remove the wires using some type of heat source once the epoxy is cured and the seams are in no danger of collapsing.

The concept of stitch and glue is common among amateur boat builders. In fact, the technique was developed specifically with amateurs in mind. This means that if the builder wishes to create a simple boat that is ideal for spending the day on a lake or enjoying a day of fishing on a river, the stitch and glue method can help streamline the process.


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