My Shearwater 17 "Wood Parts Only" kit arrived today, a whopping 17 days after I ordered it. Not being One Who Takes His Time, I immediately unpacked it, and began joining the bottom panels.
I dared to simply epoxy the "puzzle joints" together, without the reinforcing strip of 9oz. fiberglass tape. As I see it, this joint gets fiberglassed on both sides anyway, and the glue joint should be strong enough to hold the panels together until then. This intersection also turns out to be right in the middle of the cockpit, where that bump created by the saturated 9oz. glass will require lots of (heavy, expensive) epoxy to fill it smooth.
I actually feel that there is just a tiny bit of "overkill" in the Instruction Manual. I tossed this idea at CLC's owner, (nice guy), and got a bit of a "raised eyebrow" response, but I had decided that my challenge for this project was to save as much weight and material as possible. More on this concept as I go along.
I also cut strips from leftover 4oz. fiberglass cloth to use in lieu of 9 oz. tape: