Coming Attractions: Kayak Building in Slow Motion

The observant follower of this blog will have noticed the glacial pace of my postings over the last several month. Life is not coinciding with my personal schedule and my priorities have shifted like a southern California fault line. Nevertheless, I am persevering, in my own way, with new goals and a rough plan to bring something of interest to Seaward Adventures. My time and money budgets have little room for traveling and attending boating events. My focus will shift to projects that can be accomplished at home.

In my eternal quest to spend more time on the water and less time merely daydreaming on dry ground I will soon begin a new project. I intend to build a skin on frame kayak in my garage and to videotape at least some of the important parts of the process for inclusion here. I make no claim to being a competent videographer but I know the basics and hope to produce something that will not be a YouTube spectacular fail moment.

Why a skin on frame kayak? So glad you asked. I like kayaking, fiberglass is expensive, traditional building is way cool. Pound for pound SOF kayaks are some of the cheapest boats you can build. The type was developed in a land with no forests using driftwood and seal skin. The only fastenings were sinew and pegs. I have no intention of taking out a seal, nylon will do nicely to skin my boat. The frame will be made mostly from lumber I have on hand already. I will buy the least amount of lumber I can get away with. Much of it will be recycled from shelving in my garage.

There is a simple beauty in the purposeful geometry of Skin on frame kayaks. The assembly of  ribs and longitudinal members tightly bound  taught fabric emanates a vision of strength that is proven in practice. The toughness of these featherweight watercraft has been more than adequately demonstrated by enthusiasts of the type.

My first step is actually cleaning and straightening up the work area so it is sufficiently below embarrassment level for videotaping. Although I am a woodworker by trade and am employed in a modern yacht building facility my approach will feature simple tools such as most people who are “handy” will already have. The most expensive tool at my disposal is a 10 inch Delta table saw.

There will be no building prints as I will use the traditional anthropomorphic system to arrive at the crafts dimensions. Such things as arm span, height, and the width of a fist are used to measure for the kayaks length, width, depth, etc. I will be using Christopher Cunningham’s book, Building The Greenland Kayak as a guide. There are a number of builder’s in my area who might get a visit from me when I really need to pick someones brains for a better way of doing things.

If all goes well I will top off the project by making a traditional wooden paddle.  Once again the dimensions will be keyed to my arm span. I have made canoe paddles before and have used a traditional Greenland style paddle in the past. I really like them and wouldn’t want to do this project any other way. So stay tuned: film at eleven. This should be interesting.

I have been thrilled with the response that seaward Adventures has gotten from all over the world. Writing is a joyous activity for me, especially when it is connected to things I am passionate about. Blogging requires a commitment of time and money that are in short supply. I know of no way anyone can contribute time without some kind of whacked out physics being involved. If you enjoy these pages please help me with the expenses involved. Just a few dollars contributed using the PayPal donation button at the top of the starboard sidebar or use the link at the top of the port sidebar to buy Christopher Cunningham’s excellent book. Use it to follow my progress or build along with me. Any contribution is deeply appreciated and will enable me to continue sharing my seaward adventures with you.

 
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One Response to Coming Attractions: Kayak Building in Slow Motion

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