Start At The Beginning

Frugality is an art practiced with patience and a casual disregard for personal status. In a world where branding is practically a religion it is heretical to build in materials with no discernible commercial origin. Far beyond the green zeitgeist is a pragmatic ethic born of economy and nurtured by common sense. Originally the skin on frame kayak was an organically derived vessel that grew from the builders native skills and the material resources available in the local environment. The most important items in any craftsman’s inventory are in his head. The stockpile of memories and learned behaviors that have given us success in the past is worth a whole catalog of expensive tools. What you know is gold bought with the universal currency of time.

Experience begins when you start. – Pete Culler-

I am still in the beginning phases of my skin-on-frame kayak build. For the most part I am assembling basic materials. I have taken some shelving off the walls of my garage to use for gunwales, stringers and the keel. These are nice long pieces of 1 inch pine that have never been painted. I also have some pieces of ash, oak, and maple that may find their way into the finished boat where harder wood is useful. I may even utilize a bit of local driftwood. There is no shortage of it in the Pacific Northwest.

I am not worrying about the skin yet. At some point I will have to decide on canvas or nylon. Canvas is cheaper but heavier and less durable. Another necessary material is the string that lashes so many parts of a kayak together. There is artificial sinew made of nylon dyed tan or brown. It lays flat which allows the skin fabric to lay on it without a bump. This material is quite cheap at about $12.00 for an 80# roll. that will give about 900 – 1000 ft.

Beyond those considerations I am cleaning up the shop and planning the best place to set up for working on an object that will run about 16 feet long. I will be building some new sawhorses to support the kayak throughout the building process and I may start making the forms and spreaders this week. I hope to get that on video so that I can share my build with you on YouTube.

Summer has finally arrived in Port Angeles and their has been lots of yard work to do. Check back in for updates and spend some time reading my previous posts.

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