Kayarchy - the sea kayaker's free online handbook


Building skin-on-frame boats (1)

To start with, a little inspiration

Some SOF kayaks

Wood is a great engineering material for one-off construction.
Skin-on-frame boats have all wood's toughness and resilience. They bend, they don't break.
Frame for skin-on-frame kayak
Below, from Cape Falcon Kayak, Brian Schulz's 13'5" (408cm) tribute to the Coaster design from Mariner Kayaks:
SC-1 design from Cape Falcon Kayak
From Nomad Boatbuilding, the 16 foot by 20 inch (487cm x 51cm) Inuvialuit kayak:
Inuvialuit kayak from Nomad Boatbuilding
From Cape Falcon Kayak again, the 16'0" (487cm) by 22 inch (56cm) LPB design:
Cape Falcon Kayak's LPB design
Also from Cape Falcon Kayak, the 1931 Disko Bay design, 16'4" by 20 inches (499cm x 51cm):
Disko Bay kayak design from 1931
From Dave Gentry at Gentry Custom Boats, 16 foot 6 inch by 21.5 inch(503cm x 55cm) Disko Bay variant, with sawn frames:
Variant of Disko Bay kayak with sawn frames
From Marcin Bober in Poland, 17 foot 4 inch by 29 inch (530cm x 74cm) Kajoo Tourist double, design by M. Bober and M. Sziwa, sawn frames. www.facebook.com/BobroweZeremia
Frame for Kajoo Tourist double skin-on-frame kayak
Below, the front half of a traditional kayak, under construction on one of Anders Thygesen's courses. His website is at Kajakkspesialisten. He uses natural materials, and he speaks Danish, Norwegian and English:
Kayak building course by Anders Thygesen
Below, detail of 19-foot baidarka from a building course by Corey Freedman of the Skin Boat School at skinboats.org:
Close-up of baidarka by Corey Freedman
Below, details from a 19 foot 3 inch East Greenland kayak by Harvey Golden, from his website of historically-accurate kayaks, baidarkas and other skin-on-frame boats, at Traditional Kayaks. If you go to Portland, Oregon, you can see the real boats at his museum in Lincoln Street (open Thursdays):
East Greenland kayak replica by Harvey Golden
Below, a variant of the Sea Tour design by Tom Yost of Yostwerks. This one is 20 feet by 21.5 inches (609cm x 54.6cm), by Clayton Plunkett, Doug and Jack. Click pic to go to original article:
Variant of Tom Yost's Sea Tour kayak
George Dyson, science historian and purveyor of skin-on-frame materials built this 48-foot long (14.63 metre) six-cockpit, three-masted sailing baidarka in the 1970s. It's called Mount Fairweather. I haven't linked to the origin of this photo because I don't know where I got it. For his book on baidarkas generally, and for Kenneth Brower's biography of George Dyson and his father Freeman Dyson, see Paul Caffyn's book list.
Giant baidarka Mount Fairweather by George Dyson
Now let's have a look at some sea kayaks for younger paddlers. If you want to scale down an adult boat for use by a child, you'll have to make it relatively wider. That's not because children lack skill, necessarily, it's just physics. See Child Size Kayaks. This is the Kidyak by Dave Gentry at Gentry Custom Boats. It's 10 feet by 19.5 inches (305cm x 49.5cm) for paddlers up to about 90 lbs (41kg):
Kidyak by Gentry Custom Boats
And the boat below is an 11 foot 8 inch by 19 inch (355cm x 48cm) Kidarka, built by Dave Gentry from a design by Tom Yost of Yostwerks. This one was for a 6-year-old boy. Tom Yost gives a total load including the boat, paddle, paddler, lunch, etc, of 150lbs (68 kg). It's a single-chine design, so it has a cross-section like a Greenland kayak, but the bow and stern shapes are more typical of a baidarka:
Tom Yost's Kidarka design



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