'Recovery' Kayak (1)

Ever since we started building kayaks, and especially since we started building the skin-on-frame boats, I've been hankerin' to try a Greenland-style boat. I've been working from the Robert Morris book, Building Skin-on-Frame Boats, and by rights probably should have started with a full on Greenland kayak, but decided to go with the 'Recovery' kayak instead. Though the explanations are more complete for this boat, I figured I had enough experience from all our other building to skip to this boat. After all, I already have a sea kayak, even if it is a bit of a pig.

During the fall, I managed to get this far - all the ribs are bent and in place, and the masik (the deck beam in front of the cockpit) is laminated and installed.

The ribs are a more precise operation than on our canoes, as they have to be the correct length before they get steamed, so they will fit in the mortises just so.

Getting ready to laminate the cockpit rim. 1/10th inch strips of ash, and a particleboard from to clamp them to.


Skin-on-frame Canoes (1)

Here are the first steps. The gunwales are on the forms.

The knees and stems are glues together with thickened epoxy.

These are the stems and knees (glued together) and the breasthooks.

The first part of the process is setting up the forms. Gunwales, keel stringer, knees and stems are placed on the forms and the breast-hooks are glues and screwed to the gunwales. The keel-stringer is glued to the knees.

Stringers are temporarily tied on the forms, to establish the spacing and hold them until the ribs are lashed in place.

The rib-bending process. We use cedar for the ribs, each rib is 1/4" x 7/8", with rounded edges. Since our boats are singles, and lengths don't exceed 4', we are able to use off-cuts I get from Salmon Falls Canoe in Shelburne Falls, MA.

The ribs are steamed and bent into place after the stingers are in place. Then are then lashed to the stringers. Sometimes it goes very smoothly; sometimes we break a few ribs before we get it right.

Here are the boats with all ribs in place and ready to be skinned.


Current projects: This year, four of the boys are building Oxford rowing shells. This is a wood/fibreglass kit from Chesapeake Light Craft. Three more students are working on skin-on-frame, low-seat canoes, of the type I learned to build from Hilary Russell at the Berkshire Boat Building School. I'm also about half done with an Inuit-style 'recovery' kayak, out of the Robert Morris book. Having to chose between building a larger steam box (to make the cockpit rim) or laminating, and surrounded by epoxy, I've opted to go new-fashioned and make by rim by the later method. If I can find time, I'd also like to build a more authentic coracle than my plywood-epoxy version.