Wednesday, October 7, 2009


My husband has wanted a kayak for a long time. He's browsed on-line catalogs and Ebay, looking and longing. The problems boiled down to two things:

*What kind and what size?
*They cost so much!

Then, earlier this summer, both of us happened to see an article in the local paper about a man who had a kayak building school in the Big City near us. The ironic thing was that the article ran in the sports section, which neither of us usually reads. It was serendipity.

Problem number one was taken care of because at the school they used an old method of sizing the kayak to the individual based on their height. The second problem? Let's just say that Santa came early this year.

All summer long my husband has been driving over to the Big City a couple of nights each week after work to build his kayak. These are not the short, little boats that you usually see for white water kayaking, which I was most familiar with. These are long, narrow boats built in the Greenland style, used originally by hunters on the open seas. They are built of hard woods and pine, held together with pegs and lashing. They did use some screws to attach the keel strips, I believe.

Along the way he's met some new friends and learned a lot about kayaks.

The weekend before last was the great kayak launch. Would they float? Would they tip?

Here he is making a last minute inspection:

A blurry (sorry about that!) detail of the sewing job he did on the outer skin:

Stepping into the water:

And floating away:

I love the sunshine showing the ribs in the above picture. He chose the clear coating over the outer skin so that he could see all the interior details of the boat.

It seemed a little tippy at first, but after a few strokes across the water, it was pronounced stable and comfortable.

There are still a few things he needs to finish on the boat and some more equipment to get.

But stroking your hand-made kayak across the lake on a beautiful afternoon? Priceless!


Cathie said...

Great report and great job on the kayak building!

Kimberley said...

I really enjoyed reading "Kayak." Dennis and I have really enjoyed getting to know Brian. It's been one of the many perks of our job.

Great pictures!
Enjoy the day.
Kimberley Hillerich
Skipping Fish Boat School
(502) 298-0932

Mir said...

WOW, great to see the finished product. That's a beautiful piece of work. I hope we still get a chance to go camping together this fall and see it in action. I love that Dad is still wearing that old purple life jacket.

Deb Geyer said...

WOW! How cool! A great journey while building the kayak and a great journey after it's finished!