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Kayak Building - What to Expect

Skin-on-frame boats have existed for well over 2,000 years. Originally, these kayaks were used in the stalking and pursuit of seals, walrus and whales, as well as for hunting caribou in inland waters, fishing, and ferrying people across rivers. Nimble and graceful, these crafts were essential to the survival of many native northern cultures. Today, except for a few northern communities, kayaks are no longer used for hunting, but primarily for recreational paddling – all over the world.

The Greenland styles of kayaks offer a range of characteristics that work well for recreational paddling. Generally, they are fast, lightweight, and maneuverable. Traditionally, these skin-on frame boats were built by using locally available resources. Wood was often found by beachcombing, scavenging, or from whatever washed ashore. Skins, such as those from seals, were used to skin the boat. To build a boat with traditional materials, in the traditional way is a work of art, but is a lengthy process that can take several months to complete.

For those who wish to have one of these beautiful, traditionally designed boats, but don’t have a lot of time to build one, Bob Foote offers a solution. In his three-day Skin-On-Frame Kayak Building Workshop, he teaches novice and experienced builders alike how to build one of these crafts at a reasonable cost and in three days, using modern equipment and materials (i.e. lumbar, screw, glue and power tools, canvas). Bob will guide students through every aspect of building their own skin on frame wooden boat and customizing the boat perfectly to match the tastes and needs of the paddler.

This course is designed to help you build a Traditional style kayak, (Greenland) in three days. These boats are not built in the traditional manner. Bob use glue, screws and staples; not lashing and stitching. The goal is to introduce you and get you into a Traditional style kayak with a minimal investment and time. Again, these are not meant to be built in the traditional manner, but meant to have the look, feel and design of the traditional skin on frame kayak.

The course starts the morning of the first day, where Bob take your measurements and discusses design possibilities. Each boat is custom build to the builder’s body size and intended use.

Then you start building the boats. You will be in a large work area with stations set up with saw horses. All materials are supplied. All tools are supplied except for a few listed below. You will be building your own boat, in which, Bob will be giving instruction, guidance, and help.

Be ready to work on your kayak from 8am-9pm the first two days and finish up around 5pm on the third.

The goal is that by the end you will have a skin on frame boat Greenland style kayak, that has the look and feel of a skin on frame kayak. Some people may not get completely done, but you will leave with the knowledge and materials to finish your boat.

It is hoped that this will be the first of many boats that you will be build and share with others.

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