Build Your Own Greenland Skin-On-Frame Kayak
A wonderfully simple and affordable boatbuilding project, fun to do with a partner.
- Mark Kaufman —June 23–29
Tuition: $825 (partner: $400)
- 16′4″ West Greenland Kayak—$1102.50
- 17′10″ West Greenland Kayak—$1155.00
- 16′6″ East Greenland Kayak—$1102.50
- 18′8″ East Greenland Kayak—$1155.00
Note: This is a seven-day course that begins on Sunday morning and ends the following Saturday afternoon.
Few kayaks can match the skin-on-frame type for simplicity, elegance, and performance. These kayaks are custom-fitted to the individual, bringing you closer to the water and the paddling experience.
During this rewarding six-day course, students will have the opportunity to build a replica of a traditional Greenland-style skin-on-frame kayak based on museum surveys. Participants will have a choice of building one of four different Greenland kayaks. Two are of the West Greenland style, and two are of the East Greenland style.
The West Greenland kayak has a flat, low aft deck with gracefully upsweeping ends, a pronounced V-bottom, and hard chines. West Greenland builders will have a choice of building a reproduction of the FRAM Museum #176 kayak from 1888, 17′10″ long by 20 ½″ wide, or a replica of the Canadian Museum of Civilization IV-A-375 Disko Bay kayak from 1931, measuring 16′4″ long and 20″ wide. The West Greenland kayaks can be fitted with the standard egg-shaped cockpit rim (16″ x 22″) or the longer keyhole-shaped cockpit (16″ x 31″).
West Greenland Kayak
The East Greenland kayak looks similar to the West Greenland kayak when viewed from above, but when viewed from the side it lacks the strongly upturned ends. The East Greenland kayak also has strongly sloped sides converging on a narrow, almost flat bottom. Unlike the West Greenland kayak which has a higher deck in the front than the back, the East Greenland kayak has a relatively level deck for most of the length. The East Greenland kayak has a lower profile than the West Greenland style. East Greenland builders will have a choice of reproducing the Danish National Museum L.19.157 from 1932, 18′8″ long by 19′ wide, or a replica of the Museon, Den Haag, the Netherlands, #57602 from 1968, measuring 16′6″ long and 19″ wide. Both East Greenland kayaks use the egg-shaped cockpit rim (16″ x 22″).
Minor sizing adjustments will allow the builder to custom-fit the kayak. Traditional construction techniques will be blended with modern materials to create a kayak that is fast and light. The finished kayaks, constructed from western red cedar with steam-bent white-ash ribs and a stitched-on synthetic skin, will weigh between 25 and 28 lbs.
East Greenland Kayak
Instructor Mark Kaufman will create a materials/kit package that includes premachined western red-cedar gunwales, stringers, deckbeams, stems, white-ash rib stock, laminated white-ash masik deckbeams, finished cockpit rim, seat slats, deck lines, synthetic skin, urethane coating, and a partially preshaped western red-cedar paddle blank.
Skills Mark will teach include procedures for accurately replicating the original profile of the kayak from line drawings, layout procedures, mortise-and-tenon construction, steam-bending, hull shaping, sewing on a skin, and, time permitting, carving a Greenland-style paddle.
Mark promises a fun, fast-paced, intensive week as each kayak takes shape. Students can expect some long, very productive days so that each day’s goals can be met, and by the end of the week each participant will have a stunning kayak that is ready for the water.