Hi, my name is Lukas, and I’m a graduate student at UVM. A friend took Brian’s class several years ago, which was the inspiration for me to build my own kayak, though I wanted something a little more stable than the Greenland kayak he made just to get out and do some day trips.
While red cedar is available, it was a more expensive than I was looking for, and I ended up using a 1×12 pine board for all of the long pieces.
For the laminations, I worked around knots in a 2×6 piece of pine.
I wasn’t able to get the white oak right away, so I did as much of the prep work as I could while waiting to get the oak.
I was finally able to get some air dried white oak from a local boat building school and maritime museum. I picked up a approximately 1″x13″x10′ board, which was cut down into 10′ lengths of rib stock and stock for 2 coamings and lips. There ended up being plenty left over for a second boat if I ever decide to build one, as I was probably able to use 90% or a little more of the board.
Once I had the stock ready, I got ready to steam bend the coaming, so I could finally mark the location of the 3rd deck beam on the gunwales. While the long steam bending setup worked, it could probably have used improvements, and some way to make sure that the middle of the coaming and lip got enough steam. After initial testing went ok, I proceeded with the actual stock, which in the end worked, but was definitely a low point in the build and the most frustrating part to see not working really well. Definitely some take-away points for the future!
I was then able to mark the 3rd deck beam location, and create the mortises. I had a router for the straight mortises, but didn’t have a long enough bit to get through the angled mortises, so was back to a drill jig for those.
And on-to assembly!
Instead of cutting all the ribs to the same suggested length, I took a little more time and dealt with a little more annoyance lining up the 10′ rib stock pieces to the gunwales and cutting off of those. In the end I was able to use less than half of all the stock I had. Because I had plenty of extra, I tried to hide some of the poorer pieces (though it was almost hard to find poorer pieces) in the gentle ribs. It worked for a few, but some others broke, which were replaced with some nicer stock.
Over the weekend, I skinned the kayak, moving locations again to stay out of the sun.
All told it took about a month of work once I had all the materials – about 2 weeks to do some of the prep work (cutting down boards, getting ready) working half days usually, or a little less and not every day.
The paddling is amazing, tracks almost perfectly straight, and the balance is really nice, as is being able to turn without paddling just by leaning. I can’t wait to get out more in it!