Kayak building in North Carolina

It's no big secret that I am travel averse.  Exporting my class across the country is hard work, and invariably there is some sort of shipping catastrophe.  So for the most part I stay at home and try to lure people to the rainforest paradise of the north Oregon Coast.  Every year, however, in the cold and wet and economically dwindling winter, I make an exception to refresh the coffers that fuel my insatiable kayak habit.  This winter is was Mimi who took advantage of my situation and  brought me to Raliegh, North Carolina.  She filled not only one class, but two!  We built eleven kayaks in 16 days.

Sadly my camera died on the first day and I wasn't able to take a single photo, I didn't realize how much I would miss it, it was painful without the pentax.  I relied on the charity of others to put this together.  Thank you very much Lee and Jane.   One of the benefits is that for once there are actually photos of me teaching.

The chisel, statistically the most dangerous woodworking tool.  Both hands behind the blade.

Dan loaned us his warehouse space to build in, a perfect size, not too big, not too small.

Camille was my host for the second week, and as you might guess, she is a lot of fun.  We drove to her house where ten kayaks and two canoes sat in the driveway.  Inside paddling magazines littered the floor, paddling books lined the shelves, camping gear spilled out of tubs on the floor and across the kitchen table,  and paddling clothes safety gear hung from every possible surface in the bathroom.   It was just like home!  Camilles a doctor on the weekdays, but she speaks of it almost as an afterthought, as far as I can tell she's a professional paddler with a medical degree.

One of the more interesting things about this class was a custom racing kayak I agreed to build with Ty, a 6'3" 250lb triathlete.  Students in the second workshop stayed late, but also learned about prototyping from scratch.  We built this kayak very differently from the others, keeping the weight to an absolute minimum.
Check out the complete web page on this kayak for more photos and info

Jane couldn't wait to sit in frame.  For most people a replica Greenland kayak is a low volume curiosity, but for people lucky enough to be 110 lbs like Jane, a replica can actually be one of the only sea kayaks that has ever fit them.  Add a skeg to help with the weathercocking and this will be a sweet ride for her, not just a rolling boat.

Lee obsessively documented the entire process and is putting together a tutorial, which I think is pretty neat.

Fitting it all together.

There is always time for a little levity.

Slicing the nylon skin.

A rare shot, completely un-posed, we are visited by the ghost of the Marlboro man.

Cutting out paddles with a very weak bandsaw, I don't stress out about power tools because people are naturally afraid of them, it's japanese saws and chisels you have to watch out for!

All you need to know about building a Greenland paddle.

Ralph treated us to an oyster bake, Lee brought shrimp, Camille brought beer, Mimi made her famous chocolate cake, and I brought my copy of Cockleshell Heros to watch.  This is real reason why we build our own boats, to reconnect not only with the water, but with each other.

Then it was time to launch.  We built quite a variety of kayaks this time.  The two F1's in the forground were built with a flat front deck section. 

Sometimes a white boat is just so classy.  Amanda, Lee, and Jane all chose a heavier weight cloth for extra protection against the wicked oyster beds.

Camille is the first person who's been brave enough to try a multi-color kayak, I think it looks pretty good.

This is absolutely hands down my favorite Greenland kayak ever, I wanted to give Steve his money back and ship it home.  This 1931 Disko Bay IV-A-375 was supposed to be a proportional scale of 7% but Steve changed his mind at the last minute and we built it with the scaled gunwales but left the widths and depths the same.  The result is 17'4"  instead of 16'4"  which sits it just a little higher and makes it a little faster.   It was nimble and stable, (for a greenland kayak).  I'm making more of these babies.  People always talk about the Anas like it's some sort of legend, but for my money this is way better than the Anas, and scaled up just a touch it is a decent low volume sea kayak.  I'd like to see this in fiberglass.

Here is a full 7% scale IV-A-375, built by Gary, 6'2"  200lb ex Marine Special Forces.   Guys like that don't do well in normal size replicas.

Ty contemplates the width of his kayak and the temperature of the water.

A man and his racing kayak.

I hate group photos, it's just so posed looking.

Finally we go our seperate ways.  Travel teaching is still hard, but the Carolina crew made it as easy on me as it could possibly be.  Well, except for the night Mimi made me pour out four pots of dye trying to get the right color,  :)   Thank you all for supporting my work.   This class will pay to finish development on the race boat and probably get me through my surf kayak project, and a greenhouse we desperately need on the farm.

Back to Cape Falcon Kayak