A wooden boat

September 1, 2006


I’ve been thinking about building my own boat when I get back to the UK (summer 2007). I am considering whether a frame and skin or a wooden boat would be best.

The frame and skin is attractive because of it’s authenticity – its what the Greenlanders paddle. But I have heard that they are not that comfortable for touring. They also involve steam bending of timber to make the frame; while I would like to try this out, it sounds like ‘craftsmanship’ that I don’t pocess.

The wooden boats out there look beautiful – see image by Guillemot above – but the craftsmanship to make the above strip built kayak (with different species of wood to make the lines) is way beyond me, I know I am an architect. This is high end cabinet making skills that most carpenters or boat builders couldn’t do.

Another example this time the Adirondack rowing boat built by Newfound Woodworks and designed by Guillemot.


Now that is a beautiful boat. But it’s also got a ‘preppy’ look. My image of a skin on frame boat is that of the working class, meat eating, honest days work type kayak. And the wooden boats as middle class, college educated, sweater over the shoulders types.

Not sure which is right for me.


Probably the best for me would be the easiest to build, which would be the stitch and glued plywood skin boat which won’t look anywhere near as nice as the above images.

Here are more wonderful kayaks, the source of all these images was Guillemot Kayaks.

Lastly it’s one thing to have a beautiful, crafted, wooden boat but to have a wooden paddle that isn’t a greenland style paddle, i.e. shaped to like a european paddle, is just stupid.


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