Building a Skin-on-Frame Kayak (Qajaq)! Part 1
Tristan got the opportunity to do something he had been wanting to do for years... build a boat. He wanted to build a boat in a traditional way (no plywood construction, or fiberglass), using mainly hand tools. Tristan learned about the Greenland style Kayak, just one of many traditional styles of kayaks made by the people of the Artic in Canada, Alaska, and Greenland.
Using the book "Building the Greenland Kayak" by Christopher Cunningham, he step-by-step built a West Greenland style kayak! This is not a book of plans or measurements, it is a manual describing how to make the kayak using your body as the measuring tool. For example, it uses your body height, leg length, arm span and other body measurements as a basis for where ribs and deck beams are. This is how it traditionally was made, and it fits the builder like a glove.
Once the frame was lashed together and shaped, it was time to bend the ribs! Tristan used oak, and because we couldn't find 'green' oak or ash (green wood is much better for bending), he had to make do with oak from the store which is kiln dried. For this reason we soaked and boiled the oak ribs over an open fire and then bent them and placed them in the frame.
At this point, the kayak is ready for the next steps, lashing the stringers to the ribs, making the masik, and coating the whole frame in tung oil. I forgot to take pictures of this step in the process but the finished frame is beautiful!
On to the next step in the process-- Skinning the Kayak!