|Here is the skin-on-frame kayak I built from scratch. Once you build one, you will be hooked. I'm planning on making a few more this spring.|
|Here is my fuselage style kayak frame. Note the plywood cross sections as opposed to steam-bent ribs.|
I have built a kayak using the less traditional, fuselage style and, it came out pretty nice. This time, I want to build a more traditional frame. The fuselage frame worked, but the cross-sections made it hard to get gear in and out of the boat. Plus, I really like traditional technology, and lashing a frame together would make me feel like a made a boat in the most traditional sense (aside from using a narwhal hide and gathering all my wood).
When I paddle my boat, people are always impressed by its beauty but, somebody always asks if it is safe or seaworthy. A lot of people reading this are probably skeptical too. Let me just put it this way. I broke in my kayak by taking it on a 3 day, 30 mile coastal paddle during a continuous small craft advisory. It did just fine. In fact, it is still doing just fine over a year and a half later. Many Native-American cultures used skin-on-frame kayaks to hunt and fish in harsh, arctic conditions. To put it simply, the skin-on-frame kayak is a result of thousands of years of testing and modification by generations of designers. The technology "evolved" with the cultures and has proven its worth. Skin-on-frame boats are tough. If they weren't, the technology wouldn't have survived into the modern era.