We have now been building wooden canoes since 2015, starting with the Wabnaki stripcanoe, followed by Pivo, a stripkayak, and finally the first skin-on-frame "Carlyak" in 2017. Our focus is mainly on developing our own models, such as the SOFi canoe and a fuselage frame kayak kit, which we are currently prototyping.
Like the name suggests, a skin-on-frame boat consists of a frame covered with a skin. While thousands of years ago hulls made from drift wood and bone were covered with seal skin, nowadays it's materials are found mainly in the lumber trade. Steam bent ribs give a Skin-on-Frame it's shape, nylon, polyester or cotton form the skin.
Skin on Frame boats are light and robust, can be built in a relatively resource-saving way, offer a lot of manual work and many different techniques for the interested canoebuilder.
Strips of wood - 6mm thick - milled concave and convex, are the basic material for the strip construction. After building a strongback on which the hull will take shape, a complex process of fitting and gluing individual wooden strips follows. We build our strip boats without staples, of course. This is more elaborate and takes more time, but it looks nicer in the end.
Canoes and kayaks both are paddled in the viewing direction, canoes with a single bladed canoepaddle, kayaks with a double paddle. Canoes are particularly suitable for relaxed after-work trips but also for canoe trips of several days with a lot of luggage. Handling is easy because you just jump in and start paddling. Kayaking is a bit more sporty, because the cockpit doesn't give you much freedom of movement, but you're faster and better able to withstand waves and wind.
The canoe originated in North America, where birch bark was sewn over a wooden frame. Later, the "wood and canvas" construction method developed, in which a wooden hull was covered with impregnated canvas. Nowadays, Canoes are mainly produced industrially or handcrafted using the stripbuilding, stitch-and-glue, skin-on-frame or wood-and-canvas methods of construction.
The kayak originated in the artic region, where it was used for hunting and fishing. Today's skin-on-frame construction is based on the historical construction of the Inuit, who built their kayak frames from driftwood and bone and covered them with seal skin. Modern sea kayaks are based on typical shapes of these historical kayaks and also are made by hand in stripbuild, skin-on-frame, fuselage-frame or stitch-and-glue construction methods.
We have been building wooden canoes in strip construction and skin-on-frame construction since 2015 and give canoe building workshops to share the fascination of canoe building with others. In our blog we report on craftsmanship topics and our paddling adventures.