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Build a Greenland Kayak

This instructible will teach you how to build a 17 foot long Greenland kayak that will weigh between 30 and 40 pounds and cost less than $300 in materials. Compare that with the 45 to 60 pound weight and $1000 to $3000 of a commercial plastic kayak. The Greenland kayak is one of dozens of different Arctic kayak designs that uses skin on frame technology. In skin on frame technology you build a lightweight frame by pegging and lashing together pieces of wood and then covering the frame with a skin. The result is a boat that is light and yet strong. Total time to build a Greenland boat the first time around is about 100 hours. That doesn't count time spent buying or collecting materials. This instructible is fairly long so I've broken it up into a number of sections.Besides this intro, there will be the following sections. Skin on frame building is fairly easy and does not require either fancy tools or great woodworking skills. Skin on frame boat builders in the Arctic were hunters first and boatbuilders second. Everybody built their own boat. There were no professional boat builders and so the technology was at a level that was accessible to everyone. And for pictures of more Greenland kayaks in action go to the qajaqusa website In this part of the Greenland kayak instructable you will be getting the gunwales ready for building the deck of the kayak. You will be shaping them and you will also be marking them for later installation of the deck beams. Finding the wood for the gunwales may take some time, but the actual work on the gunwales takes less than a day.

Build a Greenland kayak part 2 Step 1: Materials You will need two 3/4 inch thick by 16 foot long boards anywhere from 2 to 3-12 inches wide. These two boards will form the gunwales which are the backbone of the kayak. You will need a piece of wood 1-3/4 inches wide by 3/4 inches thick by 5 feet long. You will cut this up for risers that go at the ends of the gunwales. You will need four each 1/4 inch dowels 36 inches long. Exact length doesn't matter as long as you have enough total length since you will be cutting these up. Four dowels is more than enough for working with the gunwales. You will be using the left over dowels for pegging the deckbeams to the gunwales. You will need about a dozen 1-1/2 inch long finish nails. These are generally referred to as 4 penny nails. You will need more later on so buy at least 4 dozen of them.

Step 2: Tools For this section of the instructable, you will need a hammer, a drill, a 15/64 inch drill bit, a hand saw and a block plane. You will also need a pencil for marking and a tape measure and a combination square. A pair of sawhorses will be handy for keeping the gunwales at a comfortable working height.

Step 3: Selecting gunwale lumber For the gunwales you need two boards that are anywhere from 2 inches to 3-1/2 inches wide, 3/4 inches thick and 16 foot long. Both boards should have the same amount of flex. The easiest way to get identical flex is to cut both gunwale boards out of a 5-1/2 inch wide board. This will leave you with a piece of lumber that you can use for a keelson. When you get your 16 foot long boards, also allow for enough total width to cut two chine stringers and a keelson each of which should be an inch wide. If you want to avoid a lot of sawing, you can try to find boards that are 3-1/2 inches wide and 16 feet long. This will push the final weight of your boat up to about 45 pounds, but it will be a rugged boat. If light weight is important to you, you'll have to do some sawing to get the 2 inch wide boards. The wood for your gunwales should be some kind of soft wood like pine, spruce, or douglas fir. The wood should be free of knots and have straight grain. Softwoods are preferred over hardwoods like oak because they are lighter and because hardwoods with straight grain are hard to find in 16 foot lengths. For best results and highest price, get wood of a grade called CVG, which stands for clear vertical grain. Vertical grain assures uniform flexibility throughout and is subjecct to the least amount of warping over time. Clear means no knots. If you want to build your boat with the wider 3-1/2 inch boards, these can have some knots as

long as they are tight and small, under 1/2 inch. Two inch wide gunwales should not have any knots in them at all. When you select gunwale boards, also make sure that they have roughly the same amount of flex. You can check for equal flex by supporting both ends of the boards and seeing that they sag the same amount in the middle. If flex is mismatched, try flipping one of the boards over. Sometimes they have more flex in one direction than the other. Flex in the two gunwale boards does not have to be absolutely the same but if the difference is too great, it will make it harder to get a symetrically shaped deck.

Step 4: Nail the gunwale boards face to face

Once your gunwales are cut you will need to mark deck beam positions on the top edge and rib mortise positions on the bottom edge. To make sure that we mark both gunwales the same, we temporarily nail them together. Put the gunwales face to face and nail them together leaving 1/4 inch of the nail heads sticking out so they can easily be pulled when we are done marking. Space nails roughly two feet apart. When you nail the board together make sure that the sides with the same amount of flex face each other. Also make sure that the ends of the boards line up exactly. If they don't you will be installing all your deck beams at an angle.

Step 5: Mark the longitudinal center of your gunwales Find the front to back center of the gunwales and mark it. Use a tape measure to find exact length of the gunwale boards since they aren't always exactly 16 foot long. You want to know the center of the gunwales since some of the deck beam locations will be in relation to the center. Run the center line around all 4 faces of the nailed together boards. Mark each face with a C for center.

Step 6: Mark bow and stern and up

Decide on which end of your gunwales should be the bow (front) and which edge should be up. You generally want the better looking edge to be at the top. Mark the bow and stern with arrows so you can keep track which is up and which is front. You will be marking deck beam positions on the top edge of the boards and rib mortise positions on the bottom edge of the boards. Once you work on the boat with a bow facing a certain direction, always keep it facing the same way so you don't get confused over which end is which.

Step 7: Measure your body

Three of the deck beams in your kayak will double as a foot brace, a knee brace and a back rest. To get them in the right position, you need to measure your body. To take the measurements, sit against a wall with your legs outstretched before you. Make sure you are wearing the same kind of footwear you would have on while paddling because this will impact the measurements. You can measure on your own but it's easier with the help of a friend. The measurements you want are as follows. Make sure you write them down somewhere. Distance from your back to the back of your kneecaps. Your knee brace will be positioned right behind your kneecaps. Put a 1-1/2 inch wide board right behind your knee caps. Move it far enough back so that it doesn't feel uncomfortable when you press down on it. Distance from your back to the balls of your feet. Sit with your heels together and the toes slightly outward. Width across your feet at the balls of your feet. This measurement is mainly for people with feet larger than size 11. Greenland boats are fairly narrow so you have to make sure your boat will be wide enough at the foot brace for your feet to fit. Height of your thighs behind your kneecaps. We need this measurement so we can make the knee brace high enough for your thighs to fit under.

Step 8: Transfer body measurments to the top edge of the gunwales

Now that you know how big your body is, you can mark where your backrest, foot brace and knee brace should go. Deck beams will be 1-1/2 inches wide so we want to mark both the front and back edges of the deck beam locations. If we only made one mark, we would likely get confused over which side of the mark to put the deckbeam on. As you mark where these deckbeams will go, label them as well. Label them on each gunwale since later you will be separating them. Make a mark 17 inches back of the centerline you marked earlier. This will be the location of the front edge of your back rest. Make another mark 1-1/2 inches back of that. Your back will be 15 inches back of the boat's longitudinal center. The extra two inches will give you enough room to add some padding to the back brace or to install a back band to support your back while you're paddling. Take your back to kneebrace measurement and add 2 inches to it. Measure from the backbrace front edge forward by this amount. This will be the front edge of your knee brace. Make another mark 1-1/2 inches back of that and label it knee brace. Take the measurement from your back to the balls of your feet, add 2 inches and measure forward by that amount from the back brace mark. Make another mark 1-1/2 inches forward of that. Label this foot brace.

Step 9: Mark positions of the remaining deck beams

We have already marked the positions of three of our deck beams. Now we need to mark the positions of the remaining deck beams. Do all the marking on the top edge of the gunwales. Make a mark 24 inches from the bow and another 24 inches from the stern. Make another mark 1-1/2 inches toward the center of the gunwales. This will be the position of deck beams 1 and 11. Label them on each gunwale. Space deck beams 2 and 3 evenly between deck beams 1 and the footbrace which is deck beam 4. Space deck beam 5 halfway between deck beams 4, the foot brace and deck beam 6, the knee brace. Space deck beams 8, 9 and 10 evenly between deck beam 7, the back brace and deck beam 11.

Step 10: Mark rib mortise positions on the bottom edge of the deck beams

Mark rib mortises by two lines one inch apart. This will be the width of the rib mortise. Ribs will be 3/4 inches wide. The mortise will be wider than the rib giving the rib some room to move which it will do as the boat flexes. Tightly mortised ribs would have a tendency to shear off over time. Start by marking a rib mortise 2 inches back of the back edge of the foot brace. Mark all rib mortises on the bottom edge of the gunwales. Mark the next rib mortise 8 inches back of the front edge of the first rib mortise. The reason for starting here is that you want to position these ribs so they don't dig into the back of your heels (painful). Space all the other rib mortises forward and backward of the first two mortises. Mortises should be spaced 6 inches on center. That't not 6 inches between rib mortises, that's 6 inches between their centers. Mark forward until the last rib mortise is 24 inches or less from the bow. Mark backward until the last rib mortise is 24 inches or less from the stern.

Step 11: Cut bow and stern risers

The drawing below shows how you can get two risers out of each board by cutting it in half at a diagonal.

Step 12: Dowel bow and stern risers to the gunwale ends

Dowel the bow and stern risers to the gunwale ends using 1/4 inch dowels. Use your 15/64 inch drill to make the holes. Drill the holes at an angle to the vertical. This will lock in the risers. Don't drill all holes at once. Drill one hole, pound in the dowel. Drill the next hole pound in the next dowel and so on. Holes will be deeper the closer you get to the ends of the gunwales. Cut your dowels to the depth of the hole. Use a piece of wire as a gage to find the depth of each hole. Trim off any dowels sticking above the edge of the risers.

Step 13: Trim gunwale ends

Trim the bottom edge of the bow end at a 25 degree angle. Trim the bottom edge of the stern end of the gunwales at a 30 degree angle. These angles are the angles at which the stem and stern boards will be attached to the gunwales. The stem slopes at a flatter angle than the stern.

Step 14: Shape tops of the risers

Use a hand plane or spoke shave to shape the top edge of the risers to a slightly concave form so they fair in nicely with the tops of the gunwales.

Step 15: Cut the rib mortises

Now we're done with the tops of the gunwales and are ready to cut the rib mortises. Rib mortises are 1 inch long, 1/4 inch wide and 1/2 inch deep and are centered on the bottom edge of the gunwales. If you have a router and 1/4 inch bit, that is the fastest way to cut the mortises. If you don't, drill a 1/4 inch hole on either end of the mortise and remove the wood inbetween with a 1/4 inch chisel. Wear ear protection if you use a router.

Step 16: Mark the ends of the gunwales for planing

The ends of the gunwales will come together at an angle, so you want to plane them so they have some flat surface where they come together. You will mark the wood that you want to plane off. The diagram below shows how to mark them.

Step 17: Separate the gunwales

Now it's time to pull all the nails and separate the two gunwales so we can plane the inside faces of the gunwale ends. We need to do one more marking step once the nails are removed. See the photo below for how to do the marking.

Step 18: Plane the ends of the gunwales

Remove the marked wood with a hand plane. See the picture for what this looks like.

Step 19: What's next?

We are now done with the gunwales and ready to build the deck.


Now that the gunwales are done, the next step is to build the deck. To build the deck we join the ends of the gunwales and spread them apart in the middle to establish the shape. Then we put deckbeams in between the gunwales so they hold the shape that we created. What we end up with will look sort of like a ladder that comes to a point at each end.

Step 1: Determine the beam of your kayak

Beam is boat builder speak for the width of the boat. Standard Greenland procedure was to make a kayak 6 inches wider than your hips. My hips are 15 inches wide so my kayak would be 21 inches wide. 21 inches is a good width. If your hips are narrower, your kayak could be narrower, but unless you are an experienced kayaker, I would not recommend a kayak narrower than 21 inches. Even a 21 inch kayak may feel very unstable to an inexperienced kayaker. If you have never kayaked before, make your kayak 23 inches wide and you will feel a lot more stable. Of course if your hips are wider than 15 inches make your kayak 6 inches wider than your hips. If you make your boat too narrow, your butt will get pinched. Keep in mind that the sides of the kayak taper in toward the bottom, so that the floor of the boat is narrower than the beam.

Step 2: Materials In addition to the gunwales which you already have, you will be adding 9 straight deck beams and 2 curved deck beams. Deck beam material for the straight deck beams is clear (knot free) wood 3/4 x 1-1/2 inches in cross section. You will need a total length of about 16 feet. The boards that you cut the deck beams out of don't have to be knot free as long as the boards have enough distance between knots for you to cut the relatively short deck beams out of.

Deck beam material for the curved deck beams is clear wood 1-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches in cross section. 4 feet of total length should suffice. You will need about 60 four-penny finishing nails for temporary nailing of the deck. You will need about 100 inches total length of quarter inch dowel rod for pegging the deck beams to the gunwales. You will need about 48 inches total of 5/16 inch dowel rod for doweling the gunwale ends together. You will need a roll of nylon mason's twine for lashing the deck beams to the gunwales. You will need 40 feet of 1/4 inch rope to make windlasses out of and to temporarily hold the ends of the deck together.

Step 3: Tools You need your drill, for drilling doweling holes Hammer for pounding nails and dowels and pulling nails Hand saw for cutting deck beams Jig saw for cutting the curved deck beams A knife or rat tail file for making kerfs in the gunwales to recess lashing twine into A short piece of wire for threading lashing twine through lashing holes

Step 4: Cut the center spreader Spreaders are temporary pieces of wood 1-1/2 inches wide and 3/4 inches thick. You will need three of them, a center spreader, a bow spreader and a stern spreader. The center spreader will be the maximum width of your kayak minus 1-1/2 inches. The other two spreaders will be half that length. Don't cut the end spreaders until you have installed the center spreader because you won't know what the angle of the gunwales will be until you have put in the center spreader. The ends of the center spreader should be square when viewed from above and cut at a 25 degree angle when viewed from the side. This angle will match the angle at which the gunwales will be inclined with respect to the vertical.

Step 5: Spread the gunwales to establish the shape of the deck

Do a wrap of rope in the front and one in the back of the gunwales. The rope should be about 36 inches long and tied into a loop. Turn the loop into 3 coils and slide it over the gunwale ends.

Step 6: Spread the gunwales with the center spreader

Push the center spreader between the gunwales at the longitudinal center point of the gunwales. You won't have to measure since you already marked the center on the gunwales in a previous step. The top of the spreader should sit about half an inch under to top edge of the gunwales. Use two 4 penny nails at each end to nail the spreader into place. Leave 1/4 inch of nail sticking out since you will be pulling them later. Put a windlass around the gunwales just to one side of the center spreader. This will help hold the spreader in place.

Step 7: Set up your saw horses

Set up your saw horses about 8 to 10 feet apart so the tops of both are in the same plane. You will be building your deck on top of the saw horses. If they are out of plane, your deck might end up warped. This should really be step 2 but right now the reorder steps feature doesn't work.

Step 8: Cut the two end spreaders End spreaders will be one half the length of the center spreader. The angle of their sides as viewed from above should match the angle that the gunwales make 5 feet ahead of the center. Their sides as viewed from the side should slope in at a 25 degree angle.

Step 9: Install the bow and stern spreaders

Jam the bow spreader between the gunwales about 60 inches forward of center. Sart closer to the center and then push the spreader forward. 60 inches is an approximate number. The wider your boat is in the middle, the closer to center this spreader will end up. You might have to adjust the position of the ropes at the bow and stern as well as their length to make the spreader fit. Jam the stern spreader between the gunwales about 65 inches back of center. Start closer to the center and then push the spreader backward. 65 inches is an approximate number for the back spreader. Whatever the exact distance is, the back spreader should be about 5 inches farther back than the bow spreader. The idea is to make the back deck taper down more gradually than the front deck. The back deck should be fuller than the front deck. Move the rope wraps at the ends in or out so the ends mate up more or less flush. You might have to adjust the size of the loop to get this to happen. WARNING! If the gunwale boards are of differernt stiffness, the stiffer board will want to stay straighter and its tip will want to slide forward of the other board's tip. Keep them lined up. Do not under any circumstances trim one of the boards to make the ends match up or you will end up with an asymmetrical deck.

Step 10: Run a saw between the gunwale ends

At this point, you want to make sure that the ends of both gunwales line up at the bow and the stern and that both gunwales have the same amount of flare (incline inward from the vertical.) When you have gotten the inside faces of the gunwales at the bow and stern as close to mating up as possible, run a saw between them two or three times. This will remove any high spots and improve seating. For very narrow or very wide boats, the ends may not mate up as well as for the median 21 inch wide boat. But don't worry, we will next dowel the ends together and that will hold them in place.

Step 11: Dowel the bow and stern

You are now almost ready to dowel the bow and stern together. But before you do, check the deck one more time. Make sure that the gunwale ends line up both at bow and stern so you don't end up locking them into an asymmetrical shape. Peg the gunwale ends together using 5/16 inch dowels driven into 19/64 inch holes. Use 6 dowels for the bow and 5 for the stern. Do not put any dowels through the risers. As before, when you dowel, drill and drive one dowel at a time. Resist the temptation to drill all the holes at once. Drill the first hole closest to the end straight through and make sure you don't get the ends out of alignment when you are drilling. Drill all other doweling holes through the gunwales at an angle from the horizontal as shown in the photo below.

Step 12: Trim dowels

Trim off any protruding parts of the dowels.

Step 13: Deck beam layout

There are 11 deck beams, six deck beams forward of the cockpit and 5 aft. Deck beam 1 is closest to the bow. Deck beams 5 and 6 are curved. All others are straight. You have already marked all the deck beam locations on the tops of the gunwales. All that remains is to cut the deck beams and install them at their proper locations.

Step 14: Prepare Deck Beam Stock

For the straight deck beams, that is, all but deck beams 5 and 6, you will be using stock that is 3/4 inches thick and 1-1/2 inches wide. Deck beams are important structural elements and should not have any knots in them.

Step 15: Install the straight deck beams

Install straight deck beams in the following order: 7, 8, 4, 9, 3, 10, 2, 11, 1. Mark deck beams by laying them across the gunwales at the locations you have marked on the tops of the gunwales earlier and running a pencil along the top of the gunwale. Trim the ends of the deck beams at a compound angle. The angle in the horizontal plane will be the angle the gunwales make with the longitudinal center line. The other angle will be 25 degrees to match later gunwale flare.

Step 16: Nail deck beams in place

After you cut a deck beam, nail it in place with two 4-penny nails at each end. Keep 1/4 inch of nail sticking out because you will be pulling the nails later and replacing them with dowels. Keep in mind that the top of the deck beam should sit about 3/4 inches below the top edge o the gunwales. You can move the deck beam slightly forward or backward if it sits too high or too low. The only exception are deckbeams 4 and 7, the foot brace and back brace which must be located exactly where you marked them. At this point you will see a gap between the bottom edge of the deck beam and the side of the gunwale. Later we will close up the gap before driving dowels.

Step 17: Carve the masik-knee brace

The arched deck beam just forward of the cockpit is called the masik. It supports the front of the cockpit coaming and it also functions as your knee brace. If you like to have good control of your kayak, you want the masik arch as low as possible while still allowing you to get into your kayak. A low masik keeps your thighs tightly clamped in place. However, if you're a more casual paddler and like more wiggle room, a taller masik might be for you. Whatever your preference, distance from the floor of your kayak to the tops of the gunwales will be about 5-1/2 inches. To figure out how much more clearance you need, sit on the floor again with your legs outstretched and put a board across your thighs just behind your kneecaps. This is where the masik is going to be. Measure the distance between the floor and the bottom of the board. This is the elevation of your thighs. For me, this measurement is 7 inches. I would like another inch of clearance for my thighs, possibly a little more. So I need the masik elevation to be 8 to 8-1/2 inches above the floor or 2-1/2 to 3 inches above the tops of the gunwales. So I need to carve a curved deck beam which is 2-1/2 inches elevated in the middle. After carving it, I need to cut the ends to the proper angle and nail it into place.

Step 18: Cut deck beam 5

Deck beam 5 is our other curved deck beam. To figure out how much elevation it needs, we lay a short piece of straight wood across deck beams 4 and 6 and measure how high the stick is above the tops of the gunwales at deck beam position 5. If you have big feet and want extra toe room, lay the stick across deck beams 3 and 6. This will give you even more elevation. You will later add deck stringers to stretch from deck beams 4 to 6 or from 3 to 6 and this is what this stick simulates.

Step 19: Windlass the gunwales

Once you have nailed all the deck beams in place, you are ready to give the gunwales their final shape. You will do this by applying windlasses and tightening each one in turn to increase the angle of the gunwales to match up with the ends of the deck beams. Install the windlasses as shown using ¼ inch rope and a short stick. Take turns tightening each windlass a little bit to bring the bottom edges of the gunwales in.

Step 20: Dowel the deck beams to the gunwales

Now that the gunwales and deck beams are mating up flush, you are ready to dowel them firmly in place. Each deck beam is currently held in place by 4 nails. Remove one nail, drill a 15/64 inch hole through the gunwale into the deck beam 2-1/4 inches deep and drive a quarter inch dowel into the hole until it bottoms out. Drill the holes so they come in at a slight angle in the horizontal plane. Then remove the next nail, drill and dowel and so on until you have replaced all 4 nails with dowels.

Step 21: Plane the tops of the gunwales

Plane the top edges of the gunwales from deck beam number 5 forward and from deck beam 7 backward. Plane them so they slope toward the inside of the boat at about a 5 degree angle. This way the skin of the boat will contact only the outside edge of the gunwales and not trap water between the skin and the wood to encourage rot.

Step 22: Lash the deck beams to the gunwales

The picture below shows one of the traditional Greenland lashing patterns. Deck beams 2, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 11 are lashed to the gunwales. Opposite ends of each deck beam are lashed on opposite sides. Direction of lashing alternates from deck beam to deck beam. To do a lashing, drill a 3/16 inch hole in the deck beam and the gunwale. Picture where the lashing will cross the deck beam and carve a little notch there for the lashings to lie in. Likewise carve a notch from the lashing hole in the gunwale to the bottom edge of the gunwale. The notch in the gunwale prevents the lashings from making a lump under the skin.

To do the lashing, take about 3 feet of string and tie a loop in one end. Using a wire bent double as a needle slip the unlooped end of the string into the wire needle and thread the string through the bottom of the deck beam, around the top, around the outside of the gunwale, through the hole in the gunwale and then through the loop in the other end of your string. Tighten up the string and position the loop halfway between the deck beam and the gunwale. Now do a few more loops, approximately 4 or so. Then tie a series of half hitches around both sides of the loop to tighten the whole assembly up. Melt off the end of the string.

Step 23: Gunwale to Gunwale Lashings

In this step you will add gunwale to gunwale lashings near the bow and the stern. These lashings will re-enforce the dowling work in the bow and the stern and keep the gunwales from pulling apart. Turn the deck upside down. At both ends where the gunwales are separated by about 4 inches at the bottom, drill a 3/16 inch hole about 3/4inches up from the bottom edge of both of the gunwales. Notch the outside of the gunwales so the lashings will not show. Run about half a dozen turns of lashing around the gunwales. Tie off in the middle with a series of half hitches.

Step 24: Your deck is done

Your deck is now done. This is a good time to give the deck a coat of varnish. You coud wait until the whole frame is done, but then it will be harder to get at the undersides of the deck.

Build a Greenland kayak part 4

In this section we will need a keelson board, 3/4 inches x 1 inch in cross section and 16 feet long. The wood needs to be knot free and straight grained. A board for making the stem and stern, 3/4 inch x 5-1/2 inch x 8 foot long. Some knots acceptable as long as they are small and tight. 1/4 inch dowel rod 24 inch total length lashing string (nylon mason's twine)

Step 2: Tools

We will need a saw for cutting and trimming the keelson, a plane to shape the keelson a jigsaw and handsaw to cut the stem and stern boards a drill with a 15/64 bit for drilling dowel holes a 3/16 inch bit for drilling lashing holes a wire lashing needle

Step 3: Make the keelson

Cut the keelson from a 16 foot board that is 3/4 inches thick. Cut it 1 inch wide. When you install the keelson, it will sit on one of the 3/4 inch wide edges. In other words, it will be taller than wide. Plane the corners on one of the 3/4 inch wide edges. The rounded off corners will sit up against the skin. The edge with the unrounded corners will sit on the ribs.

Step 4: Cut spacers to shim up the keelson

The keelson establishes the line of the kayak's bottom when viewed in profile. The kayak will be deepest at the bow and get more shallow toward the stern. With the deck inverted on the saw horses, shim up the keelson so that the distance from the top of the keelson to the bottom of the gunwales is 10 inches at the bow, 7 inches in the middle and 6 inches at the stern. For spacers, I use sections of two by fours cut to the appropriate length with holes drilled at either end to run the lashing string through. Install the spacers at deck beams 1, 7 and 11. You will have to do some math to figure out how tall the shims need to be. But assuming that the deck beams and keelson take up two inches of the depth, your spacers should be roughly 4 inches, 5 inches and 8 inches tall.

Step 5: Install the keelson and spacers

Lash the spacers to the deck beams and lash the keelson to the spacers. Check line of the keelson. Rocker, that is curvature of the keelson should be 1 to 2 inches. To measure rocker, set the kayak on the ground, keelson down so the keelson touches ground at the center. Prop up the frame so both ends of the keelson are the same distance from the ground. Measure the clearance off the ground at either end. This is your rocker. Rocker should be 1 to 2 inches. The straighter the keelson the better your boat will track, but it will also be harder to turn. You can adjust the curvature of the keelson by re-cutting the spacers or more simply by adding some shims between the spacers and keelson. Also make sure that your keelson is centered on the deck.

Step 6: Fit your stem and stern boards

You will be cutting the stem and stern boards from a board that is 5-1/2 inches wide and 8 foot long. The job of fitting will be easier if you cut the long board in two. However, you don't want to cut it right in the middle because the stem board will need to be longer than the stern board. Hold the board up against the stem to see how much you will need and cut appropriately. Once you have a manageable size board for your stem, lay it up against the bow and keelson and mark where the underside of the keelson and the bow intersect it. Trim to your marks and check the fit. Make adjustments as necessary. Repeat the procedure for the stern. The stern board will be considerably shorter.

Step 7: Dowel the stem and stern boards to the keelson

Clamp the stem board to the keelson and mark it for four dowels. Dowels will be 1/4 inch. Dowel holes will be 15/64 inch. Drill a vertical hole first and dowel that, then drill the remaining angled dowels. Dowel the stern.

Step 8: Trim and round the keelson

Trim off excess keelson in line with the edge of the stem and stern boards. Use a hand plane to round the corner of the keelson.

Step 9: Drill lashing holes for lashing the stem and stern boards to the keelson

Drill lashing holes in groups of 3 at the junction of the gunwale and the stem and stern boards. Try not to drill through any of the dowels that hold the gunwales together.

Step 10: Lash the stem and stern boards to the gunwales

In triangular lashings you do a few loops on each of two legs of your triangle, then lash around the two legs with a series of half hitches to pull the two legs together and tighten the whole thing up.

Step 11: Round the corners of the keelson

Use a plane to round the corners of the keelson at the bow and stern.

Step 12: Stand back and admire your work That's it for the keelson and the stem and stern boards. You are now ready for the next instructable where you install the ribs.

Build a Greenland kayak part 5 In this instructable you will be adding ribs to form the hull of your kayak. This involves bending wood with steam or hot water. Although this may sound like a daunting prospect, it isn't. There's a total of 24 ribs to bend. If you have no experience bending wood when you start, you will be quite good by the time you're done

Step 1: Materials Ribs are best made out of hardwoods like oak. Softwoods like pine or spruce don't bend nearly as well. Elm bends even better than oak, although you're not likely to find it at most lumberyards. Ash is also a good bending wood. I like to get my oak boards in 3 inch widths, 5 to 8 foot long. I pick through the boards to find ones that have flat grain that runs straight for the whole length of the board. The longer the board, the less likely it is that its grain is going to be straight for the whole length of the board. The boards should also be free of any irregularities in the grain. Ribs need to be about 8 inches longer than the width of the gunwales where they are being inserted. For estimation purposes figure an average of 24 inches per rib. Lets say you buy boards that are 5 feet long and 2-1/2 inches wide. Your ribs will be 1/4 inch thick, so you can get about 7 sticks out of each board assuming you lose 1/8 inch per cut. Each of those sticks will give you two ribs, so each board will give you 14 ribs. Allowing for breakage means that you will probably need three of those 5 foot boards to make all the ribs for your boat.

Step 2: Tools Steambox for heating the ribs Gloves for protecting your hands from hot wood Saw for trimming the ribs Clamps for holding the ribs in place on the boat

Step 3: Cutting rib blanks

The easiest way to make rib blanks is to run your board through a table saw, cutting it up into strips 1/4 inch thick by 3/4 inches wide. Ribs bend most easily and with the least amount of breakage if you cut your blanks so they have vertical grain. To do that, start out with a plank that has flat grain. The slices you cut off the flat grained plank will have vertical grain.

Step 4: Soak the rib blanks in water Ribs need to soak in water for about 3 days before you bend them. I made soaking trough out of a section of rain gutter with the ends capped off. I soak the rib blanks full length and do not cut them up into shorter sections until it's time to steam.

Step 5: Cut up the rib blanks

When you're ready to steam the ribs, pull the blanks out of the soaking trough and cut them up into individual ribs. Length of the rib should be the width of the gunwales plus two hand breadths. You could of course cut all the ribs ahead of time, but it's a good idea to make sure that gunwale width plus 2 hand widths is long enough by bending a trial rib first.

Step 6: Round the edges of the rib blanks

Round the edges of the ribs with a spoke shave. One or two passes with the spokeshave is sufficient. Rounding the edges makes the ribs less susceptible to splitting. It also makes them more comfortable to sit on.

Step 7: Mark the bend position

With the rib blank laying across the gunwales, make a mark on the rib two fingers width in from the edge of the gunwales on both sides. This is roughly where you want the major bends of the rib to be. The section between the marks should be more or less flat to slightly arched.

Step 8: Rib shape

Rib shape in the middle of the boat near the cockpit should be slightly arched in the middle with a sharper bend toward the sides. As you proceed toward the bow, the hull will get narrower and taller so that the ribs start becoming more arched in the center. As you move toward the stern of the boat, the hull becomes flatter so the ribs tend to stay flat in the middle with the bends concentrated near the edges until the very end. In general, the flatter the ribs are in the middle, the flatter the bottom of the kayak will be and the more stable it will feel. Ribs that are more uniformly arched throughout will give you a more rounded hull that is less stable but slightly faster and livelier than a flat bottomed hull. If you are building your first kayak or don't have much paddling experience go for the more flat hull.

Step 9: Rib steaming

You will need to steam your ribs to get them hot enough to make the wood plastic enough to bend. See my instructable on how to make a steam box for details.

Step 10: Bend ribs with hot water

If you don't feel like going to the trouble of making a steambox, you can also bend wood by using hot water. Bring water to a boil in a kettle and then ladle it over the rib repeatedly. After about a minute or so, the rib should be pliable enough to bend.

Step 11: Rib bending strategy

Start with a rib near the middle of the boat in the cockpit area. Put it in the steam box and let it steam for about 5 minutes. 5 minutes will be long enough. As you get into the swing of things, you might find out that you will need to steam them even less than 5 minutes. Exact time depends on your wood, how wet it is and how hot your steambox is. Your next rib can be on either side of the first rib. Alternate back and forth until you have about 10 ribs in place, then put in all the ribs toward the stern. After that put in ribs toward the bow.

The reason for finishing one end of the boat and not hopping back and forth after you have the first ten ribs in is that the progression of shape in the front and the back of the boat is different and it is easier to get the transition of shape right if you stay on one end of the boat. When you made the gunwales, you cut rib mortises to within 24 inches of the ends. You will probably find that gunwales at the last rib mortise are so close together that getting a tight enough bend in the middle of the rib is impossible without breaking it. So you can leave the last rib mortise on either end un-occupied. After you pull a rib out of the steambox, you have a limited amount of time to bend it. Once it cools down, the rib begins to stiffen up. So you need to work fast. Once you have clamped the bent rib to the gunwales, you can still make adjustments to the shape, but the major bending should be done while the rib is right out of the steambox. Ribs will remain pliable as long as they're wet. As they dry, they stiffen up and settle into their new bent shape.

Step 12: Rib fairing strategy

The transition in shape from rib to rib needs to be smooth especially along the line that the two hull stringers are going to follow. The hull stringers will be supported by the ribs and if there are gaps between the ribs and the stringer, the stringer will not follow a smooth curve. So as you start putting in ribs near the ends of the boat, take a long piece of wood and lay it over the ribs where the stringers will be and make sure there are no gaps

Step 13: Rib trimming strategy You will have cut your rib blanks longer than they need to be. Once you have a rib clamped in place you will eventually need to trim it so the ends will fit into the rib mortises. If you only have two clamps or not enough clamps for all the ribs, then you will have to alternately bend, trim and seat your ribs.

Step 14: Bend your first rib.

When your first rib blank has steamed long enough, put on your gloves. Grab the next rib you will be working on, slide it into the steambox and pull the first rib out of the steambox. Cover the opening of the steambox back up so you don't lose heat. Grab the rib on either side of the bend mark and bend it. Then bend the other side. Shove the rib between the gunwales and under the keelson and clamp it to the gunwales. Go to the end of the boat and check to see if the height of both bends is the same and symmetrical. If not, loosen the clamps and adjust the position of the rib to make it symmetrical. In general, ribs want to arch up in the middle so that you need to push the legs of the ribs up at the sides to flatten out their shape in the middle. When you are happy with the shape, move on to your next rib.

Step 15: Mark the rib for trimming

With the rib clamped in place, mark where it intersects the gunwale. Also put a mark at the top of the rib at the keelson to indicate which side of the rib faces forward. After you trim the rib to length you will want to insert it with the right side facing forward.

Step 16: Trim the rib

Trim the rib 5/8 of an inch longer than your mark. Rib mortises are half an inch deep. We add an eigth of an inch in length to make up for the fact that the rib ends will be farther apart when seated in their mortises.

Step 17: Taper the rib ends

Taper the sides of the ribs down to 1/2 inch at the end. Also put a slight taper on the outside face of the rib end.

Step 18: Insert the rib in its mortises

Seat the rib ends in their mortises at an angle, then tilt the rib upright.

Step 19: Bend the rest of your ribs

As you bend each new rib, bend it to fit in with the ribs that are already in place. You will need to keep a good transition of shape from rib to rib as the boat becomes more narrow toward the ends. It isn't enough that each rib is symmetrical, it must also relate well to its neighbors.

Step 20: Put in ribs near the ends of the boat

Ribs near the ends of the boat are more strongly arched than the ribs in the center of the boat. So they are more likely to break when you try to bend them. Breakage at this point is normal. If your ribs break, shave them down in the center to maybe 1/8 inch thickness and they will be able to handle a tighter bend.

Step 21: All the ribs are in place You're done with this part of the instructable. Take a breather. You just finished the hardest part of making a kayak. When we come back, you will be adding chine stringers and deck stringers to your kayak and doing a few other little odds and ends to complete the frame of your kayak.

Build a Greenland kayak part 6 In part 5 of the Greenland kayak construction Instructable you installed the ribs. In this instructable you will lash the keelson and the hull stringers to the ribs and also add deck stringers and drill holes for the deck lines. The frame will be completed. And you will be making a coaming although you won't install it until after the skin is on the boat.

Step 1: Materials 2 hull stringers 3/4 x 1 inch in cross section, 16 foot long. Deck stringers 3/8 x 1-1/2 inch in cross section, 8 foot total. 1/4 inch dowels Lashing twine - nylon mason's line

Step 2: Tools Drill and 3/16th inch drill bit for lashing holes 15/64 inch drill bit for drilling doweling holes hammer for pounding dowels

Step 3: Drill lashing holes in the keelson

Drill a 3/16 inch lashing hole in the keelson wherever the keelson intersects a rib.

Step 4: Center the keelson

Measure the distance from the keelson to the gunwales in a few places to make sure that the keelson is centered. Then go to the end of the boat and sight down the keelson to make sure it is straight.

Step 5: Lash the keelson to the ribs

Lash the keelson to the ribs with the nylon mason twine. Cut a piece of twine the length of the boat. Tie off the line at the bow and start lashing in the direction of the cockpit. You will get somewhere in the vicinity of the cockpit. Clamp off the loose end of lashing twine. Cut another piece of lashing twine the length of the boat. This time start lashing at the stern. Lash in the direction of the cockpit. Tie the two loose ends of the lashing together where ever they meet.

Step 6: Cut the hull stringers Hull stringers are 3/4 x 1 inch in cross section and 16 foot long. 16 feet is longer than you need, but you will be trimming them to the exact length that your boat requires.

Step 7: Position the hull stringers on the ribs

The function of the hull stringers is to hold the skin away from the ribs at the sides. The keelson holds the skin off the ribs in the middle. Hull stringers should run roughly parallel to the bottoms of the gunwales getting about an inch closer at the ends.

Step 8: Cut hull stringers to length

Trim the hull stringers so they overlap the stem and stern boards by about two inches.

Step 9: Shape ends of the hull stringers

As the stringers twist around the hull they end up at about a 45 degree angle with the vertical. Shape the inside edge of the stringers where they intersect the stem and stern boards so they will lie flat against them.

Step 10: Drill the hull stringers

Drill a 3/16 inch lashing hole in the stringer at every rib to stringer intersection.

Step 11: Lash the hull stringers to the ribs

Lash the hull stringers to the ribs using the same lashing pattern you used for the keelson. If you have any gaps between the stringers and the ribs that are greater than 1/4 inch, add a shim between the stringer and the rib. When you're done, double check that the keelson is centered and that the hull stringers are equidistant from the keelson to either side. Although the keelson and stringers are lashed, you can move them around some if you are persistent. Lash the hull stringer ends together so they are in contact with the stem and stern boards.

Step 12: Lash the hull stringer ends

Lash the hull stringer ends together so they are in contact with the stem and stern boards.

Step 13: Install the rear deck stringers

Cut rear deck stringers to span from deck beam 7, the backbrace, to deck beam 8. Position the deck stringers so they are parallel to each other and about 8 inches apart. Dowel the deck stringers to the deck beams using 1/4 inch dowels.

Step 14: Install the forward deck stringers

Cut the forward deck stringer to span from deck beam 6, the knee brace to deck beam 4. Position the deck stringers so they are about 4 to 6 inches in from the gunwales. Dowel them to the deck beams using 1/4 inch dowels

Step 15: Install breasthooks

At both ends off the boat where the tops of the gunwales intersect the stem and stern pieces, there will be something of a gap. Breasthooks are small pices of wood doweled on top of the gunwales that bridge the gap and make for a smooth transition of the gunwales into the stem and stern boards.

Step 16: Drill holes for your deck lines

You won't be installing the deck lines until after you have put the skin on your boat, but it is best to drill the holes now so the sawdust from drilling doesn't end up inside the hull. Besides, it is easier to measure the position of the holes before the skin is in place. Drill two holes in the gunwales 4-1/2 inches apart and six inches forward of deck beam number six. Holes start at the outside edge of the gunwale and are drilled downward at a 45 degree angle. See the picture below for how this looks. Drill two more sets of holes spaced 4-1/2 inches apart and six inches back of deck beam number 7. Drill another pair of holes near the bow and another near the stern. Drill them at the point where gunwale separation is about 6 inches.

Step 17: Add a pulley for air bags

Your kayak should have airbags for floatation. Getting an airbag into the bow of your boat is difficult so it is handy to have a rope and pulley to help you pull the bag forward.

Step 18: Varnish the frame

Varnish the frame with your favorite sealant. I favor exterior polyurethane varnish.

Step 19: Make a cockpit coaming bending form

You won't need the cockpit coaming until the end of the skin sewing session, but it's a good idea to start it ahead of time. The bending form should be an oval hoop of 3/4 inch plywood. The rim of the hoop should be 2-1/2 inches wide. Length of the form should be the distance between deck beams 6 and 7 plus 1 inch. The width of the form should be somewhere between the width of your hips plus 1 inch and the width of the kayak minus 2 inches. For a kayak with a 21 inch beam, 16 to 18 inches is a good width for the coaming

Step 20: Cut and taper the coaming blank

The coaming blank should be 12 inches longer than the circumference of your bending form. It should be 1/4 inch thick by 1-1/2 inches wide in cross section. Taper the last 12 inches on each end down to 1/16th inch thickness. This will make for a smooth overlap. Soak the blank in water for 3 days before bending. Also cut a coaming rim 1/4 inch thick by 1/2 inch wide and 2 inches longer than the coaming blank. Taper the last 12 inches on each end as you did with the coaming blank

Step 21: Bend the coaming

When the coaming is done soaking, clamp one end to the back center of the bending form. Run hot water over a bit of the coaming blank at a time. Water should be too hot to hold your hand under. When the wood is hot, after about 2 minutes, bend that section around the form and clamp it. Then heat the next section, bend it until you are all the way around the form with the tapered ends overlapping at the back end of the form. Lash the coaming ends together at the end so they don't spring apart.

Step 22: Bend the coaming rim

Using the coaming as a bending form, bend the rim around the top edge of the coaming. Position the overlaps of the rim ends at the left side of the coaming. When the coaming rim and coaming are dry, dowel the rim to the coaming every two inches using barbecue skewer sized dowels. Drill 3/16 inch lashing holes in the coaming spaced 1-1/2 inches apart and halfway between the bottom of the rim and the bottom of the coaming. You will be using these holes to lash the coaming to the skin.

Step 23: You're done with the frame You're done with the frame! Admire its beauty. It's almost a shame to cover it with skin which will be the next step.

Build a Greenland kayak part 7 In this Instructable, part 7 of the Build a Greenland kayak series, you will be putting the skin on your Greenland kayak and attaching the coaming to the skin.

Step 1: Materials

Measure the length of your boat along the keel line and get that length plus one foot of fabric. 8 oz nylon is available from George Dyson (360) 734-9226. #10 canvas I don't have a source for, but art supply stores seem to handle it. Check the internet for sources. I have lately been using mostly 8 oz nylon fabric. It is strong, easy to work with and lasts a long time. I have used heavier nylon fabric, but it is too strong and if the boat is left in the sun, the skin shrinks and warps the frame. Before you buy skin, measure your boat. It will be longer than 16 feet with the stem and stern boards in place. Width of the fabric should be sufficient to circle the boat in the cockpit area. If you can only get fabric in 48 inch width, you might have to sew some patches in the cockpit area. Buy a foot more material than the length of your boat. In the past, I have used cotton canvas. If you use it in salt water, it can last a decade, but in fresh water, canvas starts rotting out after a few years and you either have to keep busy patching or replacing the skin within 5 years. Thread - I use a nylon thread because it will not tear while I am sewing. With cotton canvas, I have used a cotton polyester blend string. Varnish or Paint - On cotton canvas, I used to use house paint. With nylon, I have been using exterior polyurethane varnish. The varnish makes the skin translucent and the yellowish color of the varnish also gives the skin a natural sealskin look. Be sure to get exterior varnish. Interior varnish lacks UV protection additives and if you leave your boat in the sun, the skin will start to degrade.

Step 2: Tools

2 straight sewing needles 1 curved sewing needle Soldering or wood burning pencil with a sharp tip - If you use nylon or other synthetic fabric, use a hot soldering pencil to cut the material. Cutting with a scissors leave lots of frayed edges since the nylon threads are so slippery. Scissors if you're using plant fiber skin

Step 3: Drape your fabric over the inverted boat

If you are using nylon, all the skin work should be done in a cool environment out of the sun since heat shrinks nylon. The opposite is true if you are using cotton for your skin. That should be sewn on a warm dry day since cotton shrinks with moisture and cold. Drape the fabric over the inverted boat. Center it left to right and front to back. You should have a little overhang on each end. If the fabric is just barely long enough, don't worry, it will stretch. If not, you can always patch some on the ends.

Step 4: Sew around the bow

Sew a few inches around the pointed bow using a straight needle. The idea is to make a small pocket that anchors the skin at the bow so you can pull from the stern of the boat to make the skin tight in the longitudinal direction.

Step 5: Stretch the skin lengthwise

Position yourself at the stern and see how far you can stretch the skin lengthwise. You will have to brace yourself against a deck beam to do this. You should be able to get at least 4 inches of stretch out of the fabric. Make a mark where the fabric intersects the stern at maximum stretch.

Step 6: Sew a pocket at the stern

Sew a little ways down at the stern maximum stretch position. You need just enough stitches to hook over the stern. Stretch the skin and hook the pocket of skin over the stern

Step 7: Pin the skin down the keelson

Use some push pins to pin the fabric to the keelson. These pins will keep the skin centered when you stretch it around the hull.

Step 8: Lace up the deck

Flip the boat upright so you can work on the deck. Using some strong synthetic twine, lace back and forth across the deck to pull the sides of the fabric together. Start near the bow at a point where the deck is about 6 inches across and lace up to the cockpit. Use a straight sewing needle to catch about a quarter inch of fabric for each lacing back and forth. The lacing twine should be about 18 foot long. You want enough to zigzag from the bow all the way to the cockpit. When you have reached the cockpit, tie off the end of the line or clamp it to a deck beam. Starting at the bow, tighten up the line all the way to the cockpit. You can now permanently tie it off. Repeat this process for the back half of the boat

Step 9: Trim excess fabric

With the boat rightside up, trim one side of the fabric right up to the centerline of the boat. Trim the other side of the fabric so it overlaps the first side by half an inch. For now, the cockpit will be completely covered. We will trim it up when we're done sewing the center seams.

Step 10: Install the bow and stern decklines

Install the bow and stern decklines before you sew up the seam in the center. Once it is sewed up, you will no longer be able to tie off the ends of the deckline on the inside of the gunwales. The decklines around the cockpit can wait until later since you can reach them from the cockpit. And varnishing the boat is easier if they aren't installed yet.

Step 11: Sew up the seam

Start at the stern and work toward the cockpit. The reason for starting at the stern is that your sewing will improve as you do it and it is better to have your best work on the front deck where you have to look at it all the time. If you are right handed, overlap the left flap of fabric over the right hand flap. Right and left as you're facing the direction you are sewing in. The stitch you will be using is a simple spiral like the spiral at the edge of a spiral notebook. Stick the needle in the right flap, come out at the left of the seam with the thread going under the center gap and come out on top on the left of the gap. This is easiest to do with a curved needle. As you are sewing, try to grab enough fabric on each stitch from each side of the seam so that you are tightening up the fabric as you go. Excess fabric will roll over on itself to make a nice tight seam. Sew from the stern up to about 3 inches into the cockpit. Tie off your thread. Repeat the procedure for the front deck starting at the bow and sewing into the cockpit

Step 12: Trim up the cockpit area

With the cockpit coaming set on deckbeams 6 and 7 and centered right and left, mark about 3 inches inside of the coaming. Trim off the fabric leaving a hole that is 3 inches less in radius than the coaming

Step 13: Sew the coaming to the skin

Clamp the coaming to the deckbeam in front and back of the cockpit if you can. The best way to maintain equal tension on the skin as you are sewing is to work with two needles and start sewing in the front center of the coaming and working in both directions. Sew about 4 inches in one direction and then 4 inches with the other needle in the other direction. This way tensions will be balanced and you won't be pulling the coaming off center. Starting on the inside of the coaming, sew through the underside of the skin flap, run the needle out the nearest hole in the coaming, run the thread through the next hole, into the top of the skin, back through the bottom of the skin and back into the next hole in the coaming. Repeat until you have gone halfwaw around the cockpit. As you are sewing, you will be pulling the flap of skin on the inside of the coaming up toward the coaming. As you are sewing you will be building up tension in the skin. To relieve some of the tension, cut slits in the skin flap up to within an inch of the coaming. Keep sewing until you end up at the back center of the coaming with both threads.

Step 14: Trim off excess skin

The flap of skin that was on the inside of the coaming is now pulled up against the inside middle of the coaming. Trim off excess on the top to within 1/2 inch of the stitches

Step 15: Sew another pass on the cockpit coaming

As you sewed around the cockpit on the first pass, the thread snaked back and forth between holes, covering the coaming alternately on the inside and on the outside. Now sew another pass around the coaming, so that the thread will cover the gaps between the holes that weren't covered on the first pass. As you sew, bend down the excess 1/2 inch of fabric and sew through it as you go in and out of the holes in the coaming. As before, use two needles and work down both sides of the coaming. When you reach the front center of the coaming, tie off the threads and trim them.

Step 16: Wet down the skin

If you are using nylon fabric for your skin, soak it down with water and let it dry. As it dries, it will tighten almost drum tight.

Step 17: Paint the skin

Paint the skin using your favorite medium. I use exterior satin polyurethane varnish on nylon. I generally find two coats to do the job. Sometimes a third coat is needed on the bottom of the boat to completely fill the weave and make the skin smooth. The first coat will soak up quite a bit more varnish than the second coat. Follow the manufacturer's suggestions on painting. For polyurethane, you want to apply subsequent coats a few hours after the previous coat so the subsequent coats will bond to the previous coats. If the previous coat is allowed to cure completely, you might want to sand before applying the next coat. Look out for drips.

Step 18: Install deck lines around the cockpit

Once the varnish is dry, install decklines on either side of the cockpit. You can reach through the cockpit to tie off lines. Toggles are pieces of wood or plastic with holes spaced 2-1/2 inches apart. As you slide them toward the gunwales, they tighten up the deck lines.

Step 19: Install rub strips at the bow and stern

Rub strips are a good idea to keep you from rubbing the paint or varnish off the bottom of the boat. Use small dowels like bamboo barbecue skewer size or small brass screws to attach the rub strips. Pre-drill the holes. Put a dab of sealant between the rub strip and the keelson at each hole before attaching the rub strip. The sealant will prevent leakage.

Step 20: Congratulations, you're done!

Step back and admire your boat from all angles. If you've never paddled before, get some instruction on water safety. Always wear a pfd (life vest) Install floatation in the bow and stern of the boat. Get a spray skirt for the boat to seal around the cockpit. When paddling in cold water, wear a wet suit or a dry suit. Always dress for the temperature of the water, not the temperature of the air

Build a greenland kayak  
Build a greenland kayak