Greenland style kayaks


Greenland style kayaks
by Ron Friedman

Greenland kayaks are an ancient craft utilized by Inuit peoples from the far north. Traditional use was for hunting and methods of building included beachcombing for months locating driftwood, bone, and skin from sea animals. This historic craft was recreated over a weekend in Bordentown, NJ, through Paint Island Canoe and Kayak’s first skin on frame kayak class. Four participants from Baltimore, NY, South Brunswick, and Bordentown spent Friday evening through Sunday building nontraditional Greenland kayaks. These craft are custom designed to the kayaker so specific body measurements are taken, distance from finger tip to finger tip for length of boat, height of the fist with thumb extended for the backdeck, distance from small of back to the foot with knees slightly bent for the footrest, and then height of the knee for the masik which supports the knees while paddling.

Under the guidance of, Bob Foote, kayak and canoe instructor, the attendees used modern materials accessed from local hardware and lumber yards. Pine was used for framing members, plastic lath was heated in an oven and bent into shape for the ribs, glue and brass screws replaced the traditional lashing methods of the native peoples. Canvas was used for the skins and nylon rope for deck rigging. This method allowed for a very quick build time at a materials cost of around $350.00. For traditional building methods information can be found at on the web. Additional classes are being planned for skin on frame as well as stitch and glue boats. The class was held at RiverView Studios at the foot of Farnsworth Avenue overlooking the Crosswicks Creek.

For additional information call Paint Island Canoe and Kayak 609-324-8200

Pictures of the building sequience:

Brian's top frame with backrest and foot rest positioned

Brian, making sure his keel is true

Peter, Rebecca, Jim Parker

Rebecca 's frame less the masik. Rebecca is a
vo-tech student adept at using all the shop tools.

Determing masik position

Peter, tracing out the masik

Rebecca's plastic ribs in place

Pete's frame complete

George's 25" beamed frame"

Bob's hull skinned with stainless staples

Bob's fully skinned

Folding the skin at the bow detail

Bob's bow complete

Placing the cockpit coaming

Cutting the cockpit opening

Coaming placed and skinning detail

Pleats below the coaming, most of the wrinkles came out

Bob's kayak completed