I spent the past week and a half helping out with a TrackersNW Kayak building workshop. We built Baidarkas, a style of kayak some 4,000 years old from the Aleutian Islands. Along with the guidance of Casey Nut and Ernie Wisner, 5 students and 6 staff members each created a boat. I don't have time to right a lot so here is what Wikipedia says about them. "Baidarka is the name sometimes used for Aleutian style sea kayak. The word has its origins from early Russian settlers in Alaska.
A prominent feature of a baidarka is its forked bow (bifurcated bow). Very lightweight and maneuverable, it was made out of seal skin sewed only by Aleut women, over a frame made strictly by the men of driftwood (since no trees grow in the Aleutian Islands), bone and sinew. It was treated as a living being by Aleut men (it was taboo for women to handle them).
In modern times, George Dyson is often credited with the revival of the baidarka, through his company Dyson, Baidarka & Company. Dyson and his boats were the subject of Kenneth Brower's book The Starship and the Canoe (Ref. 1), and Dyson himself wrote the book Baidarka in 1986 (Ref. 2). Dyson's Baidarkas are made from modern materials such as aluminium for the frame and coated polyester fabric for the skin.
Baidarka is the name sometimes used for sea kayaks from the Aleutian Islands and Alaska Peninsula. The word is Russian, and the more ancient word is "iqyak".
The people who have lived in this region of the world for thousands of years called themselves "Unungan" meaning "people who lived by the side of the sea". The Unungan men built the kayaks by carving the wooden frames from driftwood using stone tools made from volcanic rocks as well as tools made from bone, ivory, and wood.
The men designed the kayak frames to be light, fast, and flexible, tying together the wooden parts with intricate and spiritual knots braided from tough animal sinew. Unungan women prepared sea lion skins which they sewed onto the frames with bone needles, using a waterproof stitch. While out at sea, men carried with them emergency repair kits. For the Unungan, the sea kayaks lived as spiritual beings and were essential for their survival. From early ages, Unungan boys were trained in the use of skin kayaks."
All the boats in production. Lots of lashing and pegging pieces together.
Me busy lashing the stringers onto the ribs of the kayak.
The skin (Balistic Nylon) stretched tight like a drum over the wooden framework and sewn in place.
The kayak has been dyed brown and is ready to be coated in urethane