Magazine article Sunset

Wood on Water: New Techniques Make the Humble Kayak a Work of Art. (Best of the West)

Magazine article Sunset

Wood on Water: New Techniques Make the Humble Kayak a Work of Art. (Best of the West)

Article excerpt

* Consider the sea kayak: the purest form of watercraft, so efficient, so organically sculpted that a human seafarer becomes an honorary sea mammal.

And now consider the wood kayak: this shapeliest of boats in the most expressive of materials. What you have is a work of art that dances with waves. You also have, incredibly, a sensible, durable, high-performance boat.

The sea kayak--originally covered with marine mammal skins--is possibly 9,000 years old. In 1907, Johann Klepper covered collapsible wooden frames with waterproof canvas and popularized the sport. By the 1960s, kayak makers were experimenting with fiberglass boats.

As craftsmen have refined the process of applying protective fiberglass over wood, the popularity of wooden kayaks has grown. A sealed wood kayak is much lighter (32 to 36 pounds) than a fully fiberglass boat (52 to 55 pounds). Not only is it easier to schlepp on land but it accelerates faster and--some think--is quieter in choppy water.

In the last few years, wood kayaks have surged in popularity; mostly because of kits for brave amateur builders, But a few professionals are crafting custom boats for connoisseurs, and no one is applying more panache to the art than Joe Greenley of Redfish Kayaks in Port Angeles, Washington. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.