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Canoebuilding & Workshop

How sturdy is a Skin-on-Frame boat?

Tougher than you think! Of course, this depends on what material you are skinning the boat with. The most robust is polyamide ("nylon"), then comes polyester and the least robust is cotton. In addition, the durability also depends on the weight of the fabric, because thicker fabrics are naturally more durable. A nylon fabric from about 200g/m² is sufficiently robust, even for moderate river trips. For heavier use, a higher fabric grammage can be selected, whereby the boat naturally also becomes heavier due to the higher consumption of varnish. An example of the sturdiness from practice: During a tour on the river, the kayak touched down on a stone. The skin was dented and a 7mm thick strip of Red-Cedar, which was 10mm away from the skin, broke. The skin was intact and still waterproof afterwards.

What experience do I need to build my own canoe?

None really, but you should have a high affinity for crafts and also calculate a lot of time, because with the first canoebuilding project you will read, try out and learn a lot. Maybe you've done other projects in wood before and already feel comfortable with tools? All the better, but even if not, I encourage you to just get started, because this is actually the biggest hurdle. Once you've bought your first materials and cut your first strips, the project often takes on a life of its own!

How much space do I need to build my own canoe?

If you want to build your own boat, you should have about one meter of space around the project on all sides to walk around. For a five-meter long and 60cm wide kayak, you should have at least 7x2.5m of space. A table or small workbench should also fit in the space, preferably mobile, as this will allow you to take all the tools with you to the other side of the boat. Also think about how you will get the finished boat out of the room.

What tools do I need to build my own canoe or kayak?

There is no general answer to this question, as it depends very much on the chosen construction method. For example, you need a lot of clamps for the strip construction, whereas you can get by with just a few clamps for the skin-on-frame construction. For all construction methods, it makes sense to have hand tools such as planes, chisels, a Japanese saw, cutter knives and sanding materials. In the blog you will find several articles about the different construction methods and manufacturing steps, which will give you a good idea of the tools you need.

Can I also build the NANOOK-Kayak longer/shorter or wider/narrower?

This is possible, but it requires a few adjustments to the components, as the frames must be moved to match the shortening of the design. Some components, such as the seats and the entry aids, connect two frames and consequently need to be shortened accordingly. Also, the position of the first and last frames on the stem components needs to be adjusted. These slide further towards the bow end and stern end respectively. The additional frame of the hatch system cannot be moved because the components of the hatch system cannot be reduced in size. Here it is necessary to adapt the additional frame to the new cross-section of the frame. I recommend you to order the building plan for the construction of a shortened NANOOK, because you can make the components directly by yourself in the suitable dimensions. I also recommend not to shorten the kayak more than 10%, which corresponds to a reduction of the total length from 507cm to 456cm or 16.6 feet to 14.9 feet. Unfortunately, it is not possible to adjust the width of the kayak in the fuselage frame design due to the milled components.

Can I use other woods as well?

It is possible, if you use suitable woods. Especially in the construction methods in which the woods are exposed and oiled, it is important to use durable species such as red cedar or Douglas fir. Weight also plays a decisive role, as it has a direct influence on the final weight of your boat. In strip construction or Stitch&Glue construction, you are fairly free in your choice of wood, since the wood is protected from moisture as best as possible by the fiberglass and epoxy. Keep in mind, however, that some woods, especially hardwoods, are difficult to machine and get into shape.

Should I use nylon or polyester for my skin-on-frame boat?

Nylon (polyamide) is very durable, but has the disadvantage that it absorbs water and expands. So the skin of your boat can become saggy and wavy in damp weather or on the water. This is not a big deal, but it does not look nice. Unfortunately, even the best varnishing job can't prevent this. Nylon is the most sturdy material you can use. Polyester is not quite as sturdy as nylon, but it does not sag under the influence of water as nylon does. In addition, polyester can be shrunk with an iron after skinning and is then nicely stretched. The lower ruggedness can be compensated for by a higher weight of fabric. Unfortunately, polyester is hard to come by as a raw material (i.e. uncoated) in Europe. In this blog article I compare both materials:

I have my own CNC-machine. Can I buy the digital plans or CNC-code for the NANOOK?

I understand that this would be a very interesting opportunity for customers with their own CNC router and an interesting distribution opportunity, however, I have decided not to release any files of my parts to protect my extensive development work. Therefore it is only possible to build the kayak according to the plan or order the ready milled components from me.

Order, Payment & Shipping

Can I order through other ways as well?

You can also order at any time by email or phone. I will send you an invoice afterwards, which can be paid by bank transfer or Paypal.

Why am I charged shipping for each product individually?

Since the products are usually very large, it is not possible to ship several of them in one package. Unfortunately, the store system is not (yet) configurable so that smaller products are calculated differently in the shipping costs. If you want to order e.g. several plans, please send me a non-binding request via email.

My country is not selectable in the store. Can I still order from you?

An order via the store is not possible in this case, but I may be able to offer you an order to your country via purchase on invoice. Write me a non-binding request by email.

I would like to order to Austria - why is that not possible?

On 01.01.2023 the new Austrian Packaging Regulations came into force. Due to the enormous effort that would be involved in complying with all the requirements contained therein, I unfortunately no longer ship to Austria.

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