CANOE OR KAYAK?
Both types of boats are paddled in the direction of view, the canoe with a single-bladed paddle, the kayak with a double-bladed paddle. Canoes are especially suitable for relaxed after-work trips, but also for canoe trips lasting several days with a lot of luggage. Handling is easy because you just jump in and start paddling. Kayaking is a bit more sporty, because the cockpit doesn't give you much freedom of movement, but you're faster and defy waves and wind better.
The origins of this craft go back thousands of years with the construction of dugout canoes and birch bark canoes. Boats that were used for hunting, transportation and survival back then are now used for recreational purposes, sometimes in unaltered form, and are produced using a mix of traditional and modern construction methods.
The fascination of canoe building in terms of craftsmanship lies primarily in the size of the project which at the same time it can be as light as a feather! Building a canoe constantly challenges the craftsman due to the lack of right angles and inspires the construction of individual tools and aids. The simple yet pragmatic form of a canoe hull, combined with the visual and mechanical advantages of wood as a material, results in elegant boats with a high utility value. No hour in the workshop seems too much when you glide across the water for the first time in your self-built canoe.
The kayak has its origins in the Arctic region, where it was used for hunting and fishing. The modern skin-on-frame method of construction is based on historic techniques used by the Inuit, who built the kayak frame from wood and bone and covered it with animal skins. Modern sea kayaks are based on typical shapes of these historical kayaks. Nowadays, the strip construction, the stitch-and-glue construction and the skin-on-frame construction are common.
Especially in the skin-on-frame construction, traditional Inuit measurement systems can be used to create kayaks that are perfectly adapted to the paddlers weight and size. When building a traditional Greenland kayak, steam bending of the ash or oak ribs is a particularly interesting crafting technique. A modern alternative to the traditional skin-on-frame construction method is the fuselage frame construction method, in which the steam-bent ribs are replaced by frames made of sheet material. These can be sawed out with a jigsaw or CNC milled as in the NANOOK kayak kit.
In the strip construction method and the stitch-and-glue construction method, filigree wooden hulls are covered with glass-fiber laminate. This creates very light, stable and visually appealing canoe hulls. The stripconstruction method is the most challenging building method and requires skill and durability. In contrast to the stitch-and-glue construction method, in which planks of thin plywood are joined together (stitched), the strip construction method can be used to produce not only hard-chined hulls but also soft-chined hulls. This is made possible by the use of narrow wooden strips, which can be perfectly joined at any angle by milling them concave and convex at the edges.
The classic canoe has its origins in North America, where it was made by sewing birch bark over a wooden frame. Later, the "wood and canvas" method of construction developed, in which a wooden hull was covered with impregnated canvas. Today, canoes are handcrafted using stitch-and-glue, skin-on-frame, or wood-and-canvas construction and -of course - the stripbuilding method.
A canoe is open on the top, but it can also be equipped with a spray cover and flotation bags like in a kayak for whitewater paddling. The canoe is steered by the person sitting at the stern. The "J-stroke" allows paddling without changing the side paddling. This saves power and also looks better. Many other paddle strokes allow paddling sideways, turning on the spot, or crossing a river. For longer turns, the gunwale - a wooden bar placed in the middle of the boat between the gunwales - is used to shoulder the canoe. The seating position, unlike a kayak, can be varied and allows for more enduring paddling over longer periods of time. Thus, the canoe can be paddled kneeling, sitting or even standing. With a payload of partly several hundred kilos, a canoe is more suitable than the kayak for longer trips with a lot of luggage and multiple people.