10 Rules for Building Your Own Kayak

Wooden Kayak
It all started back in 2005 when my college roommates and I opened our first Pabst Blue Ribbon of the night. Luke, Will, and I shared a fondness for PBR and dreaming big. The subject of the night was a circumnavigation of the world's largest freshwater lake: Lake Superior. It must have been something about the spraying mist and froth from those beers, because by the end of the the night we had decided to build our own kayaks for a Great Lakes adventure.

Press the fast forward button to May 2010. Outside Luke's parents' garage, we stared at wood piled over the back of a red Ford Ranger. We toasted a few more beers to the boards that would become the gunwales of our kayaks.

Several crushed cans and cut fingers later, we find ourselves on the eve of our Superior Dream. Our kayaks are finished and deemed sea worthy, by us—we think. Just in case there's someone else out there with similar aspirations, here are ten things to consider about building your own kayak, after of course, you share a beer or two.

10. You should take a course.

Since neither of us had ever built anything beyond shop class in high school, this was our original plan. That said, the course we planned to take was canceled. We had two choices: Scrap the idea of building a sea-worthy craft with our own hands and purchase a plastic eyesore, or purchase a kind of connect-the-dots kayak kit. Neither option seemed great. We had fallen in love with the Greenland style of kayak. The sleek and sexy skin-on-wood-frame boat with it's translucent nylon skin glowed with sunlight and we couldn't let go of the idea. So after some research online we ventured into the unknown and tackled the online instructions we found at instructables.com.

We are aspiring adventurers, correct? Plus, it was exponentially cheaper, $300 per kayak as opposed to $1,200 each. Since our pocket books have never actually seen $1,200, the decision was easy.

Filed To: Adventure

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