Skin on frame Kayaks...

Can these be bought built, or can you buy a kit? I’ve been looking around and can’t seem to find any ready-made or kits … just plans.

Is there a good source of info on these boats?

Just getting curious … the weight is of interest.

Some information to get you started…
Books to consider for building your own:

So far, I only have two of the books listed there, and I like them both:

H.C. Petersen:

“Instruction in Kayak Building”

Chris Cunningham:

“Building the Greenland Kayak: A Manual for Its Construction and Use”

Note: I like Chris’ building technique, but I’d rather sew the skin on in a more traditional manner than he suggests in his book.

Building classes…

If you tell us where you are, we may be able to find someone nearby who runs a building workshop/class (at the end of the class, you have a boat!)

Custom SOF builders:

Peter Strand:

I’m having trouble getting to Peter’s site at that address at the moment. I’m not sure what’s wrong.

There’s another link I’ll have to look for, but the guy is a monk, and he will also build custom fit SOFs for people. Perhaps someone here remembers his name and has the link to his site handy.

I’m in a bit of a rush to do several things right now, but I’ll try to get back to the search a bit later.


kit sof
try this search on qNet–I asked this question, and identified several builders who would provide kit materials.

off the top of my head for classes and boats. Also there are many others, but I’d have to do a google search or look at the building board or qajaqusa and you can do that as easily.

this may upset some folks… I built the first on my own. Modified it to make it more suitable to what I want. And, then build a second one.

I have Morris, Cunningham and Starr for references. I like Morris’ approach the most and used mostly his book for reference when building. I think Cunningham snuck in with the rib jig.

About 100 hours for the first and about 50 hours for the second. I did it in fits and starts. Could be probably be fastr if I committed a full week or straight weekends to it. But, a lot of times, I ended up paddling when things looked “interesting” out there.



The monk
is at this eponymous site:

His price seems more than reasonable for a custom SOF.

I say take a building class - I did and it was great fun - built a Cape Falcon SC-1 in a week and got to hang out in Oregon while I worked. Shipped it back east without a problem. The Wooden Boat School usually has a class each summer too, but they can be hard to get into.

have three now
first one I got from Peter Strand. Very happy with the boat as a dedicated rolling boat (what I asked for) even though I did take it in the ocean a few times where it behaved surprisingly well.

Then built a yost design wooden frame boat as a practice boat which amazingly enough paddles pretty well all told,(nothing against the design, just my building skills) and finally built a pretty traditional sof using Bjorn Thomassen’s Hunter as a guide. Great boat that I am very very happy with.

If you do decide to build your own remember that you can modify anything you want whenever you want. The costs associated compared to a commercial boat are vey low and you could build 5 for the cost of a good new plastic boat. Including buying the initial tools and materials.

Just make sure that you build/buy what you want out of a boat not just what is being offered in a class or a kit. Not saying anything negative so please don’t take it that way, but classes or kits by default are going to go with streamlined designs to cater to the majority or to fill a particular need of the designer.

I can personally recommend Peter Strand.

I have seen and watched Brian Schults at Delmarva work on his skin on frame and the boats are top quality.

I have heard about the Monk but have neve seen one of his boats.

I undertand Turner Wilson is building boats now and I am quite sure you couldn’t go wrong with him.

there are many others.


Thanks for all the suggestions and great sites to look around! Sing, sounds like this might be a good winter project … It’ll take a while to come up with what the right boat is for me.

As a beginner, what boat to build sounds as imposing a task as building the boat itself: I have an idea what I want based on what I use the boat for, but I’m not knowledgable enough to understand how that translates into a boat … or what to modify.

Brazil … I sent an email to Peter Strand and he responded. I’m in SE MA, so Uncasville is not that far … might plan a drive down there to see what he’s got. I know you have a T165 … I’ve got the same, and am looking for basically a boat in that size that would perform about the same … day tripping so LV, reasonably fast, agile, good primary and secondary, comfortable. I paddle mostly around Narragansett Bay … I’m not going surfing, but like to waves 1 - 3’. Any suggestions based on the boats you have?

Two questions on SOF boats: first, these boats don’t have bulkheads … what do you do for flotation? I’m thinking if you had to wet exit, there could be a lot of water in the boat to pump out. Do you use air bags? Second, do you use or need a skeg? In Peter’s response, he said these boats handle different from composite … more responsive … so I’m wondering how they track w\out a skeg.

skin on frame class
Turner Wilson is doing a kayak building class at the Eli Whitney Museum in Hamden CT the first week of Sept. Check his website for info—


Yes, Winter Is A Good Time To Do It…

– Last Updated: Jun-27-07 9:57 AM EST –

you buy heat sealable nylon to make the custom air bags. Measure fore and aft before you skin. Install a line "pulley" system to get your bags in and out easier.

If you want a surfer, think minimal deadrise (flatter, more planing like bottom) and 3" or more rocker towards the bow. Shoot for 16' and under. But, truthfully, you probably should even worry about a "surfing" oriented SOF on the first try. More focus on an all around day boat, 16-17', that is trimmed well and shows minimal weatherhelming in under 20 knots. My modification to the first sof was to increase the deadrise. Less deadrise gives a better initial stability (most newbies like initial) but less secondary stability. Since I like paddling in waves, I took the skin off to fix a broken rib and to increase deadrise for better secondary on beam seas. I liked the boat a lot more after that.

The SOF building process is very forgiving. So, don't get intimidated by it. $300-$350 in wood and materials will likely get you a pretty decent SOF with more rot resistent wood than clear pine. Clear pine is much cheaper and more readily available. Just make sure you oil in well before skinning if you go that route.


Two questions

– Last Updated: Jun-27-07 10:03 AM EST –

Will try to answer these, but also looking to see Greyak and BrazilBrazil's inputs here:

1. Flotation: Without float bags, a SOF may-or-may-not sink once fully filled with water. I have seen a few folks who can actually fill them to the top of the cockpit and "sort of" paddle them, but those instances are few. You need to put in flotation in bow and stern and float bags are usually the best way to go. I have seen and heard of folks using all sorts of flotation ideas - semi inflated beach balls, pool noodles, Barney-dinasour blowups, etc, but float bags work best. You can buy these commercially at NRS or any other kayaking store or make your own as there are folks online that do these things. Bottom line is - flotation should be required fore and aft for safety. Note that Pete Strand (great guy and builder) also has a self rescue procedure posted on his website that looks good too. Lastly, don't rule out a seasock! They attach to the cockpit coaming and limit the amount of water that enters your boat but should never be used without float bags too. See Black Dog Kayaks for a custom made/fitted seasock for under $100. (I have no affiliation with any of these folks/companies)

2. SOF tracking - its alot like commercial boats in that regard. Its all based on the design of the boat. But with a SOF - you can select a design or modify the one you have to tighten tracking or loosen it depending on what you want it to do. (as long as you aren't having a "true-to-form" replica made based on a historic design)

Hope this helps, though the others on this post can expand or correct what I have said..


It all depends
Since there are a tremendous variety of Greenland designs, I rather doubt it is possible to say Greenland boats perform a certain way. Also, they were built for specific missions and conditions and may not do well outside the design goals. As hunting boats they were often designed to weathercock and they were not designed as play boats. I suspect there are huge differences between replica boats and generic Greenland boats built for recreation in terms of handling, especially weathercocking.

That said, compared to typical commercial boats they are easier to paddle at a high touring pace, obviously the cockpit is smaller and getting in immediately informs you that you and the boat are a unit, they are much more responsive to inputs ( like very sensitive Anas Acutas), the one I have paddled most can be leaned farther over (some of these boats have very impressive stability curves), aside from weathercocking they tend to quite good in the wind, and rolling is much easier. All in all they are quiet and pleasant to paddle, but it may take time to learn how to deal with certain handling traits if a replica.

I stopped by on the last day of Brian Shulz’s class in Maine two weeks ago and saw the results. All of the boats looked beautiful and well built. I talked to one student and found out they had never built anything before and at first did not know the names of the tools being used. So there is no doubt you could build a nice boat in the classes available and have the skills to build a boat exactly as you want. I have a friend who took one class and has gone on a building binge. Last I heard he had built six.

Thanks again!
Very helpfull! The cost sounds great (build you own that is).

I’m in SE Mass. Anyone know of a building class around here?

Will probably take a ride to see Peter Strand and check out his boats.

A few more questions if I may. Do you have to be able to roll to safely use one of these? I don’t know how (flunked a rollong class summer before last). I plan to try again, but could I use one of these boats w\out a roll? I understand the dewatering challenge.

Are these boats suitable for a beginner like me? One site says strong bracing skills are needed for these kinds of boats. I don’t know if I’m bracing or not … I’ve got good balance and often paddle in 2+ waves … 3’ on occasion … no problems. I’ve never rolled over unintentionally in 3 years paddling. Maybe I’m bracing and don’t really know it?

Do these boats have to be reskinned often?

How do you get in these boats? That much different from the keyhole in my T165? I put the boat in the water, sit on the deck behind the combing, paddel on the deck behind my back, slightly resting one blade on the sand, and then slide my legs in.

Yes I think good rolling skills are a must but I feel that way about any kayak

Peter built me a rolling boat. extremely low volume. I don’t know how much he woudl have around for you to look at though unless he has one on the sawhorses that he is building.


He is building some now…
…at least that is what I heard as I asked him about doing some work for me.


where are you located?
your profile doesn’t say

wait a minute! your profile doesn’t EXIST

Ok … just set that up

too bad!
there are people who would make it custom to fit or teach you how to make it yourself in Oregon

maybe there are in Mass too, I just don’t know who they are

Mark Starr Runs A Class…
every year at the Mystic Seaport museum in CT. One week, you’ll have a boat done. The three “Starr” boats I’ve seen up close all have been fairly conservative in making width and hull designs well within the skill range of someone in the advance novice/intermediate stage, meaning they have enough width and minimal deadrise for stability but still narrow enough (compared to most commerically produced boats) to facilitate rolling skills development.


Brian Schulz

Sounds like you are referring to Brian Schulz of Cape Falcon Kayaks. Very skilled - heard his classes are excellent - just finishing a set of building classes here in ME, MA, and NY I think. If you miss this round of classes, no worries, he will come back again. Check his schedule on his website.

Sing - Does Mark still do the classes at Mystic? I thought those had been discontinued for some reason.