Skin On Frame, Vintage Inuit Style Homemade Baidarka

Good Morning Everyone,

Thanks for taking a second on a question from a newbie. I recently inherited a homemade Baidarka with hand painted accents. I believe it’s around 16ft. I believe it was made anywhere between 35-60 years ago maybe even older? Any ideas on that? It was made after an enthusiast wooden boat builder traveled to Alaska and learned Baidarka design from the locals. My simple question is where might I find a rough value for the Baidarka? I cannot find anything similar for sale online. I found a few pictures of similar boats but nothing for sale.

This is not an advertisement, but please let me know if this type of question is appropriate in this forum?

I apologize for the bad pictures, it’s hanging in the garage and I cannot take it down by myself.

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I’ll keep the pictures to a minimum if that’s appropriate for new users?

I have more photos but I don’t want to spam the forum, let me know if that’s ok? It does have a forked bow (bifurcated bow)

Looks well made. There are some new skin fabrics out there now when the time comes.

Last year I saw the frame for a traditional Umiak going down the freeway on a trailer north of Seattle.

Cool thanks, yep I’m seeing that new fabrics and kits seem to be available somewhat widely online. Sounds like the new materials make for an extremely strong boat? I wish I knew what kind of coating/sealer he might have used in case it has any leaks. From what I understand it’s only been in the water a couple times. To a layman like me, it does seem very well made, everything is tight and secure.

Time to take it out.
Find a spray skirt to fit it.
Practice some wet exits in shallow water.
Learn your strokes and how to brace.

yep I’m excited to splash it for sure! I have a tandem Aire Tomcat that needs to get wet as well. :slight_smile:

Here’s a closeup of the bow.

thanks again!!! :pray:

Does anyone have a guess on the value?

and Also I’d love to find out what he might have used to seal it. Are there likely candidates regarding resealing, patching? Any recommendations on brands etc…

I’m guessing it was some kind of poly but that’s only a guess. Thanks Again

Possible references. Or perhaps a donation to either…

Lincoln Street Kayak & Canoe Museum


Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum

I’m not sure if there is much value to the Baidarka without a specific provenance. The market this is a bit limited. The workmanship does look good and the inside shot suggests that the ribs are in good shape. If it is as old as you say and has not been re-skinned the fabric would be cotton duck that has been filed with an oil-based sizing and then painted - similar to a wood and canvas canoe. a more recent skin would be either nylon or polyester. Here is some information on the nylon & polyester skins: Which skin should I use?

You might reach out here:

Once events start again people who might be interested would be attending some of the Qajaq USA events:

The traditional skin on frame (SOF) kayaking enthusiasts over at would love to see this. There are many qajaq builders in that group.

It’s definitely something that would appeal to an SOF fan.

11 years ago I paid $900 for an eighteen foot SOF (West Greenland hunting qajaq, vs a baidarka). But it has a utilitarian 8 ounce ballastic nylon skin with 2-part urethane skin (what most modern builders use). See below photo.

The artwork on yours adds value to a collector, but the type and age of the material may make it delicate for actual use so proceed with caution on that. Make sure you can wriggle in and out of that small ocean style cockpit before floating it. And SOF’s require inflatable flotation bladders in the bow and stern for safety, though in shallow water you can usually swim them to shore even when partially swamped due to the lightness. Usual paddle for these is a Greenland or Aleut style. Photo at end of this reply shows one of my Greenlands.

In what part of the country are you and the boat located?

I’m going to forward this to a couple of folks I know who build traditional SOF’s for their opinions on it, which I’ll share here.