wood kayak ? beginner

Hi all!

I am a long time canoe enthusiast. I have just recently tried kayaking and love it. I have mostly been in the plastic rentals…(swiftys and what not). A while back I was given a kayak that my grandfather built in 1974. It is all wood, very light, and about 14’ in length. I was thinking of taking it out for a spin. Do you think this kayak is suitable for slow river use…bearing that water level is high enough…we have not had rain in days here in ohio…?? I am about 5’7’’ 180lbs

you could…
you probably could use it on a slow river…but at 14 feet, it has better be a very slow moving river. Nice old 14 foot wooden kayak would much rather see a lake or sea shore though…

Depends. I’ve friends who use their
wood kayaks and canoes in some pretty extreme conditions. If its not wood composite, just wood with a varnish type finish, I’d first take it to a lake or pond to try out. Also, you may want to do that to get the feel of the kayak before venturing out on a river.

check it out
If it has been stored away from standing water and direct sunlight, it could be fine. Check it out for obvious signs of rot and weakness, espcially in the stem ends. It is probably coated in fiberglass and you shoulc look for signs of delamination or brittleness.

If you are not sure what to look for, ask around, I bet there are dozens of boat builders near you who would be happy to take a look at this old boat.

it has been stored in a a dry basement since 1975…looks almost new. Probably has only hit water a handful of times. I took it to my local reservoir and showed no signs of leakage. I guess my question is more of the length than anything. If i were to start kayaking on a regular basis would the length of this boat bother me…I only ask because it seem the norm is more around 10’.

Ohio rivers

– Last Updated: Aug-09-07 6:50 PM EST –

If you are wanting to regularly paddle Ohio rivers, the issue is not going to be the length, but the material. If you've canoed these rivers, you should have a good idea about how much rock scraping you can anticipate on them. It's really about how comfortable you feel about exposing this wooden boat to that. Personally, I paddle plastic on all but Ohio's biggest rivers. On the Muskingum or the Ohio, I'll paddle my wooden kayak. 12-14 feet is a good length for a river kayak (for Class I and slow moving rivers).

thanks for all the responses… just an update…the kayak is an Ottersports kit (not and old time otter). The kit would cost $530 + shipping US dollars today. It was purchased and build by my grandfather in 1974 from Ottersports a company then located in Northhampton, England. You can view their web page at www.ottersports.com. I believe the touring model is what I own. It was used several times in the first few years of its life then put away in his basement. The last Ohio license on it is for 1976. I am off to meet with someone from the Ohio division of watercraft to get it inspected so it can be licenceed and then may take it out for a short trip this weekend.

Thank you for all your replys and my decision on this is that it is great boat to have but to use on a consistent basis would not be right for river weekend trips. Although I also think it should not get put away and never used. Don’t worry I value it very much not only because of how nice it was, but because of my grandfather too.