Building a Skin-On-Frame Kayak

by Patrick Farneman




The masik is made from Ash and is inlet and pegged into the gunwales at the correct depth.


Foredeck stringers are attached and inlet into the masik.


The finished kayak frame. Its builder is happier than he looks.


A skin of ballistic nylon is used today instead of sealskin. Rawhide boat skins do not last long south of the arctic.


The cockpit is stitched into the boat skin. It is not otherwise attached to the frame.


The skin is all sewn and is dyed with an acid dye for a rich brown color that mimics seal skin. Chuck Tucker on the right.


A two-part polyurethane coating is used that bonds perfectly with the nylon fabric to form a strong, flexible, lightweight covering.


While waiting for the coating to set, it’s time to carve a paddle from red cedar.


Greenland paddles are sleek and efficient. In the interest of time, we used a few power tools.


The author’s finished boat and paddle on the left. Mark Kuhlman with his boat and paddle are on the left. Mark’s boat is a 7% scale up of the 1931 Disko Bay to accommodate his larger size.




E-mail your comments to "Patrick Farneman" at
Visit and join us in the journey of discovering our roots - the ancient ways and skills that help define who we are. Bridges to the Past is a non-profit organization dedicated to education and preservation of our shared human history through the skills of our ancestors.

PrimitiveWays Home Page

We hope the information on the PrimitiveWays website is both instructional and enjoyable. Understand that no warranty or guarantee is included. We expect adults to act responsibly and children to be supervised by a responsible adult. If you use the information on this site to create your own projects or if you try techniques described on PrimitiveWays, behave in accordance with applicable laws, and think about the sustainability of natural resources. Using tools or techniques described on PrimitiveWays can be dangerous with exposure to heavy, sharp or pointed objects, fire, stone tools and hazards present in outdoor settings. Without proper care and caution, or if done incorrectly, there is a risk of property damage, personal injury or even death. So, be advised: Anyone using any information provided on the PrimitiveWays website assumes responsibility for using proper care and caution to protect property, the life, health and safety of himself or herself and all others. He or she expressly assumes all risk of harm or damage to all persons or property proximately caused by the use of this information.

© PrimitiveWays 2013