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Home  | Traditional Kayaks  | Bering Strait Two Hole


The Bering Strait Two Hole, Mariners Museum, Newport

New, Virginia. Collected circa 1929. Lines taken off by

David Zimmerly. MAM BF-32.


The Bering Strait Two Hole slowed me down. It is big and beefy and a bit different than most of the kayaks that I have built. Although similar to the Hooper Bay Single, the components are heavier and slower to shape and carve. I had to steam all the ribs and saw cut and shape the deck beams. When it was complete, it was quite a bit heavier than the Double Baidarka that I had made several years earlier.




This is the line drawing that David Zimmerly took off the collected specimen. As it was covered,

David was not able to provide a detailed illustration of the frame construction.


I started with a very nice red cedar two by six and split it in half. After trimming to the

correct size, I carved half round holes in both gunnels to accept the ribs.


I spaced the rib locations about a hand width apart and carved semi-circular holes end to

end to accommodate them.


I made several spacers out of scraps and starting in the middle, temporarily screwed them

into the gunnels.


Using the width of the gunnels at various stations, and their height above the shear line,

I made cardboard patterns to aid in saw cutting the deck beams.


After saw cutting the deck beams, I shaped and fit them, starting in the middle and moving

to the bow and stern.


Here is the half finished deck. Note that a pronounced shear is produced as a result of

bending the angled gunnels together at the bow and stern. The drawing shows a kayak

with a flat shear line.


As I carved and installed the deck beams, I used a scrap piece of lumber to check for

proper deck height.


My gunnel stock was a bit too short so I lengthened the boat by carving a vee shaped addition

to the stern.


Here is a look at part of the bow piece and the nearly finished deck.


With the deck beams in place, I made a pattern for the cockpit coamings and steamed the white

oak stock that I had cut for them. The plastic pipe and black pail is the steamer that I made from

a turkey fryer. It works pretty good. I built a wooden steam box that will hold four to six ribs that I use when I have to steam the ribs.


After steaming the  coaming stock, I set it in place and fit it to rest on the deck beams.


Here is one of the two coamings being glued up after sizing on the frame.


I kept the stock that I cut for the ribs in a bucket of water. That keeps them growing a

little and makes it easier to bend them. As you can see, these little trees were pretty

hefty. All the components of this kayak were bigger than what I am used to using.


Here is what the ribs looked like after the bark is stripped and they are ripped in half.


Here's a couple of ribs after steaming and bending. I used the sink to hold them in place

before I made a fixture which kept them bent until I installed them in the gunnels.


This is one of the patterns that I used to form the ribs after steaming them. One end of the rib is

set under the wooden stock clamped to the table and the other end is bent around the form. I made

another gadget to hold them in place while they cooled so I could reuse the pattern without waiting

too long.


This is what it looked like with the first few ribs in place. Not very inspiring yet.


Now it's starting to look like a kayak. I worked fore and aft from the middle, using the temporary

keelson as a guide. If you look closely you can see where I clamped it in place to get the correct

depth at a point between the cockpits.


And here it is with almost all the ribs in place. Now it looks like a kayak.


Here's another view with only a couple of ribs left to go in near the bow


Here is the finished frame ready to be covered.


Another view of the frame, almost to pretty to hide in all that cotton duck.


One more picture of the frame.


A nice view of the bow detail, soon to be hidden. The one piece of hardware that I used

can be seen near the end of the gunnel. It's a quarter inch bolt securing the gunnels to

the large bow stem.


The beautiful frame is covered in cotton duck.


Another view of the covering before it is sealed.


Here it is after sealing, ready to go in the water.


It looks ready to go.


It floats! We tried it empty first and it meandered around. After putting about fifty pounds

of ballast midships it felt much better and went straight.


There's still plenty of freeboard. This kayak will carry quite a lot of gear

We paddled around the lake and had a nice morning outing. The paddles are from the double

baidarka that I made several years ago. That's me up front and Tony Schmitz in the back.


Just another pretty picture. I think you could take a nice trip in this kayak. This was a very nice project with a very good result.



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 Traditional Arctic Kayaks | Jim Rutzick


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