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Bering Strait Two
Strait Two Hole, Mariners Museum, Newport
Collected circa 1929. Lines taken off by
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
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
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
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
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
This is what it looked like with the first few ribs in place. Not very
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
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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