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Home  | Traditional Kayaks  | Double Baidarka


The original resides in one of the Smithsonian's warehouses in Maryland and was recently surveyed by Harvey Golden and still appears to be in good condition. It was fitted with a sail and a rudder which I duplicated. It is a very nice looking boat and will carry a prodigious load. It paddles best when heavily loaded.




The gunnels are clear pine. The deck beams and the stern piece are carved from

fir 2x4's and fir 2x10's.


The basic plan can be seen with a cardboard pattern for the lower bow piece. Look

carefully in the lower right and one can see photos that Harvey Golden took when he surveyed

the original where it is in storage at one of the Smithsonian Institute's storage facilities

in Maryland.


The cardboard pattern is seen on the glued up 2x6's that form the lower bow piece.


My beginning stock of willow sticks for the ribs. I had to make one more trip to the river

to get enough to finish the hull. Collecting willows in the dead of winter is my favorite

part of building a baidarka. I find that if I put the willows in water they stay workable

for months.



The two bow pieces are lashed in place. The keelson will now be scarfed

together and fit to the bow piece and faired to the correct shaped.


I install the ribs with the thick end all on the same side when I fit them. After

all the ribs are installed, I rotate every other one to even the hull out. It looks

like it will never fair out but once the stringers are installed, the ribs all go to

their rightful place and the hull fairs out true and even.


The lashing of the bow piece and the first scarf joint in the keelson can be

seen here. The red spots are a little of me imbedded in the bow piece. If I cut

 myself, I like to leave a mark.


The detail of a keelson scarf joint can be seen here. Note the rope lashing

holding the keelson down to the targeted "depth to shear" while ribs are being

installed. If the keelson is not stabilized, the hull will grow as the ribs are installed. 


I like to clamp the stringers in place as I lash them to the ribs to hold them in position.


The stern detail before the stringers are lashed to the ribs.


Another view as the stringers are lashed in place.


A view inside the finished hull.


The finished hull in the January snow, ready for covering.


Another view of the finished frame. They are almost too pretty to cover.


This is the cockpit detail.


This is a detail of the mast step and deck aperture. The original had been

 fitted with a sail and a rudder which I duplicated.


This a detail of the covering at the stern. I have not been able to get a good,

 neat job in this area without taking in a tuck, which can be seen in the middle

of the image.


 I have been able to get very good, tight and shapely covers on these frames

by using the single overhand stitch shown above. The raw covers can be

pulled very tight using this stitch. Dousing the cover with hot or warm water

after it is sewn on shrinks it considerably.


A detail of the cockpit construction is shown above.


My neighbor kids tried it out in my back yard before the launch. They found it stable and



I built the kayak for my son and his wife shown above. It is a rather big boat

and works much better when it is loaded. It will probably carry a half ton of stuff.


This is a picture of a friend and I having a go of it on one of our city lakes. This is a

very nice kayak and worth the effort to build. I'm thinking about making another one

this winter.

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  2009 Jim Rutzick