Traditional Kayaks | Lowie Baidarka
The Lowie Baidarka is a good example of what we now seem to
of recreational skin on frame kayaks. I built this in the winter
This is the finished kayak covered in cotton duck and sealed
This is me in the Lowie baidarka. It is comfortable and stable. The cockpit is rather
large making it easy to
get in and out. Some baidarka replicas that I have made have
very tight cockpits making entry and exiting more difficult but
very comfortable once
you are safely installed.
The gunnels are made of clear pine scarfed and glued together
between the bow and stern. The rib layout is laid out and
mortises are drilled
to accept the ribs.
The completed gunnels are set up and the initial dimensions of
the deck are
spacers cut out of scrap wood.
The deck beams are cut and carved. I like to start the assembly
with the beams that
will hold the cockpit.
Mortise and tenens may be used but drilling and gluing dowels in
place is faster.
Lashing the deck beam to the gunnels keeps them from popping out
covering goes on.
The frame can be aligned by running a string down the middle
from bow to stern.
Mark the middle of the deck beams and align the frame by forcing
on or the other of
the gunnels forward or back. That will allow you to move the
middle of the frame
from one side to the other until the frame is square and lined
up with the centering
I like to use a gouge to carve the bow and stern pieces.
This is part of the bow construction after it is saw cut and
before it is finally shaped.
This is the stern piece being doweled and glued into place.
I made a very nice steamer out of a turkey fryer. It came with
the stand and the
burner. I cut a hole in the side of the pot and installed an
1-1/2" pipe near the top.
I attached a length of radiator hose and feed it to the steam
box that I made or a
long piece of plastic pipe for cockpit coamings and other long pieces.
It works great!
The coaming on the Lowie is made of two steam bent pieces of
oak glued together. In
collected specimen, the coaming was made of two pieces of wood
The nearly finished deck with the cockpit coaming set in place.
Another view of the deck. I was establishing the shear
dimensions at this point.
I cut these willows near the Mississippi River and leave them in
the sink with a
couple inches of water until I strip the bark and install them.
They stay supple and
bend easily long after they are cut if they are kept wet.
The hull with most of the ribs in place. I like to start in the
cockpit area and work
towards the bow and stern. The temporary keelson establishes the
and is clamped into place. The clamps can be seen holding it in
The lower bow piece establishes the depth to shear at the bow.
keelson can be seen clamped to the aft end of the bow piece.
The stern piece establishes the shear dimension at the stern.
The stern before the ribs are lashed into place showing the
lashing of the deck
stringer and the keelson.
I usually clamp and lash the ribs on one side and then try to
lash the other side in a
mirror image of the first side.
Clamping the stringers in place gives you a chance to try out a
couple of hull con-
figurations. If I am building a replica as I am here, I
match the hull shape of
The finished frame before it is varnished or painted. I dyed
this frame red to
duplicate the original. I usually varnish the frames with
Another view of the finished frame.
The partially dyed frame showing one of the keelson scarfs.
The completed frame wearing the traditional red dye.
Another view of the very pretty frame. These are fun to build.
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