Kayak Building – Build your own sea kayak

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LOCATION: Ardtun, Mull

Dates: 11th May to 19th May and 3rd August to 11th August

Price £1050


A new course for 2019 – build your own sea kayak in a week! Wooden sea kayaks are lighter and prettier than any other kind of boat (in our opinion). Made of very thin plywood with fibreglass reinforcement, we work with modern techniques to create a fast and responsive boat, individually fitted to you.

The boats we build are light enough to lift with one hand, go fast, handle well and look beautiful. You will be the envy of the loch and shoreline.


Each participant will leave with a boat of their own to take home, so be sure to bring your roof bars, or let us know and we can assist with transport if necessary. The course fee includes all material costs as well as accommodation and food for the duration of the course.



The Boat

We build the CNC Shrike Kayak a wonderful design to open source plans - very in keeping with our general outlook of encouraging people to participate in craft. Built in the ‘stitch and glue’ style it’s easy to pull together albeit with quite a few tips and tricks to make it all come together. We’ve worked up a computer cut kit of the boat and build jigs so that we can get everything built in time. If you can’t make a course and want to save some time in building one yourself ask us about buying one of these kits.

The boat is based on traditional ‘qajaqs’ from the Disko Bay area of West Greenland. The Shrike hull lines are very similar to a kayak collected in 1927/8 from that region and now at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa. These classic and beautiful lines, the result of centuries of development, produce a hull that is manoeuvrable, and suited to rough water. The sharp bow lines will keep you on your toes when surfing. The long water line allows comfortable high speeds while touring, yet the rocker and chine lines create a manoeuvrable shape that will delight while rock hopping.

It’s a great fun boat to paddle, it feels a little tender at first but once you are used to it and enjoy leaning into the curves they are fast and responsive like few other craft. And it really is a beautiful thing, we get admiring glances everywhere we go (for the boat we’re sure). We’re rarely out of our show boat - even in bad weather we’re out having fun on the water!

The course

This is our busiest week of all the boatbuilding weeks we run, to get the boats finished by the end of the course we have a lot to do. Our staff are on hand to help and support you but we try and make sure you do all the building for yourself - it’s your boat and we want it to feel that way. Depending on how fast you work to you might have to work a few longer days but if that’s the case we’ll be right by your side helping you get it all done in time! We start the week with safety briefings and group introductions before swiftly getting stuck into boatbuilding.

  • Day 0 (arrival day) - On the Saturday to get us a head start we’ll glue up the scarfs on the plywood panels, if you’re arriving early you can help if it’s later we’ll just do this for you.

  • Day 1 Sunday - Safety Briefing. Set Up build jigs. Tidy scarfs and assemble hull. Temporary Glue panels.

  • Day 2 Monday - Fit chines and glue hull. Laminate masik.

  • Day 3 Tuesday - Make and fit deck beams and masik. Internal fibreglass in cockpit.

  • Day 4 Wednesday - Fit deck forward and aft.

  • Day 5 Thursday - Clean up deck and cut cockpit. Fit cockpit surround. Epoxy seal deck.

  • Day 6 Friday - Tidy up deck. Flip boat and fibreglass outside.

  • Day 7 Saturday - Fit seats and hip braces. Last sand and finish before we spend the day at Uisken Beach launching the boats and playing in the sea.

  • Day 8 Sunday - Departure day

It’s a lot to do but we can get it all done! When you take the boat home it’ll be structurally complete but will need some more work - you’ll have to sand and paint or varnish the hull. We’ll spend some time on the last days discussing finishing techniques and making sure you have everything you need. We’ll also be available to help with any issues you encounter after the course.