HOST A KAYAK WORKSHOP
ORGANIZE a workshop and bring a course to your area, or HOST a workshop and build a kayak for free!
You can bring a kayak-building workshop to your town by being an organizer or a host. Use this guide to find out what’s required, and what you get for helping us make it happen.
Every Seawolf workshop starts with a person like you who wants to build a kayak in your local area. If you are willing to help get the ball rolling, we will bring a workshop to you and give you a sweet discount!
- Find a workshop location. Securing a space is the first step in organizing a workshop. Our budget for the space depends on how many kayaks we can fit. See below for space requirements and location ideas.
- Find builders. Without builders, the workshop can’t run. While we will help find participants, we count on you to spread the word to friends and in your local area. See below for great places to advertise.
- Source wood and tools. A reliable source of clear cedar lumber and good power tools are needed for any workshop. See below for wood and tool requirements.
- Lodging for the instructor/s. This can be a spare room, a cozy MIL above the garage, or a nice spot to camp out in friendlier climates.
- Lodging advice for students. It is not the organizer’s responsibility to find accommodation for everyone, but we ask that you help guide students towards affordable options nearby.
- Securing a workshop space and finding builders can be more work than it sounds. Workshop organizers build a kayak for 1/2 the workshop cost. This discount can be applied towards one boat, or shared amongst co-organizers.
One of the biggest factors in making a workshop possible is finding a space. Many great would-be-perfect workshop spaces are not available for short term rent, or are prohibitively expensive. If you are able to host the workshop yourself, or can otherwise secure a space for free, then you build a kayak in the workshop at no cost to you.
- All-the-above required by our workshop organizers.
- A free kayak! The host kayak can be built by you, your cousin, your buddy, or anyone you want to share it with.
Workshops outside of the US take an incredible effort on the part of our local organizers. From handling payments, to translating, to helping navigate VAT and customs. Therefore, every organizer outside the US builds a kayak free of charge.
Translation. If necessary for workshops outside the US, the organizer needs to be able to translate written material and interpret instruction. We can hire an interpreter if needed, though it will increase the workshop cost.
THE WORKSHOP ORGANIZER’S GUIDE
Locating a workshop can be easy if you happen to own a large barn, or tough if you are in the heart of London. This step is often the most difficult for an organizer, so we’ve got some tips to help you.
Requirements for a workshop space:
- Size. Minimum 1200 sq ft (115 sq m) for a single workshop (5-6 builders) and 2000 sq ft (186 sq m) for a double workshop (8-10 builders). The best spaces have an open layout.
- Cover. Kayaks and builders need shelter from rain, sun, and bugs.
- Power. We can rent a generator if necessary, but we need power for tools, lights, and charging batteries.
- Heat. The space must be at least 50F (10C) or participants will be uncomfortable and the polyurethane coating won’t dry.
Examples of great workshop spaces:
Woodworking shop, outbuilding like a barn or personal shop, boathouse, wedding venue, summer camp lodge, community center or school, outside under cover. Large event tents or canvas tarps are workable for warmer climates — as long as they can be fully enclosed and the overnight temperature stays above 50F (10C).
No squeamish spaces! While we do our best to keep places cleaner than we found them, the space needs to be able to handle dust and the errant polyurethane drip.
Workshops run between 5 and 10 builders (excluding a host boat). There is a lot of interest in and demand for skin-on-frame kayaks, and filling courses is pretty easy once folks have heard about it. To get word out, here are places to contact and advertise:
- Kayak clubs. Call your local sea kayaking and whitewater kayaking clubs.
- Online kayaking groups, such as Facebook and Meetup.
- Woodworking shops.
- Woodworking clubs and publications.
- College adventure clubs.
- The local paper.
- Community markets and bulletin boards.
- Family and friends!
Sourcing kayak-quality wood can be a challenge for workshops outside the United States. We need the very best western red cedar to make our boats. Even in the US, locating a lumber supplier with a large enough supply of quality cedar can be difficult. We hand-pick each piece for our boats, and sometimes even large lumber yards don’t have enough acceptable high-grade pieces for a workshop.
Some lumber suppliers deal specifically with boat builders and may be able to get enough high-grade wood for our workshop. We prefer to be able to sift through a stockpile of wood in person, but if we have to place an order sight-unseen it must be through a lumber yard that deals with boat builders regularly and understands how finicky we are.
In addition to western red cedar, we need a small amount of hardwood, either oak or ash or similar.
Finally, we will need a supplier of laminated bamboo plywood. Few bamboo suppliers have the type we need: 5 or 6mm edge-laminated single-layer carbonized sheets in 4’x8′ (1.2m x 2.4m). This bamboo can be shipped across the country, but ordering overseas is very expensive.
Tools for rent are often not up to the standards needed for us finicky kayak builders. For US workshops within 2 days drive of Seattle, we will bring the tools required. Otherwise, we absolutely need from our organizer:
- Table saw. Light-duty, high-quality. A portable contractor’s saw is fine, such a brand like DeWalt or Makita, etc. We will need clean, unbent blades that do not wobble. It is often better to beg/borrow a table saw from an individual than to rent one from a contracting company.
- Bandsaw. Lighter duty saws are fine provided it can handle a 1/2″ blade. In the event a bandsaw is too heavy to transport, we can get away with a portable jigsaw.
- Plunge router. If a router is not readily available, we can purchase one.
- Handheld power-planer.
- Cordless or Corded Drill. Needed for prep and throughout the workshop.
- Tables. Folding tables are fine, we need at least two decently large worktables. We can build tables onsite if needed.
- Extension cables.
It is not unusual for workshop students to loan their own tools, or for us to borrow tools from friends or locals. With the exception of the bandsaw, most large tool work is completed in the prep days prior to the workshop. However, it is better to keep all tools nearby in the event of needing to recut a piece.
A few more things…
Lodging for instructor(s). The workshop organizer is responsible for supplying or securing free lodging for the instructors. Don’t worry, we’re rather low maintenance!
Lodging for students. Our organizers are our local experts. We ask you serve as a resource for out-of-towners needing affordable lodging in the area.
Budget and workshop cost. The cost to participants depends on factors such as location, wood price, workshop space cost, etc. We’ll work with you to price it all out. On average, US workshops cost $2100/participant. International workshops vary. See our Upcoming Workshops to get an idea of current pricing.