Create a traditional, ultralight kayak with your own hands. Seawolf Kayak teaches skin-on-frame building courses throughout the world—from Addy, WA to Helsinki, Finland.
Due to major changes from the pandemic, we are not offering any workshops for 2023.
At Home: Pre-Workshop
- Decide which model you’re going to build
- Decision Matrix with different models
- Gather your personal tools from TOOL LIST
- Read the BUILDER’S HANDBOOK (TBA, 1-2 pager)
- Responsible for accommodations, kayak transportation
Prior to the workshop, you will need to make the most important decision: which kayak model to build. We will help guide your decision based on your interests, and level of paddling experience. We have a kayak suited to everyone, from absolute beginners to seasoned expeditioners.
You will receive a short list of personal tools you are required to bring, as well as information about your specific workshop location. All students are responsible for their own accommodations and kayak transportation after the workshop. Our local organizer may offer recommendations.
Prep: Material Preparation
- Optional 2 days of work
- Learn about wood selection
- Help us prep all materials
- New workshops: build forms, steamer boxes
Saturday - Tuesday: Making the Frame
- Gunwale Framing
- Installing Deck Beams, Mortise & Tenon
- Steam-Bending Ribs
- Lashing on the Keel and Stringers
- Making the Stems
- Finishing the Deck Framing
Wednesday - Thursday: Sewing the Skin
- Sewing the Stem Ends
- Bringing up the sides with the draw-stitch
- Sewing the center seams
- Steaming the cockpit coaming
- Sewing in the Coaming
Friday - Saturday: Polyurethane
- Choosing and mixing a color
- Polyurethane the hull (Friday PM)
- Polyurethane the deck (Saturday AM)
Sunday: Final Details
- Deck Lines & Layout
- Backband Installation
- Rub strips
- Vehicle Tie-Down Demo
- Paddle strokes demo
- Closing Ceremony
- First Voyage
Workshop Participant Information: Tools & Logistics
Tools you MUST BRING:
- Japanese saw, with a spine and preferably no flush cut tip. Great saw examples: Ribbed Dozuki,
Gyokucho 372 (our favorite!).
- 2 x Quick Grip clamps, minimum 12 inches. Example: DeWalt 4-pack from Home Depot
a nice 6-8″ block plane, Stanley low-angle block plane works well. Examples: Stanley 12-960 (Volvo), Woodstock D3831 (Porsche)
- 6x spring ‘A’ clamps, 2″ opening, preferably metal, no plastic
- Measuring tape: metric (Europe), imperial (US)
- 2 x 8′ cam tie-down straps, not ratchets. Needed for building (on day 1!) and for transporting your kayak.
- Needle-nose pliers
- Notebook and pen for taking notes
- Closed cell foam pad for sitting in the kayak. These pads can also be found online, outdoor stores, or at Army Surplus stores. An old yoga mat will work, too!
- Paddling clothes & PFD for final day. Everyone must have a PFD (lifejacket) to paddle with the group.
- Change of paint clothes & shoes for polyurethaning
Tools that are NICE TO HAVE:
(* = not required, but highly encouraged!)
- Cordless drill w/ battery charger
- *Combination square, metric + imperial. Example on Amazon.
- *Wood rasp, such as fine cabinet rasp or Shinto rasp. Example: Shinto rasp
- Aluminum yardstick 3’+ (or meter stick 100cm+)
- Fingerless gloves. See our DIY version!
- Sharp scissors
- *Bucket/bag for tools with detachable strap to hang from a sawhorse
- *Sanding block. Example: 3M
- Boxcutter razor
Thing that make life better at the workshop:
- Foldable camp-style chair
- Mug/thermos/water bottle
- Camera and/or video camera for visual notes
- Your best jokes
Lodging options will be provided in your email after you register. You can also inquire about them before you register as every location has a very different setup. As a general rule, in summer in rural areas there is camping, and in winter or in big cities there are hotels or custom lodging options.
Lunch & Dinner
Many kayak workshops are far away from convenient delis or stores for lunch. For these we often bring lunch, or the class can choose to pool together to get sandwich ingredients, etc., for lunch. It is a good idea to bring lunch on Day 1 of the workshop.
It is very common for our boatbuilders to get friendly and do dinners together. Typically on Saturday night or the night before our big launch day, the class gets together to celebrate somewhere fancy enough for us, but with standards low enough to let us dusty boatbuilders in.
Getting Your Boat Home
The best way to transport our kayaks is KAS Transport. They may take up to 3 months, but your boat is most guaranteed to be safe. Commercial LTL shipping works as well but you are placing your boat in the hands of shipping gorillas so we advise you to build a crate. Cost of shipping across the continental US is around $500 by LTL freight.
The Fine Print
To secure your spot, a deposit for half the course tuition is due upon registration. The remaining amount is due on the first day of the workshop. For workshops in the United States, we accept check, cash, money order, or credit cards via Paypal (add 3%).
For workshops outside of the United States, payment will be handled by your local organizer. Please see your registration email for details regarding payment.
Deposits will be fully refunded for cancellations made 3 or more weeks prior to the start of the workshop. If you cannot attend the workshop, please let us know as soon as possible, as it takes time to fill empty spaces.
Deposits for registrations canceled within 3 weeks of the workshop start date are non-refundable.
Workshops require a minimum of 5 participants to run. Workshops with insufficient registrations may be canceled within one month of the start date. Because of this policy, we strongly recommend participants to purchase refundable airline tickets. In the event of a workshop cancellation, all deposits will be fully refunded.