Hand Crafted One At A Time
Each boat is handmade by Nick, one at time. A typical build requires over four months of skilled labor. Each piece of wood is individually hand fitted using special tools that Nick has developed. Enjoy the video below to learn more about Nick’s process or scroll down for more information.
This technique allows almost unlimited options for sculptural shapes. The flexible nature of the thin material allows the builder’s imagination to run free.
The boats are build with solid wood. Designs with flowing curves and accents that highlight the boat shape.
Each boat requires the hand fitting of several hundred pieces of wood. The wood is meticulously sanded to create a perfectly fair surface, followed by fiberglass and epoxy and multiple coats of varnish with sanding in between.
The quality of the wood and the shapes possible building boats with the strip built method is worth the effort. It takes time, but the results are stunning.
Levels of Finish
Nick can take your kayak to whatever level of finish you desire
On this Nymph, the light colored basswood is random colored. The various pieces of wood came from several different boards. While the color of the wood is close throughout.
On this build you can just make out small staple holes used as temporary clamps during the building process. This time saving technique leaves a visual clue to how the boat was built, they in no way detract from the strength of the boat.
This microBootlegger Sport was built all from one piece of wood. The wood is cut into narrow strips that are kept in order as they come off the plank and are placed on to the boat in the same order. This boat was built without staples.
This technique takes a lot of time and allows no room for error.
Completing the transformation from a simple but beautiful boat to a museum worth work or art. Nick is happy to personalize your craft to your liking. The marquetry on this microBootlegger Tandem is hand cut and inlayed into the surface of the wood and then covered with fiberglass and epoxy.
Lightweight and Strong
The thin plywood is encapsulated between layers of fiberglass and epoxy, creating a durable and tough structure.
Fun With Color
Making a 18′ long boat with 8′ sheets of material require the plywood pieces be joined together. Instead of trying to hide this joint, Nick has taken to highlighting the connections through strategic use of color. This can be with stains or different species of wood.
Because the plywood can be cut with a CNC machine, and there are far few pieces than the Strip-Built boats above, these designs can usually be built in a couple months
A Great Choice For Rough Use
Because they are easier to build some people feel the stitch and glue boats are a little less precious and are more willing to beat them up a bit. They still scratch but the wound doesn’t cut as deeply into the owner’s heart.
The inventors of the kayak were the residents of the high arctic who with limited resources developed on of the most amazing water craft in the world. Nick doesn’t claim to make reproductions, but instead creates his own modern interpretations based on the needs and desires of modern recreational kayakers.
Featherweight and Resilient
There is very little to the structure of a skin on frame. A few lightweight wood pieces all held togther with lashes of string can’t weigh much. But, build it well and it will flex and conform instead of stress and break.
Naked or Clothed
Some people just want to look at the bare frame. It evokes the skeletal presence of a sea creature and prefer to leave the skin off and suspend it on display. But obviously, it will float better if Nick is allow to clothe it in a synthetic fabric and seal it to keep the water out.
Although this technique requires the most traditional forms of woodworking, with mortice and tenon joinery and steam bending of ribs, it is actually a relatively quick and affordable method for making a boat.