Build a Kayak: Skin on Frame

Craft and build your own skin-on-frame kayak. We blend traditional techniques with modern materials to create a durable, lightweight boat. A living vessel for river, ocean and waves personalized to you.

The Frame

Structural flexibility means strength and durability. Lashed and pegged together through traditional methods your frame becomes the skeleton of your kayak. Local and sustainably harvested cedar is used in the majority of the frame.

The Skin

Skin on frame boats have an organic appearance and feel. Unlike stiff fiberglass and plywood kayaks, they move through the water as though they are creature of the sea. The "skin" we use is actually ballistic grade nylon sewn on with waxed artificial sinew. Ancient methhods combined with modern materials make for both a tough and lightweight vessel.

Apprenticeship Option

With our Apprenticeship Option you do not take home a boat. You do begin to learn and are involved in the building process at a significantly reduced cost, lending your hands to help build kayaks that we utilize in our Trackers youth programs. The Apprenticeship Option requires a full commitment to attend all the program hours.


Take Home Your Boat $995
Apprenticeship Option $49

Payment options...

Pay in Full $849 (includes 15% discount with full payment)
Payments Plan $199 non-refundable deposit, with the remainder payment due at start of class

*all tuition deposits and payments are non-refundable

Skin on frame kayak building


Weekend Course begins October 5 and takes place over 5 weekends with a single weekend break.
Course dates October 5-7 (begins Friday evening), October 20-21, November 3-4, November 17-18 and December 1-2
Time Typical days run 9am-6pm. With indvidual days varying depending on building stage.


The Scout Pit Woodshop 4617 SE Milwaukie Avenue, Portland, OR Map It


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Ages Adult Full Payment Begins October 5, 2012 (Friday evening) 5 weekends Tuition Tuition $849

Add to cart

Ages Adult Payment Plans Begins October 5, 2012 (Friday evening) 5 weekends Tuition Deposit $199

Add to cart

Ages Adult Apprenticeship Option Begins October 5, 2012 5 weekends Tuition Tuition $49

Payment Plan

You can also pay with a payment plan. We ask for $195 non-refundable deposit to secure your place in the workshop. Contact Molly to learn more.

skin on frame kayakIn this course you become versed in the essentials of boat design, wood bending, knot work and joinery. Our simple method of construction relies on hand tools, and is accessible to all people. We keep our classes small and select. Masters personally instruct apprentices.

Skin-on-frame boats have evolved and been put to the test over thousands of years of heavy use in some of the most challenging seas in the world. There are many styles and designs of vessels. It is possibly the most sea worthy human powered boat in history.

We go over the basics of boat design and evolution. The first step of construction is building the bow and stern. Laying out the shape of the hull, the Gunwales are fit to our desired beam. Once the deck is completed, the keel is installed while the stringers give the exact hull shape.

Oak ribs are steamed and bent to the shape. Every joint is lashed with ancient but timeless knot work. Finally you fit and sew on the skin. The final waterproof urethane coating is done last. Once it is dry, you take your finished kayak home.

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