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Here you see the simple bending form used to create both the coaming's sides and the lips.

A couple of finished cockpits made with the lamination technique




The blade of my Inuit paddle (the dark area on the tip is due to a reinforcement with epoxy and cloth)


A ready-made paddle will run from approx. 500 DKK to several thousand - yet if you make your own the wood necessary will cost around 200 DKK - and you have free hands to make a design of your own and hone your woodworking skills at the same time!











Home-made strip back-rest and bending form

Backrest - the purchased kind!

Back rest and tractor seat - Purchased, but the seat could easily be made in minicell foam.


The extra laminate around the deck hatch can bee seen here - these can be tricky to make due to the angle of the deck which means that a bit of a fiddle is necessary as not to create a lid to tight to go over the coaming!







In addition to the building of the hull and deck there will also be a need for various paraphernalia - we have chosen to put such items under the heading "fittings".

Here we will show how various cockpits can be designed, how hatches may be made, seats and foot-rests, rudders and paddles etc.

Most of the things you will be able to make on your own, yet, we realize that in some instances it will be worthwhile to go out and purchase individual items from a proven supplier - so we will show what we have done, throw some ideas on the table, and let you decide what suits you and your project best.

Naturally, we will be thrilled if you have some good ideas that you would like to share with us and others interested in this site!

Please contact us via e-mail:



In the kayaks I have made, I have chosen to make the cockpits from a lamination form - which allows me to create the coaming lip and the coaming on one lamination form - and I have found this process neat, and easy to manage when you already have the epoxy and other materials at hand - However, you have to decide whether you want to create your own laminates or whether it is better to purchase veneers from an existing source.

Please have a look at the photos placed in the adjacent column, and see if not a couple of pictures are better than so many words - yet, if you want to discuss this process in closer detail - then please do not hesitate to contact me (

Others make the cockpit from stacked layers of plywood or strips which are placed vertically around the rim of the cockpit. The last mentioned method, however, takes a big amount of clamps unless you glue several strips together first.

We hope to able to show photos of the other methods eventually !

The above illustrations can be seen in Björn Thomasson's building instruction - please see these for further description.(www.Björn Thomasson

Above left you see the coaming built from layers of 4 mm plywood and right you see the solution using vertically positioned strips around the opening - a bit of a puzzle but can have some nice effects if you blend light and dark strips!

For more details - you are welcome to contact us via e-mail:


Over the years I have experimented with a variety of paddles and presently, I am doing a paddle where I try to save weight on the material without losing strength, i.e. I am working with a hollow shaft - however, there are some possible types of paddle that you will like to experiment with yourself - and here I will try to show some possible solutions.

At the end of the day you may decide to purchase a ready made paddle - but there is much to be said in favor of making your own, and a paddle can easily be made as an in-between project while building the kayak or canoe. - Most designers will also have paddle designs - but I recommend reading "Canoe Paddles - A complete guide to making your own" by Graham Warren and David Gidmark - has other titles you may want to have a look at also.

The Eskimo or Inuit paddle has very narrow blades as opposed to the more modern and sometimes feathered sports paddles of today - however, contrary to modern belief that the Eskimos made their paddles slim because they did not have much wood - Findings indicate the more plausible explanation that a slim blade would be almost noiseless when entering the water and thus be more suited for hunting.

To begin with you must find out what kind of paddle you would like - and then a blank must be glued together - and if you like, you can mix varieties of wood to create a strong and interesting paddle - my Inuit paddle (above left) is made from ordinary pine and mahogany strips.

When the blank has been glued and cleaned up - you are ready to transfer the paddle lines to the surface and sides of the blank - and from there on the removal of excess wood, will slowly make your paddle come to life.

My sportspaddle, which I have made to a design by Rob Macks of Laughing uses strips to make the blade and these are subsequently covered by glass and epoxy to create a sturdy blade.

Personally, I use my Inuit paddle on windy days and the sports paddle on more calm days.


Seats, back-rests, hip-pads and foot-rests

Most kayak designers will throw in suggestions for making your own seat, a custom-made back-rest and other items for the cockpit - and we recommend that you look for these items with various designers - however, we although we have dabbled with making our own seats in mini-cell foam, we keep returning to pre-made items that will fit most kayaks - and at a reasonable price.

We highly recommend The Newfound Woodwoorks Inc., for a catalogue with accessories - and have found their service outstanding!

Thus, we would advocate that one should rather spend most time on the actual kayak or canoe, and perhaps save a little time on the accessories - but of course this is entirely up to you.

We will here show some of the solutions that we have used and hope you will be inspired by this - but naturally, individual articles on seats - foot-rest and other accessories are easily found on the web.

Toggles and trim

One of the items often overlooked is fitting your kayak with an easy system for carrying - and here it is quite easy to create a couple of wooden toggles which will form good handles for carrying the kayak - Generally, I use a piece of Ash a little longer than the width of my hand and form this in a rounded tri-angle after I have drilled two holes along the centerline (The holes must be drilled first, because later the toggle will be almost impossible to keep at the correct angle - even if held in a vice!)

Lately I have tried laminating strips and formed these to suit the hand - and then soaked them in a good oil - this seems to work very well and you can use the same colors as on your kayak or canoe.


For sea-kayaking a couple of good hatches are nice to have - although, it can be really tough to make holes in a beautiful deck!

On the North Star I have built - the hatches are made like little box lids and in the deck cut-out a coaming and lip has been insert like done with cockpit coaming - however, in order to make the deck hatch big enough to grip over the coaming it needs to be enlarged slightly - and for this reason you need to have a third laminate to be made on your bending form - and a bending form is needed for each different hatch. The third laminate is then added to the circumference of the deck hatch - for a closer description however, please do not hesitate to contact me -

On the Swedish Norton  the hatches are made flush with the deck and supported by foam lips under deck - epoxied in place and varnished. - As these hatches are finalised I will try to show more details.

Below you will see the latest on the hatches for the Norton - Note the rims have been made black and now only the foam rubber and the little stainless steel bars and the webbing need to be added and hopefully they are water-tight!

A proposal is to put some elastic webbing under deck to draw the hatches tight - and you can even run the end of this to the cockpit and secure this with a cleat!

Note how the hatch cover has been varnished as opposed to the deck which is about to receive its first coat of varnish.

To the right you will see an enlarged picture of the little fitting for the deck lid.



Hip pads

Generally, I make a pair of strip panels from the same wood that I have used in the kayak and affix these with an epoxy fillet under the cockpit coaming and the hull, with enough room to pad the panels with some minicell foam - These panels are also used to fasten the webbing of the back rest -



In both Ted Moores "Kayak Craft" and the "Kanotboken" by Björn Thomasson you will find sketches and ideas for foot-rests and with several suppliers you will be able to get the Yakima foot braces in both an aluminum and plastic version at a reasonable price - When building a kayak you may want to install the braces so the kayak can be used by several persons - and here I have found the Keepers foot-rests below ideal. Further, the Newfound Woodwoorks Inc. in the USA will sell these braces together with some unique bolts on a stainless steel back plate that lend themselves perfectly for glassing inside the hull - Don't you agree that it would be a pity to make four holes in a pretty hull?

I have tried going below-decks to offer you this view - but ordinarily, this is where I put my foot down!

In the right-hand side of the picture you will barely glimpse the glassed-in back plate of the bolt - and something similar could be made with an ordinary stainless steel bolt, counter-sunk into a piece of wood - however, it is neat that the brace lies flush with the side. A single grip behind each foot rest (the beaver-tail to the left) let's you adjust the foot plate towards the front and back of the kayak.

Rest my case here!

Deck trim

To create some webbing to hold small stuff like a drinking flask or similar, a card and other things you want close by - we have found that the fittings shown here are both water-tight and easy to use with elastic cord - and a black elastic cord together with these also lend an exclusive look to a varnished deck.

There a numerous ways to make little fittings for the deck from the scraps of wood you already have - and it is a matter of time and enthusiasm as to how much you want to undertake on your own - however, if and when we get some good ideas or hints - we shall try to cover these here.

With these, little "O-rings" are supplied which ensure at water tight fitting - Please note that the newly drilled holes should have a drop of varnish - even epoxy before fitting, and I generally use a marine silicone on the bolts - that way you can easily take off the fittings when you want to give the deck a new coat of varnish - some years down the river!

These are readily available from The Newfound Woodworks Inc. via the web.

A recent idea is to drill small holes in the deck and fit small loops - and then close the holes with epoxy - this makes a very "invisible" fitting for the elastic cord and seems to work well!

Rudders n' skegs

As to rudders and skegs, the kayaks that I have built do not need these due to the special triangular end which works a bit like a transom on an ordinary boat - however, I know that most recreational paddlers in our local kayaking club insist that their kayaks have a rudder - and I suppose that in some winds and waves it is nice to have a rudder - Personally, I enjoy being without it 99% of the time.

If others should have good ideas on the subject then please send us a line or two - and for those interested we recommend the book "Kanotboken" by Björn Thomasson of Sweden - in which you will find detailed drawings on how to make a rudder. The Newfound Woodworks also has in their assortment a nice rudder assembly made in carbon fibre.

When we learn more - we shall try to offer more on this subject.











Below you see the laminates off the form and placed as they would be in the deck of the kayak - The second laminate consists of approx. 10 veneers of 30 mm width to create two lips for below deck and two for the upper edge, - The coaming's side of which you have to make two - consists of 4 veneers - approx. 30 mm wide.


Above you see the two under deck lips glued in place - these create the glueing surface for the coaming sides - please see on the left side of the page








The above paddle is a feathered sportspaddle skewed approx. 73 degrees


Sportsblades for a new paddle - note the mix of light and dark colored strips.










You can here slightly see the seat, back-rest and hip-pads in my North Star - behind the hip-pads I have a strip panel which is affixed with an epoxy fillet

A toggle easily made from a piece of Ash - a small 5 mm rope is then run through the holes and through a hole in the stem and stern of the kayak.

Laminated strips - subsequently oiled will also do the trick!

To enforce the holes in the kayak I generally insert a metal tubing of a diameter of approx. 10 mm which is filed flush with the kayak's hull. Fixed with epoxy this will be very strong - please see the tube below - the toggle is hidden on the far side!







The little fittings for the deck have been made from strips of matching wood - the intention is to create a little more pressure on the lid to ensure a tight fit when the webbing is added.















Above you see the fitting mounted and with the elastic cord running through! - Copyright 2005 -