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The Aleutian Kayak: Origins, Construction, and Use of the Traditional Seagoing Baidarka Paperback – April 1, 1995


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"... the first-time builder will have little trouble making his or her boat... This is a book for those whose love of things natural has made them long for a change from the perfect glossy sameness of the mass-produced boats." -- Atlantic Coastal Kayaker

"Descriptions are clear, the photos illustrate the finer points, and the drawings offer helpful hints." -- Canoe & Kayak

"When I build my [baidarka], Wolfgang Brinck's book will be on my workbench." -- Cunningham, Chris, Sea Kayaker

From the Back Cover

Whether you're a hard-shell kayaker looking for an inexpensive, seakindly alternative, or a tradition-minded sea kayaker attracted to the look and feel of organic boats, this book's for you.

Skin-and-frame baidarkas have been used as hunting craft in the Aleutian Islands for thousands of years, their elegant yet simple design allowing hunters to take extended offshore voyages in treacherous waters. The light baidarka--a 17-footer weighs just 35 pounds--is a great cruising boat, with lots of space for gear and a forgiving hull shape that's easy to build.

The Aleutian Kayak tells you everything you need to know to build an authentic baidarka in your basement or garage for $200, a fraction of what it would cost to buy an assembly-line plastic boat.

You don't need woodworking experience or an elaborate tool collection. If you can learn to use a handsaw, a block plane, and a drill, you can build a baidarka. And you don't need exotic materials. Author Wolfgang Brinck has used scrap lumber from home remodeling projects for the deck beams of his last few boats.

Here are clear, step-by-step, extensively illustrated instructions to guide you through the process--from buying materials, tailoring the boat to fit your body, building the frame and deck, and sewing the skin. You'll also find instructions on building a paddle, sewing your own paddling jacket and spray skirt, making repairs, and using you baidarka.

"This is a book for those whose love of things natural has made them long for a change from the perfect glossy sameness of the mass-produced boat."--Atlantic Coastal Kayaker

When I build my (baidarka), Wolfgang Brinck's book will be on the workbench."--Christopher Cunningham, Editor, Sea Kayaker

"Nature failed to provide [the Aleuts] with the material necessary for boats, that is, wood; but on the other hand, as if in compensation, she gave them greater ingenuity for the perfection of a special new kind of fleet: the baidarka."--Ivan Veniaminov, 1840

" . . . The baidarka has survived intact across oceans, cultural boundaries, and time. Those who choose to build these craft today, whether for six weeks or for a lifetime, join in a collective journey whose beginnings as an interglacial experiment remain as mysterious as the origins of human intelligence itself."--from the Foreword by George B. Dyson, Author, Baidarka

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Ragged Mountain Press (April 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070078939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070078932
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,124,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
75%
4 star
17%
3 star
0%
2 star
8%
1 star
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See all 12 customer reviews
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in kayak building.
canobra@mindspring.com
As an amateur boat-builder, particularly of kayaks and sailboats, I found this book to be a unique gem among many similar titles.
ThorBjorn
This book is very well-written, all the instructions and tips on building the baidarka are very clear.
Liotta Gianfranco

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 11, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Building this boat was a profound experience. I now understand the workings of a kayak more intimately. As such, I will never look at a plastic, fiberglass, kevlar or even plywood kayak the same. There were one or two times in the building of this boat that were frustrating, but I just stepped back took a day or so off, thought about it and worked my way through it. Mr. Brinck's instructions were as good as you can get, trying to explain a complex project such as this. His spiritual insights in the text were quite inspirational. I love my boat...it paddles wonderfully... I am now a boat builder for life!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By P. Morrisey on January 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book helped me build a spectacular kayak. Beware, it can change your life. I am now a boatbuilder. Brinck's traditional methods are inspirational. The text left me with a few questions, but most of them were solved with re-reading, walking around the project a few times, or finding the Baidarka listserv on the net. Again, beware! If you buy this book you may spend the next six months in your garage.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By rgrmedic@ulster.net on February 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
I just finished building a traditional west greenland sea kayak. I can't wait to move on and build a baidarka. This book is an important guide for the traditional construction of an Aleutian Baidarka. This is an awesome book for anyone interested in building an authentic Aleutian Baidarka whether they have experience working with wood or not. I highly recommend it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By alkurzen@aol.com on October 14, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book on how to build your own light weight kayak or "baidarka". If your'e looking to do it yourself, and looking to do it very inexpensively, you just cannot beat the way the original Aleuts did it. They had thousands of years to do it right. Those who did not drowned. Mr. Brinck walks you through the process with clarity, lots of pictures, and large doses of common sense. There is no need for brain cell killing epoxy or for that matter, hardly any synthetic material. I am in the process of building one now and I am very much enjoying the hand fitting and "hand" measuring. Best of luck.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ThorBjorn on February 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
Within this book you will find the procedures for building a kayak in the traditional manner...but with a modern twist! I doubt you will use seal-hide for the exterior, but the ancient method of constructing the hull is well portrayed within these pages. As an amateur boat-builder, particularly of kayaks and sailboats, I found this book to be a unique gem among many similar titles.
I have always admired the ingenious craftsmanship of the Inuit people, and other dwellers of the Arctic and Tundra regions. Surviving in the most savage climate on Earth, they developed a unique and complex culture. Those people who live in such challenging environments invariably possess the sharpest wit for improvisation with limited resources.
A book of fourteen chapters, you will find within a narrative of the history of Inuit boat-building, detailed instruction of construction: tools and materials to make a modern re-creation, and all pertainent accessories: paddles, spray-skirt, paddling-jacket, and even some modern innovations: a rudder and sail. In general, the hull is built from a wood frame fastened together by string lashings, covered by a canvas skin. The end result: a traditional kayak, from mostly modern materials, (unless you really want to use seal-skin to cover the frame).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By canobra@mindspring.com on June 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
W. Brinck hits the mark with this book. With little wood experience anyone can build this boat for less than $200 US. Although I am building a Greenland style kayak, Brinck's book provides invaluable information to get the job done quickly and easily. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in kayak building.
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