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Build a Greenland Kayak

  • Sam Beauford Woodshop 2300 North Adrian Highway Adrian, MI, 49221 United States (map)

8 Days: Saturday, June 1st - Saturday, Saturday June 8th

8 AM- 6 PM

Instructor: Bill Silvis

$1,500 Tuition

Location: Sam Beauford Woodshop (Building #41)

Ages 16 & Up

Build a skin-on-frame kayak!

The native people of the arctic have been making small, fast, single-person boats for thousands of years. They took advantage of simple tools, found materials, and animal skins to build reliable water craft ideally suited for hunting the game that was vital to their survival – seals in the eastern arctic of Greenland and sea otters in the western Alaskan arctic. We’ll build a version of this type of boat, a West Greenland Qajaq, which is the model behind many of the recreational sea kayaks in use today. We’ll put it together using the same parts and techniques, and using the same design that can be seen in museum specimens that are hundreds of years old (although nylon fabric will replace the animal skin!).

Construction uses simple hand tools for the most part and a variety of other hand construction skills, like steam bending and sewing, which don’t require a high woodworking skill level, but rather challenge the versatility of the builder. After a concentrated week you’ll have a sleek kayak proportioned to your specific dimensions and a new access to the enjoyment of Michigan’s waters.This is a hand tool intensive class. There will likely be additional hours needed during this class, expect to work late some days.


Bill spent his working career as an engineer and scientist designing instruments to measure the pollution coming from our cars and trucks. An amateur woodworker ever since he got out of school, he was always interested in making the things needed around the house, a hobby which gradually evolved into Windsor chair-making and boat-building. He built his first kayak some 15 years ago for use on camping trips to locations only accessible by water. As the Windsor is to Chairmaking, the Greenland boat is to kayaking,. Bill is an avid participant in the sport of Greenland kayaking and is a lifetime member of QajaqUSA.

If you have any questions, please contact Luke Barnett at (517) 902-8383 or

Minimum 4 Students, Maximum 6

Later Event: June 8
Forge A Handmade Knife