Class is in session at the Skinboat School in Anacortes. Ricardo and I dropped by on school founder Corey Freedman as he stitched the skin on a new baidarka while another instructor carved paddles. I was amazed by the number of skin-on-frame kayaks there were, in all states of construction, as well as the junkyard of forgotten kayaks and umiaks in back.
Corey specializes in the baidarka design, but also makes the occasional Greenland qajaq. I saw a sleek low-volume one and asked if it was a replica.
"I don't do that stuff," he said. "I make boats for real people, not ghosts."
Compared to the baidarka, I don't think he finds the construction of the Greenland qajaq very exciting, or their design very good either.
Note the treehouse: homage to George Dyson?
We also took a peak at Spiritline, the retail arm of the Skinboat School and a leading supplier of "skin kits" to the skin-on-frame crowd. Because of it's flexibility and toughness, Corey's "Goop", a 100% solids two-part polyurethane, is probably the gold standard for waterproofing nylon skins. Stacks of Part A and Part B plastic containers await shipment to builders all over the continent. No one knows where he gets the stuff: it is rumored to be an intermediate step in the production of an industrial polyurethane used to seal concrete.