Baidarka Building Workshop

Build your own baidarka. A hands-on workshop to build and skin a traditional Aleutian kayak. Stay at Discovery Islands Lodge and work with an experienced qayaq builder who will guide you through every step of the construction and skinning. All materials are included. We will spend the last day paddling our new kayaks.

  • Dates: 2014-Oct 5 to 12
  • Location: Discovery Islands Lodge, Quadra Island, BC
  • 8 day lodge based workshop
  • $1500 includes all materials and most meals for 8 day workshop.
  • Accomodation at lodge is extra.
  • Optional extras: paddle, backband, gel seat, akuilisaq

Baidarka Workshop Discovery Islands Lodge Oct 2014

This workshop will be lead by Gerhardt. 

The composite and plastic kayaks we paddle today are direct descendents of the kayaks built by Inuit people across the arctic. One of the most seaworthy kayak designs from the arctic is the baidarka from the Aleutian Islands. Over a period of about 6000 years the Inuit perfected the process of building kayaks with wooden frames covered with skin. That Inuit heritage lives on in a global network of people who build modern skin-on-frame kayaks. Many people feel a primal urge to build a boat. This workshop is for people who want to build their own baidarka and experience that heritage themselves. 
The kayak model we will build is a hybrid. The Aleut ancestry offers speed and rough water handling. The Greenland heritage offers a back deck that makes it easier to roll. This is a comfortable, fast day tripper. It’s light weight makes it easy to load onto a vehicle. The high front deck sheds waves. You can build it with an optional rear hatch cover for easy access to gear. An akuilisak (sprayskirt), gel seat pad and backband are recommended for maximum comfort. A Greenland or Aleut paddle is recommended. 

Length: 5.1 metres ( 16.7 feet ) 
Width: 54 cm ( 21 inches ) 
Weight: 18.5 kg ( 41 lb ) 
Cockpit: 59 by 43 cm oval 

The frame is mostly western red cedar. The stock wood, combing and more complex parts will be prepared before the workshop. The skin is ballistic nylon which we will sew on and seal with a polyurethane resin. 



beardarka 1



The workshop requires 8 to 10 hour workdays to complete the kayak by the end of the week. The price includes most meals to allow us more time to work. Participants must come prepared to work long days. We will all help each other. Previous woodworking experience is not required. Participants will need to bring a small set of basic hand tools. 

Discovery Islands Lodge on Quadra Island is a beautiful setting for building a baidarka. 

Gerhardt Susie DIL
This video of Warren Williamson at Deception Pass is one of the things that inspired me to build baidarkas.