Canoebuilding usually isn't the first association with Wuppertal, when you tell somebody that you are building canoes. We don't have much lakes around, but we have the Wupper on which you can paddle lonesome in steep valleys, surrounded by nature or right through the city of Wuppertal underneath the "Schwebebahn", our suspension railway. Furthermore our aim is not just to finish a canoe and paddle it, but to celebrate the process of the craft. We would probably also build boats in the desert.
We present you our canoes further down ...
OUR BUILDING TECHNIQUES
Wooden boats don't have to be heavy. But on the contrary ! Above all, Red Cedar, from which many parts of our boats are made, is one of the lightest woods to buy, only balsa is lighter. It is also very rot resistant and flexible, so ... perfect for boatbuilding. Depending on the length, a stripplanked boat weights between 25 and 30 kilos. A skin-on-frame canoe at the same lengths weights about 20 to 25 kilos!
6mm thick wooden strips, milled concave and convex are the key component for this construction. After building a strongback on which a canoe hull will take shape, a complex process of fitting and gluing individual wooden strips follows. Of course we build our fine boats without staples. This is way more time-consuming but also looks more beautiful in the end. When the hull is closed and the "whiskey plank" was celebrated, the hull is ready for sanding. On the outside it's fun, inside the hull you count the hours of hand sanding. The still filigree boat hull is then reinforced with fiberglass and epoxy. A fiberglass mat that blends more or less uncomplicated with the shape of the hull is coated with crystal clear epoxy resin. A particularly slow resin with a long pot life is now responsible for at least one night of bad sleeping.
Just a few minutes later, when you were lying in bed dreaming, you find yourself in full combat gear (overall, gas mask, nitrile gloves) in the workshop, in order to apply the next "fillcoat" in the middle of the night. After 3 such paintings it's done and the resin gets time to cure. If the outside and inside of the hull are laminated, the resin is sanded again and, in the end, gunnels are attached and seats, yoke and decks are build in. The final operation consists of a finish with clear varnish.
As the name suggests, a skin on frame boat consists of a frame, which is covered with a skin. While hulls made from driftwood and bones were covered with seal skin thousands of years ago, today's materials are mainly found in the timber trade. Steam-bent ribs give a skin on frame its shape, nylon, polyester or cotton are forming the skin.
Skin on Frame Boats are lightweight and robust, relatively resource-efficient to build, are offering a lot of manual work and many different techniques for the interested boatbuilder.
Traditional styles do not require glue, screws or nails as the boats are held together with joinery and sinew. More modern approaches, so-called fuselage frame boats are reminiscent of traditional aircraft construction.
Even with industrially manufactured boats, the rather angular forms of traditional Skin on Frame boats are often found, which speaks in particular of their mature form. In contrast, handmade boats are of course matched to the body dimensions of the paddler. Although many factory-made kayaks are made in traditional sea kayak shapes, the angular and filigree sight of a SOF boat is a rarity and attracts many glances.
* All rentable canoes are marked with asterisks
* SOFi // Canoe
We are currently building a Skin-on-Frame (SOF) canoe based on our own blueprint, which will be particularly suitable for lakes and longer paddling routes. With 4.70 meters in length it is still handy and yet has a good directional stability. The airy construction can be lifted well on the car roof while traveling. The oiled wooden structure is connected with artificial sinew and determines the shape of the canoe. A varnished nylon fabric acts as a shell and makes the boat a boat. Glue and wooden dowels can hardly be found in this construction. Even the seats are lashed to the hull with sinew.
470 x 83 cm | 22kg | 2 seats
stability ** | maneuverability ** | rivers * | lakes ***
Plan // we offer a building plan for SOFi.
* Carlyak // Seakajak
Named after its builder, who made it in 2017 in modern adapted construction according to traditional greenlandic standards.
460 x 90 cm | 25kg | 1 seat
stability *** | maneuverability ** | rivers ** | lakes ***
Freedom 15' // Canoe
The leisure canoe designed by Steve Killing is relatively short and is stable in the water due to its wide construction. The design is very simple and modern with the steep stems and the flat top contour. The slightly asymmetrical shape makes it easy to paddle alone. The weight of the boat has been reduced to a minimum through the use of Red Cedar and minimalist fittings. Gunnels, decks, yoke and seats were made of ash. The seats are covered with narrow, weather-resistant webbing. With its length of 4.60 meters, it fits well on almost any car roof. Its new home is lake Chiemsee in bavaria.
460 x 90 cm | 25kg | 2 seats
stability *** | maneuverability ** | rivers ** | lakes ***
Longboard // Surfboard
It doesn't always have to be a boat. A surfboard made of wood is a bit heavier than a foam board, but also a lot more stable. A plywood frame gives the 6mm thick planks form and the board plenty of space.
* Pivo // Seakajak
a lightweight seakayak from red cedar (Thuja plicata) for longer paddling distances. The design is inspired by traditional sea kayaks. For the hull Red Cedar was used with a lighter expression, for the deck a reddish-brown expression. The hull is laminated inside and out with 160g thick fiberglass fabric. Due to the straight keel and its length, the kayak is very stable and fast. Two luggage hatches in the front and behind the cockpit provide plenty of storage space.
520 x 45 cm | 18kg | 1 seat
stability ** | maneuverability * | rivers * | lakes ***
* Wabnaki // Canoe
Our debut boat, started in 2014, completed in 2015. Made from nordic pine and ash in strip construction. With it's 4.30 meters and flat hull this canoe is ideally suited for our wild and winding home river, the Wupper.
430 x 90 cm | 27kg | 2 seats
stability *** | maneuverability *** | rivers *** | lakes **