Sunday, February 2, 2020

I'm carbon neutral

This year has started a few new things so far. First of all I new have two more employees. I now have Audun Muribø working with me from time to time in my workshop. He is a very talented craftsman and I met him on a building class last year. He build a baidarka and that won't be the last kayak he builds. He lives in Tønsberg and works as an electro engineer.

I also have Jannie working with me part time helping me out with sales, administration and running paddling classes. She and I have been working hard these past months to be able to launch my new website/webshop. Throughout this year, we will make all resources from the old website accessible on the new webshop platform. We're currently working on integrating both movies and written articles in the webshop.

While working on that, we discussed many things. One of the bigger subject was how are Kajakkspesialistens paddles different from other paddles. And one of the many things we came up with, is that the whole production process and the fact that every paddle is 100 percent handmade and made of locally grown wood makes it a very sustainable and environmentally friendly paddle. One could almost say carbon neutral even though it's not certified in any way.

So we came up with this funny little text 'I'm carbon neutral'. And it actually has a double meaning... you can figure that out yourself :)! We love it!

Please visit our new website and check out the new paddles. I have worked up quite a stock now so I can assure a fast delivery. Click on the link below:

New website and webshop.

Apart from that, the weather is unusually for February. Little snow and warm temperatures. On the positive side you can paddle without too much hazzle.

Personal speed records being broken. 

Monday, January 6, 2020

First day in the shop

Happy new year everyone!

The workyear at Kajakkspesialisten already started a few days ago. I did my accounting and started working on my new website/webshop. All really cool and positive. Now today was first day in the workshop doing "real" work :)

I couldn't resist putting up this Maneki-neko in my shop window. I'm not really sure what it means, but I suppose it has to do with good luck, happiness etc. that I want to make happen. I got if from my mom for Christmas.

Next task was making Aleut paddle for a guy from German. It was a regular Aleut style paddle with a few special measures. All spruce - solid and feather light for it's size.
 I also carried some huge ash timber inside the shop, cut it up and turned it into cockpits and kayak hatches. These are meant for use in the kayak building classes later this year.

On my wish list for this year was "try to get out more video on my blog of all the interesting jobs I do all the time. Check! I did a few takes of the paddle making and wood bending, and posted it on Vimeo immediately. Not a piece of fine art, but live pictures of what's going on in the shop in the moment. I hope you'll enjoy it, and that I will be able to keep videoing and posting. 

I wish everyone a great year. Hope you enjoy the blog, and our great products.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Winter paddling in 3 new kayaks

Winter is here with beautiful light and low temperatures. It has put a stop to my river swimming, but not our regular paddling.

Lately I've been sticking around home, and has only gone paddling on the local waters.

And there are 3 new kayaks to test. Let me introduce them:

The 10 kilo rolling kayak

Started just a few weeks ago as a challenge. This is one of my regular rolling kayaks sized for a medium/big size guy like myself. It is 515 cm. long and has a max beam of 49 cm. The challenge was to cut down the weight to below 10 kilo.

The shape is a normal south Greenland style kayak with a pretty square cross section and some extra rocker. It is incredibly easy to roll. Both simple and advanced rolling is not the great challenge.

And yes... the weight stayed low. It has got it's final coats of varnish now and still weighs only 9,3 kilo. Jannie easily carried it for a distance the other day for our test ride. It was fairly fast and made little or no bow wake. It naturally turns very easily. For touring I will definitely add a skeg.

Today I had finally rut the last deck ropes on, and the scale said 9,5 :) :)

The racing baidarka

This kayak has been described on this blog earlier. Only that now I've had the chance to test it more.

It is 540 cm. long and 45 cm. wide. It weighs 14 kilo. I have added a racing seat and a sea sock for safety. My first impression was fast and unstable. Now that I'm getting more used to it, the stability seems better. But not a kayak to go fishing with!

My test rides have been short, like 3-4 km. I have managed average speed around 9 km/hour. Top speed of 14. But that doesn't really say much, since I'm badly out of shape, and have no training with racing kayaks at all. Jon David Jenssen came by this weekend and borrowed the kayak. Even though he's not an Olympic champion, he has far more skill in kayak racing than I have. He pushed it even faster, of course, and took it with him home for further testing.

I almost forget the most important thing: This kayak looks sooooo.. beautiful to me :)

The surf and rock hopping kayak

Last but not least... My friend Anund keeps asking me to come paddling. Last time we did, I found out he meant rock hopping and surfing. And I'd love to go. Now I find the regular baidarkas to be excellent kayaks for demanding paddling like that. However, I keep thinking that they can be even better if they are a bit shorter. a bit wider and with a bit more rocker.

I finally had some extra time to build me one of these. It is 470 cm. long, max beam of 57 cm. and Weighs 15 kilo. I have equipped it with a fixed sea sock, deck lines, and a hatch.

It looks beautiful and preforms great. The cruising speed is very good, but it doesn't have much to offer in a race :)

It feels very good. Super stable and turns very easily. I'm looking forward to take it out to the sea - maybe tomorrow...

Friday, November 15, 2019

More paddle making

As some may already know, part of the winter activities here is paddle making :)
When it's snowing and dark outside, we gather in my old church and carve paddles. This time 13 people from clubs in the Oslo area came over 2 evenings to make the paddle of their choice.

Some have never used a GP before. Some had tried one, liked it, and wanted to make one. Some had already made 4-5 paddles, but wanted an extra one. Perhaps slightly different in style, perhaps different length, width or color?

We saw all smiles an happy faces at the end. During class, there had been various frustrations, but once the last sanding was done, all the sorrows were forgotten. Happy paddling everyone!

Last couple of days, I've been working with tests of my new paddle oil treatment. It's a bit lighter in color than the linseed oil I'm always using, and I like it. It will become a standard for the future paddle production.

This picture already seems like an eternity ago. It was taken last week during my test ride of the new racing baidarka. Landscape and light has changed since then, as it is all grey and covered with snow now :(

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Back in the shop...with a video glimpse of the US class

Back in Norway, winter is approaching fast.

Both night and daytime temperatures are often below zero. All the leaves have fallen from the trees and we need to fire our wood stove every morning to stay warm.

It warms our hearts to see this super AWESOME!! (That's for you, Peter).. movie that a friend of ours made, out of all the fun we had building kayaks in the US:

Besides building loads of paddles, I've spent the last couple of weeks finishing a rolling kayak for a guy in France who is planning on taking it to Greenland in a year or two to compete in the Greenlandig qajaq championship.

I also had time to finish the kayak I started working on with Jon David Jenssen. It's based loosely on ancient Aleut designs, the biggest difference being plenty of room for leg work below the deck.

The kayak weights 13 kilo or 28 Lbs. Length is 540 cm or close to 18' and beam is 45 cm/ a little over 17"

Took it for a test ride yesterday. The stability was not bad and it was very fast. The acceleration impressed me the most: It went from 0-100 in seconds.

Hull shape is very close to circular around the middle:

I'm currently making a little video from the test ride to post in this blog entry as soon as it is ready.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Finishing the kayaks and making sea socks


Finally we were ready to skin the kayaks. Everybody made a huge team effort to get ready at the same time. One is covered with canvas and the other 7 is covered with nylon/polyester.

First we covered the hull and one method here is to stretch and then staple the fabric to the gunwales. That is to keep the fabric in place and to make a tight fit before we go on with stitching the fabric. After that we use a variety of stitches to sew the skin together...

And then we add the cockpit coaming.

Here the cockpit coaming is sewn to the skin. Teamwork by George and Peter.


After the kayaks are finished, the frame, the skin and all the beautiful stitches we start staining the nylon skin. The canvas gets painted with oil based paint.

After the staining is dry, we varnish 5-6 times. There will be a little more work for the builders when they get back home.

 Sea socks
 Sea socks provide safety for the skin-on-frame kayak paddler. If made correctly, it is the best way to take good care of your skin-on-frame kayak and stay safe. We made ours out of thick canvas. That stays in place and does not get in the way when you enter or exit your kayak. Here Ben is cutting one, getting instructions by Jannie.

Happy people all making sea socks.

Here Anders is mounting one for uncle Dave. We made him one also.

And here we see the finished crafts with sea socks installed, just before the big kayak launch!!

Finally... Here is Chuck! Chuck is a professional in making boat covers out of canvas. He brought a heavy duty sewing machine and was a huge help to all who made sea socks that day. We could not have done it without him. And we learned a lot! Thank you Chuck!


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The wooden frames are done

The wooden frames are done

Here we are, at day 5 and all of the wooden frames for the qajaqs were done yesterday and oiled with linseed oil. The looked beautiful in the evening light.

We started out saturday and finished the frames over a course of four days. Everybody worked fast and long days and we had e few more helpers coming in to join us. Jane Rosalind and Peter Gengler. Peter is well know for his short movies on kayaing and biking. Look him up on Vimeo. You won't regret it!

Starting out with to skinny sticks. Anders shows how to prepare mortises for the ribs.

Ben working on his gunwales.

Jannie helping Francis with the lineup inside the gunwales on the bow.

Now we have started the prosess of shaping of the deck.

After the deck is done, we mount the stern and bow and then last the keel. Making everything ready for bending the ribs.

Here we see the keel and the frame before the ribs are bent.

Ron lashing the bow of his west Greenland style qajaq. In the end everything that holds the frame together is dowels, lashings and the skin.

With the stern, bow and keel in place, Anders starts working on the ribs. He bend ribs for eight qajaqs in record time.

 ... so a break is eventually needed!

Here is Rebeccas Iqyax with the ribs done. She was the first to get those done. She does look happy :).

After the frames are done we started oiling the frames. We worked in the dark and the group teamed up again and everybody helped everybody. Qajaqbuiling in only 6 days are highly build on a team effort.

An here we are on Wednesday morning. Ready for skinning. Calmer days awaits :).

The group photo. The Iqyax frames are shown as number five and eight. Anders and Jannie in the middle.