Thursday, October 10, 2013

Home again...

Good to be back home after some intense days in Finland. I thought the work would be done by now, but has just begun. The material we have gathered is great, but notes have to be written and pictures have to be sorted. Drawings have to be done, discussed and re-done....

The figures in this beautiful uluxtax look so alive - it's spooky how they look at you from the past. this model shows two Aleuts who are fishing.

Another little model, much similar in shape to the full size iqyax in the museum. The Aleut man figure does what we call a "stern rudder" paddle stroke nowadays. wonder what names they had for their paddle strokes in the old days? 

A bit of interior in the iqyax.....some testing and creative thinking made us able to get good detailed pictures inside the kayak, and a good examination of the framework. This is the cockpit area, and guess what the Aleut brought with him as a repair kit? in this case some extra baleen strips and 2 spare ribs. one rib carried in each side of the kayak between gunwale and first stringer, between ribs and cover. in this picture the spare  rib is visible just above the gunwale.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Iqyax continued....

I just can't wait to publish the material we gather these days on the internet! However, a lot of work still needs to be done before the material is available. 

Today was so exciting! We finished the paddles and began measuring the kayak (Iqyax). The condition is good, and it dates back before 1834, so this is really a unique treasure. It's 540 cm. long and 44,5 cm. wide. Cover sewn from 3 sea lion skins with decoration of wool and hair. We started examining what we could of the interior, and I learned a lot about how it was built.

We worked from 8 to 18, and sit and work on the notes on details in this moment. Tomorrow will be another long day of kayak survey, photographing and inspecting some small models in the collection!...

to be continued.... 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Iqyax Survey in Helsinki

Finally, the day had come for me to examine some of the material in the Museum of Cultures, Helsinki Finland. To my great relief, Ivar Finnard, one of the Project Inuit members, offered his assistance on this delicate job. 
We arrived Helsinki Yesterday evening, and spent today in the museum's exhibition halls. The reason for the stay is mainly the great Aleutian material the museum own. Our job this time was to survey one Aleut Iqyax from around 1830 and no less than 4 Aleut paddles dating from the period from 1830-1850

In the picture you see Ivar and Heli from the museum, who gave us such good help today.

Exciting is not the word to describe my feelings holding a genuine Aleut paddle in my white-cotton gloved hands! I've been thinking of this since my last visit in Finland in 2007!!! Some experience!!

We started a digital scan of the whole kayak, and close examined 3 of 4 paddles today. Tomorrow we do a traditional survey of the kayak.

Ivar making 1:1 drawings of the fist paddle. 
to be continued.......

Sunday, October 6, 2013

New ride x 2

I haven't had much time to test out the new Iqyax I finished this summer. Just a few very short trip, haven't given me much idea of this special kayak's potential, strengths and (if any?) weaknesses.

Got a chance to test my "new" car today also. It looks quite strange with a 5,86 long kayak on the roof, but the kayak is so light it doesn't matter.

Just a few kilometers of paddling today gave me the following thoughts of the kayak:

1. It's fast, but the cruising speed is not that different from much shorter/wider kayaks i own.

2. Impressive stability, only 42 cm. wide. I feel perfectly safe.

3. It tracks very well, even in short annoying waves, likely to push your kayak sideways.

4. I hate the ridged aft deck! A flat aft deck makes the kayak so much easier to enter. I wonder if the Aleuts had some special trick they used to get in and out of their kayaks???

5. Got a feel of surf on small waves today. It would be great fun to take it out in some big ocean swell soon. I put that on my list of things to do this autumn. 

Now it's home and pack my bags for a 3 days stay in Helsinki. We are going to examine and survey an even older Iqyax there, and 4 old Aleut paddles!! I keep posting in the next couple of days - this is really exciting!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fjord crossings and kayak meeting.....

It has become a tradition to gather at Jørgen and Tones cabin in Hankø, so again this year. The thought of the 2,5 hours car drive almost kept me away, until I figured out I could save 1,5 hours of driving and add 2 hours of paddling, crossing the Oslo fjord by kayak. That would give me the best possible ride. Once thought out, the route was pretty simple: drive to Tønsberg, launch kayak, then straight east and Bingo! Tone and Jørgens cabin!

I was welcomed by Thøger, who paddled out to meet me, then we did some more trips, all together. We had a great dinner, sauna, wine and most important: Great company!!!!
Great thanks to Tone and Jørgen for inviting a bunch of greenland kayakers every year! And great thanks to all who came and shared this wonderful weekend.

Weather just couldn't be better, warm water, sun and hardly any wind. I crossed the fjord back today, only disturbed by curious seals who wanted to take a close look at the odd creature making strange sounds.

Picture from Østfold - Fulehuk lighthouse on the other side of the fjord, some 8 kilometers away.

Last day of summer and crossing the fjord was celebrated with a great dive and swim!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

1841 Iqyax continued......

Finally, after 1 year of gathering dust, the replica of amazing 1841 Ixyaq from the St. Petersburg museum of anthropology is ready for covering. It has been great fun building this craft, but now I'm eager to get it on the water and do some speed paddling!

It's all in the details! I don't have any idea what this blue painted groove was for on the original, but we did them anyway. Instead of sea lion whiskers, we used little threads of whale baleen. That may make the kayak more seaworthy or something?

Here is the whole frame, oiled with red pigmented linseed oil. It's outside dimensions are around 580x43 cm. I don't remember the exact measures, but we have followed the original faithfully.

You can guess for yourself what this is! To be continued......

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A new apprentice

The 1. of May, I met with Will Meadows from the US. Will is on a round-the-world tour to study traditional canoe building. The plan is for Will to stay until end of june, to work with me in my workshop.

Will's great help makes it possible to spend more time doing fun projects, like finishing the 1850 Baidarka I started building last year....More about that later......

I want to encourage everyone to read Wills blog - this guy has done some amazing canoe building around the world:

New kayak building video

Hello everyone! Springtime has been extra busy this year. Paddle building courses, kayak building courses and lots of great work making paddles and other stuff!

I just got this great video from some of my kayak students that attended a course in april. Enjoy!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

First Kayak building course in the chapel....

Finally, after one week of intense work, 8 brand new kayaks were born in my new and very own workshop - the chapel! I was very excited to try the new facilities and meet a new group of very enthusiastic people!

They came from as far as Germany, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim, Faeroe Islands, Hungary, Narvik and Oslo!

The workshop worked well, except for some trouble with the sewer, that I had to try to solve while bending ribs. Except for that, it was a great, inspiring, and exhausting week, all together...

 Thank you Knut, Martin, Atle, Lars Olav, Florian, Jöran, Tina and Andris...

Atle even decided to change his hair style during the week!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 - first Iqyax paddle

I'm very proud to announce:

Despite little sleep and a bit of wine yesterday evening, I still was able to launch my Iqyax on the local waters today. The sun was bright and warmed the air. The ice formed a perfect launching place on the otherwise very shallow water at the beach.

No long trip, just a good feeling of being out doing something after a long holiday, and starting the new year. Hopefully lots of (paddle?) activity to come in 2013.