Sunday, June 10, 2018

Outstanding students - last kayak building class this summer.

So the last kayak building class this summer comes to an end. The cars are loaded with brand new skin on frame kayaks - tiny Greenland style kayaks, tailored to their owner's measurements, and two beautiful Iqyax (baidarkas) with hatches, made for distance sea kayak touring.

They are on their way to their new homes as I write, going to Bologna, Copenhagen, Sicily and various Norwegian towns and cities.

Unfortunately, I had a few cancellations in the very last minute before the class started, last Saturday. That left me with a class of only 6 people. All showed up to be very skilled with their hands and got to finish their kayaks in good style a whole day ahead of schedule.
That left us with some extra time to make very fancy sea socks, paddles and start on the little details that are normally considered “homework” after class.

A huge thanks to all who made this a class to remember. Happy paddling everyone J

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Rolling instructor class

Having too little time to give rolling classes, Jannie and I started working on training of rolling instructors to meet the demand for rolling classes around here.

This weekend we scheduled a class that was signed up by 7 people with different skill levels from different clubs. They had in common that they all wanted to be better at teaching people how to roll a kayak.

Jannie did a great job sharing her huge knowledge and experience as a rolling instructor.

Theory class :)

Theory and practice...

...and lots of practice...
We had 5 people who wanted to learn different rolls come out, so that the new instructors had someone to practice on. 

Weather was as warm and beautiful as it could possibly be. The feedback from the great people attending was very good. I'm sure we will continue this class soon, and also schedule some new classes in the near future.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

May, so far...

After a kayak building class, I usually need to rest and do nothing for a couple of days. Luckily we had some guests from oversea just after the class.

Vernon Doucett and Ben Fuller came all the way from Nova Scotia and Maine, just to check out us, my beautiful chapel, Norway and a couple of museums. They are boat-building-kayak nerds as nerdy as they come. What a treat to have them here. Fortunately we will see them again at Delmarva this fall.

Did a little work on a new, far from finished kayak project - The plywood hull/fabric deck Greenland style kayak. Jannie helps with the project - seems I have a new apprentice here.

Still wondering if we should call it plyaq? unfinished kayak seat tested.

It obviously performed well. With Jannie in it, it performed perfectly in the water. No sound, no bow wave, fast and stable... 

It also rolled well. The rollability test for me is to do a forward ending handroll. It worked well on first try. Water temperature didn't permit a lot of rolling though.

As Vernon and Ben went off to Bergen for a couple of days, Jannie and I went kayaking. In the meantime, spring has really come fast, and we experienced summer like temperatures on the local waters.

Applying for membership in the old men's club....

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Kayak building class

I have seldom laughed so much for so many days :) 

We did the year's first kayak building class this week. As usual, people from different countries and different parts of Norway gathered for 8 days to build each their own kayak. 

Thank you again, Rune, Cormac, Ina, Bjørn, Bjørn, Petter and Jannie :) 

By the way, great kayaks also :)

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Paddling again

About time to get out paddling again? Well, the local waters are all frozen. I crossed my nearest lake the other day on skis.Temperatures are still below -10 at night, and during daytime they crawl up around zero :)

However, The sun has been shining for a few days now, and I took the rare opportunity to paddle a bit in the near Vestfold archipelago. Put together a few living images:

Winter paddling from anders thygesen on Vimeo.

Here I paddle my newest ixyaq (baidarka) It is only 48 cm. wide and 5,5 meters long. It is still very stable and I don't feel the least uncomfortable, even in big breaking waves (which didn't happen this day).

It's fast, no need to say that... and it weights only 14 kilo. I made it very light on purpose, so that it wouldn't stress my stressed out lower back when lifting it up and down and around..

New project on the move in the shop.... stay tuned :)

Monday, March 19, 2018

More work in the shop

There has been a lot of work to do lately, and I'm slowly doing progress on several projects.
There are paddles to make, Kayaks to build and classes to be held. It's all good, and the best part is that the days are getting still longer. Even though the temperature is keeping a constant level of below -10 degrees C and the snow is still piled up 2 meters above the ground outside, I can feel how nature is preparing for spring. Birds are singing and there are short periods of sunlight now and then.

Paddles for Italy

Finishing an Ixyaq for a British guy

Sewing tools

Preparing paddle making classes

Finishing this great class with Oslo kayak club..

Happy paddling :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Back in the shop

It feels like such a long time since I last had on my work clothes. First I've had this pain in my back, which has been pretty disabling. Then certain machines and tools needed repair and maintenance. Then there was the trip to Japan, and then the cold.... There has been a long period now with average temperatures of -15 c. and my electric heating can't make the workshop comfortable in such conditions.

Today the temperature was only -5 and I got started on a few practical work projects.. finally!

This beautiful Ixyaq is right now being tailor made for a customer. I finished the hull and started working on the deck.

...and found this little plane that i bought in Japan to be the perfect tool for trimming the stringers that form the hull to perfect shape!

This is a qajaq I built years ago. I started removing the old canvas. This is so tough work. The plan is to re-skin it for the owner, and make a fancy new sea sock "Klepper" style.

Skin came off nicely and it seems the frame doesn't need any kind of repair.

My new refrigerator magnet "Maneki-neko" along a message from my Italian friend. They fit nicely together. The text says "Don't forget to be happy". I'll try to keep that in mind :)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Qajaq Japan

Despite the fact that modern kayaking would never had been, if it wasn't for the Inuit and their genious watercraft, there are still not too many paddling communities in the world who seriously honor the Greenlandic traditions.

Japan was a very pleasant surprise for me. To my understanding, kayaking is not a great sport in Japan. Still there is a great community of people dedicated to the art of kayak building, paddle making and Greenlandic kayaking skills.

I was fortunate to be among them for a few days at a Qajaq Japan meeting arranged by the great Greenland kayak enthusiast, Eiichi Ito.

First, I need to say that I'm absolutely overwhelmed by all the different impressions that Japan offers. Beautiful landscape, fields, gardens, Shinto shrines, good food and helpful, smiling people everywhere. Even though the weather and the sea is cold here, It's so much warmer than the Norwegian winter. When the sun shines a bit, it feels like a summer day in Norway :)

The Tokyo bay where we tried kayaking is amazingly beautifyl. Low, forest covered hills and cliffs sorround the bay, and wide sandy beaches are everywhere. We spent some time collecting seashells – they are all so beautiful, and different from the ones we have at home.

We had hoped for calm weather for practicing qajaq rolling, but unfortunately we had a strong onshore breeze that instead offered some good practice for kayak manouvering :)

My presentation to Qajaq Japan was about the Qajaq activities that goes on in Norway: kayak building and kayak touring along the coast og Norway, the Qajaq event at Stokkøya, history, greenland paddle making and more. After the presentation we had great food, beer and sake.

I'm overwhelmed and can't think of anything to say, but "Thank you Japan!!" - or - "Arigato!!"

Monday, January 22, 2018

Arctic paddle making

It has been a long while since I was this far north last time. Actually, It must have been early August 2011 when I came by kayak on my way south:

Tromsø is for me a magical place. Located around the 69. degree of latitude. The city has the unofficial status of capitol of Northern Norway. Maybe even Northern Scandinavia... The surroundings are sure spectacular: Tall steep snow covered mountains, magnificent sea with whales and eagles, and of course the northern lights..

my first long stay was exactly 20 ears ago, January 1998. Back then I did one of my my very first kayak building classes away from home. I remember that stay as one week's party. With great, resourceful, goodhearted and very accommodating people.

This stay was no exception, even though we didn't have many days now. And the Northern lights and the whales were absent..

We had a really good time building paddles for two days. It must have been one of my biggest classes ever, due to massive interest. Through two long working days, 28 people made each their own Greenland style of Aleut paddle. I sure hope to come back soon and paddle with the great people of the "Storm" paddle society :)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Kayaks and paddles come from wood

Right now, every bit of my body seems to be aching. L That comes from too hard use of my body for a couple of days.

Here’s a glimpse of where the kayaks and paddles I build come from:
This autumn was the time to thin out between the trees that grow around the old church in Fiskum. I was asked by the church community if I could use some wood…

There was quite a bit of everything there – mainly ash, elm, birch and alder. All great for parts of kayaks and paddles.

Trees were felled, giving space for new trees and better environment for the church that dates back to 1100.

Monday we moved 3 tons of snow by hand, giving space for storing the wood outdoors.
Tuesday my assistant and I went to the sawmill. The sawmill is part of a farm up in the hills. It is run by Ole Kolkind, a great guy who is in his seventies.

I was pretty scared of the volume of all the wood logs. I was seriously worried how my back would cope with lifting and mowing heavy logs around. The temperature was around 16 degrees below zero.

After two days of lifting, carrying and stacking wood, I’m very happy AND very sore in most of my muscles. Especially my back L

However, it can’t beat the overwhelming joy I feel when I look at all the great materials, nicely stacked and left to air dry. In manageable pieces ready to pick and use for all kind of woodworking projects…

I’m beginning to use some of the ash today already. Green wood is perfect for steam bending cockpits.