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  1. Hello all I am new to kayak building, and very eager to learn and practice skin on frame building. I recently attended 3 days of a CLC kayak stitch and glue course locally as a volunteer / helper, and came away with a healthy respect for those that toil with the endless copper stitching, snipping, filleting, sanding, epoxy mixing, and the head scratching. The end product of a beautiful kayak is certainly a motivator, but i do not see myself looking forward to that kind of labor more than once. I don't think my family or friends would volunteer themselves to help willingly. By contrast, skin-on-frame construction seems to be more satisfying - a greater latitude, simpler construction, straightforward work, and to my eyes, just as beautiful and functional boats. I was initially attracted to the Cape Falcon Kayak site with its superb video productions, but after bumping into Jeff's and Gentry's style of building, it seems like a no-brainer that fuselage frame is even more attractive for the first time builder. Bumping into George Dyson's Baidarka book, and his gorgeous aluminum boats have me salivating. I have Jeff's book, and a collection of other books on skin on frame building (though i do not understand the art fully as yet). I settled on the Vardo as a potential first kayak. I love Jeff's practicality, economy, and value minded approach to boat building. So, as a start point (and goal), everything that Jeff's Kudzu craft and Dave Gentry's plans meets my needs as a hopeful builder. My goal is to build a kayak for me and my family. If i enjoy the process and its economical enough I'd like to work up to building one of Jeff Spira's power dories in a year or two. His approach to boat building with available lumber, simple construction - are a lot like Jeff's. I do have a few questions. They are a bit random, but am hoping you all can help me fill in the gaps in my knowledge. 1) What is the attraction to steam bending technique as espoused by Cape Falcon and SeaWolf etc? Cutting out the mortises and measuring the ribs perfectly seems to introduce a lot more time and fuss and equipment into the process? Is it the "traditional method" cachet? I cant imagine a total n00b would choose it over fuselage frame despite the sexy videos? 2) For a newbie to woodworking, i still would like to take a class on skin-on-frame for fuselage frame style (yea, i am that dumb). Does Jeff teach anymore? All the classes for SoF are the steam bending variety in exotic locales too far from me. Of course, if i took one of them I can easily build Jeff's boats. 3) If Jeff does not teach building his boats anymore, is there a way to isolate the skills into chunks that i could learn from different local sources? For example: a) Ripping the lumber (take a safety course at a local woodshop ) b) Using hand and power tools to cut out the frames (safety course?) c) Lashing (YT videos?) d) Skinning ( probably can wing this one on my own, having fiberglassed a kayak before) 4) I can only start building early next year when i will have moved to our new house and its garage. But i want to use the time before then by getting the skills in place. 5) One hesitation about taking the course in boat building is the expense of travel flights + local transport + stay + food is likely twice the price of the kayak. I will be moving to Atlanta, so Jeff's Alabama workshop is only a few hours drive from me. Tempting. The perfect course for me would be a long weekend where the individual skills are taught separately, and avoiding the heavily repetitious tasks such as lashing. I can then go home and build it myself at my own sweet space... 6) Anybody here with zero woodworking experience jumped into fuselage frame building and survived to build another 1-2 kayaks? 7) Is it at all possible to put a small outboard motor to a skin on frame boat? Gentry's Indian Creek motor canoe is the closest I have seen to one. I suppose the frames are too light for motors...? That's a lot of questions, but i hope you all can educate me... Shridhar from San Francisco
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