Saturday, April 25, 2009

Old and New

I built the Kodiak in the living room. Owners of folding kayaks and canoes will appreciate that the obligatory "living room build" is very important. Sure, there is certainly not enough space. Yes, I nearly put the longerons through first the computer screen and later the television. But all this is worth it as you are within the comforts of your own home and, more importantly, away from the hordes of curious onlookers. While it can be very enjoyable sharing the building experience with others it is nice to make those first-time mistakes by oneself!

I am happy to say that the Kodiak is as easy to put together as its bigger sibling the Folbot Greenland II. What took time this first time around was finding all the parts that were carefully wrapped for transport. Adding the velcro for the spraydeck was also a little time consuming, but fun. All in all I used about an hour and twenty minutes to unpack and find everything, add the modifications (e.g. spraydeck) and fiddle. Fiddling with all the bits is interesting and makes for a huge distraction, so much so I failed to check the clock. I am confident that the next build will take about 30 minutes or less.

I was again impressed by the quality of the materials and the design of the kayak. The improved spraydeck which is a lot stiffer than its predecessor is very satisfactory and I would recommend that people buy this accessory. I was also impressed by the contents of the repair kit included with the kayak and feel that a lot of thought has gone into it.

I have now put together several very different folding kayaks and a folding canoe. Of the Folbot kayaks I have assembled the Kodiak is by far the easiest. I have also put together a Feathercraft Klondike. While I must admit that the Feathercraft achieves a slightly more rigid shape the effort involved, read: blood, sweat and tears, makes the assembly of a Folbot very relaxing compared.

Strangely, the more I assemble the modern folding kayaks the greater my interest in actually building a Greenlandic skin-on-frame kayak. Luckily, I find myself perfectly situated to research and attempt such a project. But while thinking of the old I am very content with the new!

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