I finished this kayak on Thanksgiving, a harvest festival celebrated in the United States. Tradition says that the original celebration occurred in the early 1600s and celebrated the European settlers surviving their first year with the help of the natives. It’s a grand story that didn’t turn out that great for the natives. Here I am 400 years later, digitizing kayaks that someone used for hunting and the survival of family. Something that they were probably thankful for.
Now, we use these kayaks for recreation. Perhaps this kayak plan exemplifies that use. Rear Admiral MacMillan, an explorer, collected the MacMillan kayak at some point between 1908 and 1954. He was on an expedition to the Arctic, and, like many expeditions, they had scientific and discovery goals. Even though not stated, expeditions often have recreational goals, and I believe that the Rear Admiral probably took expeditions seeking out fun, recreation and adventure in addition to the other more serious reasons. Most contemporary kayak expeditions start with a recreational aspect and might add discovery or science. Those shared goals, which are similar to the goals of the past, link us to prior expeditions because we’re seeking out similar experiences. Perhaps, we’re linked to MacMillan’s Arctic expeditions. I’m thankful that MacMillan brought this kayak back. I just hope that whoever he took it from was compensated. It’s a graceful boat that begs for a builder. Will it be you? The MacMillan kayak appears in Mark Starr’s Building a Greenland Kayak.
Length: 17 feet 3/8 inch
Width: 19-5/8 inches
Kayak and Canoe Building Books
If you want to build this boat, you’ll need instructions. These three books are the best.
- The Strip-Built Sea Kayak: Three Rugged, Beautiful Boats You Can Build: If you only buy one book, then buy this one.
- Building Strip-Planked Boats: Contains updates to lots of the techniques found in The Strip-Built Sea Kayak. This book includes new topics not found elsewhere , including using hybrid fabrics and wood dyes.
- Kayakcraft: Fine Woodstrip Kayak Construction: If you have the money, then get this.
For more, check out my canoe and kayak building books review.
Get the Drawing Package
The drawing package includes the full-sized study plan and each station and stem drawn separately on a PDF that prints full sized on ARCH D size paper (nestings). You can cut these out and glue them to plywood to cut full-sized forms. A pdf of the electronic drawing package. is available for this kayak. You can print the file on 24- by 36-inch paper on your own.
Free Kayak Plans Downloads
The free cedar canoe plans come as a pdf (free Adobe Reader required to view) that you can print off at photocopy stores.