In 1921, Norman L. Skene surveyed the 1921 Peabody Museum’s Southwest Greenland kayak. Taken by the lines, he drew up plans for a westernized version, which he named Walrus. For the Walrus, he widened the boat to 22 inches, lowered the deadrise and designed a larger cockpit. Construction changed from bent ribs and animal skin to dimensional lumber, truss-like framing and canvas skin. He published the free plans in the June 1923 issue of The Rudder. By the time Skene published the article, many kayaks of his design had already been built. Builders noted that the design was seaworthy and easy to learn to paddle. Recently, George Putz covered building a Walrus is his book, Wood and Canvas Kayak Building.
For these free kayak plans, I decided to stick closely to the original. Despite my personal dislike of the cockpit, I kept it on the drawings. The original deck was relatively flat with two deck beams. I kept the height the same, but used a simple peaked deck. I suspect that with a proper sea kayak cockpit, this would make a nice boat for someone looking for a wide Greenland-like kayak. Personally, I find the 1921 Peabody Museum’s Southwest Greenland kayak more graceful and recommend that kayak over this one.
Length: 17 feet
Beam: 22 inches
Kayak Building Books
Before building a kayak consider purchasing a kayak or canoe building book. These books explain what to do with drawings like those presented here. If you decide to buy one book, buy Nick Schade’s Building Strip-Planked Boats.
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.