The 1888 King Island Kayak appears as figure 181 in The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America. Howard I. Chapelle writes that the King Islanders were known as skilled kayakers. Their kayaks followed a pattern similar to the Nunivak Island kayaks with a narrower and more V-shaped hull and different stems. The King Island boat’s stem sweeps upward and ends in what Chapelle called “a small birdlike head, with a small hole through it to represent eyes and to serve for a lifting grip…” John Heath considers the cockpit coaming on this version of the King Island kayak atypical, because it doesn’t rest on any cross members. It just floats attached to the skin. The plans show the cockpit as drawn by Chapelle.
I wasn’t going to model this kayak, but someone requested it, so here it is. I find the cockpit interesting, especially since it’s atypical. To me, it looks like the builder wanted to lower the cockpit coaming so he wouldn’t feel like it was swallowing him. Notice in front of the cockpit, I rounded the deck slightly. It might be more authentic to skip the roundness.
Length: 15 feet 4 inches
Beam: 25.5 inches
Draft: 6 inches
Displacement: 275 lbs.
The linesplan shows all the views of the kayak. Click on it for a larger view.
Kayak Building Books
- The Strip-Built Sea Kayak: Three Rugged, Beautiful Boats You Can Build: Contains all you need to know.
- Building Strip-Planked Boats: Contains updates to The Strip-Built Sea Kayak.
- The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America has more info about this kayak.
For a more in-depth list, 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 kayak plans come as a pdf (free Adobe Reader required to view) that you can print off at photocopy stores.
- Download [pdf]: 1888 King Island Kayak Plans