Useful Resources

In this section, we want to share some of the information and resources that we find really useful. If you want to build a canoe or kayak, repair a paddle, make a norsaq or even learn a bit about the history and culture of the Inuit and native North American people who used canoes and kayaks, we will post it here.
Click HERE to check out our Links section, where there are more useful websites listed.

Useful books

Written by John D. Heath and Eugene Arima, Eastern Arctic Kayaks: History, Design, and Techniques “is a comparative study of kayaks that focuses on historical development, design and construction, and techniques” (ix). Part I of the book, by John Heath, is an overview of the Greenland kayak, giving a historical perspective. Chapters by Greg Stamer and Harvey Golden cover paddling techniques and kayaks in European Museums, respectively. The remainder of Part I, with individual chapters written by Hugh Collings, John Brand, H. C. Petersen, and Johannes Rosing, offers examples of historical kayaks, descriptions of kayak sports and exercise, and a narrative of a trip taken at the end of the 19th century. Part II, by Eugene Arima, focuses on kayaks of Eastern Arctic Canada, describing their use, variations, and construction. A section with speculations about the design ancestry of these kayaks includes photographs by Vernon Doucette of prehistoric and other models of kayaks. Well-researched, with many fine photos and line drawings, Eastern Arctic Kayaks belongs in the collection of anyone with an interest in skin-on-frame watercraft and the cultures that developed them.

The product of eight years of research, KOG contains information on 106 kayaks and 79 paddles, virtually all surveyed by the author. The result is a new typology that divides the Greenland kayaks into 13 distinct types. Golden also provides speculation on why Greenland kayaks developed as they did. Appendixes provide tables of ratios and proportions of the surveyed kayaks, conceptual interpretations of two medieval Greenland kayaks, a discussion of whether Greenlanders could have kayaked to Europe, and a primer on taking offsets. A glossary and bibliography round things out.





This book describes the process of building a Greenland style kayak, and is probably the most widely used reference book for all authors of Greenland style kayak building books. Text is in Inuit, Danish and English. H.C.Peterson was the headmaster of Knud Rasmussens Højskole (a college) in Sisimiut/Holsteinsborg in Greenland, and was born and raised in Greenland. Between 1962 and 1975 he gathered information about kayaks from all over the island by measuring crafts and interviewing builders. The kayak described here, was made by mixing features from several of the different style kayaks he measured. The book is small, about 20 cm tall and 30 cm wide. It’s 80 odd pages long, the one I have is paper backed and published by the Greenland National Museum & Archives, 3rd edition, 2001. I bought it on-line from a small Greenland bookshop in 2009, and this might be your best chance of getting hold of it too. The instructions are short, and not overly detailed. The book is more a description of a building process rather than a building instruction. There’s a detailed 1:10 plan drawing in the middle of the book, which is helpful. If you are a first time builder, and you plan on building a Greenland style kayak, either Christopher Cunningham’s book “Building the Greenland Kayak: A Manual for Its Construction and Use” or Mark Starr’s “Building a Greenland kayak” are probably better choices. Building just from Petersens book could prove to be demanding if you lack experience with boat building. Cunningham’s book contains a lot more tips and detail. If you’re an accomplished kayak builder, or just interested in Greenland style kayaking, then this is THE reference book.


This book documents the Innuit use of the kayak and umiak boats. The kayak was predominantly a hunting boat, used for long voyages, usually up rivers and streams. The umaik, by contrast, was for hunting and travelling, and was often taken whale-hunting off the north coast of Alaska. The book is divided into two sections – one for each boat type – and is lavishly illustrated throughout.




Simplicity, elegance, performance, and speed: these are the hallmarks of the Greenland kayak. Its low profile minimizes windage, and its narrow beam makes it well behaved in rough water and fast. Despite its ancient origins, the Greenland kayak is lively, versatile, and responsive even by modern standards. “Building the Greenland Kayak” leads you step-by-step through the process of crafting your own lashed-frame, fabric-covered, custom-fitted Greenland kayak, using inexpensive, easy-to-find materials and common woodworking tools.Master boatbuilder Christopher Cunningham provides plenty of tips and pointers to help you build a kayak that is strong, flexible, and perfectly scaled to your dimensions. Great for the accomplished boatbuilder and the novice alike, this easy-to-use manual includes: easy-to-follow building instructions accompanied by hundreds of photos; complete lists of all the tools and materials you’ll need; detailed primers in lumber milling, fastening, rib bending, and measuring; additional instructions for making a Greenland paddle, paddling clothing, float bags, skegs, and more; and pointers on paddling skills, kayak rolling, and children’s kayaks.



Strip-building – assembling a pile of thin wood strips into a functional hull – has been a popular canoe-building method for many years. Now, boatbuilder Nick Schade, an engineer by training and a self-professed sea kayaking addict, has refined this time-tested method to build the more complex shapes of sea kayaks. The method is simple, forgiving, allows a liberal amount of design flexibility, and requires a minimum number of tools. It’s also relatively inexpensive: about $500 to $600 for one of the designs discussed here – one-quarter the price of a factory-built model. In “The Strip-Built Sea Kayak”, Schade presents full plans for three elegant designs inspired by the grace and seaworthiness of the Inuit and Aleut skin boats. Profusely illustrated instructions provide the details that will guide you through the process.A complete novice will be able to construct a finished kayak after reading nothing but this book. And for an experienced builder, the techniques here can be expanded to create the perfect boat for you. Strip-building is the most flexible, forgiving, and attractive way to build a small wood boat. Professional sea kayak builder Nick Schade presents complete plans and measurements for three kayaks: Great Auk, a fast, stable, comfortable single for beginners; Guillemot, a beautiful, high-performance single for intermediate and skilled paddlers; and Guillemot Double, a spacious kayak for two. Here’s all the information you’ll need to build a sturdy, elegant sea kayak, from setting up shop to making a paddle. ‘Nick Schade has managed to raise the craft of strip-building to the art of graphic design in wood’ – “Sea Kayaker”.


In Canoe Paddles: A Complete Guide to Making Your Own, longtime canoeist and woodworker Graham Warren presents detailed blueprints for making paddles that you will cherish and use with confidence. From his insightful look at the way a paddle works when it meets the water through the selection of the best woods, adhesives and tools, Warren takes the reader on a veritable paddlemaking odyssey. You will learn how to make a paddle with a single blade, a bent shaft or double blades; how best to protect a paddle with oil or varnish; what to look for when test-driving your paddle; how to decorate it; and how to care for and repair it. Warren also includes an appreciation of the evolution of the paddle, and a special chapter by renowned canoe-building teacher David Gidmark celebrates paddlemaking in the native tradition.



Known internationally as “the Bible of canoe building,” Canoecraft is back, and it’s bigger and better than ever. The best-selling how-to guide has been completely revised and expanded, and master canoe builder Ted Moores again infuses the pages with the experience and wisdom acquired over almost three decades. His step-by-step instructions, generously illustrated with new photographs and diagrams and incorporated into an accessible fresh design, will allow even the beginner to create a reasonably priced classic. North America’s leading builder of woodstrip/epoxy canoes, Moores is a longtime teacher of wooden-boat construction as well. With students who have ranged in age from 11 to 87, Moores has discovered that all have been motivated by the same dream: to build something beautiful and functional.Canoecraft is the road map to that dream. In it, Moores offers comprehensive instructions for the first-time builder and, with the second-time builder in mind, includes a larger variety of canoe plans – five of which are brand-new. In this edition, each plan is presented as a traditional table of offsets. Moores has also added a series of builder’s tips and new techniques and an entire chapter on carving a paddle, the perfect accompaniment to your handcrafted canoe. His message is straightforward: When good materials are used and simple steps performed with care, professional results are sure to follow. Whether your goal is to build a general-purpose recreational canoe, an efficient modern tripping canoe or a full-decked fast-cruising canoe with walnut veneer, Canoecraft can help you make it happen.


The bark canoes of the North American Indians, particularly those of birchbark, were among the most highly developed manually propelled primitive watercraft. Built with Stone Age tools from available materials, their design, size, and appearance were varied to suit the many requirements of their users. Even today, canoes are based on these ancient designs, and this fascinating guide combines historical background with instructions for constructing one. Author Edwin Tappan Adney, born in 1868, devoted his life to studying canoes and was practically the sole scholar in his field. His papers and research have been assembled by a curator at the Smithsonian Institution






Joe Seliga has been hand building canvas-on-wood canoes in his Ely, Minnesota, workshop for more than 60 years. Seliga’s work is considered the best-of-the-best among canoe aficionados and wooden boat builders alike. This all-color celebration of hand craftsmanship and rustic elegance details from start-to-finish the construction of Seliga’s canoes, from selecting the right woods through the project’s inaugural launch. Within these pages the legacy of this master craftsman is passed on for all to enjoy.







From the final decade of the 19th century until the mid 1950’s, the predominant small water craft for recreationists, summer camps, and wilderness travelers was the iconic canvas covered wooden canoe built by Old Town, B.N. Morris, E.M. White, Chestnut, J.H. Rushton. This book shows how to build the wood and canvas canoe, discusses its history, and provides helful tips for restoring old canoes.