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Build your own beautiful, lightweight boat. Then paddle it away!

Skin-on-frame boats are extremely strong and comfortable; your boat will be completely bespoke to you and combine traditional frame construction with the best modern materials.

I teach skin-on-frame kayak- & canoe-building courses from my workshop at the historic Underfall Boatyard in Bristol, and various locations around the UK.

Choose from different types of boat

Kayaks: Choose to build a traditional West Greenland, Baidarka or the modern Cape Falcon F1.

Open canoes: Build one to fit your size and intended use (from a super-light 11ft single-seater, to a larger 16-foot expedition canoe, able to take 2 adults and kids/camping gear). All canoes can be modified to take a sail. 

Course dates:

View the latest list of upcoming course dates.

About the courses

Courses are usually a week (slightly less for a canoe) and can be tailored to suit you.

Group-size is usually 1:3 max, but you can build a boat on a 1:1 basis if you prefer. I cater to families or couples who want to build a single boat together (this works particularly well for canoes).


One of the things I enjoy most about teaching skin-on-frame boatbuilding is that the methods and materials are very friendly. We don't use any harmful epoxies and you won't spend hours laboriously sanding! Instead you get to learn some proper woodwork, cutting joints by hand, steambending and sewing.

All materials are included, and at the end of the course you'll take away your own custom-built boat, knowing you made it yourself!

How the courses work

Roughly, kayak-making courses follow this plan (canoe courses are slightly shorter):

  • Day 1: Spread the gunwales and build the deck beams (using pegged mortice and tenon joints)

  • Day 2: Steam-bend in the ribs and tie on the stems and stringers

  • Day 3: Add the deck stringers, sand and oil the frames

  • Day 4&5: Sew the skin on the boat and prep the deck toggles and decklines

  • Day 6: Apply colour and coating to boats (+ rough shape paddles if desired)

  • Day 7: Add seats, backbands, rub strips, footbraces, and deck lines. Finish shaping the paddles (if included). Go paddling!


Kayak-making courses are £2500, including all materials (western red cedar and english oak for the frame, 9oz ballistic nylon and 2-part urethane for the skin) and fit-out (leather deck-lines, airbag, backrest and footrests.

Canoe-making courses start at £2200, including all materials. This is for a single canoe with standard fit-out. Nesting pairs of canoes from £2500. Other fit-out and skinning options (such as a sustabable Flax and Linseed oil-based resin) are available.

 "I have just finished a course with Ant making an F1 kayak. The making was fantastic, as is the result. I can't wait to get out paddling!"


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