Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Baidarka (Iqyax^) Model

I am working on a model of an Unangan (Aleut) kayak. The model is half scale which means that the gunwales are 7 feet long. Half scale sounds pretty big, but then that's only linear scale.  If we're talking volume, it's one eighth scale.
Anyway, half scale works pretty well for kayaks.  It's big enough that you can use most of the same tools you would use for a full scale kayak, but it's small enough that you can put it in your living room or den or wherever it is that you keep boat models in your house.
I'm not really a big fan of boat models from both the maker side and the consumer side.  From the maker side, an accurate model is almost as much work as a full scale kayak and when you're done, you can't use it, except as a knick-knack.
From the consumer perspective, a kayak model is an expensive knick-knack.  Usually, the consumer is reluctant to pay for what it costs to do the model accurately, so the maker cuts corners and produces something that superficially resembles the real thing.  If you do collect boat models, the thing to do is to get models made for the early boat loads of tourists.  The makers didn't know any better yet and made accurate models.  Then they found out they could make superficial models much more easily and sell more especially if they cut their prices.
But that's not really relevant here.  The reason I make boat models is that it is a way of exploring the construction process.  If the model turns out to be a clunker, nothing much is lost.  Actually, making full scale clunker kayaks is not about what you have lost, but rather about what you have gained, namely a kayak you  don't want to paddle. It then becomes a storage problem or something you are reluctant to unleash on the public.  Svend Ulstrup, Danish boat builder used to solve the problem the Viking way, he set boats on fire.  I don't have the heart to do that.
So stay tuned for more photos of the model in progress.

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