Friday, January 14, 2011

Sticks and Boat Hooks

I'm about to make more boat sticks, having given the last two away.  Boat sticks come in a lot of forms depending on what you want to do with them.  The one shown above is a retrieval stick that I had carved about 15 years ago when I went on a camping trip on Lake Michigan.  You can put hatches on the deck of a skin on frame kayak, but I don't bother.  I prefer to jam stuff into the boat from the cockpit.  Only thing is that to get stuff back out of the kayak, you either have to turn it on end or you have to make yourself a retrieval hook.  And if you're smart, you packed stuff in bags that have some kind of loop on them for the retrieval hook to latch on to.

Here is a picture copied from Edward William Nelson's book, The Eskimo About Bering Strait. These boat hooks were used for a variety of purposes, from pulling your kayak up to an ice floe to dragging a seal to your kayak to getting it back out of your kayak after you've stuffed it inside.  Designs varied based on application and local preferences.

And then there is a third kind of boat stick, a plain one with no hook on it.  I use them to get into and out of my kayak.  Usually people just use their paddle to steady the boat but that is hard on the paddle.  Sometimes when you aren't paying attention, your paddle breaks when you put too much weight on it.  So a stick is good.  six foot is a good length. Exact diameter depends on the wood.  Whatever it is, it should be strong enough for you to lean on it without breaking it.  I'll post pictures as soon as I make another one.

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