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Build your own seagoing traditional Aleut ikyak under the guidance of one of the leading authorities in the revival of this lost art. Use authentic native methods and designs documented in historic writings and studies of museum specimens.


The single Ikyax, also widely known as Baidarka, is the primary style constructed in these workshops. Optionally, a double can be built. These Aleutian boats are generally considered the acme of Arctic native designs. The general design is at least four thousand years old,  with some eighteenth century modifications at the instigation of Siberian sea otter fur traders, who for years dominated the natives. West Greenland and King Island configurations can also be built.

The classes are generally small and conducive to personal attention. Although some are held in the well equipped  main studio in Anacortes, the school is eminently mobile and, by prior arrangement can be set up anywhere. Even a beach or a meadow can become a work area. This is because the native methods do not use cumbersome jigs or forms.

No woodworking experience is needed, just the enthusiasm and desire to build your own kayak.

By its nature this experience will be a cultural journey as much as an acquisition of skills, and both aspects of it will be yours for life.


We believe the quality and performance of these kayaks are unmatched. The weight is well below that of most if not all the kayaks on the market today, a significant factor in performance and portability. The structural flexibility is part of the secret to the performance of these boats, and also plays an important role in their durability because of the shock-absorbing quality.
More than 1,200 Aleut kayaks have been built under our instruction, most of which are still active on the skin boat scene. We encourage visits to the studio and suggest you schedule a trial paddle.


You will design your own kayak for your skill level and style, as well as your body build, just as the Aleuts did. Even your aesthetic sense can be incorporated as you design your own lines. Like the boats of the natives, yours will be individual and different from others.

Click here for 9 day Baidarka course guide


Programs conducted in the Anacortes studio are generally held as an open session working at your own pace, with a course length of about 80 hours. Off-site workshops entail an intensive full week of ten-hour days. Please see Work Shop Calender for off-site locations.  Click here to see the 9 day intensive program guide.  It is also possible for a group to arrange a full program during three weekends (do not have to be consecutive).
Suggested Tuition Donation: US$1,300.00 (includes materials)

your personal paddle (first day)
clothes for kayaking (first day)
your best walking shoes (you will be working on your feet most of the day)
extra clothes (we work in open air or unheated spaces)
lunch, snacks, and drinks
Tool List:

Eye protection and dust/vapor mask.

First aid kit.

Ear protection is provided.
* All the required tools are provided by The Skin Boat School *

Please feel free to bring your favorite edge tools, drills, and pull saws.

What to Bring

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