Skin-on-frame boat treat – Inuit kayak and Ojibwe birch bark canoe

I was able to get in a quick peek at the National Museum of the American Indian, which keeps a few traditional boats in its rotunda. I have written about the semi-traditional Inuit kayak before, but I didn’t have a shot of the completed boat. Here she is.

Inuit skin-on-frame kayak

The boat is pretty and definitely fits within its tradition, but clearly comes off as a modern replica. Its skin is a bright white, very light-weight nylon. Many modern skin-on-frames use ballistic nylon that, when varnished, looks at least vaguely like a true skin. This one definitely does not.

Ojibwe birch bark canoe

For a boat that is closer to a true traditional version of itself, I present this beauty: an Ojibwe birch bark canoe. Check out the detailed shots in the extended entry. There is some really interesting detail on this boat.

Ojibwe birch bark canoe - bow

Ojibwe birch bark canoe - bow

Ojibwe birch bark canoe - bow

The other boats there, by the way, are a Hawaiian outrigger canoe and Bolivian reed boat, both of which I have written about in the past.

3 Comments for “Skin-on-frame boat treat – Inuit kayak and Ojibwe birch bark canoe”



Ahh! The traditional just can’t be beaten only replicated! I have never had the pleasure being in a tradtional kayak, however I always have had a deep respect for them and craftsmanship that wet into them. Simply awe inspiring! Thans for posting the pics!


Very interesting differences in details from the Penobscot bark canoe I saw being built at the Penobscot Marine Museum last month, especially the way the headboard extends above the gunwales, the sizable bark foredeck, and the way the stitching at the stem is staggered in/out. Of course, major differences in design/overall form as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *