Celebrate a Local SoF Master Builder

Discussion in 'Boat and Accessory Building' started by seawitch, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. seawitch

    seawitch New Member

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    Tribute to a Local Skin-on-frame Master Kayak Builder

    Mark Reuten, owner of Nomad Boatbuilding in Victoria, comes by his sterling reputation for outstanding design and craftsmanship honestly. He has been enchanted by traditional boats since childhood. With a degree from the Ontario College of Art and a background in canoeing in the wilds of Ontario, Mark developed a keen eye for boat design and a love of traditional materials and tools. His first build was a skin-on-frame kayak in 1992.

    His training in 1996 at the North West School of Traditional Boatbuilding, Port Townsend WA, refined his skills and complimented the artistic expression in his designs. In Vancouver he later worked in west coast cedar building a pole with Haida carver Clarence Mills. Through connections there with skin-on-frame kayak builders Mark met and ultimately partnered with published skin-on-frame craftsman Rob Morris.

    Mark’s unique style of historically accurate joinery, pragmatic design, and passionate artistry has earned him a reputation as one of the foremost traditional boat builders in North America. His portfolio includes work on the Victoria SALTS schooner Pacific Grace and production of an extensive range of traditional arctic skin-on-frame craft. Mark’s outstanding reputation as a skin-on-frame kayak builder, educator, and Greenland paddler earned him an invitation in 1999 from the Nunavut community of Kugaaruq in the central arctic to come and work with local elders and youth in a revival of traditional skin kayak building. Together with his fellow builder Rob Morris, Mark was invited back twice to continue the successful project. His first- hand appreciation for the culture from which the kayak came further enhanced his knowledge and skill as a designer and builder of traditional kayaks.

    In the fall of 2014 I became the fortunate owner of an exquisite custom skin-on-frame kayak designed and built for me by Mark. I was steered to him by my friend and rolling coach James Manke, a local hero and Greenland rolling gold medalist. No bride having a wedding gown made ever went through more meticulous measurements and fittings than I did in Mark’s immaculate Victoria shop! The result was a kayak that was meant for some goddess but that fit me perfectly! It is a work of design genius and rocket science precision.

    The yellow cedar wood frame is polished to a silky finish; the laminated, steamed coaming defies detection of a seam or join anywhere, and the skin is expertly stretched and sewn so that not a stitch can be seen. The kayak is perfectly balanced and rolls effortlessly.

    Words and photographs do not do justice to this boat nor to the quiet, modest master boat builder who produced it.

    http://www.nomadboatbuilding.com

    Submitted by grateful Nomad boat owner Christine Gornall, Black Creek, BC
     
  2. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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    What does "rolls effortlessly" actually mean?
     
  3. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    Wow.
    Do you have any shots of the frame before skinning?
    It just looks like it belongs in that last picture.
     
  4. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Mick, seawitch sent me a few more photos to add to her post -- including a shot before skinning.

    Beautiful boat. I met Mark very briefly several years ago when he shared a shop with Robert Morris on Granville Island -- I was very impressed with his craftsmanship at the time -- seems to have only gotten better.
     
  5. Yaketyak

    Yaketyak Paddler

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    Gee.. maybe it rolls well like most Greenland kayaks
     
  6. nootka

    nootka Paddler

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    Do most Greenland kayaks not roll as well as the Tahe?
     
  7. Yaketyak

    Yaketyak Paddler

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    Don't know
     
  8. Andy_Ferguson

    Andy_Ferguson Paddler

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    That is a beautiful boat. I'm happy to hear you were able to find a skilled craftsman on the Island.