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Offering to trade for a good sea Kayak


Jul 1, 2021
Shoshoni Wyoming
Hello to all. My name is Steve Zihn and I am a gunsmith who makes recreations of muzzleloading arms of the types made from about 1730 to about 1855.

I have gotten into Kayaking and the bug for it has bitten me bad, so I am interesting in getting a good sea kayak, and I am wondering if anyone out there likes custom made muzzleloaders and would consider a trade.

I make guns from about $1,000 up to $8,500 and so (1) the gun could match the boat's value, or (2) I can do part gun and part money, or (3) the trader can do part Kayak and part money, ----- and so on.

As far as a custom made muzzleloader goes---- I can make Left or Right handed, any wood, any caliber or gauge cap-lock or flintlock, I'll past links here to Flickr , so anyone interested can see some of my work

What I am looking for is a good kayak of between 16 and 19 feet, very sea worthy. Something I can not only learn better skills with but also something I am not likely to "out grow" I have a good recreational kayak now and it's good for small rivers and calm water, but here in the mountains of Wyoming the lakes can vary in size and the storms come over the tops of the mountains fast enough that you have very little time to get out of the way. As a beginner, I understand that I probably don't understand all I should. So I need experienced and honest paddlers to give me tips on what I should get that I can use and not feel I will need something"better" later. Once I learn to use it well enough I want to go with my Sister and friends to Alaska and paddle the coastal waters there so I need something that will never fail me.

Even if no one is interested in this offer I'd still be honored to chat and learn what I can from those that have experience and have wisdom to pass on. I wase man will learn from the mistakes of other, so I am "all ears"
Hello Steve and welcome to West Coast Paddler forums!

This is possibly one of the most unique introductory posts I've seen :). Can't say I'm in the market for a good muzzle loader (of any era!) but if I ever find a need, I'll know where to turn.

There is a ton of good information on here if you browse around a bit....the best advice I have is to ask a specific question - about a boat, gear, trip location, or whatever, and the folks here are pretty good about sharing their knowledge. I have benefitted immensely from the knowledge gained from these forums.

Good luck on you new adventures!
Thanks very much AC. I don't know if anyone would be interested in my offer, but in any case I think I cna benifit from the wealth of knowledge that may be available here,. Thanks so much for the welcome.
I second a_c's reaction that this is one of the most unique introductions here! Absolutely fantastic work you perform.

I must say however that of anyone here, you must attempt to make a kayak yourself: compared to what you can do it'd be a snap and most likely would be right up your alley - and it also would probably be relaxing for you as there can be much less exactitude but also can exhibit fine craftsmanship as well. I just can't help thinking of what a 2nd or 3rd skin on frame boat built by you would be like.

And I'll be envious of anyone who manages to trade with you. I imagine it will be easier if they're stateside.
You and I think much alike about building Mick. I LOVE working with my hands and I do it fairly well.

But if and when I do, it will have to be sometime down the road. My shop is small and so such a build would have to be done outdoors. And I live in the Wind River Valley (Just take a wild guess as to why it's named that.)


Knowing such a build would take me 1-2 weeks of labor and knowing I'd have some troubles with the wind moving things around and also with glue and finish work, I thought I'll just do what I do best, and see if someone would like a gun in trade.

And as I said in the 1st post, the values need not be locked in stone. The the gun was of higher value then the boat I can do a gun and take some cash too. If the boat is of higher value than the gun, I can provide the gun and what ever cash is needed to make it fare. Or I can build a gun to match the value of the boat specifically. $1000 up to about $8500. So I am very easy to get along with in these kind of things.

But what I NEED most is good advice from folks that know what I don't and will help me along. My sisters friend (who is an avid ocean paddler ) told me to find someone who likes old fashioned gun and know the sport of Sea kayaks well to be my "adviser" and I may even ask such a person to buy one for the trade and give that person my trust instead of trying to make all the detailed decision myself when I clearly know less about the boats then he or she does.

I have to admit, it made scene. When I do a custom gun I ask what the person likes to carry and look at, and then I ask what the gun will be used for the most (target shooting, hunting big game, hunting small game, birds on the fly or maybe a dedicated Turkey Gun and so on. The the best results come when I am given freedom to make the best gun I can for that "mission statement" because that's what I do best.

Why would a Kayak be any different?

If someone knows as much as I do about the guns I'd assume he'd do it himself.

If I know as much as an expert about the kayaks I would just go buy one myself.

WHAT I REALLY NEED is a friend and trusted adviser to talk to me, teach me the "whys" and then tell me what he would do (or purchase) to fit my needs (my mission statement) I have to have someone who I can trust more then I trust myself in that instance so he or she will get me what I NEED for the next 25 years, and not what I might think I need.

What I believe: >> Never tell someone who knows more then you do how to do what you don't know how to do..

If I were to build I'd need to new set-ups, and the room to make something 16 to19 feet long . But to build a custom gun...........I just go start work as I have done for decades. I can already make a gun and I make them better than most others do.

But My brother and myself both think building 2 kayaks would be a LOT of fun and we want to do exactly that, but we think it is going to be about 3 years before I can get ready for such work and I'd like to be paddling a sea Kayak before then. Hence my idea and offer.
And yes I am sure someone in the USA would have an easier time, but there may be a way around that too. I don't know what hoops a Canadian has to jump through to get a muzzleloadign gun back home, but if it were not hard to do I'd say I can come to within about 50 miles south of the US/Canada border, the my new friend can bring the Kayak into the USA. He or she takes the gun back home, and I take the boat back home.

I have made some guns for Canadians but that was about 20 years ago and today I have no idea what they laws are today for my northern neighbors. For me there are no problems at all, because in the USA muzzle-loaders are unregulated.

But taking is free. If someone "up there" is interested, lets talk.
If we find the hoops are too much of a pain, well------ no harm done ------ and we can make new friends anyway.
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Lovely work you do SZ . A .54 flint Trade Gun would be nice one day . No problem shipping flintlocks to Canada by mail anyone can buy one here , percussion need a firearms license though .

If you want a touring kayak to never fail you , then the closest thing to that is a plastic kayak if fail means to get holed or crushed . That is a rare thing which usually occurs in the surf zone or more likely flying off the roof of a vehicle ;) It's probably best to rent for your first couple of trips , try different boats , find one that has the best seat for you and overall feel . Some prefer a more upright higher seating position which is easier on the back like the Clipper Sea 1 https://www.clippercanoes.com/products/sea-1 or Kruger Sea Wind . You can also use a regular tripping canoe with a spray deck for ocean use . Some people find the locked in seating position of kayaks just unacceptable and stick to canoes as you can adjust your position and they are quicker to load up .

The biggest thing to keep you safe is judgement about staying on land when the water is too rough and then getting off the water sooner then later when a wind comes up .
Hi Redcedar.
I can do a good trade gun but they are not worth as much as some good sea Kayaks. So if you are serious we can talk, but I might have to throw you extra money to make things fare if you had something to trade, or were going to buy one for the trade. Are you considering my offer?
I can do a good trade gun ...................... Are you considering my offer?
It seems like you are looking for a black powder gun enthusiast who is also a sea kayaker with an extra boat that will fit you?
That's a very very small populaton of people, but you may get lucky..
My suggestion would be to sell some guns for cash and then take classes and rent kayaks.
Yes John I expect that's what I will end up doing, but I have found a lot of paddle boaters are traditionalists, (hence the love for paddling) so I thought it's worth a post to ask.

I figured it would be faster, but only if I can find someone on THIS site that fits both interest groups.

Long shot? ........yeah. But possible, and it cost nothign to ask.

Hi Redcedar.
I can do a good trade gun but they are not worth as much as some good sea Kayaks. So if you are serious we can talk, but I might have to throw you extra money to make things fare if you had something to trade, or were going to buy one for the trade. Are you considering my offer?

I used to make skin on frame kayaks for sale but that was years ago. If I buy a flintlock trade gun it will be a straight cash deal but not soon as they ain't cheap and shouldn't be .

I think you need to try a variety of sea kayaks before you settle on the one or two you want . You many find you prefer going on day trips and don't need or like an empty deep touring kayak acting like a sail for those day trips. I would rent a deeper high volume kayak for doing trips and own a shallower kayak for day trips which I think is what most people actually do .
Fair enough Redcerar. :) keep me on mind if you ever want to pill the chain on that gun.
I am thinking of making a drive to Klamath to visit Headwaters Kayaks, and maybe try a few of them out. (who knows, maybe the owner would like to do some trading too) One kayak I have an interest in is the EddyLine Fathom I read nothign but good about it. But as you have said, it may be a good idea to try before I buy.
Do you or any reader here have any experience with the Eddyline kayaks or even with the Headwaters Kayak shop? Anything I should know?
I have corresponded with one in Lander Wyoming, (Helen Wilson,) but I have not met her yet. I hope to very soon.

Others I e-mail to have been helpful, but for me to meet anyone else I am going to have to drive at least 600 miles one way, and probably closer to 1000, so that is going to be an "event" that I must schedule and plan. A few have recommended Eddyline, so that brand has my attention, but I understand the field is wide open
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Well I got a Necky Chatham 17. I got to paddle it a bit and I can see it’s beyond my abilities for now. Did ok, but I really had to pay attention. That’s what I wanted. Now I can grow in skill and not worry that I will grow past the kayak’s abilities very fast or by very far. I am going to have to get a skirt for it, and I need to get on some water with some waves and chop, but I am REALLY looking forward to learning. Someday I may get the Eddyline Fathom, but for now I have all the boat I can handle. Looking forward to learning all I can in it.