kayak couture done!


this was a long project, but absent some fitting in the spring my frej 90 is done....replacing my wife's 20 year old, but still going strong, Chesapeake 14.

total weight of her new boat is 24 lbs as pictured.

some notes on the build and thank you's....

the final peice to bring the boat to completion was a custom seat by Joe Greenley of Redfish Kayaks.   Joe's approach is clean and integrates the thigh and back support eliminating back-bands and cheek plates.  working with him across the country was surprisingly easy and i was amazed at his workmanship when the box arrived today.

thanks to the guys and gals at CLC who cut the forms for the frej on their CNC machine and custom batches of 3/16th cedar and who always had my stuff packed and ready to go when i drove up to Annapolis so i could make a quick turn before my wife noticed i was even missing.

the folks at sweet composites in bethesda md for supplying me with S-glass, carbon fibre and kevlar in quantities far below their typical customer - thanks for putting up with me.   these exotics help manage the weight and made for some cool looking parts.

a special shout out to Mark Nye for answering a post and some e-mails a couple years ago on project ideas for petite women who gotta have a high end kayak.

the folks at thommason design and clearstream kayaks for the design and shrinking work....for a high end boat for a petit person.

i will try to take some better pictures in the spring....but i am going to get me a cold one and sleep tight.....


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RE: kayak couture done!

Looks really pretty, Howard. 24 lbs is quite impressive, too. You'll really be able to shock the ramp crowd who expects wood to be heavier than plastic.

So now that it's done, I'm going to ask just what the "couture" part is. As far as I can see, it's a stripper, not stitch and glue. Where's the sewing (couture) involved?

Beautiful work,



RE: kayak couture done!

Congratulations on the completion, it is beautiful.  I hope that your wife is as happy with it as mine is.

I am also a big fan of the Redfin Seats.  I have them in two boats.

I am currious how it went getting CLC to cut the forms.  Did Dan C give them the files?  I am considering my next build and having CLC cut the forms may be an option.

What is your next build?

RE: kayak couture done!

Beautiful!  Can you discuss the dimensions on the cockpit coaming and what was done?  I am redoing the cockpit on my Chesapaeke 18 and ordering wood today.  I really like the contour of the cockpit.


RE: kayak couture done!


My guess is this: It is a trim, lightweight, beautiful boat specifically designed to fit his beautiful wife. I say, "Job well done."





  1. the design and manufacture of fashionable clothes to a client's specific requirements and measurements.

RE: kayak couture done!

 thanks for the kinds words.

i also forgot to mention Mark and Celeste Rogers at Superior Kayaks who sold me the skeg control box and bits.  they have a very reliable skeg unit that is 100% fibreglass that they sell and is a great option for those that want to have a skeg as part of their build.  since this project's dimensions could not readily accomodate their skeg/skeg box design,   i built a custom skeg/skeg box but used their control box and mechanicals.

on the questions above,

from mark, yes, dan at clearstream gave me the files and permission to have somebody else cut the forms.  they were sent to CLC, who after some checking, confirmed they could do it and gave me a very reasonable quote for the work and a fast turn-around.  CLC does a lot of this for builders and designers as i undertand it.   as to next project, i usually take a gap year between projects....so i have not picked one yet....but i am looking for inspiration.

as to the coaming, this is basically the same outline as a petrel coaming with respect to shape...which is actually very close to a standard chesapeake key hole cockpit.  the risers give 3/4 of an inch clearance between the deck and bottom of the coaming itself.  the risers and coaming are 3/16 inch thick.  and the coaming flange is about 3/4 inch wide.  i elected to simply build up the coaming on top of the deck (like a chesapeake) after playing around with various recess ideas (like a shearwater or petrel).  at some point i simply had to decide...and that is what i went with.

Laszlo --- see Birch2 who pretty much nailed it.   folks come in all sizes and shapes and i think its really special when you can have something that was made specifically for you.  its a lot of work....but that was a big part of the fun of this adventure....and why it took a lot of time...especially in the planning phase.


RE: kayak couture done!

   ok...we got some sun today...so some better pics with natural light



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