Umiaks Wave Eaters

Umiak Construction

Although umiaks differed from kayaks in dimensions and shape, there were many parallels in the construction of both types of Arctic skin boat. The bigger and heavier skins used to cover umiaks were usually obtained from walruses or large bearded seals.

Construction stages

  1. Cutting a driftwood log into quarters for gunwales and longitudinal stringers.
  2. Building the stern frame by lashing end ribs and a heavy upright stern post to the upside-down gunwale assembly.
  3. Forming the shape of the floor by bending and lashing stringers into place.
  4. Cutting and lashing an additional rib.
  5. Sewing the skins of large bearded seals together with braided sinew.
  6. Stretching the skin cover over the wooden framework.
  7. Attaching the cover to the framework with strong skin lashings.
  8. Putting the finished umiak out of dogs' reach after the seams have been coated with seal oil.

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