Builder’s Gallery

Send us your pictures

Last year I bought the plans for your Schoodic canoe and over Easter this year we got it built up. It was our first build and the quality of the plans and the way it went together were very confidence-inspiring!

We’ve now taken it out on four trips and are getting prepared for a fortnight’s holiday in Scotland – looking forward to it immensely.

So thanks again for your design and I’ve attached a pic taken while we were paddling on the Thames, a few miles up from London. Our boat may have the odd bump and epoxy run, when you look closely, but we think it’s perfect 🙂

All the best,
Michael in the UK

Hi Eric,

I have just finished a 200 km paddle in my Shearwater (over five days)along the Murray river together with some other members of the local bushwalking club.

We stayed a couple of nights in caravan parks and the rest bush camped.

The kayak carried the camping equipment including tent cooking sleeping gear water easily. Paddling was a pleasure even after 40k’s or so!

I found directional control no problem ( I don’t have a rudder ) You requested a shot in typical Australian setting…..The Eucalyptus trees lining the river are magnificent.

The weather was warm and clear and made for a great experience.Ther are another 1500 km of river down to the river mouth in South Australia so there is plenty more for next time!

Hope I have sent the right one


Hope all is well

Many Thanks

David Pinney.

Denis Gallant of Dunrobin, Ontario and PEI Canada built this Merganser 17 from plans. he writes:

I’m very pleased with the kayak and enjoy paddling it very much. Congratulations on the design! The only thing that I notice is that there’s a bit of weather cocking going downwind on broad reaches… The eastern coast of Canada never seems to lack a strong afternoon breeze when I get into my kayak (I’m sure Maine is no different). Your suggestion on trying a temporary skeg is what I had in mind. I was thinking of starting with around 1″ at the stern tapering to 0″ at about 3ft. I will play with that next spring/summer when I get back to PEI (where the Merganser is spending the winter in my boat shed).

The Merganser was build as a prototype on the cheap with readily available plywood in Ottawa. I used Luan and the blondish middle deck plywood is a new floor 5mm underlayment that Home Depot now stock (at least in Canada). It’s a Brazilian product sold under the Virola brand ($20/sheet). The appearance and quality can vary, but the material seems as good as Luan from voids and lamination glue. I did epoxy all interior surfaces and fiberglassed the exterior (6oz hull, 4oz deck). For light use and year round indoor storage, I’m fairly confident that it will be around for a while.


I have finished my Widgeon kayak.

I used West System epoxy, Interlux paint on bottom panels, Epifanes varnish on the deck and side panels.

I have the hatches with the knob and bar openers. I did the cockpit in three different woods.

I had to open up the cockpit by going forward by 6 inches other wise followed your book.

Wayne from Saginaw, Michigan.


Joe Clark has produced a (wmv) slideshow of building and paddling his merganser in the Pacific Northwest.

Jim Farrelley of Augusta GA built these Baidarkas from kits, a fine job too! He has built the Baidarka and baidarka double shown here plus several other fine boats.

Dieter Schmidl in Austria built this Eider Open Double he calls “Day Dream Believer”. He added some beautiful veneer inlays of fish, porposes and seahorses which really dress up his boat! He also has a custom made spraydeck with to fittings for standard sprayskirts.

This wonderful Merganser 17W hybrid was built by Paul Johnson, His wife painted the fantastic artwork on the sides


Gene Scarl from the state Of Maine built this Merganser 17W hybrid. He wrote:

I am extremely happywith the design, kit and results of constucting my first strip kayak. I thought building it was the true pleasure, but the first paddle was hard to
beat in the joy and pride of satisfaction. I will certainly recommend your design and their kits to all who want a real labor of love. The foam cell seat and flush hatch covers worked well. I like the way the lift handles came out, built from a block of strips and I used a copper pipe thru the hull for the rope. I am still learning to appreciate the way it handles and glides and how effortless and responsive it is to paddle with the Greenland paddle. There are lots of kayaks on car roofs in Maine this time
of year, but none get the comments, smiles and “thumbs up” that this one does where ever I go. Thanks, again for your inspiration, your book and
your help. For your information, this was my first kayak and it took 155 hours, four months, and weighs in fully rigged at 43 pounds!!





Sharon Betteridge and Andrew Eddy of New South Wales Australia built these wonderful Baidarkas and wrote about it in the NSW Sea Kayaker Magazine.


The photos above are of Jim Distler’s merganser 18. He dropped by my house with this beauty just before launching it. He did a wonderful job. It’s not just the sunlight, two of the deck panels are birch plywood which contrast with the okoume to give the boat a distinctive look.

Hello Eric,

A friend and I bought some of your plans last year and built a couple of Mergsaners. Each boat took about 120 hours for the basic construction. The plans seemed to work pretty well overall. I did have to do some adjusting like cutting the cockpit back another 8 or so inches for leg room since I am 6′ 5″.

We spent some additional time doing some artwork. Since I live on the Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest and am a fan of the Coast Salish Native’s art and since we had some pods of Orca whales hanging around in a local inlet (that only kayakers could get near) recently, I decided to incorporate some Orca and Coast Salish like designs onto the kayak and paddles. Although the local Natives did not use kayaks they did ply the waters of the Puget Sound in Ornately decorated cedar dug-out canoes so I felt a kind of connection existed. I kept to the traditional red, black and white colors on the designs. I then stenciled the thee words Hiyu kloshe cooley, which means many graceful journeys, and Ekkoli Tahmanawis, which means whale guardian spirit (in the Coast Salish/Chinook language) on either side of the cockpit combing. It is hard to see in the pictures but the eyes of the figure immediately behind the cockpit are nickel-sized round pieces of Abalone shell that give a pearly reflective look to the pupils. This is commonly found on the eyes of traditional dance masks and other objects.I have found that this kayak attracts a great deal of attention (even as I am driving down the street with it mounted on top of my truck on the way to or from launches. I also received many, many compliments on it at the Wooden Boat Festival in nearby Port Townsend Washington from visitors on the docks and other fellow kayakers paddling about. I heard one elderly gentleman say excitedly “That’s the nicest looking boat(kayak) I’ve ever seen!” I took that as quite a compliment.


I tried to and hopefully drummed up some business for you from people looking at and demo-ing some kayaks from Pygmy which is located there. I told them why pay an extra couple of hundred bucks for a Pygmy kit when the only difference in build from plans like Shearwater is the actual act of cutting the wood and drilling holes which is the quickest and easiest part of the process?

I built the paddle out of a closet dowel and Okoume scraps that I laminated to double thickness.

Anyway, I’m very happy with the boat’s looks and handling. The initial stability is a bit low but the secondary more than makes-up for that in some of the white cap conditions I like to paddle in sometimes. It tracks very well and is much faster than most other boats I’ve paddled in and alongside.

I am looking forward to taking the boat up into the nearby San Juan Islands (which are a world-class kayaking area for some Orca sightings) for a few extended trips.

I hope that things are well with the business and hope that you enjoy the pictures. I can send some close-ups if you want. You are welcome to show any of the pictures to customers or post them on your web site if you’d like.


Jeff Winger

Bremerton WA