Deck and Keel

The deck ribs are comparitively massvie, partly to provide enough cross section to accept the bamboo pegs, and partly to provide the strength for reentry and rescues (you can stand on the deck, which is a great demo, but I doubt it should ever be necessary). The ribs are pre-cut from cedar trees that are deformed–Corey takes advantage of their shape to so that the grain generally runs along the shape of the ribs.

The ends of the deck ribs are not square, so they are scribed in place and then cut with a Japanese trim saw. These cuts go supprisingly quick and the saws can achieve very accurate faces, something close to perfect, with less than 1/32″ gap between the gunnel and the ends of the ribs. The standard baidarka takes 7 deck ribs, but there are exceptions for large boats and larger paddlers.

Seven deck ribs installed.

The first detail below shows the bamboo pegs through the gunnels and the second is includes a detail of the lashing knot, which differs from the Y knot used on the bow and stern. The lashing is knotted from the side, so the knots are long. These have already been oiled, so the combination of the rosin and oil makes them look almost like they are plastic that is welded together.

The pegs are white bamboo.

This detail shows the long knots that pull the rib lashings together.

The keel is attached first at the bow (to get the end trimmed to precisely fit the angled joint in the bow unit), then a center rib is installed (after a period of boiling in the steamer) to provide the desired rocker, followed by clamping the keel to the stern unit. The keel is slightly longer than is needed and will be trimmed to length once the rocker is established. The rib can be trimmed shorter or a longer one installed to get exactly the desired rocker. Then four more ribs are installed to support the keel, and all five are pegged in place.

Attaching the keel to the bow requires it to be held at the tangent so the joint is tight.

The bow lashings are at an angle so that the keel is pulled tightly into the bow unit.


The first rib (in the center) establishes the rocker. The additional four ribs provide additional support and stiffness for the 20 ribs to follow.

After the initial ribs are installed, the keel is lashed to the stern plate. Note the significant downward cant of the stern plate.