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Thread: Book: Principles of kayak design

  1. #1
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    Default Book: Principles of kayak design

    I looking this book:
    Principles of kayak design, writen by Theodore Wilbur Houk. Printed 1967


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Book: Principles of kayak design

    I don't know that book, but an enormous amount has happened in kayak design since 1967. I was just last week given a 1960s era Klepper Trabant -- apparently the go-to whitewater boat of the day. It looks either comical or cool to those familiar with today's state-of-the-art whitewater boats. (I'm of the cool mindset). And likewise, in touring or sea kayak design, the thinking has evolved a tremendous amount.

    Is there ever an event for vintage kayaks? They certainly are held often for cars, bigger boats and airplanes. Do I need to start my own?
    -Dave

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Book: Principles of kayak design

    In the early nineties my old slalom club ran a sixties rules slalom event - it was a hoot, great fun had by all.

    Try organising one.

    P.S. finding a vintage slalom boat that's still fit for use may take you a while - and a set of judges who can give an accurate reading of the "Live Gate Rule" - even longer.
    Creationists aren't mad - they're possessed of demons.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Book: Principles of kayak design

    I know that since 1967 an enormous amount has happened in kayak design, but I like to read old books and combine ideas form them with our knowledge. Beside of it I'm just interested what is in that book.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Book: Principles of kayak design

    I'm not a big kayak guy, and don't know that book... but can suggest you look at Powell's Books, and Abe Books.

    Also - I have a friend who knows a bit about kayaks, and has written two books about the history and design of kayaks that you might be interested in --

    http://www.traditionalkayaks.com/books.html
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Book: Principles of kayak design

    The period during and directly after the 1972 Augsburg Olympic events should be quite interesting. The man made Olympic slalom course dictated high volume boats, like the Lettmann Mk IV and Prijon Special Slalom. Within a couple more years the concept of boats with low ends which could be "dunked" under the gate poles evolved, beginning with the Lettmann MkV and later the MkVI. In addition to their low volume, they had ridges along the sides of their ends where the deck and hull came together - purposely not being a smooth shape transition. The idea was that you could sit on top of an eddy line where the flow under you was moving in opposite directions under the two ends of your boat. Leaning over a bit and high-bracing, the ridges would catch both flows and spin the boat in a flash. It really was the beginning of some of the key concepts that are seen on today's slalom kayaks, and it was fun back then to see what sort of wild thing they were going to design next. We used to buy Hyperform's "camp kits" which were unassembled cosmetic seconds. Usually they just had some gel coat flaws and they would sell them to dealers in batches of five assorted boats for about $125 each. I got several K-1s, slalom, touring and downriver that way, along with a decked C-1 and a C-2 slalom canoe.

    This is my old Lettmann Olymp MkV (what you can see of it) which was my all time favorite slalom boat in about 1974 or '75.

    Mk-V-1.jpg

    MK-V-2.jpg

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Book: Principles of kayak design

    First of the roto molded kayaks, my River Chaser was built to the slalom racing rule. Kind of a fun paddle still with my state of the art Kober. One technique that has kind of gone away with today's flat boats is rolling the boat on edge when making eddy turns. I also remember learning how to run drops sideways to be able to turn into eddies.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Book: Principles of kayak design

    The Klepper I was given also came with a period paddle. Same shape as the one in your photo, Todd. I suppose today it would serve to get pizzas in and out of the oven.
    -Dave

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Book: Principles of kayak design

    It's kind of a funny story. That paddle is a Prijon Leiser. Back in the early 1970s when I was selling canoes and kayaks, my contact at High Performance Products (later Hyperform the US manufacturer for Lettmann and Prijon kayak designs) was a nice gal named Gail. They were selling mostly Kober Moldau wooden slalom paddles, along with Schaeffer Wildwasser S models and also listed the Prijon in their catalog but never seemed to have them in stock. I already owned a Kober, which was a very good whitewater paddle, and had tried the Schaeffer, but didn't like it. The blade had so much cup shape on the power face that as you would slice it through the water sideways it would hook. I found that annoying. Anyway, one day while on the phone with Gail placing an order for some stuff she asked if I needed anything else. Jokingly, I said, "Sure, send me a Prijon Leiser". Much to my surprise, she said "I have one, do you want it?". I did. I think it cost me all of $42. I later found out that they had only brought five of them into the country that year, and at any popular whitewater spot I would visit, someone would invariably ask where I got it and offer to buy it. It's still up in my closet.

    I had a Klepper dealership and their paddles were pretty well made. Being two-piece to pack with the boats, their ferrule was better designed and less problematic than most of the other take down paddles of the day.

    The riveted-on aluminum tip protector on the Prijon wore through after a couple of years, so I glassed the tip with a couple layers of fiberglass cloth. It's a pretty good demonstration of just how well you can wrap pieces of bias-cut fiberglass over a rather extreme shape with no darts, tucks or cuts.

    prijon-tip.jpg
    Last edited by Todd Bradshaw; 06-13-2018 at 12:00 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Book: Principles of kayak design

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    I'm not a big kayak guy, and don't know that book... but can suggest you look at Powell's Books, and Abe Books.

    Also - I have a friend who knows a bit about kayaks, and has written two books about the history and design of kayaks that you might be interested in --

    http://www.traditionalkayaks.com/books.html

    Powell's Books I didn't know that web , Abe I'm already checking The books which you mentioned form traditional kayaks are at my list to purchase

    Some of my designes

    tourist single 2.jpgHahar 2.jpg

    Soroka 4.jpghahar 1.jpg

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