True North Boats
True North Boats

Custom-Built Boats & Paddles

Drawing on thousands of years of refinement by the indigenous inventors of the sea kayak, and our own decades of experience in building and paddling their amazing designs, we are here to build you the finest personal watercraft you’ll ever own. We will tailor-build to your body size and skill level, so your qayaq or iqyax (the Native terms for these vessels) will fit you perfectly. During the building process there will be ample opportunity to modify certain design elements or to add personal flourishes to your vessel. For example, you may wish to add beach-found walrus ivory deck line toggles carved by our Native Alaskan friends in the Bering Sea region. Or you may choose to add artwork of your own to the wooden frame or fabric covering. Whatever level of involvement you choose, when your qayaq leaves our shop it will be truly yours as no production manufactured boat can be.
carved ivory otter and walrus deck toggles


Alaska Yellow Cedar
Our qayaq and iqyax frames are made from the very best tight-grained Alaska yellow cedar, Sitka spruce and/or Douglas fir woods available. Less-expensive alternatives will never be used. The parts of our frames are fitted with mortise-and-tenon joinery, and are hand lashed with waxed nylon “synthetic sinew”. No nails, screws or other metal fasteners are used. Your finished frame is given two deep protective treatments of linseed oil before the heavy nylon skin is hand-sewn over it. This fabric is then shrunk tight and sealed with a golden, translucent coating that makes for a gorgeous and super-tough skin. We build them for use, and we build them to last. We believe we are building heirlooms.

A finished skin-on-frame qayaq will weigh many pounds less than a comparably-sized fiberglass, carbon fiber, or Kevlar kayak, usually weighing around thirty-five to forty pounds for a eighteen foot vessel.


Super Tough
A well-built skin-on-frame kayak can take the abuses of surf and rocks better than most people can imagine. Don't let their agile looks fool you. "Agile" definitely does not equate to "fragile"!


Designs & Sizing

Traditional kayak designs across the Arctic and sub-arctic are as varied as the demands of sea and weather in that vast area. Just like the sea animals of the northern regions, kayaks evolved and adapted to meet the extreme and demanding conditions. Please contact us to discuss the many different skin-on-frame kayak designs to choose from, and how each design differs in behavior and performance. Whether you're looking for a light, nimble after-work kayak, a rugged, high-volume touring kayak, or a super fast rocket kayak, we can help you bring your ideas into reality.


When you’re ready for us to begin building your personal qayaq or iqyax we’ll ask you for the measurements of various parts of your body, because many of the building processes utilize an anthropometric measurement system. Just like a well fitted pair of shoes, fit is everything.


Prices starting at $2200.00