Instructor: Nick Schade
Guillemot Kayaks was created by Nick Schade in 1993 to share the kayak designs he created for his own use.
Nick grew up around canoes and kayaks. After beginning a career as an engineer for the US Navy, he knew he wanted to get back on the water himself. But as a recent graduate, he could not afford the kind of boat he wanted. So he decided to design and build a kayak using a technique he had seen used to create canoes: the “strip-built” method. This method was popular for canoe construction but was not commonly adapted for kayaks. Nick and his brother Eric worked together to develop the processes needed to make kayaks using the “strip-built” method.
Nick’s designs evolved to match his changing aims with the driving goal to maximize on-the-water performance while respecting the natural materials used to create the boat. Out of these efforts he created the business Guillemot Kayaks, centered on designing high performance sea kayaks for other craftsmen interested in building their own boats. He wrote The Strip-Built Sea Kayak, an instruction book describing the strip-built method, which has helped foster a revival in the construction of wooden kayaks.
He specializes in high performance kayaks whose visual beauty is a reflection of their ability to perform on the water. His technical background has influenced his use of the latest computer modeling technology to engineer high performance into his designs. Combined with an innate aesthetic sense, the resulting boats are as beautiful as they are functional.
Nick's shop is currently located in Groton, Connecticut, where he builds prototypes of new designs and makes a select number of custom-built kayaks. He has taught kayak construction at Mystic Seaport, here at CVSW and the WoodenBoat School. His custom boats have won first prize at the prestigious Washington Craft Show and he has shown at the Fine Furnishings Providence show. His work has been exhibited at the American Craft Museum, and one of his boats is in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art.
Examples of Work:
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