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Photograph by Roger McKee

The light in this photo reveals the beauty of this boat's flax skin. Flax is, as you may know, reputed to be the strongest nature fiber. A pleasure to work with, this rip-stop fabric comes from Simon Cooper's Flaxland in the England.

I was able to use the same skinning and waterproofing methods that I explain in Building Skin-on-Frame Double Paddle Canoes with a some exceptions. Since flax does not shrink significantly with heat and/or water, I did all my stretching with the "Lacing" method described in my book. Also, when I applied the resin (ZAR water base exterior polyurethane), I left a couple of inches untouched below the gunwales and by the stems, so that I could re-tighted these areas, if necessary - and it was necessary. The skin did not become drum tight, but tight enough and very thick -- hard to puncture. The flax took seven exterior coats to waterproofing and three interior coat totaling five quarts. The skin could have used a few more interior coats to smooth out the surface. I was happy to discover that my usual methods of stapling the skin to the gunwales and the stem, then installing rubrails and brass stembands, worked well. For more information on skinning boats with flax and buying the material, which is relatively inexpensive, contact Simon Cooper at

Here is the heart of our new 13' solo tandem boat - the Rines Reversible double backrest that operates in one direction as the solo backrest and in the other as the bow backrest.You can see the finished product at the at the WoodenBoat Festival in Mystic, CT, June 26-28.

Here is the Solo/Tandem 13' at the Northeastern Woodworkers Showcase in Saratoga Springs April 2&3, 2016. Note the double backrest and the single backrest/thwart that can serve as either the stern backrest or simple as a thwart.

In this close-up at the Northeastern Woodworkers Showcase, note that the seat is positioned for a solo paddler. For a tandem set-up, it can be moved to the near side of the double backrest, and a second seat can be positioned just this side of the single backrest. The double paddle, with its light-weight carbon shaft and hardwood blades is now available in limited quantities. Just call or email us for more info. The ribbon was awarded for "Professional Excellence."

Our ZIP built by Capt. Jeff Bull. We have beefed up the deck cloth with a 7 1/2 oz. pre-dyed and pre-waterproofed polyester cloth and lowered the cockpit a bit to make for more comfortable paddling. The 8 oz. polyester hull skin is treated with a tough two-part polyurethane.

We use chalk to mark the deck skin for the zip-open compartments and the cockpit. Our upholster, adds heavy duty outdoor zippers and a "collar" around the cut-out for the cockpit. Since the zippers make loading and loading larger packs quick and easy, portaging this kayak easy.