Yup'ik Kayak Model - SCOPES Digital Fabrication

Lesson Details

Age Ranges
Fab-Safety.1, Fab-Fabrication.1

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CITC Fab Lab
CITC Fab Lab
Informal educator
We are Cook Inlet Tribal Council’s Fabrication Lab. We are based out of Anchorage Alaska serving Alaska Native and American Indian students based in the Anchorage school district. We teach design, building, and fabrication with a cultural emphasis. Our different… Read More


Often we don’t realize that objects we use today come from centuries of engineering, of ingenuity in harsh conditions. This is the case of kayaks we enjoy in the summer! The word itself comes from the Greenland Eskimo word ‘qayaq’ meaning ‘small boat of skins’. In this instructable, we will make a model of kayak used by Yup’ik people of Western Alaska, on the shores of Bering Sea. 


We will need to know a few terms in kayak building:


What You'll Need

Tools: 36×24 laser cutter

Contents: wood or craft glue

Materials: 1/8th inch plywood, 36×24 inches

The Instructions

Laser cut parts

Make sure you watch the laser while it's cutting!

Laser cut the pieces out of plywood.

The files attached have 2 pages to ‘print’, in alignment:

–       One with numbering to make it easier to find the right pieces that can be engraved or scored (a 100% speed laser cut with less than 50% power)

–       Second with the actual pieces


Gluing Pieces

Let's put it together.

Organize and glue your pieces, referencing the attached vocabulary poster:

–       3 boat shaped pieces – the gunwales. Glue them like a sandwich with the ones with notches on the top and bottom, full one in the middle.



Make sure that the numbers and letters remain visible, and your fronts and backs are aligned!

Glue bow and stern


–        2 bow pieces, the front of the kayak

–       2 stern pieces, the back

–       4 pairs of sticks – stringers – we’ll use them later